Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.
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The General Assembly holden at Perth the 25 of August 1618: Where, for obedience to His Majesties Proclamation, and particular Missiues, the following persons conveened. (fn. 1)
His Majesties Commissioners, My Lord Binning Secretary, Lord Scoone, Lord Carnegie; their Assessors, Sir Gideon Murray, Treasurer Deput, Sir Andrew Kerr of Fernihirst, Captain of the Guard, Sir William Oliphant, the Kings Advocat, and Sir William Livingstoun of Kilsyth: Noblemen, the Erle of Lothian, Lord Vchiltrie, Lord Sanquhar, Lord Boyd: Barones, Wauchtoun, Lutquharn, Glenurquhart younger, Clunie-Gordoun, Bonytoun-Wood, Weemes, Balvaird, Balconie, Balcarras, Balmanno, Bombie, Blackbarronrie, Lagg: Burgesses, for Edinburgh, David Aikenhead, George Foules; for Perth, James Aedie, Constant Malice; for Dundie, Mr Alexander Wedderburn younger, Robert Clayhills; for Aberdeen, Mr John Mortimer; for Stirline, Christopher Alexander; for Sanct Andrewes, John Knox, Thomas Lentron; for the Universitie of Sanct Andrewes, Doctor Bruce; Bishops, all except Argile and Isles; Ministers, Commissioners from Presbytries.
In the morning, Patrick Bishop of Aberdeen preached a sermon upon Ezra vii. 23. Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons. The other sermon at ten hours was preached be John Archbishop of Sanct Andrewes, in the Little Church, on I Cor. xi. 16. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
The Sermon ended, the Archbishop of Sanct Andrewes came to the Table, at which his Majesties Commissioners, Noblemen, and other members of the Assembly, were sitting, and placed himself at the head of the table, in the Moderators chair beside his Majesties Commissioner.
After prayer, the Archbishop calling for the ordinarie Clerke of the Assembly, was answered, That Master Thomas Nicholson, who formerly served the Church in that place, had demitted his office in favour of Master James Sandelands Aduocate: This he notisied to the Assembly, as that which he had vnderstood before, and shewed that the said Master James was a man sufficiently qualisied for the place, of good report, and one that by his education and pleading might further the particular businesse of Ministers before the Session. He desired the Assembly to consider what was fittest to bee done, and aduise whether they would receiue the said Master James in the others place or not: The voyces of his Maiesties Commissioners, the Noblemen, Bishops, and diuers of the Ministers being asked, they all without exception agreed to his receiving. And the said Master James being recalled (for while the voyces were asked, he was remoued) had an oath ministred vnto him, for his diligent and faithful discharge of that seruice.
The said Master James Sandelands being admitted, command was giuen to all that had interesse in the said Assembly, to giue in their commissions to him before the next sitting; and nomination was made of certayn for the Conference, according to the order kept in other Assemblies; in which besides the Bishops, Noblemen, Barons, and Commissioners of Burrowes, the most wife and learned of the Ministrie were named indifferently, without any respect had of their opinions and priuate inclinations.
At this time it was moued by Mr George Grier, Minister at Hadingtoun, That the libertie of the Church might bee kept in the choosing of a Moderator; which the Archbishop of Sanct Andrewes repressed, saying to the proponer, That he did not expect him to be a trowbler of the Church, and the businesse thereof; and that the Assembly was met within the bounds of his charge, wherein so long as he serued, he trusted none would usurp; at which he kept silence: and streight wayes arose another, who asked whether all the Noblemen and Barons present should have voyce, or not, and if the whole Ministers that were met there, should haue voyces also: The Archbishop of Sanct Andrewes answered, that the order obserued in former Assemblies should here be kept, and no Ministers have voyce that lacked a commission: But as for Noblemen, and Barons who were come thither vpon his Majesties missiues, he trusted none there would denie them voyce, specially since in the Assembly that proceeded at Sanct Andrewes, it was one of the reasons they made for differring the conclusions of matters, That none of the Noblemen, or Barons were then present to assist the proceedings of the Church.
It was desired also, that the Articles to bee entreated, might bee extended in such forme, as his Maiestie desired them to passe, and that some might be set apart to collect the reasons that should be proponed, for, or against the Articles, that the whole Assembly might have the cleerer information. To this it was answered, that the Conference was to consider of these things, and what might serue best to prepare matters for the whole Assembly.
