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Title: Presbyterian Worship - Its Spirit, Method and History
Author: Johnston, Robert
Language: English
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The worship of the sanctuary is a living subject of discussion and
practice in the Presbyterian Churches of the world at large, and,
within late years, in that of the Canadian Dominion.  Many earnest
minds are approaching the study of the subject from various
standpoints, each worthy of attentive consideration.  One regards it
from the dogmatic position of scriptural precedent, or from the larger
one of Christian principle; the aesthetic mind comes to it with visions
of order and beauty; the practical, with his view of the Church's needs
in mission fields and in mixed congregations.  There is room in the
discussion for the largest statement of lawful opinion, founded on
conviction of absolute right, and on Christian expediency, and for the
exercise of abundant charity.

Dr. Johnston gives no uncertain sound on the subject.  To his mind the
duty of the Church, first and last, is to preserve spirituality of
worship, and to discountenance everything that may tend to interfere
with the same.  But, while this spirit pervades his work, his method is
historical, and thus preeminently fair and impartial in statement. The
presentation of the argument in concrete or historical form invests it
with an interest which could hardly be commanded by either dogmatic or
practical methods, while it excludes neither.

Dr. Johnston brings to his task ripe scholarship, including extensive
knowledge of Church history and ecclesiology, his proficiency in which
he has recently vindicated in such a manner as to leave no room for
doubt. To this he adds the teaching of pastoral experience in mission
fields, prior to his ordination, and, since then, in large and
influential congregations; and, to crown the whole, heartfelt devotion
to the Church of his fathers, and unswerving personal loyalty to its
King and Head.

With adoring thanks to the great Teacher of us all, who rewards
professors in their declining years with the affectionate regard of
their whilom best students, now become wise and strong men in the
Church's service, I cordially commend to all who may read these words,
this outcome of Dr. Johnston's Christian erudition and conscientious
literary labor.

(signature of John Campbell)


MONTREAL, March, 1901.



























"Inward truth of heart alone, is what the Lord requires.  Exercises
superadded are to be approved, so far as they are subservient to Truth,
useful incitements, or marks of profession to attest our faith to men.
Nor do we reject things tending to the preservation of Order and
Discipline.  But when consciences are put under fetters, and bound by
religious obligations, in matters in which God willed them to be free,
then must we boldly protest in order that the worship of God be not
vitiated by human fictions."--CALVIN.


The purpose in the following pages is a simple one.  It is to discover
the trend of thought in connection with Public Worship within the
Presbyterian Church, particularly in Scotland, during the course of her
history since the Reformation.  The spirit of the Church in her
stirring and formative periods, especially if that spirit is a constant
one, is pregnant with instruction.  Such a constant spirit is readily
discovered by a study of the attitude of the Presbyterian Church
towards the subject of Public Worship during the course of her history,
and to the writer it seems very evident that that spirit indicates an
increasing suspicion of liturgical forms in Worship, and a growing
confidence in, and desire for, the liberty of untrammeled approach to

Whether this spirit be the best or not, it is not the purpose of these
pages to discuss.  The great principle of the liberty of the Church in
matters of detail, is fully recognized, a principle ever to be
sedulously guarded, but an appeal is made to the record of history for
its evidence as to the historic attitude of the Presbyterian Church, on
a question which to-day is claiming the earnest attention of those who
desire for that Church fidelity to her Lord and efficiency in His work.

My indebtedness in the study of this subject to Dr. McCrie's Cunningham
Lectures on "Scottish Presbyterian Worship," Brown's "Life of John
Knox," Sprott's "Scottish Liturgies" and Baird's "Eutaxia," as well as
to various Histories of the Reformation in Scotland, and for American
Church History to Moore's and Alexander's valuable digests, I gladly
and with gratitude acknowledge.  An abundant and increasing literature
upon the subject of Public Worship is an encouraging sign of the
attention which the Church is giving to a matter so vital to its best

R. J.

  LONDON, January, 1901.

The Law and the Liberty of Presbyterian Worship.

"While it is admitted that there is a form of government prescribed or
instituted in the New Testament, so far as its general principles or
features are concerned, there is a wide discretion allowed us by God in
matters of detail, which no man or set of men, which neither civil
magistrates nor ecclesiastical rulers can take from us."--HODGE.

Chapter I.

The Law and the Liberty of Presbyterian Worship.

"The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and
New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and

The Church of Christ, as a divine communion, exists in the world for a
definite and appointed purpose.  This purpose may be declared to be
twofold, and may be described by the terms "Witness" and "Worship."

It is the evident design of God that the visible Church should bear
witness to His existence and character, to His revelation and
providence, and to His grace towards mankind, manifested in His Son,
Jesus Christ.  To Israel God said, "Ye are my witnesses," and to His
disciples forming the nucleus of the New Testament Church, the risen
Saviour said, "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me."

Side by side with this evident end of the Church's existence is the
other one of Worship.  Not only from the individual heart does God
require ascriptions of praise and expressions of confidence, but from
the organized congregation of His people, He desires to hear the voice
of adoration, contrition, and supplication.  The cultivation of such
worship, and the offering of it in a manner acceptable to God, is a
work worthy of the Church's most earnest care.

It is to be expected, therefore, that in the Word of God there shall be
found the principles of a cultus which, possessing Divine authority,
shall carry with it the assurance of its sufficiency for the ends aimed
at, and of its suitability to the requirements of the Church in every
age.  That the word of God contains such principles clearly indicated,
the Presbyterian Church has always maintained, teaching uniformly and
emphatically that Holy Scripture contains all that is necessary for the
guidance of the Church, as well in matters of Polity and Worship, as in
those of Doctrine.  Divine worship, therefore, neither in its constant
elements nor in its methods, is a matter of mere human device, nor is
the Church at liberty to devise or to adopt aught that is not
explicitly stated or implicitly contained in the Word of God for her

The essential parts of worship we are at no loss to discover, clearly
indicated as they are in the history of the Apostolic Church.  Praise
and Prayer, with the reading and exposition of Scripture, together with
the celebration of the Sacraments, are repeatedly referred to as those
exercises in which the early Christians engaged.  With such worship,
though in more elaborate form, the Church had always been familiar, for
as Christianity itself was in so many respects the fruit and outcome of
Judaism, the expansion, into principles of world-wide and perpetual
application, of truths that had hitherto been national and local, so
its worship and organization were, in large measure, the adaptation of
familiar forms to those simpler and more comprehensive ones of the New
Testament Church.  Throughout the successive periods of Israel's
history, marked by patriarch, psalmist, and prophet, Divine worship had
grown from simple sacrifice at a family altar to an elaborate
temple-ritual, in which praise and prayer and the reading of the Law
occupied a prominent place; to this were added in later times the
exposition of the Law and the reading of the Prophets.  This service,
elaborate with magnificent and imposing forms, continued in connection
with the Temple worship down to the time of our Saviour, while in the
Synagogue a simpler service, combining all the essential parts of the
former with the exception of sacrifice, was developed during the period
subsequent to the Babylonian captivity, when, as is generally conceded,
the Synagogue with its service had its origin.  Apart then from the
ritual connected with sacrifice, which was wholly typical, the temple
service and the simpler worship of the Synagogue were identical in
their different parts, although differing widely in form.

Now, just as Christianity was itself not a substitute for the Jewish
religion but a development and enlargement of it, so Christian worship
was an outgrowth, with larger meaning and broader application, of the
worship of God which for centuries had been conducted among the Jews.
It continued to comprise the essential elements of prayer and praise,
together with the reading and exposition of the Divine message, a
message which was enlarged in Apostolic times by the record concerning
the Christ who had come, and by the inspired writings of the Apostles
of our Lord to the Church which they had been commissioned to plant and
foster, while associated with these was the administration of the
Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.  It has always been
maintained by the Presbyterian Church, that of these different elements
of worship, none should be neglected, inasmuch as all of them have
Divine sanction, and that to these nothing should be added, inasmuch as
any addition made, could possess human sanction only, and would be a
transgression of the principle that Scripture and Scripture alone
contains authority for the government and practice of the Church of
Jesus Christ.

It follows that in the arrangement and adjustment of each of these
various parts of worship, in their due relation to each other, and in
the determination of the methods that shall prevail in their
performance, the Church must be governed by an appreciation of the
purpose for which they have been established, and of the ends which
they are expected to serve.  The object of public worship must ever be
kept in view, and no forms, however attractive, are to be admitted by
which that object may be hidden or obscured: on the other hand, order
and seemliness demand a due attention, and it is an error, only less
mischievous than the former, to have regard to the spirit of worship
alone, and thus to neglect whatever suitable forms and methods may best
secure the orderly and appropriate performance of its every part.

The most commonly recognized purpose of public worship is the
cultivation of the spiritual life of the worshipper, and this is
attained by the employment of means intended to bring the soul into an
attitude of response to its Lord.  It follows then that matters of
form, attitude, and order in worship, should be so arranged and
regulated that they may serve as aids to the securing of this end, and
that nothing should be permitted which may in any way interfere with
the development of this spirit of response on the part of those so
engaged.  And when it is remembered how small a matter may interfere
with the worship of a congregation, and how easily disturbed and
distracted the hearts of men are by untoward circumstances or
conditions, it will be seen that not only the forms of worship demand
attention, but that the order of its different parts, the attitude of
the worshippers, and all matters of detail are worthy of careful
thought and of earnest consideration.  But Christian worship has an
altruistic aim also, and is intended to serve as a witness before the
world to those fundamental truths professed by the Christian Church.
With this end in view, it is evident that its forms should be such as
shall most clearly and effectively set forth before the eyes of
beholders, those truths and principles which the Church holds as
essential to Christian faith and practice.  To obscure such a public
declaration of Christian belief, by hiding these truths beneath an
elaborate adornment that disguises or completely conceals them, is to
be faithless to the commission of Jesus Christ to be a witness unto Him
before the world; to neglect such witness-bearing, or by carelessness
or inattention to detail, to render it in a manner so ineffective as to
disparage the truth in the eyes of beholders, is to be none the less
unfaithful to that great commission.

With the twofold purpose of worship clearly kept in view as the
foundation for any discussion of this subject, it is also to be
remembered that the Church of Christ is left free by her Divine King
and Head, so to order matters of detail, under the guidance of the
Spirit of Truth, and in harmony with the principles laid down in
Scripture, as may in accordance with varying ages and circumstances
seem best for the attainment of the ends desired.  While Christian
worship in its essential parts is prescribed by Scripture, the Church
is free to amplify or develop these general outlines, provided only
that all be in harmony with the spirit of Revelation.  It is very
evident that new conditions of a progressive civilization, the spirit
of the times, or the particular circumstances of a community, may make
desirable a modification of a particular method of worship long
practised; it is for the Church, relying ever on the guidance of the
Spirit of Truth, to determine how such modification may, without
violation to the spirit of Scripture, be made.  For this reason it can
never be binding upon the Church to accept as final, the particular
methods of worship used and found suitable by men of another age or
another land; while such may be accepted as valuable for suggestions
contained, and as indicating the spirit that controlled good and great
men of another time, yet the Church can only accept them (in loyalty to
the Spirit Who abides in her, and Who is hers in every age) in so far
as they prove themselves suitable to present times and conditions.  The
present possession by the Church, of the Holy Spirit as a guide into
all truth, according to the promise of Christ to His disciples, is a
doctrine that no branch of the Church would readily surrender, and her
right, under that guidance, to seek the good of the body of Christ on
lines which, while consistent with the principles of Scripture, commend
themselves to her as more suitable to present conditions than former
methods, this right is one which she can part with only at the risk of
endangering her usefulness to her own age.

To Presbyterians, therefore, thankful as they are for an historic past
that has in it so much to arouse gratitude to God and loyalty to the
Church they love, the citing of the practice of their forefathers in
Reformation times, or even that of the early fathers of the Church, can
never be a final argument for the acceptance of any particular method
in worship.  Believing in a Church in which the Spirit of God as truly
governs and guides to-day as He did in Reformation or post-Apostolic
times, and in a Christian liberty of which neither the practice nor
legislation of holy men of the past can deprive them, they rightly
refuse to surrender their liberty or to retire from their

In the best and truest sense the Presbyterian Church is Apostolic, and
her spiritual succession from the Apostles she cherishes with an
unfaltering confidence.  While rejecting the ritual theory of the
Church, she has never been careless of the true succession of faith and
doctrine and practice from the time of the Apostles to the present day,
a succession to which she lays a not unworthy claim; and, claiming
loyalty to Apostolic doctrine, polity and practice, she has ever been
jealous in asserting her Divine right, as an Apostolic Church, to the
controlling presence and guiding wisdom of the Holy Spirit of God.
Under the guidance of that Spirit she has ever claimed, and still
claims, the right of administering the government and directing the
worship which, in their essential principles, are set forth in
Scripture, neither superciliously regarding herself in any age as
independent of those who have gone before, and so disregarding the
legislation and practice of the fathers, nor, on the other hand,
slavishly accepting such legislation and practice as binding upon the
Church for all time, and as excluding for ever any progress or change.
That spirit, at once of independence as regards man, and of dependence
as regards God, has characterized Presbyterianism in its most vigorous
and progressive periods; by that spirit must it still be characterized
if, in succeeding ages, the work allotted to it is to be faithfully and
well performed.

If then the Church of one age is so independent of those who in other
times have served her, it may be asked of what interest is her past
history to us of to-day, and of what benefit to us is a knowledge of
the legislation and practice of the Church in other periods of her
progress?  Of much value in every way is such knowledge.  Those periods
in particular, in which the Church has made notable progress, and in
which her life has evidently been characterized by much of the Holy
Spirit's presence and power, may well be studied, as times when those
in authority were, indeed, led to wise measures, and guided to those
methods of administration and practice, which by their success approved
themselves as enjoying the Divine favor; the lamp of experience is one
which wise men will never treat with indifference.  In studying the
Reformation period, therefore, a period marked by special activity and
progress within the Presbyterian Church, we do so, not so much to
discover forms which we may adopt and imitate, as to discover the
spirit which moved the leaders in the Church of that day, and the
principles which governed them in formulating those regulations, and in
adopting those practices, which proved suitable and successful in their
own age.  To emulate the spirit of brave and wise men of the past is
the part of wisdom, to imitate their methods may be the extreme of

Another result, and one equally desirable, will be attained by a study
of Presbyterian practice from Reformation times onward.  It will
transpire, as we follow the history of public worship, by what paths we
have arrived at our present position, and we shall discover whether
that position is the result of diligent and careful search after those
methods most in accord with Scripture principles, and so best suited to
the different periods through which in her progress the Church has
passed, or whether it is due to a temporary neglect of such principles,
and a disregard of the changing necessities of different ages.  We
shall discover, in a word, whether we have advanced, in dependence upon
the Spirit of God and in recognition of our responsibilities, or
whether we have retrograded through self-trust and indifference.

The Age of Knox: the Formative Period of Presbyterian Worship.

"Among the great personages of the past it would be difficult to name
one who in the same degree has vitalized and dominated the collective
energies of his countrymen."--BROWN'S LIFE OF KNOX.

Chapter II.

The Age of Knox: the Formative Period of Presbyterian Worship.

It was in the year 1560 that the Reformed religion was officially
recognized by the Estates of the Realm of Scotland, as the faith of the
nation.  This recognition consisted in the adoption by Parliament of
the first Scottish Confession, a formula drawn up by Knox and his
brethren at Parliament's request, and formally approved by that body as
"wholesome and sound doctrine grounded upon the infallible truth of
God's Word."  This year may, therefore, be regarded as the year of the
birth of the Church of Scotland, although previous to it the Reformed
faith had been preached, and its worship practised, in many parts of
the land where nobles and barons, who had themselves adopted it, held
individual or united sway.

