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ments for disseminating such principles as were favourable to the corrupt measures then carrying on.
Mr Henderson being then a young man, and ambitious of preferment, became a warm advocate for the new measures. Though the authority is not the best, yet there is reason to think that what Bishop Guthrie says of him is not without foundation, that "being Professor of Philosophy in St Andrews, he did, at the Laureation of his class, choose Archbishop Gladstanes for his patron, with a very flattering dedication, for which he had the Kirk of Leuchars given him shortly after." This may assist us in determining the time at which Mr Henderson entered into the ministry. As he received the parish through the patronage of Archbishop Gladstanes, and as that prelate died in 1615, he must have entered on or before that year. His settlement at Leuchars, procured in the manner above mentioned, was unpopular to such a degree, that on the day of his ordination, the people secured the church-doors, and the ministers who attended, together with the presentee, were obliged to break in by the window. When a sober people discover such violent symptoms of dissatisfaction with a minister, there is reason to conclude that there is something wrong either with the candidate, or the manner of his introduction among them. In the present instance there were both. For the person who was appointed to take the oversight of them, not only was known to be a defender of those corruptions to which the great body of the people in Scotland were averse, but discovered little or no regard to the spiritual interests of the flock upon whom he had been obtruded. A most unhappy connection, which it is probable would only have continued until his interest had procured
him a change to a better living, had not every ground of dissatisfaction between him and his people been removed, and a foundation of lasting comfort between them laid in the merciful ordination of God. Mr Henderson had not continued long in Leuchars, when an important change was effected on the state of his mind, a change which had an influence upon the whole of his future conduct.
About this time, that truly great man, Mr Robert Bruce, who had been banished from Edinburgh for refusing to comply with a mandate from the Court respecting the Gowrie conspiracy, and was driven from one part of the country to another, through the fears entertained from his opposition to the measures of the Court and bishops, had obtained liberty to return from Inverness, the place of his restraint. This interval of freedom he improved by preaching at different places to which he had access, and was followed by crowds, whom his piety, his talents, and his sufferings, drew together to hear him, particularly on fastdays and at communions. Hearing of a communion in the neighbourhood, at which Mr Bruce was expected to assist, Mr Henderson, attracted by his fame, or from some other motive, went thither secretly, and placed himself in a dark corner of the church, where he would remain most concealed. Mr Bruce came into the pulpit, and after a pause, according to his usual manner, which fixed Mr Henderson's attention on him, he read, with his accustomed emphasis and deliberation, these words as his text, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold, but climbeth up some other way, the
same is A THIEF AND A ROBBER."
Words so descriptive of the character of an intruder, and so literally
applicable to the manner in which he entered upon his ministry at Leuchars, went like "drawn swords" to the heart of Mr Henderson. He who wished to conceal himself from all, felt that he was naked and opened to the word of God, the secrets of his heart were made manifest, his conscience convicted, and, yielding to the force of divine truth, "he worshipped God, and, going away, reported, that God was of a truth" in those whose ways were so opposite to his own. In one word, the discourse of that powerful preacher on this occasion, was, by the Divine blessing, the means of Mr Henderson's conversion. Ever after he retained a great affection for his spiritual father, Mr Bruce, and used to make mention of him with marks of the highest respect.
We need not doubt that Mr Henderson's change of mind would soon discover itself in his conduct, and that he would strive by all means in his power to promote the edification of the people of his charge, and to remove the offence which he had caused by the manner of his first entrance among them. Let us hear himself speaking on this subject, in his address to his brethren in the famous Assembly at Glasgow, more than twenty years after the period of which we now speak. "There are divers among us that have had no such warrant for our entry to the ministry, as were to be wished. Alas! how many of us have rather sought the kirk, than the kirk sought us! How many have rather gotten the kirk given to them, than they have been given to the kirk for the good thereof! And yet there must be a great difference put between these that have lived many years in an unlawful office, without warrant of God, and therefore must be abominable in the sight of God, and those
who in some respects have entered unlawfully, and with an ill conscience, and afterwards have come to see the evil of this, and to do what in them lies to repair the injury. The one is like a marriage altogether unlawful, and null in itself; the other is like a marriage in some respects unlawful and inexpedient, but that may be mended by the diligence and fidelity of the parties in doing their duty afterwards; so should it be with us who entered lately into the calling of the ministry. If there were any faults or wrong steps in our entry, (as who of us are free?) acknowledge the Lord's calling of us, if we have since got a seal from Heaven of our ministry, and let us labour with diligence and faithfulness in our office."
A concern about personal religion, and the salvation of the souls of men, has often led to a concern about the prerogatives of the King of Zion, as connected with the external government of his Church. This was exemplified in Mr Henderson. He began to look upon the courses of the prevailing party in the Church of Scotland with a different eye from what he had done formerly, when he was guided by a worldly spirit, and by views of ambition. Their tendency he perceived to be injurious to the interests of practical religion. He, however, judged it proper to give the existing controversy a deliberate investigation, the result of which was, that he found Episcopacy to be equally unauthorised by the Word of God, and inconsistent with the reformed constitution of the Church of Scotland.
He did not long want an opportunity of publicly declaring his change of views, and of appearing on the side of that cause which he had hitherto discountenanced. From the time that the prelatic govern
ment had first been obtruded upon the Church of Scotland, a plan had been laid to conform her worship also to the English model. After various preparatory steps, an Assembly was suddenly indicted at Perth, in the year 1618, in which, by the most undue influence, a number of superstitious innovations were authorised. Among those ministers who had the courage to oppose these innovations, and who argued against them with great force of truth, but without success, we find the name of Mr Alexander Henderson of Leuchars. It is remarkable, that it was proposed in this Assembly, that he and his friend, Mr William Scot of Coupar, should be translated to Edinburgh. This proposal, there is the best reason for supposing, was made with the view of soothing the inhabitants of that city, and of procuring a more ready submission to the other acts of that Assembly, without any serious intention of settling these able advocates for nonconformity in that station. "The bishops," says Calderwood, "meant no such thing in earnest.' But the proposal testifies the esteem in which Mr Henderson was held, even at that early period, by the faithful part of the Church of Scotland, unto whom he had lately adjoined himself.
In the month of August 1619, Mr Henderson and two other ministers were called before the Court of High Commission in St Andrews, charged with composing and publishing a book, entitled "Perth Assembly," proving the nullity of that Assembly, and with raising a contribution to defray the expense of printing the work. They appeared, and answered for themselves with such wisdom, that the bishops could gain no advantage against them, and were obliged to dismiss them with threatenings. Both be