Right reuerend Fathers in God, Right trustie Cousins, and Counsellors, and others our trustie and welbeloued subjects, We greet you well: Wee were once fully resolued, neuer in our time, to haue called any moe Assemblies there, for ordering things concerning the policie of the Church, by reason of the disgrace offered vnto Us in that late meeting at Sanct Andrewes, wherein Our just and godly desires were not onely neglected, but some of the Articles concluded in that scornfull and ridiculous forme, as we wish they had been refusted rather with the rest: Although at this time We suffered ourselfe to be intreated by you our Bishops, for a new Conuocation, and have called you together, who are now conuened for the selfe same businesse which then was vrged; hoping assuredly, that you will haue some better regard of our desires, and not permit the unruly and ignorant multitude, after their wonted custome, to ouersway the better and more judicious sort; and euill which we have gone about with much paines to haue amended in these Assemblies, and for which purpose according to Gods ordinance, and the constant practise of all well gouerned Churches in all ages, Wee have placed you that are Bishops and ouerseers of the rest in the chiefest roomes. You plead much, Wee perceiue, to haue matters done by consent of the Ministers, and tell Us often, that what concernes the Church in generall, should be concluded by the aduise of the whole, neither doe Wee altogether dislike your purpose: for the greater consent there is amongst your selues, the greater is Our contentment. But Wee will not have you to thinke, that matters proponed by Us of that nature, whereof these Articles are, may not without such a generall consent be enjoyned by Our authoritie: This were a misknowing of your places, and withall a disclayming of that innate power, which We haue by our calling from God, by the which Wee haue place to dispose of things externall in the Church, as Wee shall thinke them to be conuenient, and profitable for aduancing true Religion amongst our Subiects. Therefore let it be your care by all manner of wife and discreete perswasions to induce them to an obedient yeelding vnto these things, as in dutie both to God, and Vs, they are bound: And doe not thinke, that We will be satisfied with refuses, or delayes, or mitigations; and We know not what other shifts have beene proponed: for Wee will content Ourselues with nothing, but with a simple and direct acceptation of these Articles in the forme by Vs sent vnto you, now a long time past; considering both the lawfulnesse, and vndeniable conueniencie of them for the better furthering of pietie and religion amongst you. And it should have rather becommed you, to have begged the establishment of such things of Vs, then that Wee should thus neede to be put to vrge the practise of them vpon you. These matters indeede concerneth you of the Ecclesiasticall charge chiefly. Neyther would Wee haue called Noblemen, Barons, and others of our good Subiects, to the determining of them, but that Wee vnderstand, the offence of our people hath beene so much obiected; wherein you must beare with Vs to say, That no Kingdome doth breed, or hath at this time, more louing, dutifull, and obedient subiects, then Wee haue in that our native Kingdome of Scotland; and so if any disposition hath appeared to the contrarie, in any of them, the same We hold to have proceeded from amongst you: Albeit of all forts of men, yee are they, that both of duetie were bound, and by particular benefits obliged, to have continued yourselues, and by your sound doctrine and exemplarie life, kept others in a reuerend obedience to our commandements. What, and how many abuses were offered Vs by many of the Ministrie there, before our happie comming to this Crowne, though we can hardly quite forget, yet We little like to remember. Neither thinke We, that any Prince liuing could haue kept him selfe from falling in vtter dislike with the Prosession it selfe, considering the many prouocations that were giuen vnto Vs; but the loue of God and his truth still vpheld Vs; and will by his grace so doe vnto the end of our life: Our patience alwayes in forgetting, and forgiuing many faults of that sort, and constant maintaining of true Religion against the adversaries (by whose hatefull practises We liue in greater perrill then you all, or any one of you,) should haue produced better effects amongst you, then continuall resistance of our best purposes. Wee with Wee be not further prouoked, and Gods truth, which you professe, of obedience vnto Principalities and Powers, bee no longer neglected, and slandered by such as, vnder the cloake of seeming holinesse, walk vnruly amongst you, shaking hands as it were, and ioyning in this their disobedience vnto Magistracie, with the vpholders of Poperie, Wherefore, our heartie desire is, that at this time you make the World see by your proceedings, what a dutiefull respect and obedience you owe to Vs, your Souereigne Prince, and naturall King and Lord; that as Wee in loue and care are neuer wanting vnto you, so you in an humble submission vnto our so just demands, be not sound inferiour to others our subiects in any of our Kingdomes; and that the care and zeale of the good of Gods Church, and of the advancing of Piety, and Truth, doth chiefly incite Vs to the following of these matters; God is our Witnesse: The which, that it may be before your eyes, and that according to your callings you may striue in your particular places, and in this Generall Meeting, to do these things which may best serue to the promouing of the Gospel of Christ, euen our prayers are earnest vnto God for you: Requiring you in this and other things to credit the bearer hereof, our trustie Seruant and Chaplaine, the Deane of Winchester, whom We have expressly sent thither, that he may bring vnto Vs a true relation of the particular carriages of all matters, and of the happie euent of your Meeting, which by Gods blessing (who is the God of Order, Peace and Truth) Wee doe certainly expect; vnto whose gracious direction Wee commend you now and for euer.
Giuen at Theobalds, the 10 Julij 1618.
This Letter being once read, and again: The Archbishop protested that neither he, nor the Kirk of England had craved these novations, nor given counsel thereanent, and it was against his will that ever they were mentioned; yet that now he is perswaded, that his Majestie will be more glade of the consent of this Assembly to the five Articles, than of all the gold of India.
Most Honorable, most Reverend, right Worshipfull, and dearly beloued: It might well become me, according to the example of Elihu in the Historie of Job, in presence of so wife, so graue, so religious, and learned an Assembly, to wait in silence till the more ancient in years had spoken: but that I know that the Souereigne Maiestie of our gracious Lord and Master the King, who hath regarded so much the lowlinesse of his seruant, as to send me vnto you at this time, to be the messenger of his will and pleasure, now openly read in your ears, will procure attention vnto a few words, which shall be vttered with the vprightnesse and sinceritie of a heart wholy deuoted, as vnto the glory of God, and honour of our great Master the King; so to the happy, free, and flourishing estate of this Church and Kingdome, vnto which I am tyed by so many strong bands; that Moses the friend of God, and Paul that chosen vessell of Christ, who are recorded in the holy Scriptures to haue exceeded in their affection to the people of Israel, their deare countreymen, did not in that owe more vnto them, then that which you all wel know I owe vnto you; and would to God I were as able to pay so iust a debt, as I am, and euer shall be most ready and willing to acknowledge it; Hic amor meus pondus meum: for from this loue and dutie I owe vnto this place of my first and second birth, (God bee best knowes) how the sorrowes of my heart haue bin inlarged, since the time of the last Generall Assembly at Saint Andrewes, to hear such words of indignation and just displeasure, so often to proceed out of the mouth of so good and so gracious a Prince, like Moses the meekest man vpon the face of the earth: Sed verendum etiam atque etiam quo exeat patientia tam faepe laesa: Words spoken against these that are called to be Ministers, Embassadors of peace, and patternes