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INTRODUCTION.

The Liturgy prepared under King Charles I. for the use of the Church of Scotland, and read once only, and in memorable-even epoch-making-circumstances, in the Cathedral Church of S. Giles at Edinburgh on the Seventh Sunday after Trinity (2 3rd July), 1637, is a book that has been spoken against.

Its very name, by which it is commonly called, “Laud's Liturgy' -a misnomer, as we shall see (for its most distinctive features were due to two Scottish bishops), but a misnomer foisted on it with a hostile purpose-has been sufficient in many quarters to secure its condemnation. Its opponents, when it was issued, were not sparing either in scathing criticism or abusive epithets. Row strung them all together, calling it a “Popish-English-Scottish-MassService Book.” In modern times we find it derided by certain Roman Catholics as "a fancy Liturgy," and denounced by certain Presbyterians—including some who have confessed that they had never read it-as

“almost Popish.” It has been over and over again described as "the prime cause” of the Great Rebellion, in the course of which both King Charles I. and Archbishop Laud were to perish on the

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scaffold, which was to deluge in blood three kingdoms, and overthrow for a season alike their constitution and their liberties. The taunt is an old one, but it is unquestionably an exaggeration. When in 1640 the Scots Commissioners" challenged the Prelate of Canterbury” as “the prime cause on earth” (they said nothing explicitly of an agent under the earth, at whose prompting they evidently believed the Primate acted) of “the novations in religion " which "are known," they said, “to be the

” true cause of our present troubles,” Laud answered 1 that “these commotions had another and higher cause than the pretended innovations," and mentioned, in particular, the affair of Lord Balmerino, “grievances,' as they said, 'propounded in the Convention, an. 1628,' about coining and their black money, murmuring also as if the 'Articles and Parliament were not free'; great clamour against the Bishops' power in choosing the Lords of the Articles’; though that power belonged unto them by the fundamental laws of that kingdom. As much against the Act of Revocations, and the taxations (which yet were voluntarily offered, and miscalled on purpose to edge the people), as also 'applying,' as they said, “these taxations to wrong uses’; with all which, and more, religion ? had nothing to do. ... Besides, they are no fools who have spoken it freely (since the Act of Oblivion for the Scottish business

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1 Laud's Works, Lib. of Anglo-Catholic Theology, vol. iii. p. 299.

2 The word “religion” is here used in its old English use, as meaning “form of worship.” In this meaning it is familiar to the student of the ecclesiastical history of England in the reigns of Mary I. and Elizabeth : there is an example of it in the Bible, in S. James i. 27, where the meaning is "pure worship and undefiled.”

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