A glance at the condition of affairs in Scotland in the years
immediately prior to this event will be instructive.  In 1557, as a
result of Knox's rebuke of the Scottish nobles for their hesitancy in
forwarding the Reformed faith, the "Confederation of the Lords of the
Congregation" was formed, and its members subscribed to the first of
the five Covenants that played so important a part in the religious
history of Scotland.  In this Covenant, those subscribing bound
themselves to "maintain and further the blessed Word of God and His
congregation and to renounce the congregation of Satan with all the
superstitions, abominations and idolatry thereof."  To the general
declaration were appended two particular resolutions, in which was
expressed a determination to further the preaching of the Word, in the
meantime, in private houses, and to insist on the use of King Edward's
Prayer Book in parishes under the control of subscribers to the
Covenant.  By these same Protestant lords and commoners the first
official order, authorizing for their own parishes a form of Reformed
worship in Scotland, was issued in these terms:--

"It is ordained that the Common Prayers be read weekly on Sunday, and
other festival days, publicly in the parish Kirks with the lessons of
the Old and New Testaments conform to the order of the Book of Common

It is generally conceded, and the judgment is supported by the
references to it in Scottish history, that this Book of Common Prayer
thus authorized was the second Book of King Edward the Sixth.

From the year 1557 until the arrival of Knox in Scotland in 1559 this
was the Book commonly used in parishes where the Reformed religion
prevailed.  It disappeared, however, as so much else of a foreign
character disappeared, in the course of the national Reformation,
giving place to the Book prepared by Knox and then commonly known as
"The Book of Our Common Order" but now frequently referred to as
"Knox's Liturgy."  This was originally the work of Knox and four
associate reformers living in exile in Frankfort-on-the-Main, and the
history of its origin is interesting.  It had been required of the
English refugees living at Frankfort, as a condition of their being
allowed to use for worship the French church of that town, that they
should adopt the Order of Worship of the French Reformed Church.  To
this requirement the majority agreed, but, some objecting, it was
finally determined that five of their number, of whom Knox was one,
should draw up a new order of service.  This work, undertaken in 1554,
was duly accomplished, but when completed it failed to find acceptance
at the hands of those who had proposed it.  The draft of the new book
was therefore laid aside until 1556, and was then published for the use
of the church at Geneva, of which Knox in the meantime had become the

There is in connection with this Book, and the debates and disturbances
attending its preparation, one instructive fact that should not be
forgotten.  The English Prayer Book provided for responses by the
people and included the Litany, to both of which the French Reformed
Church objected, in accordance with the well-known opinions of their
great leader Calvin, who held, as did also his disciple Knox, that in
praise alone should the congregation audibly join in public worship.
Among the English refugees were some who desired the privilege of
responding in public worship according to the English fashion, and it
was the persistence in this matter of Cox, afterwards Bishop of Ely,
and of some of his co-patriots, that led to Knox's removal to Geneva,
and to the publication there of the Book of Geneva as an order for
public worship in the English congregation to which he ministered.  It
is important that this should be remembered, for in speaking of the
Book of Common Order as "Knox's Liturgy," and thus giving to it a name
by which it was never known in Knox's day, an impression has prevailed,
and is still prevalent, that the book provided a form of worship
liturgical in character, with a responsive service, while the fact is
that Knox made no provision for even so much as the saying of "Amen" by
the people, their part in prayer being the silent following in their
hearts of the petitions uttered by the reader or the preacher for the

The first official recognition of this book in Scotland was in 1562,
when an order of the General Assembly required that it should be
uniformly used in the administration of the Sacraments, solemnization
of marriage and burial of the dead.  At this time it was still in its
Genevan form, and was called "The Form of Prayers and Ministration of
the Sacraments, etc., used in the English congregation at Geneva; and
approved by the famous and Godly-learned man, M. John Calvin."  Two
years later, in 1564, a Scottish edition appeared, in which were
additional prayers with the complete copy of the Psalter, and in this
year the General Assembly ordained that:

"Every Minister, Exhorter and Reader shall have one of the Psalm Books
lately printed in Edinborough, and use the order contained therein in
Prayers, Marriage and Ministration of the Sacraments."

This book was called "The Form of Prayers and Ministration of the
Sacraments, etc., used in the English Church at Geneva approved and
received by the Church of Scotland, whereunto besides that was in the
former books are also added sundry other Prayers with the whole Psalms
of David in English Metre."  As the Psalms occupied by far the greater
part of the book it came to be commonly known as "The Psalm Book," and
as such, with frequent additions, among which were several hymns and
doxologies, it continued to be the recognized Book of Common Order of
the Scottish Church down to the time of the Westminster Assembly.  It
cannot be claimed, however, that this book ever secured a firm or
lasting hold upon the affections of the Scottish people in general.
Its authority was ecclesiastical only, inasmuch as the Estates of the
Realm never gave to it the official sanction which they had repeatedly
granted to King Edward's Prayer Book.  One reason for this evident want
of popularity may have been that, except in its Psalter department and
in some of its minor parts, it was a book for the clergy only and not
for the people.  Even the Psalms in those days passed through new
editions so rapidly, and were subjected to such serious changes, that
they never obtained the place in the affections of the people that
later versions have secured, and by 1645 The Book of Common Order
appears to have fallen into such comparative neglect that no strong
resistance was made to its abolition in favor of the Directory of

That it was held in esteem by the clergy, although not so revered as to
be looked upon as incapable of improvement, appears from the fact that
in 1601 a proposal was made to revise it, together with the confession
of faith, which had been prepared by Knox.  This work was committed to
Alexander Henderson, the renowned minister of Leuchars and the valiant
leader of the Church of Scotland in her resistance against the tyranny
of Charles the First and his minister, Laud.  The revision, however,
was never accomplished, Henderson confessing, according to the
historian, Baillie, that he could not take upon him "either to
determine some points controverted, or to set down other forms of
prayer than we have in our Psalm Book, penned by our great and divine

A book which held for so long a time its place of authority in the
Scottish Church, and which embodied during so important a period the
law of the Church concerning worship, deserves particular study at the
hands of those who are interested in the history of this important
subject, but inasmuch as the form of worship alone is under discussion,
it will be necessary to refer only to those parts of it which bear on
this phase of the Church's practice.  Before doing so, however, it will
be instructive to notice what is too frequently overlooked, that the
adoption of Knox's Book of Common Order by the Scottish Church
indicates even in that age a desire for forms of worship less
liturgical than those which were employed by other parts of the
Reformed Church.  It is to be remembered that those parishes in which
the Reformed religion prevailed had been accustomed to the use of the
English Book of Common Prayer with responsive services for the people,
and with prayers from which the minister was not supposed to deviate.
This Book was set aside, and in its place was adopted an Order of
worship in no part of which provision was made for responses, and in
all of whose prayers the minister was not only allowed freedom, but was
encouraged to exercise the same.  Such action on the part of men
accustomed to make changes only after careful deliberation, clearly
indicates an intelligent choice of a non-liturgical service as opposed
to one of the opposite character.

More than this, the Scottish Book of Common Order is marked by an even
greater freedom from prescribed forms than is Calvin's original Book of
Geneva from which Knox copied so largely.  For while both of them
agreed in avoiding a responsive service, Knox seems to have been even
less than Calvin in sympathy with prescribed forms of prayer from which
no deviation was to be allowed.  There is nothing to indicate that Knox
would have agreed with the sentiment expressed in Calvin's letter to
the Protector Somerset, in which he says: "As to what concerns a form
of prayer and ecclesiastical rites, I highly approve of it, that there
be a certain form from which the ministers be not allowed to vary....
Therefore there ought to be a stated form of prayer and administration
of the Sacraments."  The form of Church prayers, as originally prepared
by Calvin in keeping with his sentiments above expressed, do not
provide for any variation in certain parts of the service.  The
Scottish Book of Common Order, however, allows, in its every part, for
the operation of the free Spirit of God, and for other prayers to be
offered by the minister than those there suggested.

At this period of its history, therefore, we find the Church of
Scotland more pronounced than any other section of the Reformed Church
in its desire for freedom from prescribed forms in the worship of God.
Indeed, we are probably not in error in judging that in different
circumstances, with an educated ministry in the Church and those
appointed as leaders of worship who had received training for that
important work, Knox would have felt even such a book as that which he
prepared, to be both unnecessary and undesirable.

Knox's Book of Common Order.

"The Book of Common Order is best described as a discretionary

Chapter III.

Knox's Book of Common Order.

The Book of Common Order makes no reference to the reading of Scripture
as a part of public worship, nor does it, after the fashion of many
similar books, contain a table of Scriptures to be read during the
year.  This omission however, is amended by an ordinance found in the
First Book of Discipline prepared by Knox in 1561, and adopted by the
General Assembly of that year, by which it is declared to be:

"A thing most expedient and necessary that every Kirk have a Bible in
English, and that the people be commanded to convene and hear the plain
reading and interpretation of the Scripture as the Kirk shall appoint."

It was further enjoined by the same authority and at the same time that:

"Each Book of the Bible should be begun and read through in order to
the end, and that there should be no skipping and divigation from place
to place of Scripture, be it in reading or be it in preaching."

It is evident, therefore, that it was the purpose of Knox that the
whole of Holy Scripture should be publicly read for edification, and
that it should be read as God's message to men and not as an exercise
subordinate to the preaching, or intended merely to throw light upon
the subject of the discourse.

In connection with the reading of Scripture and of the Prayers, mention
is made, in this same Book of Discipline, of an Order of Church
officers who filled an important place in the Church of that time.  It
was ordained that where "no ministers could be had presently" the
Common Prayers and Scriptures should be read by the most suitable
persons that could be selected.  These suitable persons came to be
known as "Readers," and they form a distinct class of ecclesiastical
officers in the Reformation Church of Scotland.  The need of such an
Order was evident, for the Church found great difficulty in securing
men of the requisite gifts and graces for the office of the ministry.
The Readers therefore, formed an important and numerous order in the
Church for many years, numbering at one time no less than seven
hundred, while at the same time there was less than half that number of
ordained ministers.  These men were not allowed to preach or to
administer the sacraments, and they formed only a temporary order
required by the exigencies of the times, as is evident from the fact
that the General Assembly of 1581, in the hope that all parishes would
soon be supplied with ordained ministers, forbade any further
appointment of Readers.

In the mind of Knox, these men were the successors to the _lectors_ of
the early Church, and corresponded in Scotland to the _docteurs_ of the
Swiss Reformed Church, a Church whose organization he regarded as but
little less than perfect.  Although they conducted a part of the
service in parishes where ministers regularly preached, yet in the
original idea of the office the intention was that they should conduct
public worship, in its departments of prayer and praise and reading of
the Scriptures, only in parishes where a minister could not be secured.
It is necessary to understand their office and their position in the
Church, inasmuch as the existence of such an order has a bearing upon
our appreciation of the form of public worship at this time adopted in

In the exercise of public prayer the greatest freedom was granted the
minister by the Book of Common Order.  Calvin had prescribed a form of
confession, the uniform use of which he required, but the general
confession with which the service of the Book of Common Order opened,
was governed by this rubric:

"When the congregation is assembled at the hour appointed, the Minister
useth this confession, _or like in effect_, exhorting the people
diligently to examine themselves, following in their hearts the tenor
of his words."

Similar liberty was also allowed the minister in the prayer which
followed the singing of the Psalms and preceded the sermon; the rubric
governing this directed that:

"This done, the people sing a Psalm all together in a plain tune; which
ended, the Minister prayeth for the assistance of God's Holy Spirit _as
the same shall move his heart_, and so proceedeth to the sermon, using
after the sermon this prayer following, _or such like_."

And finally, as governing the whole order of worship, it is added:

"It shall not be necessary for the Minister daily to repeat all these
things before mentioned, but, beginning with some manner of confession,
to proceed to the sermon, which ended _he either useth the prayer for
all estates before mentioned or else prayeth as the Spirit of God shall
move his heart_, framing the same according to the time and matter
which he hath entreated of.  And if there shall be at any time any
present plague, famine, pestilence, war, or such like, which be evident
tokens of God's wrath, as it is our part to acknowledge our sins to be
the occasion thereof, so are we appointed by the Scriptures to give
ourselves to mourning, fasting and prayer as the means to turn away
God's heavy displeasure.  Therefore it shall be convenient that the
Minister at such time do not only admonish the people thereof, but also
use some Form of Prayer, according as the present necessity requireth,
to the which he may appoint, by a common consent, some several day
after the sermon, weekly to be observed."

The liberty allowed to the minister in this so important part of public
worship is evident, and although many prayers are added as suitable for
particular times and occasions, and some, which are described as of
common use under certain circumstances and by particular churches, yet
none of them are prescribed as the _only_ prayers proper for any
particular season or occasion.

Even in the administration of the Lord's Supper, the directions which
accompany the prayer which precedes the distribution of the bread and
wine allows a similar latitude to the Minister.

"Then he taketh bread and giveth thanks, either in these words
following _or like in effect_."

The student of the life of the great Scottish Reformer does not need to
be told that the framer of the Book of Common Order was not himself
bound by any particular form of prayer in public worship.  On the
occasion of his memorable sermon after the death of the Regent Moray,
his prayer at its close was the passionate outburst of a burdened soul,
impossible to one restricted by prescribed forms, while his prayer,
which is still preserved, on the occasion of a national thanksgiving,
is an illustration of the perhaps not excellent way in which, in this
exercise, he was accustomed to combine devotion and practical politics;
a part of it ran thus:

"And seeing that nothing is more odious in Thy presence, O Lord, than
is ingratitude and violation of an oath and covenant made in Thy Name:
and seeing that Thou hast made our confederates of England the
instruments by whom we are now set at liberty, to whom we in Thy Name
have promised mutual faith again; let us never fall to that unkindness,
O Lord, that either we declare ourselves unthankful unto them, or
profaners of Thy Holy Name."

It is not surprising that one who allowed himself such liberty in
public prayer should lay no binding forms upon his brethren in the

It remains only to be said, with regard to the restrictions of the Book
of Common Order, that so far from providing any fixed form of prayer
for uniform, use, even the Lord's Prayer was not imposed in any part of
public worship.  It is added, together with the Creed, to the form of
prayer called "A Prayer for the Whole Estate of Christ's Church," but
this prayer is governed by the general rubric already quoted, which
permits such variation as the minister, moved by the Spirit of God,
shall deem desirable.  There is nothing to show that it was expected
that the Lord's Prayer should be used as an invariable part of public

With these facts before us, whatever our judgment may be of the wisdom
of Knox and of the Church of his day in the matter of a regulated
service, we cannot close our eyes to the evident conclusion that the
Reformer was wholly opposed to the bondage of form in prayer.  In this
part of public worship he claimed for himself, and exercised under the
guidance of the Spirit of God, the greatest freedom; and consistent
with this position he never sought to impose as a part of regular
public worship, the repetition by the minister of even that form of
prayer which of all others has for its use Divine authority.  To
whatever in worship the Book of Common Order may lend its countenance,
it assuredly gives no support to the imposition upon worshippers of
prescribed forms of prayer.

Side by side with that part of public worship already considered there
has always been associated the exercise of Praise.

Although the Scottish Church conformed most closely to the Churches of
France and Switzerland, yet it was impossible that it should not, to
some degree, be influenced by the spirit of the German Reformation.
This influence was especially marked in that which was a special
characteristic of the German Church, a love for sacred song and a
delight in the same on the part of the people.

