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.LXX.
The Generall Assemblie begun and haldin at Edinburgh, the fyft day Marche 1570: In the quhilk were present the Barronis, Superintendents, Commissioners to plant Kirks, Commissioners of Provinces, Universities, Townes, Kirks, and Ministers. Mr George Hay was chosin Moderatour be suffragis, to make prayers in this Assemblie; and exhortatioun in the beginning of the nixt.
[Mr Knox presented the Regents letter, wherein he craved the Assembly to be translated from Edinburgh to Stirling, or Glasgow. The Assembly was willing; but desired his Grace to hold them excused, because the Barons, Gentlemen, and Commissioners, some of them wanted horse, some of them had other impediments; The persons summoned were warned to compear at this place.
The Kirk assemblit ordaines all Superintendents and Commissionars to plant kirks, to present heirafter their bookes of their visitatiouns, every ane within their province respective, to every Assemblie heirafter following, to be sichtit and considerit be sick brether as sall be appointed therto, fra Assemblie to Assemblie; to the effect the Kirk may understand their diligence in executing their offices within their provinces.
The Kirk finds fault, that Mr Johne Rutherfurd, minister at Cultis, hes not done diligence in serving the said cure, at least certaine tymes in the yeir: admonishing him therfor to amend the said fault, in tymes coming, utherwayes the Kirk will proceid against him, as a neglecter of his dutie.
[Anent the Jurisdiction Ecclesiastical, and what ought to pertain thereto, and to be suited for at my Lord Regents Graces hand: The Assembly appointed the Superintendents of Angus and Fife, Mr Knox, Mr Robert Pont, Mr Johne Row, to conveen every day at seven hours, and pen and putt in order the heads and points in all sorts, pertaining to the Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction; and thereafter to present the said heads again to the Assembly, to be sighted and considered be them, to be sent be them thereafter to the Lord Regents Grace, with the instructions to be given to the Commissioners that are to be sent to his Grace.
After our most hearty commendations; whereas we have some matters to be consulted upon before you, both concerning the estate and affairs of the Church; as also the Kings Majesty, and common wealth of this countrey; and because we may not as yet depart from these parts, while we have putt order to such confusion of things as occur, as also sundry other impediments moving us, we desire you most effectually, that ye would appoint your nixt Assembly to be here at Glasgow, and that with all goodly diligence that ye may; at the least, that a part of you may be sent hither, sufficiently authorized with commission from the whole number, to treat with us anent such things as shall be both for the Kirks, Kings estate, and common weale of the countrey; wherein ye shall doe us most speciall pleasure. Referring all other things to your coming, committeth you, in the mean time, to the protection of God. From Glasgow, the 3 of March 1570.
The brethren presently assembled, in one voyce and mind, give their full commission and power to the honourable, and their loving brethren, Johne Areskine of Dun, Knight, Superintendent of Angus and Mernes, Mr John Winram, Superintendent of Fife, Mr John Spotswood, Superintendent of Lothian, Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, Mr Andrew Hay, Commissioner of Cliddisdaill, Mr David Lindsay, Commissioner of Kyle, Carrict and Cunninghame, Mr John Row, Commissioner of Galloway, John Duncanson, Minister of the Kings Majesties household, Mr William Lundie of that ilk, James Johnston of Elphinston, Alexander Foster of Carden, John Lockart of Bar, Hugh Wallace of Carnall, Mr John Fullerton of Dreghorn, Mr John Preston, one of the Commissioners for the town of Edinburgh; or any ten of them, To compear before my Lord Regents Grace and Counsell in Stirling, the last day of this instant month, or any other place, where my Lord Regents Grace shall appoint, due advertisement preceeding; and there, in the Kirks name, most humbly propone, shew and declare articles, heads, supplications and complaints, delivered to them be the Kirk, most humbly requesting for answer thereunto; conferr, reason and conclude with his Grace and Counsell, upon such heads and articles, as shall be proponned to them be his Grace and Counsell forsaid, according to the Assemblies instructions given to their said brethren; assist, concurr and consent to all and whatsomever other things that shall be treated, tending to the glory of God, setting fordward the preaching and maintaining of his true religion within this countrey, the Kings Majesty, and common wealth of this realme: And whatsoever happeneth to be done be them in the premisses, to report the same to the nixt Generall Assembly of the Kirk, to beginn in Stirling, the 6 day of August nixt to come: stable and firm holding, and for to hold all and whatsomever the saids brethren, or any ten of them, in the premisses conclude to be done. Given in the Generall Assembly of the Kirk, and second session thereof. Subscrived be the Clerk of the same, day, year and place foresaid. C.]
