Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ministers Behaving Badly: A text for a king

James I of England and VI of Scotland was a strange man. Pearson M’Adam Muir states that:
“He was a strange compound of wisdom and folly, of vacillation and obstinacy, of learning and prejudice, of self-assertion and timidity. Even the tutorship of George Buchanan could not make more of him than a pedant. During his reign many events of the utmost importance for the kingdoms and the churches both of Scotland and of England took place - some for good, some for evil; but whatever part the king took in them he invariably contrived to be ridiculous. At one time he was strongly Presbyterian: “He fell forth praising God that he was born… to such a place and to be king in such a Kirk, the sincerest Kirk in the world… As for our neighbour Kirk in England, it is an evil-said mass in English, wanting nothing but the liftings.” At another time he was strongly Episcopalian: “No bishop, no king.” The controversies which sometimes occurred in church between him and the preachers to whom he was listening fill us with amazement. Whatever can be said as to the reverence, there can be no doubt as to the appropriateness of the text which, according to tradition, was once announced in his presence: ‘James First and Sixth: He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.’”
(The Church of Scotland (London, Adam and Charles Black, 1891) Pp. 87-88)



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