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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A. D. M.D.LXII.
Johne Knox minister of Edinburgh, James Barron and Edward Hope, commissionars, James ȝong, Mr David Lindesay minister at Leith, Patrick Cockburne and Johne Broun, commissioners, Mr John Craig minister at Halierudehouse, John Hart and William Oswald, commissionars, William Harlaw minister of St Cuthbert's kirk, Johne Burne minister of Mussilbrugh, Mr Thomas Cranstoun minister at Tranent, Alexander Forrester minister at Libbertoun, Mr George Fuird minister of Dummanie, Mr David Weymis minister of Ratho, David Cunninghame minister of Lanerick, James Walker minister of Steinstoun, Paul Methven minister of Jedbrugh, Mr George Hay minister at Eddilstoun, Christopher Gudman minister at St Androes, Mr George Leslie minister at Straithmiglow, Richard Melvill minister at Inchbraock and Maritoun, Johne Douglas of Pumfrestoun and John Dowglas in Howden, commissioners of the kirk of Calder, the laird of Spot commissioner for Dunbar, and diverse in the Merse, James Fleyming elder and commissioner of Glasgow, the laird of Lye commissionar of Lanerick, the laird of Barre comissionar of Kyle, Johne Cathcart of Cariltoun comissionar of Carrick, Mr Robert Pont elder and comissionar of St Androes, Thomas Scott of Hayning comissionar for Selcraig and Melros.
That unitie of doctrine may be retained among the ministers, that errours may be avoydit, that maners may be reformed, vyce punished without exception of persons, and swa that vertue and knowledge may be universally planted through this realme.
Because the lyves of ministers aught to be sick as therby uthers may be provockit to godlines, it becomes them first to be tryed; and therfor, after the tryall of the superintendents, if any man have to accuse them in life, doctrine, or execution of their office, the elders of every kirk man be chargeit in Gods behalfe, to declare there conscience of there ministers, tuiching there doctrine, lyfe, manners and conversation. If any be accused and convict of any notable cryme, he must be subiect to the censure of the kirk, and suffer punishment and admonition as they sall pronounce.
After the ministers, the elders of every kirk must be tryed, if any hes to lay to the charge of any of them. The accused, whether he be minister or elder, aught to be removed out of the assembly whill his cause be tryit; if he be convict, he can have no vote whill the kirk receive satisfactioun.
After tryall be tane of the haile, then man every superintendent, with the ministers and elders within his dyocie, expone to the kirk the state of the kirk among them, note the offences and crymes that they know, to the end that the whole may devyse some wholesome remeid, or at least make supplicatioun to the superiour powers for the samein, and least that consusioun should happin through rashnes and hastines, lotes wald be castin what dyocie should first be heard, what secondlie, and swa foorth of the rest.
It was ordained, that a charge should pass from every superintendent to all ministers within the bounds, to warn thair kirks of the order taken; to wit, that the said superintendents, ministers, elders, and deacons doe willingly subject themselves to discipline; and if any man have any thing to lay justly to thair charge, that they doe the same at the next Assembly, which is to be holden in December, and that no minister leave his flocke for coming to the said assembly, except he have complaints to make, or else be complained on, or at least be warned thairto be the superintendent.] C.
The second Sessioun haldin the last day of Junij 1562.
[It was answered by the Assembly to the petition of Mr Alexander Gordon, anent the superintendentship of Galloway, first, that they understand not how he hath any nomination or presentation, either be the Lords of Secret Counsell or province of Galloway. Secondly, Albeit he had presentation of the lords, yet he has not observed the order keeped in the election of superintendents, and therfor cannot acknowledge him for a superintendent lawfully called for the present, but offered unto him their aid and assistance, if the kirks of Galloway shall suit, and the lords present; and requireth that before he depart, he subscribe the Book of Discipline. Farther, it was concluded that letters should be sent to the kirks of Galloway to learn whither they required any superintendent or not, and whom they required.] C.
It is concludit be the haill ministers assemblit, that all ministers salbe subject to ther superintendents in all lawfull admonitiouns, as is prescryvit alsweill in the Booke of Discipline as in the electioun of superintendents.