2. Election, examination and admission of them that are admittit to the ministrie, or uther functions in the Kirk, charge of sauls, and ecclesiasticall benefices, the suspension and deprivation of them therefra for lawfull causes.
5. Jurisdictioun to proceid be admonitions to the proces of excommunication, if neid beis, against them that robis the patrimonie of the Kirk pertaining to the ministrie, or utherwayes intrometts therwith unjustlie, quherby the ministrie is in danger to decay be occasion of the povertie of the ministrie.
In the first, that his Grace and Counsell grant and consent, That no disposition of any benefice or presentation be made of any person, without the admission and collation of the Kirk, following upon just presentations; and if any disposition of benefices be made to any person or persons, that the same be discharged and brought back again, to the end that such have no place in times coming.
Item, That such horrible crimes be punished, as provock Gods wrath against the realme, such as idolatry, incest, adultery and other like hainous crimes; and Commissioners of Justice be appointed in every province for that effect.
And in like manner, That ye agree, conferr and conclude with his Grace and Counsell, touching the pension concerning the Kings Majesties house; and also concerning my Lord Regents Graces house, anent the pension to be appointed thereto.
And, finally, To reason, conferr and conclude with his Grace and Counsell soresaid, concerning the appointment made betwixt the Kirk and my Lord Regents Grace, now resting with God, as shall be thought expedient, and agreeable to Gods glory, to the comfort and utilitie of the Kirk, the preservation of this common wealth, and due obedience to the Kings Majesty our Soveraign.
Adulterers, incestuous persons, and homicides, [and other hainous offenders, requesting to be received to publick repentance,] were ordainit to repaire to their awin Ministers; there to receive their injunctions, quhill the nixt convention Synodall of the Superintendents and Commissionars of their awin provinces respectivé; and there to present themselves in linnen cloathes, bareheidit and barefootit, humblie requiestand the Kirk there assemblit, to receive them to the societie of the faithfull, with farther injunctiouns; and to bring their testimonialls from the ministers, of their behaviour in the meane tyme. [Others compearing in linnen cloathes, and submitting themselves to farther injunctions, the Assembly ordaineth them to be received in their own kirks, conform to the acts made thereanent. C.]
Forsameikle as it hes bein ordainit be the Generall Assemblies, That all adulterers, murtherers, incestuous persons, and uthers committers of haynous crymes, first sould present themselves to the Generall Assembly, there to receive their first injunctions; and at the nixt therafter following to present themselves in linnen cloathes, &c.: And forsameikle as diverse of the saids offenders partlie are farre distant fra the places of Generall Assemblies; uthers, for povertie, and deadly feids, may not, and darre not travell through the countrey to present themselves before the saids Assemblies, &c.: For thir causes, and uthers considerations moveing the Kirk presentlie assemblit, they statute and ordaines, That all sick offenders sall be callit heirafter be the Superintendents and Commissioners of provinces, to compeir befor them in their Synodall conventiouns, to be haldin be them twyse in the ȝeir; there to be receivit, and take their injunctiouns, conforme to the ordour usit befor be the Generall Assemblies, in all sorts.
[The Diocie of Cathness craveth a superintendent, or commissioner to plant kirks, or visite kirks already planted. The Assembly not finding a man fitt, for the present, for such a charge, in that countrey, requested John Gray of Fordell, who had taken great pains and travells before in the oversight of the said countrey, to continue in his supporting of the said diocie, with the assistance of the Bishop thereof, head Commissioner of the same, till the nixt Generall Assembly.
The Assembly ordained the Superintendent of Angus and Mernes to visite Dunkell, plant ministers there, expell idolatry, visite schools and colledges, as he useth to doe in his own bounds; and exercise and use all other things pertaining to the office of a Superintendent.
Mr John Row, Commissioner of Nithisdaill and Galloway, Mr David Lindsay, Commissioner of Kyle, Carict and Cuninghame, Mr Andrew Hay, Commissioner of Cliddisdaill, Ranfrew and Lennox, were continued in their commissions respectivé, till the nixt Assembly.
Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, required to be disburthened of his office, in respect there was no obedience in these parts, and Ministers were not answered; yet the Assembly requested him to continue till the nixt Assembly.
