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. LXXXIII.
The Generall Assembly begun and haldin at Edinburgh [in the Nether Tolbooth] the 6 day of March 1573: In the quhilk were present Earles, Lords, Barrones, Bischops. [John Bishop of Sanct Andrews, James Bishop of Glasgow, James Bishop of Dunkeld, George Bishop of Murrey, Robert Bishop of Cathness.] Super intendents, Commissioners to plant Kirks, Commissioners of Provinces, Townes, Kirks, Universities, and Ministers. Mr Andro Hay [Minister of Ranfrew, and Commissioner of Cliddisdaill] was chosen Moderator.
[In the trial of Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners to plant kirks, John Archbishop of Sanct Andrews was delated, For not visiting his province of Fife; for admitting a simple reader, Robert Douglass, to the Personage of Morvington, the profite whereof consisteth in thrids; That he was not only Bishop, but Rector of the University, and Provest of the New Colledge; That he preached not in Sanct Andrews, where he made his residence; That he absolved Mr Magnus Halcro, who was excommunicate in Orknay for adultery committed be him with Margrat Sinclair, sometimes wife to James Tulloch. To the first he answered, That since the last Assembly he had been continually sick, and so weak that he was not able to visite his said countrey, which excuse was thought reasonable. To the second he answered, That he understood be relation, that the saids teinds of Morvington were so small in value that scarce would they sustain a reader; nottheless the Assembly ordained the said Bishop to reform his collation of the said benefice, according to the laws already made anent personages. To the thrid, He alledged infirmity, and promised to preach in time coming according to his ability. To the fourth, alledged, That he absolved the said Mr Magnus be just process led before him in Sanct Andrews. The Assembly ordained the Bishop to produce the process before them that day eight days. Anent the retaining of the Rectory and Provestry, he answered, He was content to dimitt the one and the other, how soon my Lord Regents Grace and Commissioners shall come to Sanct Andrews for visiting of the Colledges.
James Bishop of Dunkeld was accused for admitting one called Sir Walter Robesone, to read in the kirk of Logyret, who, within 20 days thereafter, past with a dead corps to the kirk, having the Supercloath upon him in popish manner: Item, For admitting Michael Grey and John Drummond, two readers at the kirk of, who be their convention and troubles have raised a great slander against them and their offices: Thirdly, That he hath not execute the sentence of excommunication against the Earl of Atholl and his wife, conforme to the Act of Parliament. The Assembly ordained him to take order with the forsaids readers, that, all slander being removed, no cause of complaint be found hereafter. And sicklike with the said Walter Robeson, and try the forsaid alledgance touching the smelling of papistry. As for the oversight of the Earle of Athole and his wife, he confessed the same, and therefore was ordained to pass to the Cathedrall kirk of Dunkeld, and there upon a Lords day in time of preaching consess his fault publickly for not executing of the forsaid sentence; and farther, that thereafter within 40 days, the said Earle, his wife and so many of his family as shall be found disobedient, be excommunicate: The order of his excommunication, and indorsation thereof in authentick forme, to report to the Regents Grace, that order may be taken thereanent.
John Gray, Scribe to the Assembly, presented a book containing a visitation of the Diocie of Cathness, made be John Gray of Fordell, Commissioner of the said countrey; and also read a letter sent from him, wherein he desired to be discharged of that office, both for the weight of the burthen, his age, and meaness of the stipend. The Assembly could not give ane answer presently.
For visiting of the books of diligences, of Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners, were appointed the brethren underwritten, Mr James Greig, William Christesone, Mr David Wemes, Thomas Duncanson, John Duncanson, Mr Roger Gordon, David Ferguson, John Clapperton, Robert Monteith, James Anderson, Mr Archibald Keith, to conveen in this house upon Monday at seven hours before noon, for overseing of the saids books, and so continue from day to day, till the samine be perfectly oversighted, and what they find therein to report the same to the Assembly.
George Bishop of Murrey was accused of fornication committed be him with one called Scot, relict of Dishington of Ardorss: He answered, That, after admonition given him, he abstained from all cohabitation with the said woman. He was removed: and the brethren chiefly in Fife were inquired, Whither he had given just cause of slander before admonitions given to him. And entering again he was ordained to purge himself before the Assembly of the forsaid crime. He desired time to advise with himself till the 10 day of this instant moneth, at what time he promised to give answer. And because the members of the Chaptour of Murrey had admitted the said George to the Bishoprick of Murrey in giving their letters testimonials thereupon, without just trial and due examination of the said George life, conversation, and qualification in literature, as appertained, wherethrough great slander is fisen; therefore the Assembly giveth commission to John Areskine of Dun, Knight, Superintendent of Angus and Mernes, Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge, Mr John Craig, Minister of New Aberdeen, That they direct their citation to summone the forsaid Chaptour of Murrey to compear before them, day and place as they shall appoint, for the causes above written; and what they happen to find in the said matter, to report the same to the nixt Generall Assembly.