[That so many ministers as have been accepted of their kirks, after triall offered and liberty granted to them to receive or refuse, shall remain as lawfull ministers, unless from that time they have been found criminal in life or doctrine; and that such as serve in the kirks without publick and free admission, it shall be free for the kirks to receive or refuse them, as they be able to render the cause why they refuse.
That the examination of all these who have not been examined already shall be in the presence of the superintendent, and of the best reformed kirk within his bounds nearest the place where the minister is to be established; providing always that the judgement of the best learned being present be sought in the examination and admission, and that he who shall be so admitted shall not be removed, according to the order of the Book of Discipline.] C.
That superintendents take count what bookes every minister hes in store in the tyme of their visitation, and how the said minister, and every ane of them, does profite from tyme to tyme in reiding and studying the samein.
[The Assembly ordained the superintendent of Lothian to summond Michael Smith, pretended minister of Strabroke, to purge himself of certain crimes laid and to be laid to his charge; and Mr George Hepburn, parson of Hauch, to answer to such things as shall be laid to his charge.
The Assembly decerned letters to be directed to the elders, deacons and whole kirk of Crail, to require them, as they would answer in the presence of God, to signify to the Assembly with all diligence, whither Mr John Melvill thair minister was accused be the whole kirk, or be any privat faction; whither the whole kirk requireth his removal, or the most part, or only some particular persones.] C.
The thrid Session haldin the first of Julij 1562.
It is concludit that the minister sall requyre his elders and every ane of them to assist him in all his lawfull assemblies; in the whilk if they be fund negligent, then sall he proceid to all admonitiouns, according to the rule of Chryst; whilk if they or any of them obey not, then sall the minister, with so many of the kirk as will subscryve with him, notifie the matter to the superintendent, and if he be this can profite nothing, that then be his advyse the inobedient be pronounced excommunicat; and the magistrate subiect to the rule of Chryst be not exeimed sra the samein punishment, being fund guiltie or inobedient.
[Touching persons to be nominat to kirks, that nane be admitted without the nomination of the people, and due examination and admission of the superintendent; and who have been otherwayes intrused since the ȝeir 1558, to make supplication for their provision according to the foresaid act.
After the ministers, exhorters, and readers had complained of the smalness of their stipends, it was concluded, that every ane of them should give in their particular complaint to their superintendents, showing as well the valour of their stipend, as why they cannot live reasonably thairupon, that the Assembly may make supplication to the Quenis Grace and Counsell for redress of the same; and this is to be done before the last day of September next to come.
And in like manner, becaus many ministers complain of not payment of their stipends, in default of the third of divers persons given be the Quenis Grace to these who are in possession of the kirks presently, it was thought good to require of her Highness and Counsell, that order might be taken how the said complainers might be payed.
Alswa in consideration that the ministry in certain burrowes complained for want of their stipends allowed unto them, because of the smalness of the third part of the teinds given to her Highness pertaining to the saids burrowes, it was thought good to crave of her Majesty and Counsel how the saids ministers should be sustained.] C.
To make supplication to the hier powers for the mansses and aikers to ministers to dwell in, according to the Booke of Discipline, and the kirks to be repairit that are decayit, consorme to the act of the Lords of the Secreit Counsell pronouncit before the Quenis Graces hame comeing.
[In like manner, to prefer supplication for the poor and their support; for maintainance of schools for instruction of the ȝouth in every parish; and the same to be taken of the twa part of the teinds, and within burrows of the annual rents, and other such things as before served to idolatrie.
The 4th Session haldin the 2d day of July.
At the defire of the Assembly, compeared Mr John Sharp, and after long reasoning be the said Mr John, it was asked whither he would serve in the kirk of God in such place as the Assembly would place him into. He answered, he was content to bestow the gifts he had to the comfort of the kirk of God; but for so much as the charge required the preaching of the Evangel and ministration of the sacraments, the consideration of his present ignorance in the Scriptures, could not accept the same till the time of farther knowledge. The Assembly finding him able to preach the word and minister the sacraments, as he had done before times, charged him to reenter to the ministry, the place where he should minister being reserved to farther deliberation.
