11 DECEMBER 1841, Page 13


AMONG other matters in which the Church of Scotland retains a greater resemblance to the Church of Rome than most other Pro- testant lommunions, is the stress it lays upon external acts of penance and mortification as a means of compensation for sin. At least we cannot at this moment recollect any Protestant church which has so perseveringly endeavoured to force upon its frail votaries a public appearance in the congregation in a place specially allotted to penitents. Sciolists in the study of Scottish manners have erroneously conceived that the in-doors pillory, vulgarly known by the name of " the cutty-stool," is reserved exclusively for the benefit of those who have " loved, not wisely, but too well." It has, however, been frequently rendered available for the expiation of other classes of offences. In most records of Pres- byteries and Kirk-Sessions, instances may be found in which even substantial landowners, or their wives, have been forced to mount the stool for being present at the celebration of mass, or even for consorting in taverns with " notour malignants." One occasion is mentioned, in the books of the Presbytery of Dumfries, when this punishment was inflicted, not undeservedly, upon the wives of two dignitaries of the town who had literally pulled caps in church be- fore the assembled congregation, for the seat of honour. These, it will be said, are obsolete cases ; but an inclination appears to exist to revive the process. An attempt was made a few weeks ago by some of the more zealous brethren to get the public reading-room at Glas- gow shut up during the hours of Divine service : the committee of management complied, but the subscribers rebelled, and, by a re- solution passed at a public meeting, forced their managers to rescind the obnoxious resolution. The Presbytery of Glasgow having taken up the subject at their last meeting, "Dr. SMYTH called attention to the efforts that were making to keep open the Royal Exchange on the Sabbath : Dr. RuenANAN suggested that this question should be remitted to the Committee of Sabbath Observance : Mr. Boasts of Kilsyth recommended that certain members of the Church, and at least one elder, whose names he observed in the requisition, should be subjected to discipline by their Kirk-Sessions." This hint it is devoutly to be hoped will be acted upon. It is clear from the daring opposition offered by the present Justice Clerk (who is an elder) to the authority of the Church, as well as by the Lord Pre- sident and others, that the bands of discipline have been unduly relaxed. The delinquents must be made to mount "the cutty- stool " in a body before they are again admitted to church pri- vileges. Lord ABERDEEN too might be made' to join : surely the descendants of those who " rebuked " a crowned head in the person of CHARLES the Second will not quail before a mere Foreign Secretary. Mr. Buena has already figured in one set of " revivals" ; but this revival of discipline will be far more striking. "Four- and-twenty grandees all in a row "—Peers, Judges of the Court of Session, &c., all standing demurely in front of the pulpit to be re- buked by the officiating minister in the face of the congregation ! With all its disregard of external pomp, the humility of the Kirk resembles more the humility of the Cynics than seems to befit Christian men. " I trample upon the pride of Plato," said the dirty Diogenes, jumping upon a neat sofa belonging to the latter : " with more pride," quietly added the polite founder of the Aca- demy.