The Book of Common Order contained, as has been mentioned, in its early
editions, the complete Psalter, and to this were added, subsequently, a
few Scripture Hymns, together with the Doxology _Gloria Patri_ in
different metres, so that it could be sung at the end of every Psalm.
This Doxology appears in Hart's edition of the Book of Common Order of
1611, in six different metres, under the general head of "Conclusions,"
and was evidently used regularly at the close of the Psalms sung in
public worship.  It was not until the beginning of the seventeenth
century that there began to arise criticisms of the custom of singing
the Doxology, and it would, therefore, appear that during the formative
period of the Scottish Church, which we are considering, it was
regularly used, and occasioned no objection and aroused no opposition.
The Hymns which were printed with the Psalter were few in number, and
were chiefly free paraphrases of sections of Scripture.  They are "The
Ten Commandments," "The Lord's Prayer," "_Veni Creator_," "The Song of
Simeon called _Nunc Dimittis_," "The Twelve Articles of the Christian
Faith," and "The Song of Blessed Marie called _Magnificat_."  The
purpose of the Hymns appears to have been the memorizing of Scripture
and important doctrinal truths, and there is no evidence that they were
employed in public worship, although a place was not denied them in the
Book of Common Order; in the Order for Public Worship mention is made
of Psalms only, and in all the accounts, which have come down to us in
correspondence or history, of the public services of that time, the
people are invariably spoken of as joining in a Psalm, while even in
the public processions, which were common on occasions of national
rejoicing or thanksgiving, Psalms only are mentioned as being sung by
the people.

The singing was usually led by the Reader, but there is occasional
mention in the records of the time of the "Uptaker" of the Psalms, who
evidently performed the duties of a Precentor.

The Sacraments.--In the Confession of Faith, which forms the first part
of the Book of Common Order, it is clearly stated that there are two
Sacraments only in the Christian Church, and that these are Baptism and
The Lord's Supper.  No subject in connection with the practice of the
Church created more discussion in Reformation times than the methods
which were to be followed in the administration of the Sacraments.  The
spirit of the Scottish reformers is indicated in the following
sentence, which governed this matter:

"Neither must we in the administration of these Sacraments follow man's
fancy, but as Christ himself hath ordained so must they be ministered,
and by such as by ordinary vocation are thereunto called."

In accordance with this general regulation the Book of Common Order
prescribes in detail "The Manner of the Administration of the Lord's

The words of the opening rubric are as follows:

"The day when the Lord's Supper is ministered, which is commonly used
once a month, or so oft as the Congregation shall think expedient, the
Minister useth to say as follows:"

Here follow the words of institution of the Supper from St. Paul's
Epistle to the Corinthians, after which is added an exhortation in
which flagrant sinners are warned not to draw near to the holy table,
and timid saints are encouraged in wise and helpful words to approach
with repentance and faith.  This is the address which in later times
came to be known as "Fencing the Table."  There are no words to
indicate that any variation from the prescribed address was encouraged.

The address being finished

"The Minister comes down from the Pulpit and sitteth at the Table,
every man and woman in likewise taking their place as occasion best
serveth: Then he taketh Bread and giveth thanks either in these words
following or _like in effect_."

This prayer is wholly one of praise and thanksgiving, there being an
evident purpose in the omission of any invocation of the Holy Spirit
and of words that might be regarded as a consecration of the bread and
wine, and in the strict adherence to the example of our Lord, Who,
"when He had given thanks, took bread."

The manner of communing is then described:

"This done, the Minister breaketh the bread and delivereth it to the
people, to distribute and divide the same among themselves, according
to our Saviour Christ's commandment, and likewise giveth the cup:
During the which time some place of the Scriptures is read which doth
lively set forth the death of Christ, to the intent that our eyes and
senses may not only be occupied in these outward signs of bread and
wine, which are called the visible word, but that our hearts and minds
also may be fully fixed in the contemplation of the Lord's death, which
is by this Holy Sacrament represented.  And after this action is done
he giveth thanks, saying:"

The prayer of thanksgiving which follows is the only one in connection
with this service for which no alternative was allowed the minister.
An appropriate Psalm of thanksgiving followed the prayer, the Blessing
was invoked and the congregation dispersed.

The Communion, as is evident from the rubric quoted above, was received
while the congregation was seated, and this practice the Presbyterians
adhered to and defended as against the Episcopal practice of kneeling
at this service, regarding the latter attitude as liable to be
interpreted as a rendering to the Sacrament of homage and adoration
which should be reserved for God alone.

The service, it is evident, was marked by simplicity and by in almost
total absence of prescribed form.  In a note "to the reader," the
author of the Book of Common Order explains that the object throughout
is to set forth simply and effectively those signs which Christ hath
ordained "to our spiritual use and comfort."

How often this Sacrament was to be observed was left to the judgment of
individual congregations, but frequent celebration was recommended.
Calvin thought it proper that the Lord's Supper should be celebrated
monthly, but finding the people opposed to such frequent celebration he
considered it unwise to insist upon his own views.  With his opinions
on this matter, those of Knox were quite in harmony.

The Sacrament of Baptism was likewise characterized in its
administration by similar simplicity, and yet it is evident that, in
this more than in any other part of public worship, the minister was
restricted to the forms provided both in prayer and in address.

The rubrics which govern the two prayers of the service and the address
to the parents, make no mention of alternate or similar forms being
permitted.  In this the Book of Common Order differs from the Book of
Geneva, which allowed the minister liberty in these parts of the
service.  There would seem, therefore, to be an evident intention on
the part of the Scottish reformers in thus departing from their custom
in other parts of worship.  It may be that inasmuch as Baptism is the
Sacrament of admission into the Church, it was deemed advisable that
for the instruction of those seeking membership therein, either for
themselves or for their children, the form of sound doctrine set forth
at such a time should not be varied even in the manner of statement.

The Sacrament was administered in the Church "on the day appointed to
Common Prayer and preaching," instruction being given that the child
should there be accompanied by the father and godfather; Knox himself
had, as godfather to one of his sons, Whittingham, who had been his
chief assistant in compiling the Book of Common Order, and who had also
been his helper and fellow-worker at Geneva.  The opinion of the Swiss
reformers, as well as that of their Scotch followers, was in favor of
the presence of sponsors in addition to the parents at the baptism of
children.  The parent having professed his desire to have his child
baptized in the Christian faith, was addressed by the minister, and
called upon to profess his own faith and his purpose to instruct his
child in the same.  Having repeated the Creed, the minister proceeded
to expound the same as setting forth the sum of Christian doctrine, a
prescribed prayer followed, the child was baptized, and the prayer of
thanksgiving, also prescribed, closed the service.

The Book of Common Order required that marriages should be celebrated
in the Church and on the Lord's Day:

"The parties assemble at the beginning of the sermon and the Minister
at time convenient saith as followeth:"

In the forms of exhortation and admonition to the contracting parties
no liberty to vary the address is allowed the minister, but in the one
prayer which formed a part of the service, viz., the blessing at the
close of the ceremony it is ordered:

"The Minister commendeth them to God in this _or such like sort_."

The service ended with the singing of an appropriate Psalm.

In the service for burial of the dead it was ordered by the First Book
of Discipline that neither singing, prayer, nor preaching should be
engaged in, and this "on account of prevailing superstition."  In this
matter, however, permission was granted to congregations to use their
discretion; Knox, we know, preached a sermon after the burial of the
Regent Moray, and the directions in the Book of Common Order clearly
leave much to be determined by the circumstances of the case:

"The corpse is reverently brought to the grave accompanied with the
Congregation without any further ceremonies: which being buried, the
Minister, if he be present and required, goeth to the Church, if it be
not far off, and maketh some comfortable exhortation to the people
touching death and resurrection; then blesseth the people and so
dismisseth them."

This is but one of many instances that show that the early reformers
accorded to the Church, in matters not absolutely essential to the
preservation of sound doctrine and Scriptural practice, the greatest
liberty.  With regard to the administration of the Sacraments and the
public worship of God, they laid down well-defined regulations and
outlines to which conformity was required; in matters that might be
looked upon as simply edifying and profitable, liberty was allowed to
ministers and congregations to determine according to their discretion,
as Knox himself declared with respect to exercises of worship at

"We are not so precise but that we are content that particular Kirks
use them in that behalf, with the consent of the ministry of the same
as they will answer to God and Assembly of the Universal Kirk gathered
within the realm."

We have thus presented in brief outline the contents of the Book of
Common Order, commonly used in Scotland from 1562 to 1645, in so far as
its regulations refer to public worship and the administration of the
Sacraments.  The book is itself so simple and clear in its statements
that it is not difficult to discover the spirit of its compilers, and
their understanding of what was required for the seemly and Scriptural
observance of the different parts of Divine worship.  The results of
our survey may be summed up in a few words.

The Scottish Church gave a prominent place to prayer, to the reading of
Holy Scripture, and to praise, in the public worship of God on the
Lord's Day.  Not in any sense do these exercises seem to have been
regarded as subordinate in importance to the preaching of the Word; the
congregations assembled for Divine worship, of which preaching was one
important part.  But even where there was no preaching, the people
nevertheless came together for Divine worship, in which they were led,
in the absence of any minister, by persons duly appointed for that

The service in public worship was not in any of its departments a
responsive one.  The only audible part shared by the people was in the
praise; they did not respond in prayer even to the extent of uttering
an audible "Amen," nor did they join audibly in any general confession,
in a declaration of faith as contained in the Apostles' Creed or in any
other formulary, nor did they even repeat with the minister the Lord's
Prayer when that model of prayer given by Christ to His disciples was
used in public worship.

Liberty under the guidance of the Holy Spirit marked the minister's use
of the forms provided, and the privilege of extempore prayer was
sacredly guarded, the example of Knox, as well as his precept,
encouraging his brethren in the ministry to cultivate free and
unrestricted prayer to God.  In this matter the Church declared her
belief in the Holy Ghost and in His presence with her, believing that
those who were divinely called to the work of the ministry were by the
Spirit of God duly equipped for the performance of the important duties
of that office.  Although forms of prayer were provided, these appear
to have been intended mainly for the use of the Readers, who were not
duly ordained to the ministerial office, and for the guidance of
Readers enjoyed a degree of liberty in this matter, a liberty which
they exercised, as is evident from an Order of Assembly passed in the
reign of James forbidding Readers to offer extemporary prayers, but
requiring them to use the forms prescribed.

Lastly, in the administration of the Sacraments honor was put upon them
by the care that was observed in their public, reverent and frequent
observance.  Simplicity marked all the service connected with these
holy ordinances, while, at the same time, whatever might appear to
unduly exalt them to an unscriptural position in the thoughts of men,
was carefully avoided, as well in the prayers and exhortations used as
in the manner of administration.  The Sacraments were regarded as helps
to the spiritual life of God's elect, as "medicine for the spiritually
sick," and were never represented as holy mysteries into which only
certain of God's children should penetrate.

If these conclusions are just, it is very evident that those who to-day
advocate the introduction into Presbyterian worship of responses and
prescribed forms can find no support for such a practice, however they
might limit it, in Knox's Book of Common Order, or in the practice of
our Scottish ancestors in this so virile and vigorous period of the
Church's history.  Just as little support, too, can those find who
would impose upon the ministry of the Church the use of set forms from
which no deviation is to be allowed either in the conduct of public
worship or in the administration of the Sacraments.  The most that can
be argued from this ancient regulation of worship, which is much more
accurately described as a Directory rather than as a Liturgy, is the
desirability of a uniform order of service for the whole Church, of a
due proportion of attention to each part of worship, and of the
conformity by all ministers to a uniform method in the administration
of the Sacraments.  The Book of Common Order clearly indicates the
conviction of the Scottish reformers that all things in connection with
the worship of God should be done "in seemly form and according to
order," and it quite as clearly indicates their purpose to acknowledge
and rely upon the operation of the free Spirit of God, in the exercise
of that worship and in the performance of the public ordinances in the

A Diet of Public Worship in the Time of Knox.

"What I have been to my country, albeit this unthankful age will not
know, yet the ages to come will be compelled to bear witness to the
truth."--JOHN KNOX.

Chapter IV.

A Diet of Public Worship in the Time of Knox.

A diet of worship on a Sabbath day in Scotland in the days of Knox, or
in the period immediately succeeding his death, had for the people of
that time a profound interest.  It was a period of storm and upheaval,
and the Church, with its worship and teaching, was the centre around
which, in large measure, the struggles of the age gathered; and
although for us these struggles are simple history, and the subjects of
debate are, many of them, forever laid aside, still it is of interest
to learn how a service in connection with the public worship of the day
proceeded in this formative period of Presbyterian practice, when order
and method were less matters of indifference than they are now.

Happily we are not left without abundant material for forming an
accurate picture of a Sabbath-day service at that time, for in addition
to the explicit directions contained in the Book of Common Order, there
have come down to us descriptions of public worship by participants

As early as seven o'clock a bell was rung to warn the people of the
approach of the hour of worship, and this was followed an hour later by
another bell, which summoned the congregation to the place of prayer.
It was a congregation of all classes, for in Scotland the Reformed
doctrine made its way among the great and the lowly alike.  Writing in
1641, a refutation of the charge made in England against the Scotch
that they "had no certain rule or direction for their public worship,
but that every man, following his extemporary fancy, did preach or pray
what seemed good in his own eyes," Alexander Henderson thus describes
in his reply the congregation in a Scotch Church: "When so many of all
sorts, men and women, masters and servants, young and old, as shall
meet together, are assembled, the public worship beginneth."  In the
early days of Presbyterianism the rich and the poor met together,
realizing that the Lord was the Maker of them both.

The congregation assembled in a Church building that was plain in its
interior, the plainness being emphasized, and at times rendered
unsightly, by reason of the removal of the statues and pictures which
in pre-Reformation times had decorated the walls and pillars.  The
building was, however, as required by the Book of Discipline, rendered
comfortable and suitable for purposes of worship.  It was ordered,
"lest that the Word of God and ministration of the Sacraments by
unseemliness of the place come into contempt," there should be made
"such preparation within as appertaineth as well to the majesty of the
Word of God as unto the ease and commodity of the people."  Such wise
words indicate on the part of our Scottish ancestors an appreciation in
their day of what is all too often even in these happier and more
enlightened times, forgotten--the importance of having a Church
building in keeping with the greatness of the cause to which it has
been dedicated, and at the same time suitable and convenient for the
purposes of public worship.  The narrowness which would forbid beauty
and artistic decoration and the pride which would sacrifice comfort and
convenience for the sake of appearance, were both avoided.  At one end
of the building stood a pulpit, beside it, or within it, a basin or
font for use in the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, and in
the part where formerly the altar had stood, tables were placed for use
in the observance of the Lord's Supper; at the end of the Church
opposite to the pulpit was placed a stool of repentance, an article
frequently in use in an age when Church discipline was vigorously
administered.  Pews were as yet unknown; some churches had permanent
desks or benches, to be occupied by men holding public positions, or by
prominent members of influential guilds, the rest of the people stood
throughout the service, or sat upon stools which they brought with them
to the Church.

The members of the congregation on entering the Church were expected to
engage reverently in silent prayer, and at the hour appointed, the
Reader from his desk called upon all present to join in the Public
Worship of God; he then proceeded to read the Prayer prescribed in the
Book of Common Order, or, if he so desired, to offer one similar
thereto in intent; in either case the prayer was a general confession,
and was followed by a Psalm or Psalms announced by the Reader and sung
by the whole congregation and ending with the _Gloria Patri_.  Next
came the reading of the Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments, the
reading being continuous through whatever books had been selected.
This ended that part of public worship which was conducted by the
Reader, and occupied in all about one hour.