It was ordained that Mr Craig should be joined with Mr Knox in the ministry of Edinburgh; that Mr James Greg should assist the superintendent of Glasgow till Michaelmass next to come, and thereafter to teach in the parishes belonging to the Lord Areskine, till the next Assembly.
Mr George Hay the superintendent of Glasgow, Mr Robert Hamilton minister of Machline and Uchiltrie, were appointed to preach in the unplanted kirks of Carick successively one after another monthly till the next Assembly.
The fyft Sessioun, haldin at Edinburgh the 3d of Julij 1562.
The saxt Sessioun, 4 July 1562.
[It was concludit that Mr John Sharp should reenter in the ministrie, and to serve in the kirk whilk the superintendent of Lothian should appoint, and if he refused, that the censures of the kirk be execute against him.
David Forrest's answer was referred to the superintendent of Lothian and kirk of Edinburgh; Mr Patrick Cockburn, Mr Thomas Hepburne, Mr David Lindsay, or else Mr John Craig, were appointed to teach in the unplanted kirks of the Merce thair month by course.
John Dowglass of Pumserston, complaining in name of the kirk of Calder, that they are defrauded divers times of the preaching of the word, since their minister was elected superintendent of Lothian, desired the said superintendent to be restored to them again, or some qualified minister to be provided to them. It was answered, the profit of many kirks was to be preferred to the profit of one particular, and that the kirk of Calder should either be occupyed be himself, or be some other qualified person in his absence, which could not be otherways helped in this rarity of the ministry, and that they should have complained when the publick edict was set furth 20 days before his admission.
The Assembly being informed that Mr David Spense gave institution, by vertue of the Popes bulls, to Mr Robert Auchinmouty, of the prebendry of Russell, the 25 of June last by past, ordained that the superintendents of Fife and Lothian take order respective with the foresaid persons, and to informe the Justice Clerk, to call them to particular diets for breaking of the Quenis acts, if they find the matter clearly tryed, and that the superintendent of Lothian signify the matter to the Duke.] C.
Touching the removeing of idolatrie, the kirk now as of befoir, concludes humble supplicatioun to be givin in to her Hienes; but the maner how, they have referrit to further consultatioun of the godly of her Majesties secreit counsell.
Item, That supplication be made to her Hienes for punishing of all vyces commanded be the law of God to be punished, and ȝet not commandit to be punished be the law of the realme; viz. blasphemie of Godis name, contempt of his word and sacraments, profanation of the samein be sik as were not lawfullie callit to the ministration thereof, perjurie and takeing of the name of God commonly in vaine, breakers of the Sabbath day in keiping of commoun mercatts, adulterie, fornication, filthie talking; and further, that punishment be exacit upon the transgressours of the last proclamation made agains masse mongers or heirars.
[Item, that fuit be made to the Justice Clerk, for order to be taken with Mr William Scott of Balwery, for disobedience to the superintendent of Fife, and Mr James M'Verit in Bute, for disobedience to the superintendent of Argyle.
Item, that supplication be made to the secret counsell, for assistance of the superintendent of Angus to visit the sherifdoms of Aberdeen and Bamf, according to the commission given to him be the Assembly in December last by past. This Assembly joined to him as associats Mr Christopher Gudman and Mr John Row.] C.
Anent the actiouns of divorcements, to make supplicatioun to the secreit counsell, that either they give up universallie the judgement of divorce to the kirk and their sessiouns, or els to establish men of good lyves, knowledge and judgement, to take the order thereof; provyding alwayes that the saids Lords make provisioun and ordinance how the guiltie persons divorced salbe punished.
To the Quenis Majestie, and her most honorable Privie Counsaill, the Superintendents and Ministers of the Evangell of Jesus Christ within this Realme, togidder with the Commissionars of the haill Kirk, desyre Grace and Peace from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Spirit of righteous judgment.
Having in mynd that fearfull sentence, pronunced by the eternall God against the watchmen that see the sworde of Gods punishment approche, and do not in plane words forewarne the people, yea, the princes and rewlars, that they may repent, we cannot bot signifie unto your Hienes and Counsaill, that the state of this realme is sik for this present, that unless redress and remedie be schortly provyded, that Godis hand cannot long spair in his angre, to slryke the head and the taill; the inobedient prince and sinful people: For as God is unchangeable and trew, so must he punisch in these our dayes, the grevous sinnes quhilk befoir we reid he hes punisched in all ages, efter that he hes long called for repentance and none is schawn.