of pietie and obedience; vttered in the ears of them, who labour indeed, as it becommeth so loyall and louing subiects, by their humble and dutifull obedience vnto his sacred Maiestie, to outstrip those that went before them; and albeit they haue the last, yet not to haue the least portion in our Davids loue. But as then with all good and well affected men I much grieued, so now I heartily rejoyce and praise God, that notwithstanding of all that is past, I haue liued to see this day a Generall Synod once more of the Church of Scotland, called by the authority and expresse command and pleasure of our Souereigne Lord the King, which is the only true and best meanes indeed, vsed in all ages for extirpating of all Sects, Errors, and Heresies, and for the planting of truth, and good order in the Church of Christ. And I pray God, that all things at this meeting may, by the direction of Gods good Spirit, and by your Wisdomes, be so carryed, that you abridge not your selues and posterity of so great a blessing, and procure that not only these things which are now required, but that other things more difficult bee injoyned and enforced vpon you, vpon strict penaltie by Supreme Authority. And therefore I desire (as I am sent to that purpose) with the Apostle Titus 3. to put you in remembrance, that you bee subiect to Principalities and Powers, and that you bee obedient, and ready to euery good worke: to put you in remembrance, that, by the great blessing of Almightie God, you haue to doe with so wife, so potent, so religious, so learned a Prince, the matchlesse mirror of all Kings, the nursing Father of his Church; that he whose wisdome and authoritie is, in the composing of all differences both Ecclesiastical and Ciuill, so much required, respected, and admired, not only by his own people of his other Kingdoms, but by all good Christians of forrein Nations throughout the Christian world, may not seeme to be neglected by you his native subiects at home; and you especially of the Ministerie, who ought to be examples and patternes of obedience vnto others, you whom he hath so infinitely obliged by his so great bountie and constant loue: To put you in remembrance, that as with no small disreputation vnto his Maiestie, and diminution as it were of his princely authoritie, in the iudgment and sight of the world, whose eyes are bent vpon these proceedings, he hath granted you so long time, by your Christian and godly endeuours with your severall flockes (whom you are to leade, and not to be led by them) to remoue (as you promised both to his Majesty being here amongst you, and againe confirmed at your last Generall Synod,)all those scandals, which might be taken by the more ignorant and vnaduised sort of your people, to whom all innouations, though to the better, may seeme at the first somewhat strange: so that now you would bee carefull, as much as in you lyeth, to take away that more dangerous and open offence and scandal, which by your delay, and refusall of obedience, you shall cast vpon the sacred person of our Soueraigne Lord the King, the most constant and zealous Protectour and Defender of that Faith and Truth, which wee all professe, and for the which he hath suffered such open gainesaying of the aduersaries thereof, the limbes of Antichrist; as if hee, who hath laboured so much to exalt the glorie of this Nation farre aboue all his predecessours in the eyes of the World, now going about most of all to humble vs vnto our God, and in the performance of the Act of greatest deuotion, according to his owne example, to bring vs vnto our knees, did in so doing any way vrge his subiects to any thing, which might sauour of Superstition or Idolatrie: To remoue the scandall from those who are in authority amongst you, and are set ouer you in the Lord, who by their dutifull obedience vnto God, and their Soueraigne, haue alreadie, both by their doctrine and practice, commended those things, which now are required of you, to be both lawfull and expedient: To take away that scandall and aspersion, which by the seeming reasons of your former refusall, or delay, you haue cast vpon others so glorious reformed Churches, as if the Holy Ghost, and Spirit of reformation had beene giuen onely to, and solely rested vpon you: To remoue that notorious and publique scandall, which by the fierie and turbulent spirits of some few priuate men, lyeth heavie vpon the feruent and zealous Professours of the glorious Gospel of Christ, as if they also were disobedient vnto Magistracie, and in this did seeme to ioyne hands with the maine vpholders and pillars of Poperie. It hath wounded the spirits of good men to hear it often spoken, Nec dicatur (utinam amplius) Gathi, et in plateis Afkelonis; nay to see it in print, that Herod and Pilate were now reconciled again, if not contra Christum Dominum, yet contra Christum Domini: Lastly, to preuent that lamentable miserie and calamitie, which God in his justice might bring vpon this Church, in that you regarded not the blessed time of your visitation, and despised the long suffering and great goodnesse of God, and of so bountifull and gracious a Soueraigne. And so to conclude, (for to stand now upon particulars were but actum agere, and you need no gleanings after so plentifull an harvest, or the light of a candle being inlightned by the cleare beames of the funne,) with that of Naamans seruants, 2 Kings 5. vnto their Lord and Master: Father, if the Prophet had commanded thee a greater matter, shouldest thou not haue done it? &c. So, right reuerend Fathers and Brethren in Christ, if our most gracious Soueraigne Lord, who hath done so much for you, had commanded you greater things, so long as they might stand with the will of God, and in no waies be repugnant vnto the same, (for in that case indeed, the Apostles rule holds inuiolably true, [Greek: dei peitharchein theo mallon i anthropois] that we must rather obey God, then men) should you not haue beene readie yourselues, and by your doctrine and practise haue induced others to obedience ? much more then, when he requireth of you but these few necessarie things, necessary and expedient for the glorie of God, for the aduancing of pietie amongst you; for the honour and due satissaction vnto our Soueraigne Lord the King; for the happy establishing of order, peace, vnion, and loue amongst your selues, and in these vnited Kingdomes. Therefore let me beseech you in the bowels of Christ to giue all their due, Qæ Cæsaris, Cæsari, quæ Dei, Deo. And as Constantine the Great (as Eusebius hath it) wrote vnto his Churchmen, that troubled his peace and other weightie affaires, with their contentious humours; so let me intreat you in the behalfe of our Constantine, Qui dum rogat, jubet: Date illi dies tranquillos, et noctes curæ et molestiarum expertes; that so he may with much ioy and contentment of heart, yet once more, as he proposeth, if not often, visit your coasts, and those places which his soule loueth; and that this poore Church, and his natiue Kingdome, may be made euer more and more happie by his comming, and long, peaceable, and prosperous reigne: And God and men say Amen vnto it. Amen: Amen.
The Ministers desenders of the established order, required four things. 1. That none be admitted to vote, but such as were authorized by lawful Commission. The Archbishop answered, his Majesty had written to Noblemen and Barrones, willing them to be present at this Assembly: If any man had any exception against them, they should be heard. It was replied, that they were not to except against their honorable persons or presence; but earnestly to crave, that the order of the Church might be observed, whereby it is provided, that without Commission none have place to vote in General Assemblies.
2. That the libertie of the Church be not broken in the election of the Moderator, and that a lawful leet be made to the effect. It was answered by the Archbishop, that this Assembly is convocat within the bounds of his Diocie; he would understand, who would take his place over his head.
3. That the Articles, proponed in short and general summes, might be put in forme, and amply extended, as his Majesty would have them enacted, that they be the better advised on and considered. The Archbishop answered, let alone these toyes, trouble us not with needless questions; we shall speak of these things in the Privie Conference.
