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 Generall Assemblie of the Kirk conveinit in Edinburgh, in the Nether Tolbuith therof, the first day of July 1568: In the quhilk was present the Nobilities, Superintendents, Ministers, and Commissioners of Townes and Kirks. Thanks was given to God, and supplicatioun made for his assistance of his Holie Spirit, be Mr Johne Willock.
The same day, for eschewing of confusioun in reasoning, and that every brether speake moderatlie in his awin rowme, and that with reverence and licence, the haill brethren assemblit choose Mr Johne Willock, Superintedent of the West, to be moderator for this present Assemblie, quho being chosen accepted the office, under protestatioun that obedience be given.
[The commissioners depute be the last Assembly to take trial of the complaints givin in, or to be given in, against the Superintendent of Fife, produced the execution of their commission subscribed be Mr David Spence their scribe for the time. Others were appointed to revise their proceedings and to report. He was accused of negligence in his visitations; that he was careless in punishing adulterers; that he retained ane called Flecher, a reader in the kirk of Lewchars, whom Mr Knox had found unable. To this last he answered, that he knew not that Mr Knox had pronounced any such sentence against him. It was alleged be the laird of Tarbett, that, when he was visiting the kirk of Skennie, Mr William Blackwood desired him to declare of his conscience, whither the messe was idolatry, when he alleged that tithes should be paid to none but such as have recanted the messe, the said superintendent in audience of the whole people, bad the said Mr William take it on his conscience. His answer was, it is long since I thought the messe idolatry, but I said ye most condemn it in your own conscience.
Some brethren were appointed to revise the travels of the superintendents and commissioners, appointed be the last Assembly, to visite kirks, to note the notorious crimes and names of the offenders, that their names might be presented to the Regent with a supplicatioun of the Assembly for justice, to wit, Mr John Craig, John Row, William Christesone, John Duncansone, David Fergusone, and Mr Robert Hammilton minister at Sanct Andrews.
It was ordained, that superintendents should command readers to abstain from all ministration of the sacraments, under the pain to be accused as abusers, and criminall according to the act of Parliament. C.]
Sessio 2a. 6 Julij 1568.
Anent the ordour heirafter to be usit in Generall Assemblies, to the desyre of ane lettre presented be ane brether for receiving of the ordour heirtofoir, the haill votit and concludit as followes, viz. That give the ordour already received pleases not men, be reason of the pluralitie of voyces; it was thought meitt to reforme in this maner:
First, That none have place nor power to vote, except superintendents, commissioners appointit for visiteing kirks, ministers brocht with them presentit as persons abill to reason, and having knowledge to judge. With the soirnamit sall be joynit commissioners of burghes and shyres, together with commissioners of universities.
Secondlie, Ministers and Commissioners of Shyres sall be chosen at the synodall conventioun of the dioces, be consent of the rest of the ministers and gentill men that sall convene at the said synodall conventioun. Comcommissioners of burghes sall be appointit be the (L) counsall and kirk of their awin townes.
Thridlie, none to be admittit without sufficient commissioun in wryte; and on aventure that this sould come ane monople and perpetuall electioun of a few certaine ministers and commissioners, it is concludit that they be changeit fra Assemblie to Assemblie.
Anent the questioun of murther committit upon suddentie and for satisfactioun to be made to the Kirk therfor; First, it was ansuerit, that the cryme being confessit, or convict lawfullie, the offender sall be admonishit be the superintendent, or be the nixt reformed kirk where the slaughter was committit, to abstain from all participatioun of the Sacraments, untill that he satisfie the kirk as sall be appointit, and that their admonitioun sall be publishit where the cryme was committit, and where the recent brute therof was spread; to the end that men may understand that the Kirk winks not at the shedding of innocent blood. Secondlie, if the cryme be denyed, and ȝet the brute therof be constant, and as it were publick, ȝet. sall the suspect be commandit to abstaine fra the use of the Sacraments, untill sick tyme as farder tryall may be had, or els that he be solemlie purgit of the brute. As for the sudden murther and that quhilk is committit wilfullie, we remitt the ansuer therof to ane former act.
