Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/97

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government by paying taxes, by taking out excise licenses, by joining the volunteers, or by labouring on public works.[1] The number of these zealots went on diminishing till at length they were so thinly scattered over Scotland that they were nowhere numerous enough to have a meeting house, and were known by the name of the Nonhearers. They, however, still assembled and prayed in private dwellings, and still persisted in considering themselves as the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people, which, amidst the common degeneracy, alone preserved the faith of a better age. It is by no means improbable that this superstition, the most irrational and the most unsocial into which Protestant Christianity has ever been corrupted by human prejudices and passions, may still linger in a few obscure farmhouses.

The King was but half satisfied with the manner in which the ecclesiastical polity of Scotland had been settled. He thought that the Episcopalians had been hardly used; and he apprehended that they might be still more hardly used when the new system was fully organized. He had been very desirous that the Act which established the Presbyterian Church should be accompanied by an Act allowing persons who were not members of that Church to hold their own religious assemblies freely; and he had particularly directed Melville to look to

  1. An enthusiast, named George Calderwood, in his preface to a Collection of Dying Testimonies, published in 1806, accuses even the Reformed Presbytery of scandalous compliances. "As for the Reformed Presbytery," he says, "though they profess to own the martyr's testimony in hairs and hoofs, yet they have now adopted so many new distinctions, and given up their old ones, that they have made it so evident that it is neither the martyr's testimony nor yet the one that that Presbytery adopted at first that they are now maintaining. When the Reformed Presbytery was in its infancy, and had some appearance of honesty and faithfulness among them, they were blamed by all the other parties for using of distinctions that no man could justify, i.e. they would not admit into their communion those that paid the land tax or subscribed tacks to do so; but now they can admit into their communions both rulers and members who voluntarily pay all taxes and subscribe tacks." … "It shall be only referred to government's books, since the commencement of the French war, how many of their own members have accepted of places of trust, to be at government's call, such as bearers of arms, driving of cattle, stopping of ways, &c.; and what is all their license for trading by sea or land but a serving under government?" The doctrines of those more moderate nonjurors who call themselves Reformed Presbyterian Church have been recently set forth in a Prize Catechism by the Reverend Thomas Martin.