4. That some of either opinion may be set apart to collect, and put in order the reasons of either side, for the more sure and easie information of the Assemblie. The Archbishop rejected this also, as impertinent.
There was chosen to be upon the Privie Conference, the Kings Commissioners, and Assessors, the Erle of Lothian, the Lord Ochiltry, the Lord Sanchar, the Lord Boyd: Barons Waughton, Weymes, Balcolmie, Bogie, Clunie, Glenvrquhart, Balcarras, Lagge, Balmanno, Bonintoun: Ministers, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr Henry Blyth, Mr John Weymes, Mr George Grier, Mr John Carmichael, Mr William Scott, Mr Alexander Gladestanes Archdean of Sanct Andrewes, Doctor Philip, Doctor Strang, Doctor Bruce, Mr John Hay Parson of Ranfrew, Mr Thomas Muirhead, Mr Michael Wallace, Mr Thomas Ramsay, Mr James Knox, Mr Robert Henrison, Mr John Guthrie, Mr John Malcolm, Doctor Forbess, Mr George Dowglass, Mr Patrick Dumbar, Mr James Bishop, Mr George Chalmers, Mr James Simson, Mr Robert Sommer, Mr David Lindfay, Mr David Monro, Mr Archbald Moncrieff, Mr James Burdoun, Mr John Mackenzie, Mr John Mitchelson, Mr Patrick Shaw, Mr James Hammilton Dean of Glasgow, Doctor Hammilton: The Commissioners of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundie, Aberdeen, Glasgow: And all the Bishops.
The Conference conveened at three afternoon. After Prayer, the Kings Letter was read againe. Then the Archbishop requested them to consider, by what means matters might most easily be brought vnto a point. He said that there appeared but two wayes: One whereof was by disputing the Articles, which was likely to consume a long time, and breed irritation, rather than any contentment else: The other was by a calme and wife consultation to consider how the said Articles might be receiued in all the Churches with least offence, and conclude the same; specially since they had promised in the last Assembly to resolue themselues and others, of the equitie of the points required; and which they like best, he desires them to choose.
He affirmed, that four Articles were already concluded in the Assemblies holden last at Aberdeen, and Sanct Andrewes, howbeit not in forme as his Majesty required; and that kneeling only rested to be consented to. To prove his allegeance, a minute was read, containing the points conferred on at the places foresaid, and no farther evidence was produced. He added that his Highness altogether refused the cautions and conditions added by the said Assemblies, as frustrations of his intention. He affirmed his Majesty was still offended at the Assembly holden at Sanct Andrewes: for removing of that offence, he would have had the Article of kneeling put to voting in the Conference without reasoning.
The greater part esteeming, that such as were contrary minded, would never receiue satisfaction, vnlesse matters were first reasoned; and that it should bring a sore imputation vpon the Assembly to conclude any thing, which had not been first debated by arguments, vrged the disputing of the Articles, which was of the rest condescended vnto. Then it being proponed, if they would take the said Articles in order, or beginne with the most controverted, they agreed vniformly to treat of kneeling at the receiuing of the holy Sacrament in the first place, hoping that satisfaction being giuen in that Article, the lesse scruple should be made to the rest.
So according to the order, two were named to dispute that Article, to wit, Doctor Henrie Philip and Doctor William Forbes for the one side; and Master William Scot and Master John Carmichael for the other: These two last named, after a graue protestation made of their unwillingnesse to be heard opposing to any matter, for the which his Maiestie seemed so earnest, excused themselues by the necessity of the commandment, and their owne resolutions, which they held to bee well grounded, wishing that no offence might be taken at their speeches, which they should be carefull of, and say nothing but with that reuerence which become them in so honourable an hearing. And then adding, that the contrary order had beene long kept in this Church with great profit, and the comfort of many good Christians: if now any would preasse to abolish that which had been in force, and draw in things not yet receiued, they bee holden to prooue, eyther that the things vrged were necessary and expedient for our Church; or the order hitherto kept, not meet to be retained. And for this purpose they alleadged a passage of Master Hooker, in his Preface before the Bookes of Ecclesiasticall Policie, wherein hee craues, that such as seeke the reformation of Orders Ecclesiasticall in the Church of England, should content themselues with the opponents part, and be subiect to prooue these two things mentioned. It was replyed, that the difference of their case and ours was great: for there a few priuate men desired the Laws publickely established to bee inuerted, and it was good reason, that such should bee put to their confirmation of what they proponed: but heere the Prince, that by himself had power to reforme such things as were amisse in the outward policie, required to haue the change made: and therefore it concerned them to bring reasons, why his Maiesties propositions ought not to bee granted. This they declined for a great while, still protesting the reuerence they beare to his Maiesties commandments; and without mentioning that which they would not oppose in Thesi, they wished this question to be reasoned: Whether kneeling, or sitting at the Communion were the sitter gesture.
It was answered, that the question could bee no other wayes proponed then thus: His Maiestie desires our gesture of fitting at the Communion to be changed into kneeling: Why ought not the same to be done? If it could bee shewed by the Word, or by any necessary consequent deduced out of the same, that his alteration craued, ought not to bee granted, because impious or vnlawfull, that should be enough humbly to decline the desire: and if otherwayes they could bring no argument to the contrary, a necessitie lay vpon vs to obey.
An houre or more was spent in such speeches, they declining still to giue any argument, and offering themselues to answer such reasons, as any man would propone for the alteration desired: whereupon the Archbishop of Saint Andrewes said, that if none would reason, he would put the Articles to voyces.
Then they proponed, that reasoning should bee publicke, and in face of the whole Assembly: It was replyed, that nothing should be in Conference concluded to the preiudice of the Assembly; alwayes matters must first be brought to some point in the Conference, and thereafter proponed to the whole number, who should be heard to reason of new, if he listed.