Anent the forme of receiving the homicide or adulterer to the Kirk; nane that hes committit slaughter, adulterie, or incest, or heirafter sall committ the same, sall be receivit to repentance be any particular kirk, till that first they present themselfe befor the Generall Assemblie, ther to receive their injunctiouns, and therafter they sall keip the same ordour that was prescryvit to Paul Methven in his repentance: This being addit, that he or they fall beir into there hand, at all the tymes of the publick repentance, the same or Jyke weapon wherwith the murther was committit.
[As for oppressors of children, they are to be admonished be the Kirk to make publick repentance in sackcloth, barefooted and bareheaded, so oft as the particular kirks shall appoint.
Because the Assemblie was troubled with reading and answering of bills, the superintendent of Fife, Mr George Hay, William Christeson, David Lindsay, ministers, were appointed to read the bills, to write their answer according to their judgment on the back, and to report all to the Assemblie. C.]
Sess. 3a. 7 Julij 1568.
It was delaitit and found that Thomas Bassandine, Printer in Edinburgh, imprintit ane booke, intitulat the Fall of the Romane Kirk, nameing our king and soveraigne supreame head of the primitive kirk: Also that he had printed ane psalme booke, in the end wherof was found printed ane baudie song callit Welcum Fortoun, Whilk books he had printit without licence of the magistrate, or reviseing of the Kirk: Therfor the haill Assemblie ordainit the said Thomas to call in againe all the saids bookes that he hes sauld, and keip the rest unsauld untill he alter the forsaid title, and also that he delete the said baudie song out of the end of the psalm booke: And farther, that he abstaine in all tyme comeing fra farther printing of any thing without licence of the supreame magistrate, and reviseing of sick things as pertaine to religioun be some of the Kirk appointit for that purpose. Attour the Assemblie appointit Mr Alexander Arbuthnet to revise the rest of the forsaid tractat, and report to the Kirk what doctrine he finds therin.
[It was ordained, That no office bearer in the Kirk subscrive any assignation, or give charge to any collector, to answer any man of any portion of the patrimony of the Kirk, but such as bear office in the Kirk; and that according to the rolls given to them, subscrived be the keeper of the register of ministers stipends.
It was thought necessar that order should be taken, that common kirks and tithes vacant since the last Parliament through neglect of presentation should be disponed to qualified men, able to discharge their calling to the comfort of the people.
It was ordained, that superintendents and commissioners require such as enjoy benefices, and have gifts enabling them to the ministrie, to be present at the nixt Assemblie, to accept thereof according to their ability. C.]
Sessio 4ta. 8 Julij 1568.
[Mr Patrick Creich is ordained to make his repentance in Edinburgh the next Lords day; and if he committ the like offence for which he was suspended in the former Assemblie, it is ordained that he be deposed from the functioun of the ministry, and underly farther correction as the Kirk shall think meet; and that quhosoever shall be found guilty of the like offense, incur the like punischment. C.]
Anent the excommunicatioun of papists, and separatioun of them fra the societie of Chrysts bodie, after due admonition refuseing to joyne themselves to the Kirk; it is concludit, that after they have receivit sufficient admonitioun according to the ordour establishit in particular kirks, and they ȝet remaining obstinate, they sall be declarit publicklie in all congregations necessar to be out of the societie of Chrystis bodie, and to be excommunicat.
[Follow the heads which the Assemblie willed the brethren appointed in the third session to present to my Lord Regents Grace. C.]
Articles presentit to my Lord Regent.
First, Let his Grace know the heavie and grievous complaint of the ministers agains them that subscryve the assignatiouns, through the quhilk they are altogether dissapointit of their stipends; for the assignatiouns standing, the thrids are not able as they are ordourit to pay the ministers halfe yeirs stipends, and in some parts not the quarter therof.
It is thought a thing verie unresonable, that the papists, enemies to Gods Kirk and the commoun wealth, and uthers that labours not in the ministrie, sall posesse friely without impositioun the two part of the benefices, and the Kirk quhilk labours sall not possesse the thrid. Heirfor the Kirk desyres that my Lord Regents Grace will take sick ordour, that the commoun charges might be sustained upon the twa part of the benefices possessed be the papists, swa that the thrid may remaine frie to be disponed be the Kirk. Not that the ministers desyres more nor their reasonable stipends, but that the superplus might support the schooles and the poore, according to the will of God; and that the collectours of the Kirk sall yierlie make count thereof, so that my Lord Regents Grace and the counsell sall know the dispositioun of the samein.
