George Taylor Shillito Farquhar.

The episcopal history of Perth, 1689-1894 online

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Online LibraryGeorge Taylor Shillito FarquharThe episcopal history of Perth, 1689-1894 → online text (page 1 of 29)
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Rev. GEO. T. S. FARQUHAR, M.A., Oxon.



From the Family

History Library

" Through many griafs her upivard path ha.f lain."



PERTH : JAMES H. JACKSON, 20 High Street



V^ Printed at Jackson's Printing Works, Perth.


Behold huic Israel, driven from the shore.
Moves doion into th' embraces of the sea .'
Though striving from affliction thus to flee.

Yon weltering flood must whelm them evermore !

But look ! despite the billows' threatening roar,
Its curse is silenced by Divine decree :
Tivecn lapsing wcdls the tribesmen still go free,

Trusting to Heaven for that which lies before.
Church of the Fair City, it is thou !
Thee would the ivaves have buried until now !

Yet, since our God so feir has cleft a way

Through thy long woes, faith tells me thou wilt stand,
Ere edl be done, upon the further strand.

And chant ivith Miriam thine exulting lay!

G. T. S. F.


In 1887, -when there was no longer any doubt that
the nave of Perth Cathedral would be erected, it
occurred to me that a leaflet containing some account
of the past of the institution might be useful in the
interests of the building fund. The frequent discovery,
however, of new material, combined with the incessant
calls of pastoral work, constantly delayed me and
changed the character of my undertaking. Had it not
been that my position, as member of a Cathedral
staff, sets me free from the overwhelmingly arduous
duty of preaching two sermons every Sunday to the
same congregation, my attempt would probably have
come to nothing. As it is, the reader has the result
now before him in the present volume.

My object has simply been to do what has never
been attempted before, viz. :- — to bring to light the
full Truth concerning the History of the Church in
Perth during the last two centuries, or somewhat

It may indeed be argued by some that, as the
Truth in this case proves to be of so troubled a
character, it would have been better to leave it in its
former obscurity ; but my idea is this : that on all
occasions (and, therefore, in the present instance), the
Truth is the best foundation on which to build. It
has its own sure way, sooner or later, of rewarding its
followers. We cannot altogether say how, in the matter
here dealt with, it will do so ; but that such will
ultimately be the case, we are confident. This

Episcopal History of Perth.

much at least is clear, that, if there is something-
in the record to humble us (and that itself may not
be a bad thing), there is also something to enlighten
us. We now see that, if we have failed, since the
Revolution, to carry a great proportion of the popula-
tion with us in this place, the reason has not been
that our principles have been unimpededly before the
public, and nevertheless rejected by them, but that (if
we may use a somewhat heathenish phrase) they have
never been allowed a fair chance. For more than 100
years (1689-1792) penal laws— subtly designed at once
to depress Scottish Episcopacy and to encourage the so-
called "English" schism — were in force against us. Then,
after all excuse was taken away from that division
by our acceptance of the "powers that were" in
1788, hidden foes of the Church continued it here till
1846 ; and when at last our flock was revived in the
City, in the latter year, it happened to be at the
most distracting crisis of the Oxfox-d movement — i.e.,
the year after Newman's secession. Thus (if we may
risk an Irish bull) there have always been exc€2ytional
difficulties, not arising from our essential principles, in
the Church's way in Perth ; and, therefore, the very
manifestation of these caiises of depression is a ground
of hope for the future. It is reasonable to expect that a
time will come — (it has come) — when there are no excep-
tional difficulties, either of external persecution or of
internal dissension, to hinder us. And other benefits,
such as the force of the noble examples of faithfulness
here recorded, must arise from the relation of the Truth
concerning our past.

However, it may be thought that, excellent as my
aim is, I have developed it at too great length. Since
my subject only concerns a handful of people in a


Scottish town of secondary importance, it is here
treated with excessive fuhiess. But is there no force
in the following consideration ? Undoubtedly the bio-
graphy of a single individual is an interesting form of
literature. So also is the history of a nation. But it
does not seem to me to follow that therefore every-
thing that lies between an individual biography and a
national history must be uninteresting. On the con-
trary, it appears that an account of the fortunes of a
society, such as a congregation, will have its own
attraction too. It will be surel}' all the more so, if it be
given not merely in skeleton outline, but enriched with
local, personal, and contemporary touches, which
inevitably demand a certain amount of space. I hope
that thus the student of our common nature, as well
as the Scottish Churchman, may find some points of
interest here. This would justify the writing of the
history of any congregation at some length, and it
ought certainly to do so in the case of a narrative,
which, like the following, deals with events exhibiting
anything but a monotonous character.

Once more. Some of those, who agree with me so
far and allow that the Truth on this subject was
worth telling and telling at some length, may still
object that I have not unfolded it on strictly un-
denominational lines. I plead guilty to this charge.
I have to confess that undenominationalism utterly
fails both to win my affections and to satisfy my
mind. I believe, on the contrary, that those beliefs,
which, in this country, are in popular phraseology
known as Episcopalianism, are Orthodox, and therefore
Catholic. And so, while admitting that the following-
narrative is not written from an undenominational
stand-point, but from that of the system, which I

Episcopal History of Perth.

believe to be true, I avow that I consider this to be
not a fault but a merit.

A last objection, which may be brought against
me, is this : that, because T am a Churchman, therefore
I have written uncharitably of those, who adhere to
diflFerent systems. Now, as Churchmanship consists of
the acceptance, not only of the Apostolical Ministry
foimded by Christ in the days of His Flesh, but also
of the things committed to the charge of that Ministry,
such as the Commandment of Love, it follows that, so
far as I have departed from Charity, in that degree
have I departed from Churchmanship. It is I, not
the Chiirch, that must thus bear the blame of any
unkindness, which may appear in these pages. But I
earnestly hope there is none. Certainly I have striven
hard so to write as to do justice to every one's
motives. Where the facts, indeed, appear to me to
establish an unfavourable case, I have not scrupled to
state my opinion. But then, I hope, these conclusions
have been reached not through way of prejudice, but
through processes of reason ; and I am open to
correction. But wherever there is something to be
said on both sides, I trust that I have allowed it,
and, if virtue has appeared anywhere, I shall be

Online LibraryGeorge Taylor Shillito FarquharThe episcopal history of Perth, 1689-1894 → online text (page 1 of 29)