Hereupon they resolued to fall into dispute, and first, Master John Carmichael brought an argument from the custome and practice of the Church of Scotland, which had beene long obserued, and ought not to be altered, except the inconuenience of the present order were shewed, and the desired gesture qualified to bee better. It was answered, that howeuer the argument held good against the motions of priuat men, yet his Maiestie requiring the practice to be changed, matters behoued to admit a new consideration; and that because it was the Prince his priuiledge, that had the conseruation and custodie, as well of the Church, as of the Commonwealth, to call in question Customes and Statutes which he perceiued to breed any inconuenience in the state, euen by himselfe, it could not bee denyed, that in a Church Assembly, such as that was, his Maiestie might lawfully craue an innouation of any Church Rite, which hee esteemed not to be conuenient for the time.
From this argument, they went to another of Christ and the Disciples sitting at the first institution; in discussing whereof, they were brought to acknowledge the gesture not to bee of the essence of the Sacrament, but alterable at the discretion of the Church: Only they held the custome formerly receiued to bee the better.
This was the proceeding of the first Conference, wherein because matters could not be brought to any point, continuation was made to the morrow after, and they warned to meete again at eight of the cloke in the morning.
The Conference being met as was appointed, after inuocation of the Name of God, the Reasoners were desired to proceed where they had lest the night before, and not to triffle time with speeches of small consequence. The reasoning continued from eight unto eleuen of the cloke. And when the whole reasons proponed by the two forenamed, were in the iudgement of all men satisfied; others were required, and had place giuen them to propone their arguments also, which was done in good order, and with such modestie as could be wished.
The Archbishop desired these of the Conference, to giue their iudgement in the matter reasoned. They opponed, that the custome was not to vote in Conference any matter, before it were brought to the full Assembly; but it was proved otherwise by these who had frequented the Assmblies, both of old and in the latter times; as likewise it was told them, that these Conferences resembled the meeting of the Lords of Articles in Parliament, where matters are accustomed to bee prepared and put in order, before they bee proponed to the whole State: and that the voting in Conference was by way of aduice onely, and not to determine; the power whereof belonged onely to the Assembly. This being acknowledged by the whole number to bee so, they offered that were present, to giue their owne iudgement without preiudging the Assembly; as accordingly they did: The whole number, some ten or eleuen excepted, declaring that by the reasons proponed, or any thing else they conceiued, they could not deny, but a change might bee made of the gesture in receiuing the holy Sacrament; and that it seemed conuenient for the Church to embrace the Article proponed by his Maiestie about kneeling, in regard of his desire and resolution to haue the same forme here established.
After the aduice concluded to bee giuen to the Assembly in this point, it was thought meet, that the Article presently reasoned, with the other Articles proponed by his Maiestie, should all of them be formed in the best and most agreeable words that could be deuised, for remouing all offence that might bee taken at the same, and no aduantage giuen to the aduersaries of the Truth: and to this effect were named some graue and wife Brethren, who were desired to haue the same in readinesse at four of the clocke in the afternoone; it being thought meit, that the full Assembly should not meet before Thursday again, at which time all might be prepared.
Albeit the meeting of the full Assembly was defferred to the next day, yet that afternoone, the whole number thronging in, whether that they were not aduertised of the delay, or that the defired to bee present with the Conference, came thither; which the Archbishop perceiuing, he tooke occasion to excuse the delay of meeting with them, declaring how farre they had proceeded, and that the Conference had committed the Articles to bee formed vnto certayne Brethren, who were at that time to present them; and therefore desired they should haue patience till the morrow, and leaue the Conference for that time by themselues, which they did.
How soone they were remoued, these who were appointed to forme the Articles, being inquired what they had done, answered, That they had formed the Article about kneeling, but had no leisure to consider of the rest: This being read, which they had put in forme, was well liked of, and they required to haue the rest in readinesse at the time of the Assemblies meeting the next day.
The rest of that afternoone was spent in the deuising of some overture for the restraining of Simony, to bee proponed to the whole Assembly, which the next day after was by vniuersall consent allowed: As likewise, the Commission for the planting of the Church of Edinburgh; and the forming of the Booke of Common Prayers; and extracting of the Canons of the Church. And thus ended this Conference.
The Assembly being met in full number, to take some conclusion in the businesse, for which they were conuened, after inuocation of the Name of God, it was declared vnto them, that by the labours of the Conference in their private meetings, the Articles proponed by his Majestie were brought and reduced into that forme, as it rested for the Assembly to consider, whether or not the same should be receiued in our Church; and to moue them the rather to condescend, his Maiesties resolution to haue the Articles receiued, was declared, and how no other answere could satisfie, but granting of the said Articles. They were likewife remembered of their promises made to his Maiesties selfe at Saint Andrewes, and in the last Generall Assembly, and had the lawfulnesse, and indifferencie of these matters at length of new expounded vnto them; neither was any of their common pretexts left vnanswered, place being giuen to all that would reason against any one of the Articles, to doe the same. And while some of them insisted by long speeches to haue a continuation made of matters to another Assembly, and a supplication sent to his Majestie for some longer delay, his Highnesse Commissioners hauing vrged a present answere, they were desired to cease, and not to trissle time with vnnecessary speeches, seeing matters should receiue decision before they went foorth of doores.
Doctor Lindsey his answere, being posed on conscience to declare his iudgement touching kneeling at the Sacrament, was this, On my conscience I neither know Scripture, reason, nor antiquitie, that enforceth kneeling, fitting, standing, or passing, as necessary; but thinke them all indifferent: and therefore, that any of them may bee lawfully vfed, when it is found expedient. And considering nothing to be more expedient for the weale of our Church, then to keepe peace with our gracious Soueraigne, and not to contend for such matters, I iudge, yeelding to his Highnesse desire to bee the onely best.
The Ministers with modest importunity insisted, that the matters depending might be better cleared by farther reasoning and advisement, so much the rather because these matters had not been reasoned in full Assembly, for the information of all these that had interest. And suppose all this had been done in the Conference; yet all was new to the full Assembly, and ought to be repeated and fully discussed for information of all voters. Many Ministers had not so much as access to hear or propone one argument. They had no seats provided for them as the other party had. After much dealing, and many earnest speaches and desires to be heard, liberty was granted to a few, but with such checks and limitations to the party that pressed to propone and reason, that quickly they were cut off, and sourly rebuked; rather borne down with authority, than satisfied with reason. His Majesties chief Commissioner, Secretary Hamiltoun, and the Archbishop straitly enjoyned them, either to propone a new reason, or else to hold their peace, when as the argument had either not been proponed in Conference, or if proponed not answered; or if answered, not suffered to be replyed to. In a word, the Archbishop professed plainly, that neither their reasons nor their number should carry away the matter. These Articles must be concluded, and should be concluded; although there were none but the eleven Bishops, with the authority of his Majesties Commissioners, they shall impose them. Some velitation there was about holy dayes; but nothing spoken of the three other Articles. The Kings chief Commissioner and the Bishops resolved to end all at this Session.