Item, to shew my Lord Regents Grace, that ther is sundrie benefices vacand, and specially the benefices of the commoun, pertaining to cathedrall and metropolitane kirks: That his Grace wald present them to qualified men, be the advyse of the Kirk, at this tyme the Kirk being assemblit; utherwayes the Kirk must dispone them, as falling unto them be reason of fixe monthes past, and nane being presentit; and also the Kirks of the Nonryes presentlie vacand, to present qualified men to them, as in speciall to North Berwick.
Item, that my Lord Regents Grace wald give commissioun and authoritie to certaine persons for reformatioun of the colledge of Aberdein, that the corrupt office bearers, regents and uthers be removeit, and uthers qualified persons placed in their roumes, so that the youth may be instructed in godlines and good lettres.
Item, to desyre of my Lord Regents Grace, ordour to be taken for suppressing of vyce, quhereby the plague of God may be withdrawn from this realme; and that his Grace will take diligent care anent the executioun of justice agains sick odious crymes as sall be givin to his Grace in bill, be the superintendents and commissioners of countreyes.
Item, that his Grace wald cause sick as are appointit of the Counsell, conveine with them that are appointit of the Kirk, tuitching the jurisdictioun of the same to decide therin, that tyme and place may be condiscendit upon to that effect, and that it be done before the Parliament.
To advyse with my Lord Regents Grace and counsell, that in the rowmes and countreyes quher no superintendents are, they may be placed.
Item, to understand quhat may be done anent augmenting or appointing ministers stipends, as neid requyres.
Ansuers to the forsaids Articles be my Lord Regents Grace.
At Edinburgh, the viii day of Julij 1568, being on the Secreit Counsell, my Lord Regents Grace, my Lord Sempill, my Lord Glames, the Secretar, Lord Ochiltrie, and my Lord Balmyrrinoch.
Anent the complaint made be the Kirk, for default of payment of the thrids of benefices to the sustentatioun of the Ministrie, the persons addebtit for payment of the same being at the horne, and no farther diligence to be useit for obtaining of payment; my Lord Regents Grace, with advyse of the Lords of Secreit Counsell, ordaines the Thesaurar to receive all lettres of horneing, to be presentit be quhatsoever collectours, either of the lxvi yeirs crope, or of the lxvii, or in tyme comeing, and upon the saids lettres of horneing to direct letters to officers of armes, or to the shyreffs of the shyres, or uther ordinar judges, to uptake the escheits of the persons denunceit to the horne, and of the first and readiest of the saids escheitts, to pay to the collectors the sowmes aughtand, for the quhilk the saids persons was put to the horne; frielie takeand up the remanent to our soveraine Lords use, at the least takeand sa meikle above the valour of the debt auchtand, as will make the expenssis upon the executioun of the letters in uptakeing the escheitt, so that no expenssis in executioun of the said letters be made, utherwayes but of the escheitt of the persons denunceit.
All commoun kirks sall be givin to qualified persons, ministers; and als where any prebendaries are foundit upon the fruites of teyndis, as Dumbernie, and Ormestoun in Lowthiane, as the prebendarie vakes, to be uptakin be the collectours.
Ordaines and commissioun to be made for reformatioun of the colledge of Aberdein, and for placeing of godlie and qualified persons masters therin.
The roll of the committers of the vyces to be presentit to my Lord Regents Grace, who sall cause the Justice Clerk proceide in forme of justice agains them.
Item, my Lord Regents Grace sall give warning to the persons nameit, in the end of the Parliament, to conveine the viii day of August.
To the saxt heid, forsameikle as superintendents cannot presentlie be appointit, the Kirk man appoint commissioners for the selfe same purpose, as they sall think good to give commission, quhill the nixt Generall Assemblie.
To the vii heid, anent the advyse for augmenting or appointing of ministers stipends, be advyce of my Lord Regents Grace and counsell, the clerk of register, the Laird of Pitcarro, and Mr Henry Balnaves, were appointed with such of the Kirk as they sall think mait, or any twa of them.
The Regents Lettre anent the Chaplienries.