On the second ringing of the bell, the minister entered the pulpit,
knelt in silent devotion, and then led the people in prayer "as the
Spirit moved his heart;" this finished, he proceeded to the sermon, to
which the people listened either standing or sitting, as opportunity
afforded, with their heads covered, and occasionally, if moved thereto,
giving vent to their feelings by expressions of applause or
disapproval.  After the sermon the minister led the congregation in
prayer for blessing upon the Word preached and for the general estate
of Christ's Church: if the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed were
employed in the service (but this was optional with the minister) they
were repeated by the minister alone at the close of this prayer, and
embodied in it; a Psalm was sung by the congregation and the
Benediction was pronounced, or rather, the Blessing was invoked, for
the petitions were framed as supplications: "The grace of the Lord
Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be
with us all: So be it."

Such was the course of an ordinary diet of worship.  If a marriage was
to be celebrated the parties presented themselves in Church before the
sermon; the ceremony having been performed, the parties remained,
according to regulation, until the close of the public worship.  If the
Sacrament of Baptism was to be administered the infant was presented
for the ordinance at the close of the sermon by the father, who was
attended by one or more sponsors.  When the Lord's Supper was observed
(which in some congregations was monthly) the tables were spread in
that part of the Church which had formerly been the chancel, and as
many communicants as could conveniently do so sat down together with
the minister.  These, when the tables had been served, gave place to

The services throughout were marked by simplicity, reverence and
freedom from strict and unbending forms; liberty characterized their
every part, and room was left for the exercise of the guiding Spirit of
God, in a measure not enjoyed by Churches tied to the use of a
prescribed worship; at the same time there was a recognized order and a
reverent devotion in all parts of the worship which many non-liturgical
Churches of this day may well covet.  It was a service simple yet
impressive, voluntary yet orderly, regulated and yet untrammeled.

The Period of Controversy, 1614-1645.

"They were splintered and torn, but no power could bend or melt them.
They dwelt, as pious men are apt to dwell, in suffering and sorrow on
the all-disposing power of Providence.  Their burden grew lighter as
they considered that God had so determined that they should bear

Chapter V.

The Period of Controversy, 1614-1645.

The years from 1603, the date of James the Sixth's ascent to the united
thrones of England and Scotland, until 1645 the year of the Westminster
Assembly, cover one of the most exciting and interesting periods in
Scottish history.  Especially is this period of interest to the student
of Scottish Church history, because of the influences both direct and
indirect which the struggles of that time had upon the development of
the character and practice of the Presbyterian Church.

The Book of Common Order had received the authority of the General
Assembly sitting in Edinburgh in 1564, and for nearly fifty years from
that date it was the unchallenged directory for worship and usage in
the Scottish Church.  Its use, though not universal, was general, and
it was uniformly referred to, as well in civil as in ecclesiastical
courts, as comprising for the Church the law respecting public worship.

The first mention of any desire to modify or amend this book occurs in
1601, in the records of the General Assembly, when a motion was made
respecting an improved version of the Bible, a revision of the Psalter
and an amendment of "sundry prayers in the Psalm-Book which should be
altered in respect they are not convenient for the time."  The
Assembly, however, declined to amend the prayers already in the Book,
or to delete any of them, but ordained that:

"If any brother would have any prayers added, which are meet for the
time.... the same first to be tried and allowed by the Assembly."

The motion thus proposed, and the action of the General Assembly
regarding it, is of interest in that it seems plainly to indicate that
whatever desire there was for change, this desire was not the result of
a movement in favor of a fuller liturgical service, nor on the other
hand, of one which had for its object the entire removal of the form of
worship at that time in use.  To this form, commonly employed, no
objection was offered, but owing to changing times and circumstances,
it was regarded as desirable that the matter contained in the suggested
forms of prayer should be so modified as to make them more applicable
to the conditions of the age.

James the Sixth of Scotland ascended the throne of the united kingdoms
in 1603, and many of his Presbyterian subjects cherished the hope that
his influence would be exerted to conform the practice and worship of
the Church of England to that of other Reformed Churches.  In this hope
they were destined to severe disappointment, as it very soon became
evident that the aim of the royal theologian was to reduce to the forms
and methods of Episcopacy, those of all the Churches within his realm.
In considering the subject of Presbyterian worship it will not be
necessary to enter fully into the history of the civil struggle between
the Church of Scotland and the Stuart Kings except in those phases of
it which affected the worship of the Church; as these, however, are so
closely interwoven with questions of government it will be impossible
always to avoid reference to the latter or to keep the two absolutely

In 1606 it was decided by the Scottish Parliament that the King was
"absolute, Prince, Judge and Governor over all persons, estates, and
causes, both spiritual and temporal, within the realm."  Four years
later the General Assembly, composed of commissioners named by the
King, met at Glasgow and issued a decree to the effect that the right
of calling General Assemblies of the Church belonged to the Crown.
This, among other acts of this Assembly, was ratified by the Parliament
of 1612, and James, having thus secured the position in the Church
which he coveted, proceeded in his endeavors to mould it, as well in
its worship as in its government and doctrine, to his own views.

The Church of Scotland was not allowed to remain long in ignorance of
the King's purpose.  Early in 1614 a royal order was sent to the
northern kingdom requiring all ministers to celebrate Holy Communion on
Easter Day, the 24th of April, and this was followed in 1616 by a
proposal from the King to the General Assembly that "a liturgy and form
of divine service should be prepared" for the use of the Scottish
Church.  The Assembly (formed as indicated above) with ready
acquiescence heartily thanked His Majesty for his royal care of the
Church and ordained:

"That a uniform order of Liturgy or divine service be set down to be
read in all Kirks on the ordinary days of prayer and every Sabbath day
before the sermon, to the end the common people may be acquainted
therewith, and by custom may learn to serve God rightly.  And to this
intent the Assembly has appointed ... to revise the Book of Common
Prayer contained in the Psalm Book, and to set down a common form of
ordinary service to be used in all times hereafter."

The work thus authorized of revising the Book of Common Order was at
once undertaken by those appointed thereto, but although a draft was
made and much labor was expended upon it during a term of several
years, the book in its revised form was never introduced into the
Scottish Church.  By the time it had received its final revision at the
hands of the King and his Scotch advisors in London, such events had
transpired, and such a spirit of opposition had been aroused in
Scotland by other measures, that it was deemed wise to withhold it, and
the death of James occurring in 1625, while it was still unpublished,
the book in its revised form was retained by Spottiswoode, Bishop of
St. Andrew's, and appears to have been forgotten for years, even by its
most active promoters.  From correspondence in the time of Charles
First, however, it appears that James had not relinquished his aim of
imposing the new book upon the Scottish Church, and it is probable that
his death alone prevented the attempt being made to carry out his
cherished purpose.

Much of the voluminous correspondence, which at this time passed
between James and the leaders of the Scottish Church, is still extant
and it serves to indicate some of the anticipated changes in the forms
of worship.

In the regular worship appointed for the Lord's Day there was to be
introduced a liturgy which was to be used before the sermon; the Ten
Commandments were to be read, and after each of them the people were to
be instructed to respond, or, as the rubric directed:

"After every Commandment they ask mercy of God for their transgression
of the same in this manner,--Lord have mercy upon us and incline our
hearts to keep this law."

There was also an evident purpose to leave less to the discretion of
the minister, and to restrict him more closely to the use of provided
forms in prayer, as well as to regulate more particularly the reading
of the Scriptures.  A table of Scripture lessons was to be prepared
showing the passages proper to be read on each day; prayers were also
provided for worship upon saints' days and festivals, in the use of
which there was to be no option, and the privilege of extempore prayer
in any part of public worship was to be taken from the minister, in
large measure if not entirely.  That this intention was cherished seems
evident from a discussion in which Spottiswoode engaged with one Hog,
minister at Dysart.  Hog had defended an action complained of, by
saying that his prayer on the occasion referred to had been in
conformity with Knox's Book of Common Order; in reply Spottiswoode
declared that "In a short time that Book of Discipline would be
discharged and ministers tied to set forms."

The Book was regarded by all as a compromise between the Book of Common
Order and the English Prayer Book, and appears to have excited no
enthusiasm, even among its promoters; it was too subversive of Scottish
custom to please those who were loyal to the old usage, and it was not
sufficiently liturgical to suit James and his like-minded counsellors.

It has been stated that the transpiring of certain events had delayed
the publication of this Liturgy; these events were connected with the
historic "Articles of Perth."  These "Articles" were orders, first of
the General Assembly of 1618, sitting at Perth and acting under royal
instruction, and afterwards of the Parliament which confirmed them in
1621, enjoining

Kneeling at the Communion;

Private Communion in cases of sickness;

Private Baptism "upon a great and reasonable cause;"

Episcopal Confirmation;

The observance of the festivals of Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Day,
Ascension Day and Whitsunday.

The Five Articles were passed in Assembly in spite of vigorous
opposition on the part of a minority that, nevertheless, represented
the most intense feeling of a very large section of the Scottish
people.  The first of these Five Articles, that were subversive of so
much for which the reformers had struggled and had at last secured,
reëstablished a practice that could only be regarded by the Church as
Romish in its tendency, and wholly unscriptural.  It excited the most
violent opposition, and secured for itself, even after its approval by
Parliament, determined resistance on the part of the people.

Previous to this, in 1617, James had by his childish flaunting of the
service of the Church of England in the face of the Scottish subjects,
on the occasion of his visit to Edinburgh, estranged the sympathies of
many who had previously been not unkindly disposed toward his projects,
and aroused among the people in general, a deeper and more widespread
opposition to his scheme of reform than had hitherto made itself
manifest.  Some months before his visit he had given orders for the
re-fitting of the Royal Chapel at Holyrood, and for the introduction of
an organ, the preparation of stalls for choristers, and the setting up
within the Chapel of statues of the Apostles and Evangelists.  The
organ and choristers the Scotch could abide, but the proposal of
"images" aroused such an outburst of opposition on the part of the
people that James, being advised of it, made a happy excuse of the
statues not being yet ready, and withdrew his order for the forwarding
of them to Scotland.  The services in Holyrood Chapel, however, during
the visit of His Majesty to Edinburgh, were all after the Episcopal
form, "with singing of choristers, surplices, and playing on organs,"
and when a clergyman of the Church of England officiated at the
celebration of the Lord's Supper, the majority of those present
received it kneeling.  All this, as may be imagined, had its effect
upon James's Scottish subjects, but that effect was the opposite of
what he had hoped for.  Instead of inspiring a love for an elaborate
liturgy, or developing a sympathy between the two kingdoms in matters
of worship, the result was to antagonize the spirit of the Scots, as
well against the proposed changes as against the King, who, with
childish pleasure in what he deemed proper, sought to enforce his will
upon the conscience of the people from whom he had sprung, and among
whom he had been educated.  The loyalty of the Scots to the Stuarts is
proverbial, but though ready to die for their king, to acknowledge him
as lord of the conscience they could not be persuaded.  A spirit of
opposition stronger than that which had before existed was developed
against any liturgy in Church worship, and the seeds were sown which
were afterwards to bear fruit in the harvest of the Revolution of 1688.
This opposition, it may be argued, was not the outcome of a calm
consideration of the questions involved, but was an indirect result of
the national anger at the attempt of the King to coerce the consciences
of his subjects.  In any event, so strong was the opposition to any
change in the religious worship of the land, that James ceased his
active endeavors to carry out his will, and in a message to his
Scottish subjects in 1624 assured them of his desire "by gentle and
fair means rather to reclaim them from their unsettled and
evil-grounded opinions, nor by severity and rigor of justice to inflict
that punishment which their misbehavior and contempt merits."

We now come to a period marked by a still more vigorous assault upon
the liberties of the Church of Scotland, and by a correspondingly
vigorous opposition thereto on the part of the Scottish people.
William Laud, who afterwards became Archbishop of Canterbury, began to
exert his influence upon the religious life of both England and
Scotland during the closing years of James's reign, but it was in the
reign of Charles the First, who succeeded his father in 1625, that he
came before the world in his sudden and so unfortunate greatness.
History has left but little doubt in the mind of the careful student
that Laud's deliberate purpose and persistent influence, both in
England and in Scotland, were towards a revival of Romanism within the
Church of which he was a prelate, or at least towards the creation of a
high Anglicanism which would differ but little from the Romish system.
Adroitly, and frequently concealing his real purpose, he labored to
this end, and it is not too much to say that the vigorous and, at last,
successful opposition to his plans in Scotland, saved the English
Church from radical changes which it is clear he was prepared to
introduce in the southern Kingdom when his desires for Scotland had
been effected.  England owes to Scotland the preservation of her
Protestantism on two occasions: first, in the days of Knox, when the
work of the sturdy Reformer prevented what must have taken place had a
Catholic Scotland been prepared to join with Spain in the overthrow of
Protestant England, and again when Scottish opposition effectively
nipped in the bud Laud's plans for a Romish movement in both Kingdoms.

The history of the movement under Laud it is only possible briefly to
summarize.  In 1629 Charles revived the subject, to which his father
had devoted so much attention, of an improved service in the Church of
Scotland, and wrote to the Scottish Bishops ordering them to press
forward the matter of an improved liturgy with all earnestness.  As a
result, the draft of the Book of Common Prayer prepared in the reign of
James was again brought to light and forwarded to Charles, and this
would probably have been accepted and authorized for use but for Laud's
influence.  It however was too bald and simple to suit the ritualistic
Archbishop, who persuaded the King that it would be entirely preferable
to introduce into Scotland the English Prayer Book without change.
Correspondence upon the matter was continued until 1633, when Charles,
accompanied by Laud, visited Scotland for the purpose of being crowned,
and also "to finish the important business of the Liturgy."

During his stay in Scotland Charles followed the example of his father
in parading before the people upon every possible occasion the ritual
of the Church of England, conduct on his part which served only to stir
up further and more deeply-seated opposition.  Soon after his return to
England he dispatched instructions to the Scottish Bishops requiring
them to decide upon a form of liturgy and to proceed with its
preparation.  His message was in these terms:

"Considering that there is nothing more defective in that Church than
the want of a Book of Common Prayer and uniform service to be kept in
all the Churches thereof ... we are hereby pleased to authorize you ...
to condescend upon a form of Church service to be used therein."

Such a form was accordingly prepared, forwarded to London for the
King's approval, and, after revision by Laud, who was commanded by His
Majesty to give to the Bishops of Scotland his best assistance in this
work, it was duly published in 1637, and ordered to be read in all
Churches of Scotland on the 23rd of July of that year.  The book
appeared, stamped with the royal approval, elaborately illuminated and
illustrated, and bearing this title, "The Book of Common Prayer and
Administration of the Sacraments, and other parts of Divine Service,
for the use of the Church of Scotland."  A royal order accompanied it,
in which civil authorities were enjoined to

"Command and charge all our subjects, both ecclesiastical and civil, to
conform themselves to the public form of worship, which is the only
form of worship which we (having taken counsel of our clergy) think fit
to be used in God's public worship in this our kingdom."

