Edinburgh Bookshelf

Edinburgh Past and Present


Volume 11 Page 64
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THE OLD TOWN. 41 1845, Old Greyfriars Church was restored and reopened in 1857. What a strange and varied history it has gone through!--'not a church, but a caravanserai.' Here, after a sermon by Alexander Henderson of Leucbars in 1663, the Solemn League and Covenant was signed, laid out on a gravestone, the parchment at length failing them, and many of the signatures being written STONE ON WHICH TAB COVENANT WAS SIGNED. in blood ! (In the Engraving the stone is enclosedaithin' the railing, and a glimpse of light rests on it.) Here'"Dr>Robertson the historian rolled along his splendid sentences in the morning, and Dr. John Erskine in the afternoon pierced and scattered them by hii Presbyterian dagger ! the one contending that virtue, were she coming to earth in human form, would be adored ; the other announcing that sheshad come in the person of Christ, and had been crucified and slain. Here Dr. Robert Lee, a reformer too, in his own way, discerning perhaps his time as well as Henderson did his, introduced an organ and a liturgy, and struck a chord of innovation which his successor, the sagacious and daring Wallace-now Editor of the Scofsman-boIdIy and successfully followed. The Greyfriars Churchyard stands on the ruins of the Franciscan Monastery, and strange it was that the first man of note buried in it should be George Buchanan, the scourge of the Franciscans as well as of the other orders of monks-described by Miiton as 'white, black, and grey, With all their trumpery.' Buchanan's funeral was attended by a 'great company of the faithful,' and, standing near a small tablet erected to his memory by a working blacksmith-his only monument here,-let us recall for an instant into honourable remembrance the greatest of Scottish Latin scholars and not the least of Scottish poets, the noble, brave-hearted, outspoken, manly, and eloquent F
Volume 11 Page 65
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