We understand that ther is some chaplenries properlie pertaining to the
Kings Majesties presentatioun, and some at this present to be disponit.
We heirfor have thoght good to requyre your opinion how we sall proceid
in that behalfe presentlie, and in tyme coming, that ignorantlie we doe
nothing wherwith the Kirk may justlie find fault heiraster.
Sess. 5a. 9 Julii 1568.
[Mr Robert Pont is continued commissioner for vilitation of Murray till the next Assemblie, notwithstanding that he desired to be placed in a particular congregation.
For answer to the supplication presented in the Bishop of Cathness name, the Assemblie giveth commission to the said bishop for a ȝeir to visit and plant kirks; and for his stipend thought meet that he shall have his quhole thrid of the bishoprick dimitted, providing he sustain ministers in his own kirks thereupon; the rest of the ministers of the diocie to be sustained upon the rest of the thrids within their bounds, according to their stipends already modified.
Mr Knox his commission to visit the kirks of Kyle, Carrick, and Cunninghame, is continued till the nixt Assemblie; and he ordained to begin when he may conveniently, quhich hithertills he could not conveniently get done.
The brethren appointed to decide questions, report their decisions. C.]
Ane reidar was provin and convict for meddling with ane certaine woman, and afterward was verified that the same woman had ane husband liveand when the said reidar medlit with her, bot alledgis he knew not the same, and sho had not bein in the uther mans companie a certain space of befor. At comand of the Kirk, the reidar put away the said woman, who hes bein from him the space of ane yeir past or therby. This reidar desyris to be admittit to his office againe, in respect of his bypast conversatioun be the said space of ane yeir, and to doe farther what the Kirk will injoyne him. Queritur an debeat. Ansuer, after publick repentance according to the ordour, receive him.
Ane minister conveinit be contract with a certaine vicar, and the vicar sauld his vicarage of the kirk wher the minister servit, in favours of the minister; and the minister promeist againe to pay him a certaine small sowme at tymes and dayes, for the goodwill of the viccarage, and that in manner of compositioun, nomine pensionis: And now ane uther minister accuses this former minister befor the Kirk, as ane man unworthie to bruik office, because of the said contract, quhilk he alledges to be simoniall; and the uther protests that he be convict in pœna talionis, in cace it be not foundin. Queritur primum, an predictus contractus sit Simonis; et si sit, qua pœna puniendus est ille primus minister? Secundo; si accusator cadet causa, qua pœna est ille puniendus qui illud scandalum suscitavit? Ansuer. publick repentance for his accusatioun.
Sess. 6a. 10 Julij 1568.
It is statute and ordainit be the haill Assemblie, that ministers, exhorters, reidars, or uthers persons heirafter trouble or molest not the Generall Assemblie with sick things as superintendents may and aught decyde in their synodall conventiouns; and if any chance to doe heirafter in the contrair, their lettres sall be rejectit.
Touching the bischop of Orknayes suspensioun from the ministrie the last Assemblie, and his obedience and submissioun, the Kirk restores him againe to the ministrie of the word, and els ordaines him one some Sonday when he best may for weaknes of his body, to make a sermoun in the kirk of Halierudehous, and in the end therof to consesse the offence in marieng the Queine with the Erle Bothwell, and desyre the Kirk their present for the tyme, to forgive him his offence and slander givin be him in doing the foirnamit act. The quhilk he promised to doe.
[The Commissioner of Galloway is ordained to come to Edinburgh at the time of the nixt Parliament, and shew his diligence in the charge committed to him in that province; and to answer whether he will awaite on court and counsell, or upon preaching the word and planting kirks. The superintendents of Angus, Fife, and Lothian, were appointed to report his diligence and answers to the nixt Assemblie; and in the mean tyme Mr John Row was appointed to visite Galloway.
Mr George Hay being complained upon be Andrew Murrey of Blackbaronie, in name of the parochiners of Edlestone, quherof he had the personage, for that he neither preached the word nor ministred the sacraments to them, was sharply rebuiked.
Sess. 7ma. … Julij 1568.
Mrs John Willock, John Craig, John Row, Robert Pont, James Gray, Williame Christesone, and David Lindsey, were appointed to revise the form and order to be used in excommunication, which is penned be Mr Knox at the desire of the Assemblie, and to report their judgment. C.]