And that your Grace and Counsall may understand quhat be the things we desyre to be reformed, we will begin at that quhilk we assuredly know to be the fontane and spring of uther evils that now abound in this realme, to wit, that idoll and bastard service of God, the Mess. The fountain we call it of all impietie, not only because manie tak bauldnes to fin by reasone of that opinion quhilk they have conceaved of that Idoll, to wit, that by the vertew of it they get remission of thair sinnes, but also becaus that under the color of the Mess, ar hoores, adulterars, drunkards, blasphemars of God, of his holie Word and Sacraments, and sik uther manifest malefactours, mainteyned and defended; for let any Mess-sayer, or earnest manteyner thairof be deprehended in any of the forenamed crymes, na executioun can be had, for all is done in hatrent of his religioun, and so ar wicked men permitted to live wickedlie, clocked and defended by that odious Idoll. Bot supposing that the Mess wer occasioun of na sik evills, yet in the self it is so odious in Gods presens, that we cannot ceas with all instance to desyre the removing of the same, alfweill from yourself as from all uthers within this Realme, tacking heavin and eirth, yea, and your own conscience to record, that the obstinat manteynance of that Idoll fall in the end be to you destructioun of saull and body.
If your Majesty demand, quhy that now we ar more ernest then we have bene heirtofore; We answer, (our former silence no ways excuised) becaus we find us frustrat of our hope and expectatioun; quhilk was, that in processe of tyme your Graces hart sould have bene mollifyed, so far as that ye wald have hard the publict doctrine taught within this Realme; by the quhilk, our farther hope was, that Gods Halie Spirit sould so have moved your hairt, that ye wald have suffered your religioun (quhilk before God is nothing bot abominatioun and vanitie) to have bene tryed by the trew tuich-stane, the written word of God; and that your Grace finding it to have no ground nor foundatioun in the same, suld have gevin that glory unto God, that ye wald have prefered his treuth unto your own preconceaved vain opinion, of quhat antiquitie that ever it hes bene. Quhareof we in a pairt now disappointed, can no longer keape silence, unless we wald mak our selfis criminall befoir God of your blude, perisching in your own iniquitie; for we planely admonische you of the dangers to cum.
The secound that we requyre, is punischment of horibill vices, sick as ar adultery, fornicatioun, oppin horedome, blasphemy, contempt of God, of his Word and Sacraments; quhilks in this Realme, for lack of punischment, do even now sa abound, that sin is reputed to be no son. And thairfore, as that we see the present signes of Gods wrayth now manifestly appear, so do we forewarne, that he will stryke, or it be long, if his law without punischment be permitted thus manifestly to be contemned. If any object, that punischment cannot be commanded to be executed without a Parliament; we answer, that the eternall God in his Parliament hes pronunced death to be the punischment for adulterie and for blasphemie; quhose acts if ye put not to executioun (seeing that Kings ar but his lieutenants, having no power to give lyfe, quhare he commands death) as that he will repute you, and all uthers that foster vice, patrons of impietie, so will he not faill to punisch you for neglecting of his judgements.
Our third request concernes the pure, quho be of thre sorts: The pure laborars of the ground; the pure desolate beggars, orphelins, widowes, and strangears; and the pure ministers of Christ Jesus his halie Evangell, quhilk all ar so cruelly entreated by this last pretended ordour takin for sustentatioun of ministers, that thair latter mistery far surmounteth the former; for now the pure laborars of the ground ar so oppressed by the cruelty of those that pay thair thrid, that thay for the most pairt advance upon the pure, quhatsoever they pay to the Quene, or to any uther. As for the very indigent and pure, to quhom God commandes a sustentatioun to be provyded off the teyndes, they are so despysed, that it is a wonder that the sone giveth lycht and heat unto the earth, quhare Gods name is so frequently called upoun, and no mercy (according to his comandements) schawin to his creatures.
