You are my husband, but never more shall you be minister of mine!

In 1747, the Associate Presbytery (Seceder Church) in Scotland, which had formed in 14 years prior, divided over the Burgher Oath (an oath required for those taking the office of burgess in Scotland). The Anti-Burgher faction excommunicated the brothers Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, who key players in the formation of the Associate Presbytery. Ebenezer’s daughter was married to an Anti-Burgher minister:

In the case of both brothers there was the added bitterness of family dissension. Ebenezer’s favourite daughter, ‘Ailie,’ was married to a Secession minister, James Scott of Gateshaw, who sided with the Anti-burghers. With true chivalry Ebenezer refrained from increasing his daughter’s perplexity, but she decided between her father and her husband with admirable precision. When her husband returned from the Synod which excommunicated the Erskines, she met him at the manse-door with an anxious look. He came with bent head and in evident distress. ‘Well?’ she said. He was silent. She followed him into his study and repeated her query—’Well?’ After a long pause he replied, ‘We have excommunicated them.’ You have excommunicated my father and my uncle! You are my husband, but never more shall you be minister of mine.’ She kept her word, and joined the Burgher congregation at Jedburgh. It is to her husband’s credit that he showed no resentment, and every Sunday morning mounted her on his pony, that she might ride to Jedburgh to profit by ministrations which preserved the loved traditions of the Portmoak Manse.

Quoted from The Erskines by Alexander Robertson MacEwen


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