The introduction of this Service Book, as it was called, into public
worship in St. Giles, Edinburgh, on the day appointed, was the signal
for an outburst of popular indignation that was as fire to the heather
in the land.  On that occasion the Archbishop of St. Andrew's was
present with the Bishop of Edinburgh, but when the Dean rose to read
the new service, even the presence of such dignitaries was not
sufficient to restrain the pent-up feelings of the congregation.  Such
a clamor arose as made it impossible for the Dean to proceed, books and
other missiles were freely thrown, and a stool, hurled by the
traditional Jenny Geddes, narrowly missed the Dean's head, whereupon
that dignitary fled precipitately, followed by the more forcible than
elegant ejaculation of the wrathful woman, "Out thou false thief; dost
thou say mass at my lug?"  The riot in Edinburgh was the signal for
similar manifestations of popular feeling throughout the land, the
national spirit was aroused, and the stately fabric which Charles and
Laud, supported by a prelatic party in Scotland, had been laboriously
rearing for years, was overthrown in a day.

This feeling of opposition on the part of the people to the
introduction of a liturgy into the Church of Scotland, found due and
official expression in the following year.  The General Assembly
meeting at Glasgow repudiated Laud's Liturgy and appealed repeatedly to
the Book of Common Order as containing the Law of the Church respecting
worship.  In his eloquent closing address the Moderator, Alexander
Henderson, said: "and now we are quit of the Service Book, which was a
book of service and slavery indeed, the Book of Canons which tied us in
spiritual bondage, the Book of Ordination which was a yoke put upon the
necks of faithful ministers, and the High Commission which was a guard
to keep us all under that slavery."  The people also in formal manner
expressed their mind on the matter and in the Solemn League and
Covenant, signed in Gray friars Churchyard, asserted their purpose to
defend, even unto death, the true religion, and to "labor by all means
lawful to recover the purity and liberty of the Gospel as it was
established and professed before the late innovations."  Charles at
first determined upon extreme measures, and preparations were made to
force "the stubborn Kirk of Scotland to bow," but wiser measures
prevailed, and the desires of the Church of Scotland were for the time

The Book of Common Order, thus reaffirmed as the law of the Church
respecting worship, continued in use during the years following the
Glasgow Assembly of 1638, years which for Scotland were comparatively
peaceful, by reason of the troubles fast thickening around the English

This interesting chapter of Scottish history which we have thus briefly
reviewed, is of value to us in the present discussion only in so far
as, from the facts presented, we are able to understand the spirit that
characterized the Church of Scotland at this period, and the principles
that guided them in their attitude toward the subject of public
worship.  What this spirit and those principles were it is not
difficult to discover.  The facts themselves are plain; not only did
the Church in its regularly constituted courts oppose the introduction
of new forms and the elaboration of the Church service, but the people
resisted by every means in their power, and at last went the length of
resisting by force of arms, the attempt to impose upon them the new
Service Book.

It is asserted that the chief, if not the only cause of this resistance
was, first, an element of patriotism which in Scotland opposed
uniformly any measure which seemed to subordinate the national customs
to those of England, and secondly, the righteous and conscientious
objection of Presbyterians to having imposed upon them by any external
authority, a form of worship and Church government which their own
ecclesiastical authorities had not approved, and which they themselves
had not voluntarily accepted.  The objection, in a word, is said to
have been not to a liturgy as such, but to a _foreign_ liturgy and to
one _imposed_.

It cannot be denied that these were important elements in the
opposition of the Scottish people to the projects of Charles.  Many of
them, for one or other of these reasons, opposed the King's command,
who had no conscientious scruples with regard either to the form or
substance of Laud's liturgy.  Too much is claimed, however, when the
assertion is made that there was no real objection among the people to
the introduction of an elaborated service such as that which was
proposed.  The liberty of free prayer so dear to the Scottish reformers
was, if not entirely denied, largely encroached upon; a responsive
service, to which, in common with the great leaders of Geneva, Knox and
Melville had been so uniformly opposed, was introduced; and
particularly in the service for the administration of the Sacrament of
the Lord's Supper, forms of words were employed which seemed to teach
doctrines rejected by the reformers.  Here then was abundant ground for
opposition to Laud's liturgy when judged on its merits, and this ground
the stern theologians of that day were not likely to overlook.

Nor is it to be forgotten that in the many supplications which from
time to time were presented to the King both from Church and State
against the introduction of the Service Book, the anti-English plea
never found a place, but uniformly, reference was made in strong terms
to the unscriptural form of worship suggested for adoption by the
Scottish people, together with a protest against the arrogant
imposition upon them of a form of service not desired.  Persistently in
these supplications the subscribers expressed their desire that there
should be no change in the form of worship to which they had been
accustomed, and prayed for a continuance of the liberty hitherto
enjoyed.  In a complaint laid before the Privy Council the Service Book
and Canons are described as "containing the seeds of divers
superstitions, idolatry and false doctrine," and as being "subversive
of the discipline established in the Church."  The Earl of Rothes in an
address spoke thus: "Who pressed that form of service contrary to the
laws of God and this kingdom?  Who dared in their conventicles contrive
a form of God's public worship contrary to that established by the
general consent of this Church and State?"  And that the _form_ of
worship ever held a prominent place in the discussions of the time,
appears from a letter supposed to have been written by Alexander
Henderson, in which he defends the Presbyterian Church against a charge
of disorder and neglect of seemly procedure in worship; he says, "The
form of prayers, administration of the Sacraments, etc., which are set
down before their Psalm Book, and to which the ministers are to conform
themselves, is a sufficient witness; for although they be not tied to
set forms and words, yet are they not left at random, but for
testifying their consent and keeping unity they have their Directory
and prescribed Order."

While it is true, therefore, that the high-handed conduct of the King
in forcing upon an unwilling people a form of service already
distasteful because of its foreign associations, was doubtless an
important element in arousing the vigorous opposition with which it was
met, nevertheless, there is abundant evidence to show that apart from
any such consideration, the spirit of the Church of Scotland was
entirely hostile to the introduction of further forms, to the
elaboration of their simple service, and to the imposition upon their
ministers of prescribed prayers from which in public worship they would
not be allowed to depart.

The Westminster Assembly and the Directory of Worship.

If the Assembly's Directory increased liberty, it also augmented
responsibility.  If it took away the support of set and prescribed
forms on which the indolent might lean and even sleep, this was done to
the avowed intent that those who conducted public services might the
more industriously prepare for them; and thereunto the more diligently
stir up the gifts of God within them.--REV. EUGENE DANIEL.

Chapter VI.

The Westminster Assembly and the Directory of Worship.

Prior to the year 1638 the Church of Scotland, in its struggle to
preserve its form of worship, had to contend with the advocates of
prelacy and ritualism, but now opposition to the established practice
arose from another quarter.

In connection with every great reform there are apt to arise
extravagant movements, the promoters of which see only one side of
confessedly important truths, and so carry to undue excess some phase
of reform which, in properly balanced measure, would have been
righteous and desirable.  So it was in the period of the Reformation.
Among the several sectaries which had their origin in the Reformed
Church was a company called Brownists, an extreme section of the
Independents, who took their name from their founder, one Robert
Browne, an Englishman and a preacher, although a rejecter of ordination
and a protester against the necessity of any official license for the
work of the ministry.  It was a part of their creed to object to any
regulation of public worship, and even to many of the simplest
ceremonies which had hitherto been retained by the Reformed Churches.
In Scotland they opposed, as they had done elsewhere, all reading of
prayers, and, in particular, the kneeling of the minister for private
devotions on entering the pulpit, the repeating of the Lord's Prayer in
any part of the public service, and the singing of the _Gloria Patri_
at the end of the Psalm.  The movement, let it be said, although it
took an extreme form, had its spring in the deep disgust and shame felt
by many pious souls at the laxity and formality which characterized
religious life in England during the earlier part of the Stuart period.

The unwise policy of Charles in seeking to force upon the Scottish
Church a liturgical service, had produced in the minds of many its
natural result, creating extreme views in opposition to all prescribed
forms of worship.  The Brownists, therefore, found in Scotland a large
following, and a rapidly increasing section of the Church began
gradually to depart even from the forms and suggestions of the Book of
Common Order, and to adopt a still less restricted form of service.
Against these irregularities the General Assemblies of 1639 and 1640
legislated, and yet in such terms as seem to indicate that already the
mind of the Church at large was being prepared for change.  It was
ordained by the first of the Assemblies referred to that

"No novation in worship should be suddenly enacted, but that Synods,
Presbyteries and Kirks should be advised with before the Assembly
should authorize any change."

The desire for greater freedom in worship continued to increase, until
in 1643 the General Assembly appointed a committee with instructions to
prepare, and have in readiness for the next Assembly, a Directory for
Divine Worship in the Church of Scotland.  This was a distinct
concession to that section of the Church which was opposed to even the
simplest forms of an optional liturgy.  The work, however, was
superseded by a similar undertaking on a larger scale, in virtue of an
invitation from the members of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster
to the Church of Scotland to join with them in the preparation, among
other standards, of a Directory of Worship for the use of the Churches
of both England and Scotland.  The invitation was accepted with
readiness, and "certain ministers of good word, and representative
elders highly approved of by their brethren," were elected to represent
the Scottish Church in this great work.  These men were Baillie,
Henderson, Rutherford, Gillespie and Douglas, ministers, with Johnston,
of Warriston, and Lords Cassilis and Maitland as lay representatives;
Argyle, Balmerinoch and Loudon were afterwards added.  The work was
duly prosecuted at Westminster, and, although the Scotch Commissioners
with reluctance relinquished their Book of Common Order, yet for the
sake of the uniformity in worship which they hoped to see established
throughout England, Scotland and Ireland, they joined heartily in the
work, and carried it when completed to the Assembly of the Church of
Scotland, by which it was duly examined, slightly amended in the
directions concerning baptism and marriage, and finally, unanimously
approved in all its parts, and adopted.  The terms in which the
Assembly expressed its approval of this work are unreserved:

"The General Assembly, having most seriously considered, revised and
examined the Directory aforementioned, after several public readings of
it, after much deliberation, both publicly and in private committees,
after full liberty given to all to object against it, and earnest
invitations of all who have any scruples about it, to make known the
same, that they might be satisfied, doth unanimously, and without a
contrary voice, agree to and approve the following Directory in all the
heads thereof, together with the preface set before it; and doth
require, decern and ordain that, according to the plain tenor and
meaning thereof and the intent of the preface, it be carefully and
uniformly observed and practised by all the ministers and others within
this Kingdom whom it doth concern."

The Scottish Parliament likewise gave its approval of the Directory,
which was accordingly in due time prepared for publication, and issued
under the title, "A Directory for the Public Worship of God throughout
the three kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland; with an Act of the
General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland for establishing and observing
this present Directory;" and thus the Westminster Directory became the
primary authority on matters of worship and administration of the
Sacraments within the Church of Scotland.

Its use, however, during the years immediately following its adoption
appears to have been by no means general, many still adhering to the
method of the Book of Common Order, others inclining towards an even
greater freedom than seemed to them to be permitted by the Directory.
These latter belonged to that section of the Church afterwards known as
Protesters, and whose opposition to the use of the Lord's Prayer and
the Creed, as well ay to prescribed forms of prayer, was most
pronounced.  Events soon occurred which exerted a strong influence in
favor of absolute liberty in worship, and which effectively
strengthened the Protesters in the position which they had assumed.

In 1651 there took place at Scone the unhappy crowning of Charles the
Second by the Scots.  This act placed Scotland in open opposition to
Cromwell, and as a result the land was brought under his iron-handed
rule during the remaining years of the Protectorate.  The effect of
this on the worship of the Church was to introduce into Scotland the
methods of worship approved by the Independents, to whom those parties
in Scotland which were opposed to all prescribed forms or regulation of
worship, now attached themselves.  Worship after the Presbyterian form
was not disallowed, but the preachers of Cromwell's army, with the
approval of an increasing party in the Scottish Church, forced
themselves into the pulpits of the land and conducted worship in a
manner approved of by themselves.  In these services preaching occupied
the most prominent place, and to worship, as such, but scant attention
was given, so that in 1653 the ministers of the city of Edinburgh,
finding complaints among the people that in the services of the Sabbath
day there was no reading of Scripture nor singing of Psalms, took steps
to have these parts of worship resumed.  While the public worship of
the Church of Scotland during the period of the Commonwealth cannot be
said to have had any general uniformity, it is evident that the
influence of Independency upon it was toward the curtailment of form
and the granting of absolute liberty to every preacher to conduct
worship in whatever way seemed good to himself.  It was the swing of
the pendulum to the opposite extreme from the enforced order of Laud's
Liturgy.  It is doubtful if this erratic period would have left any
permanent effect upon the religious life and worship of Scotland, had
it not been for the formation of a party in sympathy with the political
principles of the Protector.  This party, being forced into political
opposition to the supporters of royalty, naturally found themselves,
through their associations, prejudiced in favor of the religious
principles and practices of those with whom they stood allied in the
state; and thus it was that a strong party favoring absolute liberty in
matters of worship arose in the Scottish Church.

The restoration of Charles the Second in 1660 brought with it the
disavowal on his part of the Covenant to which he had subscribed, and
the open rejection of the Presbyterian principles to which he had been
so readily loyal in the day of his distress.  Episcopacy was restored
as the form of Church government for Scotland, and bishops were
consecrated; but it was left to time and the gradual power of imitation
to secure the introduction of a ritual into the worship of the Church.
Charles the Second and his minion, Sharp, did not deem it wise to
undertake a work in which Charles the First and Laud had so signally
failed, the work of imposing a ritual of worship upon the Scottish
Church; Episcopal government had been imposed, Episcopal worship it was
hoped would follow.  In both of his aims, however, though sought by
such different methods, Charles was doomed to disappointment.  As
impotent as was the royal command, though backed by every form of
deprivation of right and of cruel persecution, to secure the acceptance
by Scotland of an Episcopal Church, so impotent was the service,
conducted by royal hirelings and conforming curates, to inspire the
people with any love for formal worship.  It was, further, in
comparatively few of the Churches of Scotland that any attempt was made
to introduce the service of the English Prayer Book.  In the now
Episcopal Churches of the land, a form of worship which gave a place to
the Lord's Prayer, the Gloria Patri, the Apostles' Creed, and the
Decalogue, was regarded as satisfactory.  Public worship, therefore, at
this time may be said to have been simply a return to the method
suggested, but not required, in the time of Knox; but even these
historic Scottish forms, by reason of their association with an
enforced Episcopacy, became increasingly distasteful to that large body
of the Scots who refused to conform to the Church by law established,
and who, as a result, were driven to the moors and the hill-sides,
there to worship God as conscience prompted.

The Protesters, the party to which the majority of the Covenanters
belonged, had always been opposed to anything savoring of ritual in
worship.  But their opposition was intensified and deepened during the
twenty-eight years of the "killing time," as they saw the worship of
the party from which their persecutors arose, characterized chiefly by
the acceptance of those forms against which they had entered their
protest in former days.  Even in the case of those whose consciences
permitted them to conform to the established religion of the land and
to wait on the ministry of the conforming clergy, there was developed,
through sympathy with their persecuted countrymen, hunted on the hills
and tracked to their hiding places like quarry, a suspicion of even the
forms of a religion that permitted such cruelties.  And thus it was
that when the deliverer alike for England and Scotland arrived from the
"hollow land," where behind their dykes the conquerors of the Spaniards
had won for themselves the privilege of religious liberty, Scotland was
prepared to join in the welcome given to William of Orange, and to hail
with delight the prospect of a restored Presbyterianism and its
inherent liberty.  Most heartily, therefore, was it that the leaders in
Scotland, alike in Church and State, subscribed to the request
presented to William, "That Presbyterian government be restored and
re-established as it was at the beginning of our Reformation from
Popery, and renewed in the year 1638, continuing until 1660."

Legislation concerning Public Worship in the Period subsequent to the
Revolution of 1688.