The Ministers not being permitted to reason, and pursue their arguments verbally with such liberty as was requisit, and fearing preiudice in voting, gave in some Articles in writt, to be considered before the five Articles were put to voting, prosessing they were ready to present in writt particular reasons against every one of the said Articles. The presenter Mr John Scringeour Minister at Kinghorne was commanded to subscribe them, and was rebuked as not having Commission. They suspected he was to present a Protestation against the proceedings of the Assembly; for preventing whereof they had declaimed before against the Protestation, subscribed at the last Parliament, as treasonable and seditious. But when he was perceived to seek a pen to subscribe, the Archbishop receiued them out of his hands, and desired the Clerk of the Assembly to read the same. Two of them were read, and when they were perceiued to contain no matter of moment, or any new thing, which had not been before talked of, they were cast by, as not deseruing any consideration.
The Articles presented to the Assembly, August 27. With some quotations, added for confirmation.
For as much as we haue been debarred of accesse, and from hearing the proceedings of the Conference, their reasonings, consultations and aduisements, anent the Articles proponed to this General Assembly; whereof all, and euery one of them so nearly touches vs, in our Christian resolution, and offices of our Ministry: in most humble manner wee present to your consideration the particulars hereafter specified, in the feare of God, intreating your favourable answere to the same.
1. The articles proponed, if they be concluded, they doe innouate, and bring vnder the slander of change the estate of this Church, so aduisedly established by Ecclesiasticall Constitutions, Acts of Parliament, approbation of other Kirks, and good liking of the best reformed Kirks without and within this Kingdome, and so euidently blessed with happy successe, and sensible experience of Gods greatest benefits, by the space of fiftie eight yeares and aboue; so that wee may boldly say to the praise of God, That no Church hath enjoyed the truth and puritie of Religion in larger libertie. And vpon some such considerations, it pleased his gracious Maiestie to continue the Church of England in her established estate, as may bee seene in the Conference at Hampton Court, and Thomas Sparke his booke written thereupon. Ipsa quippe mutatio, etiam quae adiuuat vtilitate, nouitate perturbat: quapropter quae utilis non est, perturbatione infructuosa consequenter noxia est, faith Augustine, Epist. 118. that is, Euen a change that is helpefull for vtilitie, perturbeth with the noueltie: Wherefore, consequently, a change that is not profitable, is noysome through fruitlesse per turbation. Rather a Church with some fault then still a change, it is said in the Conference at Hampton Court.
2. The receiuing againe of these Articles so instly reiected, and so carefully and long kept forth of this Kirk, grieueth the reformed Professours tenderly affected to our reformation, and giueth occasion to our aduersaries to reproue our separation from them, of rashnesse, leuitie and inconstancie; and not only hindereth their conuersion, but strengthneth their hope of our further conformitie with them. Quoties non mutarunt suam quisque sententiam? Quod aedificant hodie, cras destrunt; hodie lapidem locant in sundamentum, caementoque confirmant, quem postero die eruunt et conterunt. Ubique revocationes, emendationes, novi foetues, aliae atque aliae, quoties nova sententia placet, affertiones: alius deturbat alium, confusio confusioni permiscetur; atque interim scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus. Nec adhuc cernimus aliud; et quis nisi mente captus dicat, istiumsmodi artifices reaedificare Ecclesiam Dei; quibus omnia incerta, fluxa, instabilia, contraria; quibus nulla dogmatum constantia, nulla animorum consensio? Antididagma Coloniens. Pag. 4. That is, How oft have they not changed every one their opinion? That which they build to day, they demolish to morrow: They place this day a stone for a foundation, and make it sure with mortar, which they pull up the day following, and bruise in pieces. Every where there is revocations, corrections, new births, diverse affertions, as oft as a new opinion pleaseth any of them; one throweth doun another; confusion is mingled with confusion; and in the mean time the doubtful vulgar are severed in contrary factions. Neither yet doe we perceive any other thing: And who will say, except such an one is beside himself, that such artisans reedifie the Kirk of God, to whom all things are uncertain, flowing, unstable, contrarious, who have no constancy in the heads of Doctrine, no consent of minds?
3. They cannot stand in one profession with brotherly kindness, peace, and loue, which must bee tenderly kept amongst the members of Christs body, as the same consisteth of stronger and more infirme; as may appeare in the Apostolicall Rules following. 1. All things are lawfull to me, but all things are not profitable. I may doe all things, but I will not be brought vnder the power of any thing. 2. Let every man be fully perswaded in his own minde. 3. Whatsoeuer is not of faith is sin. 4. Let euery one vnderstand according to sobriety, as God hath dealt to euery man the measure of faith. 5. Take heed, lest by any means this power of yours be an occalion of falling to them that are weak. 6. Through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother fall, for whom Christ died. 7. When ye fin against the brethren, and wound their weak consciences, ye sin againft Christ. 8. Whatsoeuer ye do, do all to the glory of God. 9. Giue no offence, neither to the Jew, nor to the Grecian, nor to the Kirk of God. 10. Please all men in all things, not seeking your own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 11. Cause not your commodity to be evil spoken of. 12. Let all things be done honestly, and in order. Things indifferent (put the case mans inventions were of that nature) in the case of scandal, cease to be indifferent, and are as things moral. Perkins Gal. 2. 3.
4. They giue way to humane inuentions, and bring the wrong key there, of mans wit and will, within the house of God, whereby toyes and triffling ceremonies in number and force are multiplyed, as mens wits are variable to inuent. who requireth these things at your hands?