And as for the ministers, thair livings are so appoynted, that the most pairt sall live but a beggars lyfe. And all cometh of that impiety, that the ydle bellies of Christs enemies mon be fed in thair former delicacy. We dar not conceill from your Grace and Honours our conscience, quhilk is this, That neyther by the law of God, neyther yet by any just law of man, is any thing dew unto thame, quho now most cruelly do exact off the pure and riche, the two pairts of thair benefices, as they call thame. And thairfore we most humilly requyre, that some uther ordour be takin with thame, nor that they be set up agane to impyre above the peple of God, eyther yet above any subject within this realme; for we fear that sik usurpatioun to thair formare state, be nether in the end pleasing to thameselves, nor profitable to thame that wald place thame in that tyranny. If any think that a competent living is to be assigned to thame, we repugne not, provyded that the labourars of the ground be not oppressed, the pure be not utterly neglected, and the minsters of the word so scharply entreated as now they ar. And synalie, that those ydle bellies, quho by law can crave nothing, sall consess that they receive thair sustentatioun, not of debt, bot as of benevolence. Our humble request is thairfore, that some suddane ordour may be takin, that the pure labourars may find some relief, and that in every parochin some portioun of the teynds may be assigned to the sustentatioun of the pure within the same. and lykwyse that sum publict relief may be provyded for the pure within burghis, that collectors may be appoynted to gather, and right schairp countes may be taken, alsweill of thair receat as of thair delyverance. The farther consideraioun to be had to our ministers, we in sum pairt remitt to your wisdomes, and unto thair particular complaints.
Our fourt petitioun is for the manses, yairds and gleibs justly apperteining to the ministers, without the quhilk it is impossible unto thame quyetly to serve thair charges; and thairfore we desyre that ordour be takin thairintill without delay.
Our fyft concerneth the inobedience of certane wicked persones, who not only trouble, and have trubled ministers within thair functiouns, bot also disobey the superintendents in thair visitatioun; quhareof we humblie crave remedy; quhilk we do not sa mekle for any fear that we and our ministers have of the papistes, bot for the love we bear to the commone tranquillity. For this we cannot hyd from your Majestie and counsaill, that if the papists think to triumph quhare they may, and to do quhat they list, quhare thair is not a pairtie able to resist thame, that sum will think, that the godly mon begin quhare they left, quho heirtofore have borne all things patiently, in hope that lawes suld have brydled the wicked; quhareof if they be frustrat, (albeit that nothing be more odious to thame then tumults and domesticall discords) yet will men attempt the uttermost, befoir that in thair awn eyes they behold that hous of God demolisched, quhilk with travell and danger God hath within this realme erected by thame.
Last, we desyre that sick as have receaved remissioun of thair thriddes, be compelled to sustene the ministerie within thair boundes, or els we forwarne your Grace and counsaill, that we feir that the people sall retene the haill in thair hands, untill sick tyme as thair ministers be sufficiently provyded. We farder desyre the kirks to be repared according to an act sett forth by the Lords of the Secret Counsaill, befor your Majesties arryvall in this country: That juges be appoynted to hear the causes of divorcement; for the kirk can no longer sustene that burthen, especialie becaus thair is no punischment for the offendars: That sayers and hearers of mess, prophaners of the sacraments, sik as have entered into benefices be the Paipes bulles, and sick uther transgressors of the law maid at your Graces arryvall within this realme, may be severely punisched; for els men will think that thair is no treuth ment in making of sik lawes. Farther, we maist humely desyre of your Grace and Honorabill Counsaill, a resolute answer to every ane of the heades forewritten, that the same being knawn, we may sumquhat satisfie sik as be grevously offended at maniseft iniquity now maintyned, at oppressioun under pretext of law done against the pure, and at the rebellious disobedience of many wicked persons against Gods word and holy ordinance.
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, so reull your hairtes, and direct your Grace and Counsaills jugements by the dytament and illuminatioun of his Holie Spirit, that ye may answer so as that your consciences may be absolved in the presence of that rychteous Juge, the Lord Jesus; and then we doubt not bot ye yourselves sall find felicity, and this pure realme, that lang hes bene oppressed by wicked men, sall injoy tranquilliltie and rest, with the trew knowledge of God.] K. C.