"Religion shall rise from its ruins; and its oppressed state at present
should not only excite us to pray, but encourage us to hope, for its
speedy revival."--DR. WITHERSPOON.

Chapter VII.

Legislation concerning Public Worship in the Period subsequent to the
Revolution of 1688.

In 1689 the first Parliament under William and Mary was held, and their
Majesties promised to establish by law "that form of Church government
which is most agreeable to the inclinations of the people."  In
accordance with this promise the Confession of Faith, adopted in 1645,
was in the following year declared to be for Scotland "the public and
avowed confession of this Church," and an Order was issued summoning a
General Assembly, the first since the forcible dissolution of the
Assembly of 1653 by Cromwell's dragoons.  No Act was passed at this
time concerning public worship, nor was the authority of the Directory
affirmed, but, whether by intention or through neglect, it was left to
the Church to adjust matters pertaining to this subject, without formal
instruction from Parliament.  Considering, however, that the
controlling party in the Church was the one that had suffered
persecution, and whose well-known feelings on the subject of worship
had been intensified by long and severe suffering, it is not to be
wondered at if the changes and adjustments effected in church worship
and discipline should in large measure bear the stamp of their extreme
opinions.  So far as legislation is concerned, however, moderation and
fairness marked all the proceedings of the Church, for in the Assembly
of 1690, which was largely composed of those whose sympathies were with
the Protesters, no action whatever was taken for the regulation of
public worship, the only Act having any reference thereto being one
which forbade private administration of the Sacraments.  But although
the form of worship was not affected by legislation, it is evident from
contemporary writings that the spirit of the Protesters survived, and
exerted itself in fostering, in many parts of the land, a sentiment
even more hostile to everything that might savor of even the simplest

The references of the Assemblies that followed the Revolution show that
the Directory of Worship as adopted by the Westminster Divines, and
afterwards by the Church and Parliament of Scotland, was at this time
regarded as the authority in matters of worship, and it was to worship,
as so regulated, that the Act of 1693 referred.  This Act pertaining to
"The Uniformity of Worship" ordained:

"That uniformity of worship and of the administration of all public
ordinances within this Church be observed by all the said ministers and
preachers as the same are at present performed and allowed therein, or
shall be hereafter declared by the authority of the same, and that no
minister or preacher be admitted or continued hereafter unless that he
subscribe to observe, and do actually observe, the aforesaid

The General Assembly, in the following year, in accordance with this
civil legislation, prepared a form for subscription in which the
subscribing minister promised to "observe uniformity of worship and of
the administration of all public ordinances within this Church, as the
same are at present performed and allowed."  In the same year reference
is made in an "Act anent Lecturing" to the "Custom introduced and
established by the Directory."

It is evident, therefore, that at this period the Directory was
regarded by the Church as the authority, and the only authority, in
matters pertaining to worship.  In spite of Acts requiring uniformity,
however, there were still within the Church those who sought to
introduce changes, some of these desiring the introduction of an
imposed ritual, others regarding absolute congregational liberty in
matters of worship as desirable.  As a result of divergent views and
practices there was passed by the Assembly of 1697 the Barrier Act, for
the purpose of

"Preventing any sudden alteration or innovation or other prejudice to
the Church in either doctrine or worship or discipline or government
thereof, now happily established."

This was the formal and particular enactment of the principle laid down
two generations earlier, when in 1639 the Church, disturbed by the
Brownists, had ordained that "no novation in worship should be suddenly

One other Act of Assembly in this period must be quoted as showing the
feeling in Scotland at this time with regard to ritual in the Church.
It resulted from a determined effort on the part of some Episcopalians
to introduce, wherever possible, the English Book of Common Prayer into
the services of the Church in Scotland.  The Assembly accordingly
enacted that:

"The purity of religion and particularly of Divine Worship ... is a
signal blessing to the Church of God-- ... and that any attempts made
for the introduction of innovations in the worship of God therein have
been of fatal and dangerous consequence ... that such innovations are
dangerous to this Church and manifestly contrary to our known principle
(which is, that nothing is to be admitted in the worship of God but
what is prescribed in the Holy Scripture) and against the good and
laudable laws made since the late happy Revolution for establishing and
securing the same in her doctrine, worship, discipline and government."
Therefore the Church required "all the ministers of this Church ... to
represent to their people the evil thereof and seriously to exhort them
to beware of them, and to deal with all such as do or practise the same
in order to their recovery and reformation."

The above enactment leaves no room for doubt as to the opinion
prevailing in the Church of Scotland at the beginning of the eighteenth
century respecting ritual in the public worship of God.  At the same
time it is very evident that a desire prevailed in the Church for a
seemly and uniform order of service in public worship and an Act of the
Assembly of 1705

"Seriously recommends to all ministers and others within this national
Church the due observance of the Directory for public worship of God
approven by the General Assembly held in the year 1645."

This deliverance may be taken as representing the spirit of all
legislation of the Church respecting worship up to the middle of the
present century.  Whenever, in response to overtures from subordinate
courts, or inspired by special requirements of the times, deliverances
concerning any part of worship were prepared by the Assembly, they
uniformly directed the Church to the observance of the regulation of
this department of Divine service as provided for in the Westminster

It cannot be claimed, however, that due regard was accorded the
Directory throughout the whole Church.  The last half of the eighteenth
century was a time of spiritual coldness in Scotland; not only did
evangelical piety languish but there existed at the same time a
corresponding want of interest in the worship of the Church.  Praise
was neglected, and little effort was made to secure suitable singing of
the Psalms; at times the reading of Scripture was entirely omitted,
prayers were brief and meagre, the sermon was regarded as in itself
sufficient for the whole service, and all other parts of public worship
were looked upon either as preliminaries or subordinate exercises, not
calling for any particular preparation or attention.  It was a time
when spiritual life was low, and the outward expression of that life
exhibited a corresponding want of vigor.  The evil, therefore, from
which the Church suffered at this period was not an excess of attention
to worship, but a neglect of it; not a too great elaboration of forms,
but an almost total disregard of them, even of such as are helpful to
the development of the spiritual life of the worshipper.  And thus it
came to pass that the struggle of more than a century against the use
of prescribed forms of worship resulted in a condition more extreme
than had been either anticipated or desired, for not only were such
forms abandoned, but worship itself was neglected and disregarded.

In reviewing the period subsequent to the rejection of Laud's Liturgy
and up to the time of the First Secession within the Church of
Scotland, some features that mark the general trend of the spirit of
Presbyterianism with regard to worship are clearly manifest.

First, in the rapid growth of the sect of the Brownists and their
sympathizers, a growth that had been rendered the easier by the
arbitrary acts of Charles and Laud in a preceding period, we find a
clear indication of the spread of opinions strongly opposed to the use
of prescribed forms of prayer and, indeed, of any ritual in the
exercises of public worship.  It may be urged, as has already been
remarked, that this opposition was not the result of an unprejudiced
consideration of the subject on its merits, but that it was rather an
outcome of the spirit which had been aroused by the persecutions
through which the Stuarts had endeavored to force a ritual upon the
Church of Scotland.  This may be granted, and yet it is not to be
forgotten that many of those who held these views were among the
excellent of their age, men who did not hesitate to bear persecution
and to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ for conscience' sake,
and who, while doubtless influenced by the sentiments of those who
stood to them either in the relation of friends or foes, were not men
to allow prejudice to blind both reason and conscience alike.  They had
found a ritualistic worship associated with practices which they could
not but judge to be ungodly and unjust, and engaged in by men who made
much of form, but little of truth and charity and justice.  It is not
surprising, therefore, that in their desire for a revived spiritual
life in the Church they should consider such a life to be most
effectively forwarded by a departure from those forms that had been
associated with the decay of true religion in their midst.

But, in the second place, this sentiment in favor of absolute freedom
from form was not confined to sectaries or their sympathizers in the
Church, it made itself manifest among the leaders of religion in the
land and in the Church courts.  The proposal of the General Assembly of
1643 to prepare a Directory of Worship, and the subsequent action of
the Scottish Church in uniting with the Westminster Divines in the
preparation of that Directory, clearly indicate that the Church had
changed its attitude since the day in which the Assembly refused to
alter any of the prayers in the Book of Common Order.  The adoption of
the Directory by the Scottish Church was in a measure an endorsation of
the views of those who were opposed to the use of prescribed forms, and
while it is true that the Scotch Commissioners would have preferred the
retention of parts of the Book of Common Order, it is surely
instructive that even these men were prepared to abandon all forms for
worship and to accept simply a regulative Directory.  The enthusiastic
endorsation accorded the Directory, both by Parliament and by the
Assembly, is a further indication that the spirit of the Church of
Scotland had undergone whatever slight change was necessary to make it
favorable to a simple regulation of public worship, unhampered by
anything that had even the appearance of a ritual.

The introduction of the Directory into Scotland, it is true, effected a
very slight change in the method of conducting public worship.  Indeed,
a comparison of the order of service as laid down in the Directory with
that prescribed by the Book of Common Order shows the order of Worship
to be the same in both.  And thus it was that Baillie, in addressing
the Assembly, and expressing his satisfaction at what had been
accomplished, declared it to be a most remarkable distinction "that the
practice of the Church of Scotland set down in a most wholesome, pious
and prudent Directory, should come in the place of a Liturgy in all the
three Dominions."  By the adoption of the Directory all the substance
of the worship of the Church of Scotland was retained with the order
likewise of its different parts, but the suggested forms were
surrendered, and even prayers, which owing to the circumstances of an
earlier age had been retained and submitted for discretional use, were
laid aside.  No mention was made in the Directory of the use of the
Gloria, nor did the creed find a place either in public worship or in
the administration of the Sacraments, but the Lord's Prayer was
mentioned as being "not only a pattern of prayer, but itself a
comprehensive prayer," and a recommendation was accordingly made that
it should be "used in the prayers of the Church."

It is evident, therefore, that the spirit of the Presbyterian Church
was still strongly in favor of worship regulated in its order and
providing for all the different spiritual exercises authorized by
Scripture, but which at the same time should be free from any imposed
forms from which worshippers should not be allowed to deviate.  Of the
opinion of the Church of Scotland at this time on the dire effects
produced by the use of a ritual in the cultivation of formality among
the people, and in the encouragement of a lifeless ministry in the
Church, there can be no question, as the adoption of the terms of the
preface to the Directory clearly shows.  With the experience of the
English Church of that age before them as an object lesson of the evil
effects of ritualistic worship, the Presbyterian Church was not
unwilling to abandon the use of all imposed forms, and to give itself
rather to the cultivation and development of a truly spiritual worship.

And finally, the spirit thus planted and fostered in Scotland, was
intensified during the persecutions which followed the restoration of
Charles the Second.  So firmly was this opposition to an imposed form
of worship implanted in the hearts of Presbyterians that, alike at the
Revolution and again at the time when the terms from the "Act of Union"
between England and Scotland were under consideration the most earnest
representations were made, to the end that there should be no change in
the worship of the Scottish Church, but that the freedom in this
matter, so prized and so dearly won, should be secured to the people of

The Church of Scotland then, it may safely be said, moved ever in the
direction of securing greater liberty in worship, rather than towards
an increase of ritual and an imposition of form.  Every succeeding
period in her history, whether we judge from the general spirit
characterizing the people or from the official acts of the Parliament
and the Church, shows a growing distaste for a liturgical worship and
an increasing appreciation of liberty in all matters pertaining to the
approach of the soul to God.  The Church of Scotland rejected, on the
one hand, the extreme positions of sectaries who condemned alike a
combined system of Church government, the celebration of marriage in
the Church, the use in worship of the Lord's Prayer and all regulations
even of the order of Divine worship, and on the other hand it resisted
successfully the strongest Anglican influences which would have
deprived it of the liberty it prized and would have circumscribed that
liberty by a ritual.  It retained dignity and order, while it rejected
both the license of extravagance and the bondage of form.

Presbyterian Worship Outside of the Established Church of Scotland.

Whether they were right or wrong ... no man of fairness will fail to
allow that the record of the Seceders all through the period of
decadence was a noble one, a record of splendid service to the cause of
Christ and the historic Church of Scotland.--M'CRIE.

Chapter VIII.

Presbyterian Worship Outside of the Established Church of Scotland.

No review of Presbyterian Worship would be complete which failed to
consider the spirit which has characterized those large sections of the
Church which exist in Scotland outside of the Establishment, and those
also which have been planted and fostered in the New World.

In 1733 the first Secession Church was formed, when Ebenezer Erskine,
William Wilson, Alexander Moncrieff, and James Fisher, protesting
against what they regarded as the unjust treatment accorded them by the
prevailing party in the Church, were declared to be no longer members
of the Church of Scotland.  This Secession Church enjoyed a rapid
growth, and soon came to form a very influential section in the
Presbyterianism of the land.  Its principles and practices with regard
to worship show that same suspicion of a ritual and partiality for a
free form of worship which has always characterized the Presbyterian
Church in the days of her greatest vigor.  In 1736 this Church
published its judicial testimony, in which it declared its loyalty to
the Directory of Worship as the same was approved by the Assembly of
1645.  Some years later one section of this Church, known as the
Antiburgher, published a condemnation of the corruptions of worship as
witnessed in England and Wales, and at a subsequent period a further
manifesto, in which the reading by ministers of their sermons in the
public ministry of the Word was condemned, as was also "the conduct of
those adult persons who, in ordinary circumstances, either in public,
in private, or in secret, restrict themselves to set forms of prayer,
whether these be read or repeated."  The same manifesto, in a part
treating of Psalmody, claimed for the Psalms Divine authority, as
suitable for the service of praise, in the Christian as well as in the
Old Testament dispensation, but acknowledged that, in addition to
these, "others contained in the New Testament itself may be sung in the
ordinance of Praise."

Similar to this position was that of the United Associate Synod, which,
formed in 1820, published, seven years later, its views on the subject
of worship.  It condemned "the conduct of adult persons who restricted
themselves to set forms of prayer, whether read or whether repeated;"
it acknowledged also that other parts of Scripture besides the Psalms
were suitable for praise, and, with regard to the use of the Lord's
Prayer in public worship, a matter which had caused much discussion
within the Church in earlier times, it asserted that:

"As Scripture Doxologies and the Divinely-approved petition of saints
may be warrantably adopted in our devotional exercises, both public and
personal, so may the Lord's Prayer be used by itself or in connection
with other supplications."

Other manifestos were published from time to time by different bodies
as separations or unions took place, for the early part of the past
century was a period of frequent divisions and of more happy unions.
But while differences existed with regard to the use of paraphrases and
human hymns in the service of praise, on the general subject of
simplicity of worship and absence of prescribed forms, the manifestos
previous to the middle of the century were a unit.  As late indeed as
1872, in a deliverance of the United Presbyterian Church upon the
subject of instrumental music in public worship, this jealousy of
simplicity in worship hitherto enjoyed is evident.  To a consideration
of that subject this Church had been led by the example of the
Established Church in securing to its congregations liberty of action
in the matter.  The United Presbyterian Synod, in a deliverance in
which it declined to pronounce judgment upon the introduction of
instrumental music in Divine service, proceeded to urge upon the courts
of the Church, and upon individual ministers, the duty of guarding
anxiously the simplicity of worship in the sanctuary.  Not until recent
years has any considerable section of the Presbyterian Church shown a
tendency to return to the bondage of a ritual.