To visie the heads and questions presented to the Assembly be Alexander Hay, clerk of the Secret Counsell, sent be my Lord Regents Grace, and for giving answer thereto, were appointed the brethren underwritten, Mr James Boyd, Bishop of Glasgow, John Areskine of Dun, Knight, Super intendent of Angus and Mernes, Mr John Winrame, Superintendent of Stratherne, Mr John Row, Mr James Lowson, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Mr Robert Matlane, Dean of Aberdeen, Mr Patrick Adamsone, the Laird of Lundie, the Laird of Quhittinghame, the Laird of Elphinston, the Laird of Barr, the Laird of Spott, the Laird of Kelwod, Alexander Udward, Commissioner of Aberdeen.
The Assembly ordains Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, to deliver ane just copy of his compts of collectory of Aberdeen and Banff of 1572 years, to Mr John Craig, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, to the effect that the Ministers of that countrey may understand what allowances are taken of their stipends of the said year, every one for his own part; which ordinance the said Mr George promised to fulfill.
The Assembly appointeth Mr John Spotswood, Superintendent of Lothian, Mr Clement Littel, Advocate, Mr Robert Pont, Mr James Lowson, Mr David Lindsay, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, mr Patrick Adamson, or any four of them, to revise and consider the reply made be John Duncansone, Minister of the Kings house, against Mr James Tyries last book; and what the said brethren find therein, to report again to the Assembly, to the effect it may be understood, Whither the said reply may be committed to print or not: And in like manner, that the saids brethren or any four of them, peruse and consider a book presented to the Assembly be the Earl of Glencarne, sett out be a brother, and intituled, "Of Gods Providence," and to report their judgment thereanent to the effect forsaid.
Mr John Davidsone, a Regent of the Colledge of Sanct Leonards in Sance Andrews,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . declared to the Assembly, how he had been summoned before the Counsell, and troubled a long time for a book, which was not unknowe to their Wisdoms, and what was his mind, and the whole process of it, and desired them to examine it; and if they found it dissonant from the word of God, condemn it; if consonant to the truth, approve it, and that with expedition, because his staying was chargeable; and Noblemens sons his scholars were desrauded by his absence. Some informed the Moderator, that Mr John Rutherford had made ane answer to it. The Assembly thought good, it should be presented. He shifted saying, He could not produce his ineptias, and that he had written but one copy which the Regent had. . . . . . . . . . . . It was voted, Whither he should be compelled under the pain of excommunication, to present his book, and was concluded as followeth.
Forsamekle as the Assembly understanding, that Mr John Rutherford, Provest of Sanct Salvators Colledge, hath published a book in writt against Mr John Davidsone his book; therefore it was inquired, Whither the said Mr John ought and should produce the said book before the brethren of this Assembly. It was voted throughout, That he ought and should produce the same, to be sighted and considered be the brethren presently conveened; and therefore ordained Mr Robert Hammilton, Minister of Sanct Andrews, Mr James Melvill, Minister of Arbrothe, to require the said Mr John Rutherford, to exhibite the said book before the Assembly the morne at nine hours: And, in the like manner, That the said Mr John Davidson present his book.
The Assembly ordaineth all Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners to plant kirks, to give in writt the morne afternoon, the names of all such persons as they know to be able within their diocese, to serve in the Ministry, that they may be planted and livings obtained to them accordingly.
For answer to the last article sent to the Assembly be my Lord Regents Grace, anent the substantial cause, if any be, of mislyking the order agreed upon for payment of Ministers stipends, and assignation of the same, and what better order can be proponed and devised for the same: The Assembly appointed the brethren underwritten, to witt, James Bishop of Glasgow, John Areskine of Dun, Knight, Superintendent of Angus and Mernes, Mr John Winrame, Superintendent of Stratherne, Mr Gilbert Foulsie, one of the Commissioners of Orknay, Mr Robert Pont, Mr James Lowson, Mr John Row, Mr David Lindsay, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Mr George Hay, Mr Patrick Adamson, Mr Rodger Gordoun, Richard Melvill, Minister of Gods word, the Laird of Lundie, the Laird of Braid, the Laird of Barr, the Laird of Carnall, Andrew Ker of Fadounside, the Laird of Thorntone, David Lindsay, Lyon Herald, John Adamsone, one of the Commissioners of Edenburgh, the Commendator of Deir, Mr John Young, Minister at Irving, and William Hume of Hutton, to conveen the morne at eight hours before noon in Mr James Lowsons chamber, and consider the forsaid article, and pen ane answer thereto, and report the same again to the Assembly.