5. The admitting of some openeth the doore to the rest, and the multitude of such make vs inferiour to the Jewes in two respects. 1. Their ceremonies were all divine. 2. In number fewer then rituall Christians do obserue betwixt the Pasche and the Pentecost. Gerson complayneth, Quod multitudine leuissimarum ceremoniarum vis omnis Spiritius Sancti, quem in nobis vigere oportuit, et vera pietas sit extincta: That with the multitude of friuolous ceremonies, true pietie was extinguished, and the force of the Spirit, which ought to be epowerfull in vs. Jewel. Apollog. p. 116. Sed quamvis hoc neque inveniri possit, quomodo contra fidem sunt, ipsam tamen Religionem servilibus oneribus premunt, ut tolerabilior sit conditio Judaeorum, qui, etiamsi tempus libertatis non agnoverint, legalibus tamen sarcinis, non humanis praesumptionibus fubjiciuntur. August. Epist. 119. Howbeit it cannot bee found, how they are contrary to the faith; yet they presse downe Religion it selse with seruile burthens, so that the estate of the Jewes is more tolerable, who, howbeit they did not acknowledge the time of their liberty, are subiect notwithstanding to the burthens of the Law, not to the presumptions of man. Quanto magis accedit cumulo rituum in Ecclesia, tanto magis detrahitur non tantum libertati Christianae, fed et Christo, et ejus fidei. Consess. Orthod. Cap.27. that is, The more that the heape of rites and ceremonies in the Kirk increaseth, the more is derogated, not onely from Christian libertie, but also from Christ, and his faith. Learned and graue men may like better of the single forme of Policie in our Kirk, then of the many ceremonies of the Kirk of England. Epist. before Basilicon Doron.
6. They hinder edification; for how much time and zeale shall bee spent vpon the inbringing and establishing of these, as much leisure and opportunity shall Satan get to sow and water the tares of atheism, schisme, popery, and dissention. Consider the sentences following. 1. Let us proceed by one rule, that we may mind one thing. Phil. 3. 16. 2. Let us follow the truth in loue, and in all things grow up in him, who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephes. 4. 15. 3. Give no place to the Devil. 4. If ye be otherwife minded, God shall reveal the same to you. 5. Feed my sheep. 6. Take heed unto yourselves, and unto the flock. 7. Let no root of bitternes spring up to trouble you. 8. Fulfill my joy, that ye may be like minded, having the same loue, being of one accord, and of one judgement, that nothing be done through contention and vain glory; but that in meekness of mind every man esteem other better than himself. 9. Do all things without murmuring and reasoning. 10. It was needfull for me to write unto you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the Saints. 11. While men sleept the enemy came, and sowed his tares among the wheat, and went his way.
7. Matters of that nature bring ineuitably with them disputations, divisions, contentions, as may be seen in all Kirks, where such coals of contention get entire. The Pascha of the Primitive Kirk, the Interim of Germany, the rent of the Kirk of England, our oun experience since the strise of the External Gubernation began among us, &c.
8. They bring a sensible blot, either vpon the happie memory of our godly and wife predecessors, in so farre as wee depart from that reformation, so wisely brought in, appointed and established by them; or else vpon our selues, by resuming againe of dangerous superfluities, without reason, reiected by them for weighty and necessary causes. Magnum est hoc Dei munus, quod una et Religionem puram, et eutaxian, Doctrinae videlicet retinendae vinculum, in Scotiam intulistis: Sic obsecro et obtestor, haec duo simul retinete, ut, uno amisso, alterum non diu permanere posse semper memineritis. Beza Epist. to Mr Knox. This is a great benefit of God, that ye haue brought into Scotland true Religion, and good order, the band that retaineth Doctrine, at one time: So I beseech you and obtest, that you retaine these two together; so that ye remember, that if the one be lost, the other cannot long endure. And again he faith, Quam recte illud, quod disciplinam simul cum doctrina conjungitis: Obsecro et obtestor ut ita pergatis, ne vobis idem, quod tam multis, eveniat, ut qui in limine impegerunt, progredi non possint; imo etiam interdum ne velint quidem, quod longe miserrimum est. How well was that done, that yee conioyned doctrine and discipline together. I beseech you, and obtest, that yee goe forward, left it happen to you, which has befallen to many that could not make a progresse, having stumbled in the very entry; yea sometime were not willing, which is most lamentable.
9. They set loose the filthy mindes and mouthes of fleshly liuers, to triumph against the most found and best reformed Professors, and to rejoyce in their rotten opinions, and restored opportunities of sensual obseruations of guising, gluttony, carrells, &c.
10. They are declared by this Church to bee contrary doctrine, as may bee seene in the first, second, and third Chapters of the first booke of Discipline, in these words: We iudge that all doctrine repugnant to the Euangell, should bee vtterly suppressed, as damnable to mans saluation. In the books of the Old and New Testament we affirm that all things, necessary for the instruction of the Kirk, and to make the man of God perfect, are contained and sufficiently expressed. By contrary doctrine, wee vnderstand whatsoeuer men by Lawes, Councells, or Constitutions, haue imposed on the consciences of men, without the expresse commandement of Gods Word, as keeping of holy dayes commanded by man, the feast of Christmass, and other feasts, &c.
11. The Commissioners of Presbytries here assembled, sufficiently understand, that neither the Presbytries, from whom they have their Commissions, nor the particular Churches of this Realme, either require, are willing, or consent to admit these novations. Consitentur Theologi, nil esse per Synodos Ecclesiis invitis obtrudendum. The Diuines Confess, that nothing should be obtruded vpon Churches by Synods, against their will.
12. The Commissioners of Presbytries here assembled, vnderstanding the alienation of them, from whom they receiued their Commission, from these Articles, can by no warrant bind nor oblige their vnwilling Presbytries and Congregations to their votes. Ecclefiam dissentientem et inuitam obligare quis potest? Who can binde a Kirk disassenting and vnwilling?
14. The Ministers of this Church, by order of the same printed and inserted before the Psalme Booke, at their admissions respectiué, promise in the presence of God, and of the Congregation assembled, to abhorre and vtterly refuse all Doctrine alledged necessary to saluation, that is not expressly contained in the Old and New Testament; and according to the graces and utterances that God shall grant to them, to prosess, instruct, and maintain the purity of the Doctrine contained in the sacred Word of God; and to the uttermost of their power to gainstand and convince the gainsayers, and teachers of mens inventions. Item, To submitt themselves most willingly to the wholsome Discipline of this Kirk, by the which they were then called to their office and charge, promissing in Gods presence obedience to all admonitions, secretly or publickly given, &c.