The views of the bodies above referred to will be differently estimated
by different men.  Some will be inclined to regard the Secessionists as
narrow in spirit and severe in their simplicity, and as often failing
to exhibit a due regard for the beauty of holiness that should
characterize Divine worship.  It will surely, however, indicate on the
part of those who read their history a want of appreciation if they
fail to recognize the sturdy spiritual life which, forming, as it ever
does, the truest foundation for right views of religion, marked these
men of whom an eminent leader in the religious life of Scotland has
said "they stood for Truth and Light in days when the battle went sore
against them both; and as long as Truth and Light are maintained in
Scotland it will not be forgotten that a great share of the honor of
having carried them safe through some of our darkest days, was given by
God to the Seceders."

The period of the disruption in Scotland was one of such struggle
concerning great and fundamental principles of Church government, that
the Free Church, during the first quarter of a century of its existence
as a separate communion, had little time to devote to a consideration
of the subject of worship; with the work of organization at home, and
afterwards in seeking to carry forward evangelization abroad it was
fully occupied.  It was for the Free Church, as also for the
Established Church, a period of revival and of new life, and at such a
time men think but little of form and method, finding spiritual
satisfaction in the voluntary and spontaneous worship which such an
occasion develops.  The practice, however, of the Free Church in
worship, and its uniform tendency, was decidedly un-liturgical; freedom
from prescribed forms in prayer and an absence of ritual marked its
services during the half-century of its existence as a separate
communion.  So emphatic was its devotion to absolute liberty on the
part of the worshippers that it was the last of the great Presbyterian
bodies in Scotland to take any steps towards a further control of
public worship other than that which is provided in the Directory.

About the year 1885 the Presbyterian Churches of England and of
Australia appointed committees to consider the matter of a uniform
order and method of public worship, and these in each case devoted
their efforts to the revision of the Westminster Directory, and in
neither has anything more liturgical been suggested than the repetition
of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer by the people.  The orders of
service recommended are more lengthy than that of the Westminster
Directory, but are similar in their general character.  The hesitation
shown in accepting even such slight changes as were suggested and the
vigorous debates which resulted, furnish abundant evidence that the
spirit of both of these Churches is still strong in favor of voluntary
and untrammeled worship.

It is but right that in reviewing public worship outside of the
Established Church, reference should be made to the practice of those
large sections of the Presbyterian Church which, originating in
Scotland, have grown strong in other lands.

The Presbyterian Church of the United States of America has exhibited
in the main the same spirit that has characterized Presbyterian bodies
across the sea.  In 1788 the Synod of New York and Philadelphia adopted
among other symbols the Westminster Directory for the Worship of God,
abbreviating it somewhat, but changing its instructions in no material
respect.  There has been but little legislation by this Church
concerning this subject.  In 1874 the General Assembly declared the
practice of a responsive service in the public worship of the sanctuary
to be without warrant in the New Testament, and to be unwise and
impolitic in view of its inevitable tendency to destroy uniformity in
the form already accepted.  It further urged upon sessions of Churches
to preserve in act and spirit the simplicity indicated in the
Directory.  This judgment of the American Church with regard to the
influence of a liturgy in public worship is not materially different
from that of the framers of the Directory as it is set forth in their
strongly-worded preface.  In 1876 the Assembly declined to send down to
presbyteries an overture declaring that responsive readings are a
permissible part of worship in the sanctuary, although it declined at
the same time to recommend sessions to make the question a subject of
Church discipline.  Six years afterwards it again refused to "prepare
and publish a Book of Forms for public and social worship and for
special occasions which shall be the authorized service-book of the
Church to be used whenever a prescribed formula may be desired;" the
reason given for such refusal, however, was the inexpediency of such a
step in view of "the liberty that belongs to each minister to avail
himself of the Calvinistic or other ancient devotional forms of the
Reformed Churches, so far as may seem to him for edification."  This
explanation clearly indicates that, while the American Church is in
sympathy with the necessity on the part of ministers, of a due and
orderly discharge of all public services, yet it is unwilling to lay
itself open to the charge of even suggesting the imposition of forms
upon the Church for use on stated occasions.  An optional liturgy has
not been without its advocates among the leaders in this influential
section of the Church.  Such eminent and wise men as Drs. Charles and
A. A. Hodge and Dr. Ashbel Green confessed themselves as in favor of
the introduction of such forms for optional use, and Dr. Baird in his
"Eutaxia" and other writers have argued vigorously from the example of
sister churches of the continent of Europe for a return to the practice
which they regarded as historically Presbyterian.  As yet, however, the
Church has preferred liberty to even suggested restriction.

The results in this Church, it cannot be denied, are not all that could
be desired.  The Directory is but little studied by ministers, and has
by many been practically set aside.  Frequently each congregation in
the matter of worship is a law unto itself.  Responsive readings have
been introduced in some places, and choir responses after prayer in
others; in some congregations the people join in the repetition of the
Creed and the Lord's Prayer, while in others neither of these is heard;
in one the collection has become a formal offertory; in another it
affords an opportunity for the rendition of a musical selection by the
choir.  Worship in this great Church is at the present time
characterized by the absence of a desirable uniformity, which it was
one evident purpose of the Directory to secure, and in some of its
congregations by the use of symbolism that occasionally becomes
extravagant, and which is calculated to appeal entirely to the
imagination, the result frequently being a service not attaining to
that dignity which an authorized liturgy fosters, while it sacrifices
that simplicity in which Presbyterians have been accustomed to glory.

The United Presbyterian Church in America, the result of so many happy
unions, has always regarded simplicity in worship as an end earnestly
to be desired, and worthy of all serious effort to secure.  Its
influence has, therefore, been uniformly in favor of that avoidance of
forms against which the Seceders of Scotland, whom it represents on
this continent, so often protested.

The Presbyterian Church, South--that Church whose history has been
characterized by a loyalty so unswerving to the doctrinal standards of
Presbyterianism, by a spirit so wisely aggressive in evangelistic and
missionary effort, and by a ministry so scholarly and eloquent, has, in
the matter of public worship, shown as constant a fidelity to the
Westminster Directory as in doctrine it has shown to the Confession of
Faith.  There have been attempts made to introduce changes looking
towards the adoption of optional liturgical forms, but these have been
few, and they have been rejected in such a way as to leave no room for
doubt as to the mind of the Church in this matter.

The Directory has been ably revised, but it still remains a Directory,
suggestive and eminently suitable to present requirements of the
Church.  Serious and persevering attention has been given to the praise
service, and no less than three Hymnals have received and now enjoy the
Church's _imprimatur_.  Public worship in Divine service has retained a
much greater uniformity among the Presbyterians of the Southern States
than among their brethren in the North, and there has been less
yielding to the popular demand for those features in worship that
appeal to the imagination, and which so often serve to entertain rather
than to edify.

The Presbyterian Church in Canada, owing to the ties that bind it to
the Churches of the Old Land, has closely followed their practice, and
its method in worship has been characterized by a similar spirit.  No
authoritative or mandatory formulas have been imposed upon it, nor does
it seem likely that such would be received should they be proposed.
Reverence and dignity have in general characterized its public
services, and yet in recent years those changes which have gradually
been introduced into the worship of the Church in that part of the
American Republic lying contiguous to the Dominion have made their
appearance in Presbyterian worship in Canada.  The chief result has
been, as in that Church also, an unfortunate want of uniformity in this
part of divine service.  There has always been a constant and due
regard paid to all parts of worship provided for in the Directory, and
the neglect of any of these parts cannot be seriously charged against
any considerable part of the Church, but congregations have frequently
considered themselves at liberty to change their order and to vary them
as circumstances seem to demand.  It is this feature as much as any
that has in recent years led to an agitation for the improvement of
public worship, and that is calling the earnest attention of the Church
to a matter of supreme importance.

Until very recently then, all branches of the Presbyterian Church in
the British Empire and those bodies in the United States whose
standards have been those of Westminster, have refused to recognize the
need for any other formula of worship than that, or such as that,
provided in the Directory.  And where any considerable desire for
change and improvement has been found, it has expressed itself usually
as favorable to a revised Directory rather than as desirous of the
adoption by the Church of a liturgy, however simple.

Those great sections of the Church which have been most active in the
work of Home and Foreign Evangelization, a work that has especially
claimed attention during this century, have found the simple worship of
our fathers well suited to the cultivation of the spiritual life that
must of necessity lie behind all such efforts, and to the development
of the reverent and devotional spirit so characteristic of an
aggressive Christianity.  The Church has been true to the traditions
and principles so loyally maintained in the days of her heroic
struggles in the past, and along these lines she has found in her
public worship blessing and inspiration for her peaceful toils, even as
our fathers in their day found in similar worship strength and revived
courage with which to meet their difficulties and to endure persecution.

Modern Movements in Presbyterian Churches Respecting Public Worship.

"All who desire to manifest an intelligent appreciation of what is
distinctive in Presbyterian ritual would do well to guard against
attaching undue importance, or adhering too tenaciously, to details of
a past or present usage, as if these constituted the essentials from
which there must never be the smallest deviation, of which there may
never be the slightest modification or adaptation to altered
acquirements and circumstances."--McCRIE.

Chapter IX.

Modern Movements in Presbyterian Churches Respecting Public Worship.

The earliest indication of any general desire in Scotland for a more
elaborate service than that in general use in the Church at the time of
the Revolution was seen in the proposal to enlarge the Psalmody and to
improve the Service of Praise.  As early as 1713 the General Assembly
of the Church of Scotland called the attention of congregations to the
necessity that existed for a more decent performance of the public
praise of God, in a recommendation that was exceedingly desirable and
necessary if the accounts of the service of praise at that time are to
be believed.  This was followed, not long afterward, by the
introduction of paraphrases, styled "Songs of Scripture," and later of
hymns, and finally of instrumental music.  In this matter of the
improvement of worship in the department of praise, the Secession
Churches in several cases were more forward than the Established
Church, the revived interest in religion and worship which had been in
a measure the cause of their existence lending itself to such measures.
In all sections of the Church the conflict concerning praise in worship
was for a long period prosecuted with an energy that frequently arose
to bitterness.  The vexed questions of hymn-singing and the use of
instruments in Churches being settled, there followed, or perhaps it
may be said there arose out of these, the further question of the
elaboration and improvement of other parts of worship.

In 1858 the Assembly of the Church of Scotland recommended to
congregations that were without a minister, the use in worship of a
book prepared by its authority, in which were embodied the prayers of
the Book of Common Order, together with much material from the
Directory of Worship.  This action on the part of the Church was
regarded by some as indicating the existence of a spirit which
warranted the formation of "The Church Service Society."  This Society
was formed by certain ministers of the Established Church who were
strongly impressed with the desirability of the adoption by the Church
of certain authorized forms of prayer for public worship, and of the
use of prescribed forms in the administration of the Sacraments.  By
the publication of its constitution, in which it announced its object
as "The Study of the Liturgies ancient and modern of the Christian
Church, with a view to the preparation and ultimate publication of
certain forms of prayer for public worship, and services for the
administration of the Sacraments, the celebration of Marriage, the
Burial of the Dead," etc., it very early aroused vigorous opposition on
the part of many who saw in its organization an evident intention to
introduce into the Church a liturgical service.  Such a purpose the
Society emphatically disavowed, and insisted that there was no desire
on the part of its members to encroach upon the simplicity of
Presbyterian worship, but claimed rather the desire to redeem the same
from lifelessness and lack of a devotional spirit with which they
declared it is so likely to be characterized.  So effectively have the
fears of those who first uttered their objections been allayed, that
the Society is said to comprise in its membership, at the present time,
more than one-third of the ordained ministers of the Established
Church.  The results of this Society's labors have been published in a
volume which is now in its seventh edition.  It is a book of more than
400 pages, and is entitled, "Euchologion--A Book of Common Order."  Its
contents seem to harmonize more with the views which were charged
against the originators of the Society at its commencement than with
the defence which was put forward in its behalf at that time.  Although
widely used it has no official sanction of the Church, and, therefore,
it is not necessary to enter into any close analysis of its contents.
Briefly, however, it may be said, it is a liturgy much more closely
approximating to the English Book of Common Prayer than to Knox's Book
of Common Order, or to the ritual of any of the Reformed Churches of
the Continent, with which its projectors declare themselves to be more
in sympathy than with the Episcopal Communion of England.

The first part comprises, in addition to prescribed daily Scripture
readings and readings for every Sunday of the year, the Order of Divine
Service for morning and evening for the five several Sundays of the
month; in this Order are contained special forms of prayer, responses
to be used by the congregation, the Lord's Prayer, to be repeated by
minister and congregation together, and the Apostles' Creed, which is
to be either said or sung.

In the second part, which contains "additional materials for daily and
other services," the first place is given to the Litany, which is an
exact transcript of that of the Church of England with the exception of
a change in one petition, rendered necessary by the difference in the
forms of government in the two Churches.  A number of "prayers for
special graces," "collects" and "prayers for special seasons" and
"additional forms of service" are added.  The "prayers for special
seasons" have regard to "our Lord's advent," "the Incarnation," "Palm
Sunday," "the descent of the Holy Ghost," etc.

The last section of the book provides forms of service for the
administration of the Sacraments, visitation of the sick, marriage,
burial, ordination, etc.  In the form for the visitation of the sick a
responsive service is provided, as also in the order for Holy
Communion.  On the whole it is probably not too much to assert that
"Euchologion--a Book of Common Order," issued by the Church Service
Society, is decidedly more liturgical in form than was the unfortunate
Laud's Liturgy, which raised against itself and its projectors such a
vigorous protest on the part of the Church of Scotland.

Following the organization of the Society referred to, came one in
connection with the United Presbyterian Church called "The United
Presbyterian Devotional Association," having for its object "to promote
the edifying conduct of the devotional services of the Church."  This
Society declares its willingness to profit from the worship of other
Churches besides the Presbyterian, but at the same time asserts its
loyalty to the principles and history of Presbyterianism.  The forms
published in its book, "Presbyterian Forms of Service," are not
intended to be used liturgically, but the purpose is that they should
furnish examples and serve as illustrations of the reverent and seemly
conduct of public worship.

The latest book to be issued on these lines is "A New Directory for the
Public Worship of God"; this name is further enlarged by the following
description, which provides a sufficient index to its contents:
"Founded on the Book of Common Order (1560-64) and the Westminster
Directory (1643-45) and prepared by the Public Worship Association in
Connection with the Free Church of Scotland."

This book follows in general the form and method of the Directory,
carefully avoiding the provision of even an optional liturgy.  The form
which it has assumed, that of a simple Directory of Worship, was
adopted after long discussion in the "Association" on these four
questions, "The desirableness of an optional liturgy as distinguished
from a Directory of Public Worship;" "The Desirableness of a Responsive
Service," such a service to include the use by the people with the
minister of the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Beatitudes, the
Commandments, etc.; "The desirableness of the Collect form of prayer
and of Responses in general," and "The desirableness of the celebration
of the Christian year."

After long and exhaustive debate on the above questions the book has
been issued in its present form as a simple Directory of Worship,
responses and the celebration of the Christian year and even an
optional liturgy having been rejected as undesirable.  Orders of
service are suggested, as well for public worship as for the
administration of the Sacraments and for special services, and
suggestions at great length are offered concerning what should find a
place in the prayers of Invocation, Thanksgiving, Confession, Petition,
Intercession and Illumination.  A few historic prayers of eminent
saints of God are included as examples, and large quotations are made
for the same purpose from Knox's Book of Common Order and from
Hermann's "Consultation," and from this last source "A Litany for
Special Days of Prayer" is added in an Appendix.  If the Euchologion
indicates a strong tendency on the part of the "Church Service Society"
towards the introduction of a responsive and liturgical service into
public worship, the New Directory of Public Worship indicates just as
strongly a tendency within the "Public Worship Association" to avoid
the introduction of even optional forms and to retain the simplicity
that has for three centuries characterized Presbyterian worship.