The Superintendents of Kirks, and Ministers of the reformed Kirk within Scotland, assembled in Edinburgh, the 5 day of March 1571, to the right worshipfull and their loving brother, Lord Robert Steuart, Commendator of Halyrudhouse, wish grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, with continuall guiding of his Holy Spirit, for salutation.
Forasmeikle, beloved in the Lord Jesus, as we wrote to your Lordship, the 25 day of March 1568, to assist our brethren Commissioners to plant kirks in Orknay and Ʒetland; as also to further our collector of the thrids in these bounds for the sustentation of the Ministry, as your Lordship would declare yourself a setter fordward of the kingdome of Jesus Christ, and have us to call to God for your prosperity, &c. And because we have received advertisement from Mr James Annand and Gilbert Foulsie, our Commissioners in these bounds, of your Lordships continuall assistance to them in executing of their office, as also of your Lordships support to our said collector; for the which we are not able to render thanks sufficiently; God shall recompence to your Lordship comfort: This present is most humbly to requeist your Lordship, That as ye have begunn to declare yourself a patron of the Kirk in these bounds, even so your Lordship would continue to the end: and assure your self, if men should happen to be unthankfull, as God forbid, yet should the eternall God, who leaveth not a cup of water given to one of his, for his sake, unrecompensed, bless your Lordship and your posterity. Yet farther, we most requeist our Lordship, when our said brethren Commissioners shall signify to you such as are manifest adulterers, incestuous persons, murtherers, or others committers of hainous crimes, which provock the wrath of God to be poured out in this realme, that your Lordship would punish the saids faults, according to Gods laws, and acts of Parliament; that wickendness may be taken away: In doing whereof your Lordships remembrance and memory shall be immortall, and prosterity to come shall praise God in your doings. What your Lordship shall doe in the premisses, we look to be advertised be your Lordship, or our saids brethren Commissioners, at the nixt Assembly to beginn at Stirling the 6 day of August; where we look for one of them with full advertisement: And thus we committ your Lordship to the protection of the Omnipotent. Given in the Generall Assembly, and thrid session thereof, the 6 day of March 1570. Subscrived be the clerk of the same, at our command.
The Assembly ordained Mr John Knox, John Row, Robert Hammil ton, John Craig, William Christesone, Robert Pont, and James Lowson, of Edinburgh, Perth, Sanct Andrews, Dundie, Murray, and Aberdeen, Ministers respectivé, to meet upon the decision of questions, the morne at 8 hours; and to report their decisions, betwixt and the end of the Assembly, to be insert and registrat.
And because the Assembly is yearly troubled with solutions of questions, of which some are unprofitable, others may be easily resolved be Superintendents and Commissioners to plant kirks, with the assistance of their Ministers, in their Synodall conventions to be holden twice every year, &c. Herefore C.] The haill Kirk assemblit ordaines, That all questions heirafter be proponit and presentit to the Superintendents and Commissioners forsaids, in the said Synodall conventions, there to reseaff their solutions: And if any question happins to be hard for them that sall happin to be at the said conventions, then, and in that case, that the Superintendents and Commissioners of kirks present the said hard questions to the Generall Assemblies, there to receive their solutioun in their rowme, according to the rule: With certification, that no questions heirafter fall be receivit in Generall Assemblies from particular Ministers. [The same order to be observed anent complaints in all sorts, &c.]
Forasmikle as trouble and slander hath risen for solemnizing of marriages in private houses, and that be ministers to whose paroch or kirk the contraveeners pertained not, wherethrough there hath been controversy in particular kirks and sessions, for satisfaction making for transgression of the publick order of the Kirk, &c.; for eschewing of the which, C.] The Kirk assemblit statutes and ordaines, That all marriages be made solemnlie in the face of the congregatioun, according to the ordour publicklie establischit; and als inhibites all Ministers and Exhorters, that nane of them solemnize marriages of any persons of uther congregatiouns nor their awin, without sufficient testimonialls from their Ministers, or els licence askit and givin be the contracters, under the pains establischit before agains the Ministers; and the contracters, with their parents, to make publick repentance at the commoun pillar of repentance, at the discretioun of their awin kirks.