15. The Subscribers of the Confession of Faith be their oath therein contained, promise and sweare to continue in the obedience of the doctrine and discipline of this Church, and to defend the same according to their vocation and power all the days of their liues, under the pains contained in the Law, and danger both of body and soul in the day of Gods fearfull judgment: and to abhorre and detest all contrary religions; but chiefly all kind of Papistry in general, even as they are now damned and confuted by the Word of God, and Kirk of Scotland: but in special the Popes five bastard Sacraments, whereof Confirmation is one; with all rites, ceremonies, and false doctrines, added to the true Sacraments without the Word of God; his absolute necessity of Baptism, &c. Which Confession, and practice following thereupon, is come to the eyes of the World in print, and solemnly renewed in the Covenant celebrated in the General and Provincial Assemblies, Presbytries, and Kirk Sessions, in the year of God 1596. And how shall any man be heard to speak against that whereunto he hath formerly sworn and subscribed?
The Ministers most humbly and earnestly requiested the Kings Commissioners, that the concluding of the Articles might be continued, till their reasons were sent in writt to his Majesty, and his answer returned. But their humble requiest was refused.
Before the roll was called, his Majesties Letter was read againe in open audience of the Assembly; to the end they might see his earnestness about the same matters, and the last impression might incline the voters to consent.
The Ministers, defenders of the established order, required again, that none might have place to vote, but such as were authorized with lawfull Commission. But this order was not admitted: Yea, the Archbishop answered, that if all Scotland were present there, they should vote.
It was desired by some, That the Articles might be seuerally voted, as many would agree to some of them, who would not accept of all: But it was thought meetest to vote them in cumulo, because the denying of one would be to his Maiestie, as the denying of all.
The Archbishop took the roll of the names in his own hand from the Clerk. First, were called the Kings Commissioners and the Assessors; then the Noblemen, Bishops, and Barons; then the Doctors and Ministers; and last of all the Burgesses.
1. Seing we are commanded by God himself, that when wee come to worship him, we fall doun and kneel before the Lord our Maker; and considdering withall, that there is no part of divine worship more heavenly and spiritual, then is the holy receiving of the blessed body and blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; like as the most humble and reverend gesture of the body, in our meditation and lifting up of our hearts, best becometh so divine and sacred an action: Therefor, notwithstanding that our Kirk hath used, since the Reformation of Religion, to celebrate the holy Communion to the people sitting, by reason of the great abuse of kneeling used in the idolatrous worship of the Sacrament by the Papists: yet now seeing all memory of by past superstition is past; in reverence of God, and in due regard of so divine a mystery, and in remembrance of so mystical an union as we are made partakers of, the Assembly thinketh good, that that blessed Sacrament be celebrat hereafter meekly and reverently upon their knees.
2. Item, If any good Christian visited with long sickness, and known to the Pastor, by reason of his present infirmity, unable to resort to the Kirk for receiving of the holy Communion; or being sick shall declare to the Pastor upon his conscience, that he thinks his sickness to be deadly, and shall earnestly desire to receive the same in his house, the Minister shall not deny to him so great a comfort, lawfull warning being given to him the night before; and that there be three or four of good religion and conversation, free of lawfull impediments, present with the sick person, to com municat with him; who must also provide a convenient place in his house, and all things necessary for the reverend administration thereof, according to the order prescribed in the Kirk.
3. Item the Minister shall often admonish the people, that they deserr not the baptizing of infants any longer then the next Lords day after the child be borne, unless upon a great and reasonable cause declared to the Minister, and by him approved: As also they shall warn them, that without great cause they procure not their children to be baptized at home in their houses. But when great need shall compell them to baptize in privat houses, (in which case the Minister shall not refuse to doe it, upon the knowledge of the great need, and being timely required thereto,) the baptism shall be ministred after the same forme, as it should have been in the congregation: and the Minister shall the next Lords day after any such privat baptism, declare in the Kirk, that the infant was baptized, and therefor ought to be received as one of the true flock of Christs sold.
4. Item, For as much as one of the most special means for staying the increase of Popery, and settling of true Religion in the hearts of the people is, that a special care be taken of the trial of young children their education, and how they are catechized; which in time of the Primitive Kirk was most carefully attended, as being most profitable to cause young children, in their tender years, drink in the knowledge of God and his religion; but is now altogether neglected, in respect of the great abuse and errours which creept into the Popish Kirk, by making thereof a Sacrament of Confirmation: Therefor, that all superstitions builded thereupon may be rescinded, and that the matter itself being most necessary for the education of the youth, may be reduced to the primitive integrity, it is thought good, that the Minister in every paroch shall catechize all young children of eight years of age, and fee that they have the knowledge, and be able to make rehearsal of the Lords Prayer, the Belief, and ten Commandments, with answers to the questions of the small Catechism used in our Kirk: And that every Bishop in his visitation shall censure the Minister, who shall be found remits therein; and the said Bishops shall cause the said children to be presented before them, and bless them with prayer for increase of their knowledge, and continuance of Gods heavenly graces with every one of them.
5. Item, As we abhor the superstitious observation of Festivall dayes by the Papists, and detest all licentions and prosane abuse thereof by the com mon sort of professors; so we think, that the instimable benefits, receivit from God by our Lord Jesus Christ his Birth, Passion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sending down of the Holy Ghost, were commendably and godly remembered at certain particular dayes and times, by the whole Kirk of the world, and may be also now: Therefor the Assembly ordains, that every Minister shall upon these dayes have the commemoration of the foresaid inestimable benefits; and make choise of several and pertinent texts of Scripture, and frame their doctrine and exhortation thereto; and rebuke all superstitious observation and licentious prosanation thereof.
The Bishop proponed an Act to be made, that all Ministers at their admission should swear, that they have made no privat paction for diminution of the stipends, modified be the Commissioners appointed be the Parliament.