The attempts to revise the Directory of Worship in order to modify and
adapt it to present-day requirements made recently by the Presbyterian
Church of England, and by the Federated Churches of Australia and
Tasmania, have already been referred to.  That these Churches have
confined their efforts to a revision of the Directory, and have in this
asserted their approval of a Directory of Worship rather than of a
liturgy, is in itself an instructive fact.

In the revised Directory of the Presbyterian Church of England some
changes are made in the direction of securing for the people a larger
part in audible worship.  The repetition of the Creed is permitted, and
where used is to be repeated by the minister and people together; it is
recommended as seemly that the people after every prayer should audibly
say Amen, and the Lord's Prayer, which should be uniformly used, is to
be said by all.

The work of revision by the Churches of Australia and Tasmania
introduces fewer changes.  In the administration of "The Lord's Supper"
it is recommended that at the close of the Consecration Prayer the
minister recite the "Apostles Creed" as a brief summary of Christian
Faith, and when the Lord's Prayer is used, as advised before or after
the prayer of intercession, the people may be invited to join audibly
or to add _Amen_.

Worthy of more extended notice than the limits of this chapter will
permit is "The Book of Church Order" of the Presbyterian Church in the
United States.  As early as 1864 a proposal was made in Assembly to
revise the Westminster Directory of Worship for the purpose not only of
rendering it more suitable to the requirements of the time, but in
order also to so modify and improve it as to increase its
suggestiveness and helpfulness to ministers.  The work was undertaken
by a committee appointed in 1879, and in 1894 this committee presented
its formal report, which was adopted, and the revised Directory was
ordered to be published.  It contains sixteen chapters, treating of all
the matters treated in the original Directory, and containing in
addition suggestive chapters on "Sabbath Schools," "Prayer Meetings,"
"Secret and Family Worship," and "The Admission of Persons to Sealing

Respecting the public reading of Holy Scripture the revised Directory
declares it to be "a part of the public worship of God," and that "it
ought to be performed by the minister or some other authorized person."
Of public prayer, after indicating its different parts, and suggesting
the place that it should occupy in the service, the mind of the Church
is thus expressed: "But we think it necessary to observe that, although
we do not approve, as is well known, of confining ministers to set or
fixed forms of prayer for public worship, yet it is the indispensable
duty of every minister, previously to his entering on his office, to
prepare and qualify himself for this part of his duty, as well as for
preaching."  In the chapters on the administration of baptism and the
Lord's Supper particular directions are given, and questions suitable
to be asked of the parents of children presented for baptism are
suggested, while in the directions for the admission of persons to
sealing ordinances, an important distinction is drawn between the
reception of baptized children of the Church and that of those who, on
confession of their faith, are at that time first received.  To the
Directory there are added optional forms for use at a marriage service
and at a funeral service.  The book is not elaborate, and may be
thought by many to be far from comprehensive as a Directory, but it is
suggestive and helpful, and, while true to the principles of
Presbyterian worship, it gives no evidence of disregard for the beauty
and appropriateness that should characterize the public services of the
Church.  Among books of Church order it is well worth study by those
who desire in worship to combine simplicity with dignity.

It is evident from these recent and simultaneous movements in so many
branches of the Presbyterian Church, that there exists a feeling on the
part of many that there is need of improvement in the important
department of worship in our public services.  It is probable that
there will be found few to deny this, or to confess absolute
satisfaction with the worship of the Church to-day.  The question on
which many will hold widely divergent opinions is as to the means to be
adopted for its improvement.  Some there are, as in the Church Service
Society, who advocate a prescribed liturgy for at least certain parts
of public worship; others, who desire a liturgy, but who are content to
leave to congregations or to ministers freedom to use it or to
disregard it; still others are loyal to the spirit of the age which
produced the Westminster Directory, while they are at the same time
willing to revise that work, which was found so serviceable to the
Church for so long a period, and so to render it more suitable to the
demands of our own age.

If a judgment may be formed from the movements that have just been
reviewed, it is probable that at least for some time to come, the
Presbyterian Church will continue to walk in the paths that have become
familiar through long usage.  The age, it is true, is past when
dictation on this matter, either favoring or condemning a liturgy,
would be suffered; and, therefore, it is to be expected that
congregations will exercise liberty in the matter.  Yet, so far as the
general sentiment of the Church is concerned, a sentiment that will
doubtless from time to time find expression in official declarations,
it appears evident that the preponderating feeling is still strongly in
favor of a voluntary worship, unrestricted even by suggested forms.


"A constant form is a certain way to bring the soul to a cold,
insensible, formal worship."--BAXTER.

Chapter X.


The foregoing brief review of public worship within those influential
sections of the Presbyterian Church whose attitude on this question has
been examined, affords a sufficient ground for the assertion that those
bodies have shown, until recently, a uniform and steadily growing
suspicion of a liturgical service, even in its most modified form.

The Book of Common Order, the first official service book adopted by
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for the regulation of
its worship, marked a distinct advance towards a freer form and greater
liberty on the part of the minister in conducting Divine service.  As
compared not only with the English Prayer Book of the time, which was
used in Reformed parishes in Scotland, but even with Calvin's order of
worship, which had been so generally adopted by the Reformed Churches
on the Continent, this Book of Common Order was characterized by a
spirit of larger liberty in worship and less reliance upon forms either
suggested or imposed.

In the period of struggle through which the Church of Scotland passed
in the reigns of James the First and Charles the First, the conflicts,
civil and religious, only served, so far as they had any effect upon
the views of the Church concerning worship, to strengthen the already
strong opposition to prescribed forms of prayer and to ritualistic
observances.  Accordingly, when it was proposed to substitute for the
Book of Common Order a Directory, in which there should appear no
prescribed forms for any part of public worship, the Scotch Assembly
gave a ready assent to the proposal, and, although some words of regret
at parting with an historic symbol were spoken at that time by leaders
in the Scottish Church, they were only such as it was natural to expect
should be spoken in view of the strong attachment for that symbol
fostered by its use during many years, but they were not such as
indicate that those who so spoke felt themselves called upon to
surrender any principle in laying aside the order to which they had
been so long accustomed.  Indeed the hearty and cheerful adoption by
the Scottish Assembly of the strongly worded preface to the Westminster
Directory, exposing as it does so vigorously the weakness as well as
the dangers resulting from the use of a liturgy in public worship,
plainly indicates that in the judgment of the Church of that day the
use of liturgical forms was not only not helpful, but was positively
perilous, as well to the best interests of the congregation as to the
most efficient service of the minister.

Again in a third epoch of the Church's history, in the days following
the "killing time," and marked by the succession to the throne of
William of Orange, and later by the union of England and Scotland, the
Presbyterian Church of the latter country not only reasserted her
loyalty to the principles of liberty in worship which she had so long
defended, but she also succeeded in having secured to her by
legislation, freedom from the imposition of ritualistic forms.

It is at least allowable to assert that the leaders in the Scottish
Church in the days of the Westminster Assembly and at the beginning of
the eighteenth century, regarded the perfect liberty in worship allowed
by the Directory not only as scriptural, but as suitable for the
attainment of the great ends of public worship, for on no other grounds
would they have consented to its adoption in Scotland.  And if
Presbyterians of to-day desire to imitate the spirit and methods of
their ancestors, it is reasonable that they should study the example of
the men of the second Reformation.  There is good ground for claiming
that in no period of the Church's history did it give evidence of a
deeper spiritual life and a more aggressive energy than in the age in
which those heroic spirits lived.  The leaders in that day also, such
men as Henderson, Gillespie, Rutherford and Baillie, understood the
spirit of Presbyterianism and the need of the Church quite as fully as
did any leaders of either an earlier or a later day.  It is not to be
forgotten that, in an age that produced men whose names must never be
omitted when the roll of Scotland's greatest sons is called, the
Presbyterian Church stood firmly for absolute liberty in worship from
prescribed forms.

It should, therefore, be considered by those who would have the Church
return to the bondage of forms or even to their optional use, that they
are advocating not a return to the practice of any former period in
which the Church was free to exercise its own desire in this matter,
but rather that they are urging her to a course that will be wholly
antagonistic to the spirit of Presbyterianism as indicated by the trend
of its practice during a stirring and eventful history of three hundred
years.  The spirit of Presbyterian worship has been consistently and
persistently non-liturgical and anti-ritualistic, and to advocate the
adoption of liturgy and ritual to-day is to depart completely from that
historic attitude.

A few words on the subject of liturgies in general may not
inappropriately close this sketch of the history of Presbyterian
worship since the Reformation.

It is now generally acknowledged that the introduction of liturgies
into the worship of the Christian Church was not earlier than the
latter part of the fourth century.  Not until the presbyter had become
a priest, and worship had degenerated into a function, did liturgies
find a place in Christian service.  Even the earliest Oriental
liturgies were sacramentaries, the Christian sacrifice being the
central object around which the entire service gathered.  So long as
the life of the Church was strong, and in its strength found delight in
a freedom of approach to God, so long the Apostolic practice was
followed and worship was unrestricted and simple.

During the middle ages, as religion became ever more formal and less
spiritual, as the priesthood deteriorated intellectually and
spiritually, liturgies flourished; and it is not too much to assert
that just in proportion to the growth of the liturgical service in any
Church, in that proportion the power of its ministry has declined.
Indeed the whole history of liturgies in their origin, development, and
effects, should make the Church that rejoices in freedom from their
binding forms most careful ere submitting in any degree to their
paralyzing influence.

It is argued in favor of the introduction of forms of prayer that their
use would tend to the more orderly and dignified conducting of public
worship by the minister.  It is not a difficult matter to take
exception to methods to which we have long been accustomed, and to
compare these, sometimes to their disadvantage, with ideal conditions.
As a matter of fact, however, it may in all fairness be asked, does
disorder or irreverence characterize Presbyterian worship in general,
or indeed to any noticeable extent?  Whatever lovers of another system,
within our own Church, may say, it cannot be denied that the impression
in the minds of men of all denominations (an impression that has not
gained strength without cause) is that, compared with the worship of
any other denomination, that of the Presbyterian Church is
characterized by reverence, dignity and order.  The conduct of any
average congregation in the Presbyterian Church, and the heartiness
with which its members join in every part of public worship will appear
at no disadvantage when compared with that of a congregation
worshipping with a ritual.  Whatever other blessings a liturgy may
secure for those devoted to its use, it has never been able to develop
in the Churches where it is employed a spirit and conduct in public
worship as reverent and devotional, and at the same time so marked by
understanding, as that which has uniformly characterized the
Presbyterian Church, and that Church would have to gain very much in
other directions to compensate for the opening of the door to the
formal and careless repetition of holy words so often associated with
the use of a liturgy.

It is further argued that congregations would, with the aid of a
liturgy, be enabled to take both a more lively and a more intelligent
part in public prayer than they can possibly do when endeavoring to
follow a minister who uses extempore prayer only.  This argument must
appear to be of considerable weight to those only who forget how
lifeless and unmeaning a mere form of words, with which the lips have
grown familiar, can become.  Paley frankly admitted, when treating of
this matter, that "the perpetual repetition of the same form of words
produces weariness and inattentiveness in the congregation."  There is
a danger that by carelessness in considering the needs of the
worshippers, and by diffusiveness, the minister may render the service
of prayer far less helpful than it should be to those whom it is his
privilege to lead to the throne of grace; but the cure for this is not
to be found in the introduction of stereotyped forms, which in the
nature of the case cannot be suitable for all occasions, but in a due
recognition by the minister of the greatness of the duty which he
assumes in speaking to God for the people.  Such a recognition will
lead him to seek that preparation of heart and mind necessary for its
helpful performance, nor will his consciousness of the need of help,
other than man can give, go unrecognized by the Father of Spirits, Who
in this matter also sends not His servants at their own charges.

As to the unity in prayer so much desired, true prayer is "in the
Spirit," and earnest worshippers have a right to expect that their
hearts will be united by that Spirit at the throne of grace, so that
"with one accord" they may present their petitions and claim the
promise to those who are thus agreed.  This is the true unity and
uniformity which Christians are bound to seek, and any mere mechanical
uniformity of words, apart from this, is but the outward trappings of
form which are much more liable to satisfy the careless worshipper than
to inspire in him any thought of the need of a more real approach to

Lastly, it is urged that the responsive reading of the Scriptures would
prove an aid to the intelligent understanding of them, and that the
repetition of the Creed or other such formulary of doctrine would serve
to preserve the Church in the soundness of the faith.

The refutation of the first statement is to be found in many
congregations where the practice has been tried, and in Sabbath Schools
in which the custom now prevails.  Many there are who will not read,
others who cannot, and these fail entirely to profit from the
unintelligible hum of a number of voices reading in what is often
anything but harmony either of sound or time; and those who do read,
frequently fail to receive that clear impression of the truth that
should result from the effective and sympathetic reading of an entire
passage.  Without dwelling on the question whether the reading of the
Scriptures is to be regarded as properly a ministerial act or not, on
the simple ground of efficiency, responsive reading in large and
constantly-changing congregations must frequently, if not generally,
prove a failure.

As regards the repetition of the Creed by the congregation, it is
certainly a question open for discussion whether or not the frequent
repetition of a formulary of doctrine is a safeguard to the faith of
the Church.  In this matter also we are not without the light of
experience and history; the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland and
America, which have never adopted any such practice, have certainly a
record with respect to soundness in the faith which compares favorably
with that of Churches which have for ages adopted this as a custom in
their worship.  It would not be difficult to mention Churches in which
the repetition of a formulary of doctrine has long been an established
question, and in which it is not apparent that the practice has
successfully served as a safeguard to doctrine.  Comparisons are
odious, and we do not desire to institute them, but as wise men we
should surely be guided by the light which history and experience in
the past throws forward upon the pathway that we are to travel.

The Presbyterian Church has a history which may with reason cause all
her children to thank God and take courage as they look forward on
greater works than those of past days yet to be accomplished.  Her past
is rich in noble deeds, valiant testimonies and stirring struggles for
the truth, and through it all she pressed forward rejoicing in a
liberty which is inseparable from the principles of Presbyterianism,
and one product of which has ever been an unwillingness to be trammeled
by forms in her approach to God.  That history is such as need cause no
Presbyterian to blush when it is related side by aide with that of any
other Church; surely they must be bold souls who would propose to
introduce a radical change into the genius of Presbyterianism, or to
relinquish principles which have led to such success, for others that
have yet to show an equal vitality and vigor.

Our free and untrammeled worship demands from the worshipper his best;
it brings him face to face with his God, and forbids him to rest in any
mere repetition of a familiar form; it requires of the minister a
preparation of both mind and soul, and challenges him to spiritual
conflict which he dare not refuse, while in addition to all this its
very freedom renders it adaptable to all the varying circumstances in
which in a land like our own the worship of God must be conducted.  It
is suitable alike to the stately city church and to the humble cabin of
the settler, or to the mission house of the far West; wherever men
assemble for worship it affords the possibility for seemly, orderly and
reverent procedure.  Is there any other form of worship suggested for
which as much can be said?

As long as the ministers of the Presbyterian Church are men of God,
recognizing His call to the sacred office of the ministry, and
believing that those whom He calls He equips with needed grace and
gifts for their work, so long will they be able to lead the
congregations to which they minister in worship that shall be at once
honoring to God and a help to the spiritual life of the people: when
they cease to be such men forms may become, not only expedient, but

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