[Mr Archibald Douglas, one of the Senators of the Colledge of Justice, having a presentation, under the Privy Seal, of the personage of Glasgow granted and givin be the Regent of good memory; wherein he required the Assembly to give their letters testimonialls, conform to his said presen tation: The Assembly remitted him to Mr Andrew Hay, Commissioner of Cliddisdaill, to receive his answer. The Commissioner refused to give letters testimonialls; because the presentation was not made according to the order agreed on betwixt my Lord Regents Grace of good memory, and the Assembly. Mr Archibald protested, that he might hear a reasonable cause, why they refused. The Assembly alledged the reason before mentioned; not the less they offered to cause their solicitor to deliver to him a form of presentation, such as the Kirk hath used to give their testimonials upon. From their refusal Mr Archibald appealed, verbo tantum, to the Parliament, the Kings Majesty, and his Counsell, omni meliore modo.
The said Mr Archibald appealed of new to the Parliament, the Kings Majesty and Counsell, omni meliore modo, &c.; moreover required the Assembly to adhere to his appellation. The Assembly desired him to putt his appellation in due form, and deliver the same to them to advise with, and thereafter they should give their answer: whereupon the said Mr Archibald asked instruments.
The Assembly brotherly required Mr Patrick Adamson to enter again in the ministry, in respect of the good gifts that God had given him, and scarceness of ministers in diverse countries. He answered, That he would advise with himself and brethren that love him, till the next Assembly; and promised then to answer, whither he would then enter in the ministry, or withdraw himself allutterly.
Compeared Mr Archibald Douglas, protested, that the answer given be the Assembly, that the presentation produced be him to the Commissioner of Glasgow, and thereafter to the Generall Assembly, together with the answer of refusal, alledging the same to be no lawfull presentation, it being founded upon the Kings priviledge, such laws and constitutions as have been used in this realme, at all times heretofore, together with the refusal of the said Kirk to adhere to his just appellation, as he alledged, interponed be him to the most honourable Parliament, Kings Majesty, his Regent, Secret Counsell, Lords of Session, or any of them that shall be found competent Judges herein, may serve him for a sufficient and lawfull testimonial upon his provision to the end of the plea, to be as sufficient as if the Commissioner or Superintendent had given the same; and desired his protestation to be admitted, &c.: whereupon he asked a note. C.]
The Kirk ordaines all Superintendents and Commissioners to plant kirks in their first Synodall conventiouns heirafter following, with the advyse of their ministers; to reason [upon the necessity of publick fasts,] and appoint publick fasting, if it sall be thocht necessar; and als that they appoint certaine brethren to travel for vnitie and concord among the nobilitie of this realme.
Compeirit in Assemblie Mr Robert Wynrhame, collector of Fyffe, and shew how he was purgit be ane condigne assyse befor the civill magistrate, for the slaughter of Henrie Kairnes, citizen in St Androes: Not theles because the blood was shed against his will, always he willinglie offerit to the Kirk to vnderly quhatsoevir vther thing they wold lay to his charge for satisfaction of the Kirk. The Kirk ordaines Mr Robert Hamiltoun, minister of St Androes, to declare after his sermon vpon a Sonday, the purgation of the said Mr Robert of the slaughter; and therfor call vpon him to repare befor the pulpitt, exhorting him to enter in consideration with himself, according as is containit in the Booke of Excommunication; and therafter to humble himselfe, aske God, the congregatioun, and partie pardon, and all vthers that were slanderit with the fault.
Anent excommunicat persons for non-adhering to the establischit religioun, and not joynit therto of befor, ȝet not theles presentlie of their awin frie will submitts themselves, and requyres to be receivit to the societie of the faithfull: The Kirk ordaines the saids persons to be receivit be their minister, in low and humble habite, with sackcloth, observing the ordour prescrivit in the Booke of Excommunication, in all ther points.
[Mr Robert Lumsden of Clowayeth craved a defalcation of the thrids of the vicarages of Logie-Buchan and Cushny, in respect of inlaiking of corpus presents, upmost cloaths, and pasch fynes, &c., which was granted; and ten merks yearly defalked of the thrids of the vicarage of LogieBuchan; and 20 merks of the thrids of the vicarage of Cushny.
Q. Whither the Superintendents may or ought to take up the particular dilations, in their chief and metropolitan kirks, where good order is, and execution of discipline; and the weekly assembly be the ministers, elders and deacons thereof, observed for the same cause. A. Lett the Superintendents and the Kirk agree therupon; not stopping the discipline any way.
Q. And if he may take up the saids dilations, Whither he may doe it, without the advice of ministers and elders who ought to be his counsellers, be himself and his own scribe. A. Thinks it were good, that he had some of the elders with him, for avoiding all corruption and partiality.
