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class should betake themselves to honest labour under penalties which, in cases of obduracy, amounted to death; but, as employment was not provided even for those who might be willing to undertake it, the endlessly reiterated statute remained a dead letter in both its branches. The sturdy beggar continued to pursue his avocation, and magistrates were too soft-hearted to enforce the last terrors of the law. Enlightened thinkers and statesmen had become convinced, therefore, that, if able-bodied beggars were to be made to work, occupation must be provided for them. In certain flourishing German towns a serious attempt had been made to realise this reform, but it was only in wealthy communities that it could be carried out with any degree of success. Even in England it was not till the year 1576 that Parlia. ment enacted that every city and town should provide employment for the able-bodied
within its bounds. In the case of Scotland, the towns of which with difficulty maintained their walls of defence, the obstacles in the way of such a reform are the sufficient explanation of its tardiness in adopting it. Not till the year 1597 do we come upon a Scottish statute which specifically declares that "strong beggars and their bairns be employed in common works "23 -a prescription, however, which fell far short of the Act of Elizabeth. Another clause of the English Act of 1576 had ordained that a House of Correction should be
set up in a convenient place in every shire, and that these houses should be provided with the means of employment for their inmates. Of such houses in Scotland, as far as national legislation is concerned, we hear nothing in the time of Mary, and it was not till as late as 1633 that the necessity of providing them received the consideration of the Scottish Parliament. 24
From this brief survey it will be seen that as in the case of trade, so in the case of the treatment the poor, our countrymen in the time of Mary were fully alive to what was being thought and done in more prosperous communities. Such reforms as were within their power were readily adopted, but the nation as a whole was too limited in its resources to give effect to reforms which taxed the means even of the wealthiest cities of the Continent.
It was said at the beginning of these lectures that the theological preoccupations of the reign of Mary would be passed over as a subject inappropriate to the present occasion. The Scottish Reformation, however, is so central and allimportant an event in the national history, that a few words regarding its general significance may fitly conclude our survey of the period.
Whatever judgment we form regarding the Scottish Reformation or of the persons who were mainly responsible for it, it was at least a fundamental fact in the spiritual history of the nation.
It was in the struggle between the old and the new religions that a national life in a real sense first began in Scotland. Previous to the great religious conflict, there never was an issue before the Scottish people that went deep enough to elicit the conflicting instincts and tendencies which must be awakened before what we call a nation becomes possible. The War of Independence evoked and perpetuated a sentiment which greatly contributed to the formation of a national sentiment, but in the fourteenth century the Scottish people had not attained a stage of development when great formative influences could exercise their full effect. At the Reformation an issue was presented which the public mind was mature enough to comprehend, and which was of a nature to draw forth the inherent contrarieties of thought and feeling which divide man from man. The cleavage of opinion was doubtless partly due to local, personal, and selfish interests, but in the main the division in the nation was produced by causes deeper than mere temporary circumstance.
It was by natural predisposition that one section of Mary's subjects opposed the new religious doctrines and that another section gave them a ready welcome. For the first time in the national history two types of mind and temperament were brought face to face with an issue that was fitted to differentiate them, and the result was the birth of national life. Above all questions of religion and politics we recognise this to have been the supreme result of the Scottish Reformation.
Though the Reformation first gave birth to a genuine national life, however, it does not follow, as is usually affirmed, that it determined the national type of character. If there is one thing that history proves, it is that a nation imposes its own character on the religion which it adopts. The different fortunes of Latin and Greek Christianity are one long illustration of the fact. Embraced by the energetic peoples of Western Europe, Latin Christianity became the mighty organisation that dominated society throughout the Middle Ages, while the Christianity of the East has the squalid history which we know. If we take the case of individual nations, we are led to the same conclusion. The Catholicism of Spain is something entirely different from the Catholicism of France; and Italy has likewise a religious type of its own.
In each case it is the genius of the nation that gives its specific character to the religion which it adopts. In the case of Scotland there is no reason why the same general law should not apply. In the centuries that preceded the Reformation the affinities and aptitudes of its component peoples were fashioned by forces which we vaguely ascribe to physiological and climatic conditions, but which it is beyond human penetration to analyse and explain. When the Reformation created a conscious national life, it but evoked to vigorous life the latent powers and sympathies which in reality had been the slow growth of previous ages.
A momentous experience may modify the character of the individual, but it does not radically change it; and history shows that this is equally true of a nation. Whatever may be the idiosyncrasies of the Scottish people, therefore, we can hardly attribute them to one event, however far-reaching in its issues. The Reformation supplied the special class of questions in which the nation found its chief concern, but it did not determine the spirit in which these questions were regarded. For the Frenchman the highest man can conceive became his bon Dieu ; and for the Scottish Presbyterian the Thunderer of Mount Sinai; and, in each case, the conception was the result of a national character which had been slowly formed in the womb of time. While to the Reformation, therefore, we must ascribe the immense service of awakening the Scottish nation to a conscious life and a sense of its own destinies, it would be inconsistent with the evidence of history to say that we equally owe to it our type of national character.
Thus it was in the destinies of the Scottish people that religion should be the means through which they should become a self-conscious nation, but other peoples, it deserves to be noted, attained the same result by other paths and by different means. In the case of England it was in the