Q. If it be not more expedient thàt the Superintendent, or Superintendents themselves be executioners of excommunicatioun, nor to committ the same to the ministers; and that chiefly in landwart. C.] A. Quher ministers are not in practise of excommunication or will be contemnit in their executioun, it is necessar that the Superintendent or some uther sufficientlie qualified and authorized, use the same.
[Q. Quhither if a Superintendent may absolutely depose and admitt ministers, without advice and consent of the chiefest ministers, and of his seat in speciall. A. We referr this to the ordinance made of before.
Q. If any person or persons being in a reformed paroich or city, where order and discipline is observed, may be compelled to answer before their superintendent, in prima instantia, or yet before the Generall Assembly, the matter not being tryed, neither before their own particular Assembly, their immediat judge, nor before the superintendent. A Appoints and ordains the order of the Book of Discipline to be observed herein, quhereunto the superintendents are subject. C.]
Q. If it be leisum to the minister to proceid against the magistrates quho will not put to execution the Acts of Parliament concerning discipline, and uther particular Acts universallie aggreit on be their awin particular congregatioun, with the sentence of excommunication. A. This is els concludit; admonitions passing duelie before against them.
[Q. What punishment shall be inflicted on ministers that will not execute the Superintendents letters. A. This question cannot be answered, be reason of the generality thereof: But lett the Superintendent more specially take order herein, as he will answer to the Generall Assembly.
Q. Is it not expedient and necessar, that an uniform order be observed in all kirks, in making promises of marriages, quhither they shall be made, per verba de futuro, vel verba de præsenti; or should no promise be made till the solemnization. C.] A. Promise of marriage, per verba de futuro, sall be made, according to the ordour of the reformed Kirk, to the minister, exhorter or reidar; takeand caution for abstinence till the marriage be solemnizit.
If a man ravisch a woman against her will, and her parents will, and strike her parents under silence of night, and the magistrates will put no correctioun therto: Quhither if the Kirk sould proceid with monitours and excommunication, to satisfie the slander. It is lawfull.
[Q. What punishment shall be inflicted on such ministers as refuse to be inaugurat in the ministry. A. If they will not be received according to the order takin by the Kirk, lett them not be admitted. C.]
Quhat ordour fall be takin with her quho committing fornication with a man, dois suffer the same man heirafter to marrie her awin sister; and heiring the bands proclamit wald not reveile the impediment, but be conceilling of the cryme, was guiltie of the incest following. Both he and she to be punishit according to the discipline of the Kirk, bot cheiflie the man; and the second cannot be his wyfe.
It is altogether unlawfull be any minister of Gods word, to receive any benefice be the presentation of a laik person, under paction and condition made with the patron therof, tending to symonie, viz. that the patron have the great part of the teyndis, and the minister the small part therof.
[When the minister cometh to the Generall Assemblies, with commission of his kirk, or for other needfull affairs, or chanceth to fall in sickness: Quhither if the Superintendent shall provide for some other to occupy his place, chiefly within burrowes and towns. A. Ordains the superintendent to take order that the kirk be not destitute. C.]
Quhat ordour fall the superintendent take with a man that hes suted libertie to marrie thir thrie or foure zeirs, being befor be his awin particular kirk inhibite to marrie, bēcause he deflored a virgine beand his awin servant, unless he wald take her to his wyfe; seing the judiciall law is not zet receivit, and the man hes hir discharge of marriage, under the forme of instrument, before the decreit was pronuncit against him be his awin particular kirk. All things beeand true, according to the narrative, it is thoght the decreit givin for sick a cause may be reduceit be the superintendent, and the man may obtaine libertie to marrie; zea, and there is injurie done to him alreadie.
[Q. Anent the question proponed before the particular Kirk of Edinburgh be the brethren thereof, touching such persons as have sometimes been known and admitted to the generall Kirk as publick ministers, and of long time have made open defection, to the great slander of the Kirk: Quhat order will the Generall Assembly take thereanent. A. Such persons shall be admonished be the particular kirk, and if they refuse to hear admonitions, shall be debarred from the sacraments till they satisfy the Kirk.
Q. If the Kirk, jure devoluto, may give a benefice which is disponed be a laick patron to ane unqualified person; and if the superintendent or commissioner to plant kirks, may doe the same without the Generall Assembly. A. Referrs it to the Act of Parliament. C.]