Anent the appellation interponed be George Cleppan of Corslogie, from the sentence of excommunication pronounced against him be the Bishop of Sanct Andrews, for causes contained in the said appellation: The Assembly ordaineth the said Bishop, with advice of so many of his Ministers as he shall think meet to assume to him, to receive the said George to the besome of the Kirk, absolve him from the said sentence, if he will unfainedly require the same according to the order, and thereafter receive his purgation of the crime laid to his charge be his own oath; admonishing him to adhere to his own wife in time coming, under the pain of incurring the said sentence of, &c. C.]
The Kirk ordaines all Commissioners of townes and provinces, That they search and seik out the haill rentalls of the Hospitalls within thair bounds respectiué, and give the same in to thair Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners, shawand how the same are vsit or abusit, to the effect that my Lord Chancellour may reseave the same, to report to my Lord Regents Grace; and this to be done, betuixt and the tent day of Apryle nixt to come.
[Anent the Commission given in the last Assembly to the Laird of Dun and certain other brethren with him, to conserr and conclude with my Lord Regents Grace and Secret Counsell: The said Laird of Dun and brethren sorsaid gave up their said commission, and protested, That nothing should be imputed to them, or laid to their charge, as done and concluded be them with my Lord Regents Grace, that might prejudge the brethren or the Assembly.
Mr John Davidsone, Regent in Sanct Leonards Colledge, conform to the command of the Assembly, willingly presented his book in writt, to be sighted and considered be the brethren appointed thereto, and alledged, that the same was printed without his advice and command; alwise submitteth himself and his book to the judgement of this present Assembly.
The Assembly appointed Mr James Lowson, Mr David Lindsay, the Laird of Barganie, the Laird of Thornton, the Commissioners of Edenburgh and Sanct Johnston, to present a Supplication to my Lord Regents Grace this day at two afternoon, and to report his Graces answer to the Assembly: The tenor of the Supplication followeth. C.]
Unto the Lord Regents Grace [and Lords] of Privie Counsell, with vthers of the Estates conveinit with his Grace, the Kirk Generall now assemblit wisches everlasting health in Chryst.
It is not unknowin that holie mysterie of God that hes chosin to himselfe a Kirk, and that from the beginning, and sall continue for evir; and that is the congregatioun and companie of the faithful professours of Chryst: And in his Kirk God hes appointit his holie mysteries to be ministrat, and calls men to be ministers of the same, that be the samein ministrie the elect of God may be callit, regenerate, and nourishit to the everlasting lyfe. For preservatioun of the holie Ministrie and Kirk in puritie, the Lord hes appointit Assemblies and Conventiouns, not only of the persons of the Ministrie, but also of the haill members of the Kirk professing Chryst: The quhilk Kirk of God hes continuallie vsit, and vses the same Assemblies, sanctified be the word of God, and authorized be the presence of Jesus Chryst. It is also knowin vnto ȝour Grace, that sen the tyme God blessed this countrey with the light of the Evangell, the haill Kirk maist godlie appointit, and the same be Act of Parliament authorized, that twa godlie Assemblies of the haill General Kirk of this realme, sould be ever ilk ȝeir, asweill of all members therof in all Estates as of the Ministers: The whilk Assemblies hes bein sen the first ordinance, continually keipit in sick sort, that the most noble ther of the hiest Estate, hes joynit themselves, be their awin presence in the Assemblies, as members of any body, concurreand, voteand and authorizand in all things their proceiding with their brether. And now, at this present, the Kirk is assemblit according to the Godlie Ordinance, and lookes to have concurrence of thair brethren in all Estates, and wisches of God, that your Grace and Lords of Privie Counsell will authorize the Kirk in this present Assemblie, be ȝour presence, or be vthers haveand ȝour commission in ȝour Grace and Lordships names, as members of the Kirk of God; for as your Graces presence and the Nobilities sould be vnto us most comfortable, and so most earnestlie wisched of all, so your Graces absence is to us most dolorous and lamentabill; wherof followes the want of ane great part of the members, that weill cannot be absent from the treating of these things that appertaines to the Kirk and policie thereof, in Assemblie altogether, to be handlit be the advyse of all, and to the whilk end the Assemblies are ap pointit; the authoritie quherof ȝour Grace knowes to be sick as the contempt of it tends to the verie dishonour of God; and therfor as ȝe esteime your selves to be members of Chryst and of his Kirk, shew the fruits therof; of the quhilk it is not the least to joyne ȝour selves to the Kirk, not only be hearing the word, and receiving the sacraments, bot also in conveining with ȝour brether in the holie Assemblies: The quhilk to doe we give ȝogh;ou admonition in the name of the Lord; extending this our admonition to every person, of quhatsoevir Estate, that are present with ȝogh;our Grace and Lordships; and specially we admonisch the Bischops and sick as are of the Ministrie, to joyne themselves with vs, according to their ministrie and duetie; vtherwayes they will be thought vnworthie of the office they beare. The tyme that the kirk will sitt will be short, and tyme wald not be neglectit; and yet the kirk is not so rigorous, bot that men may, after thair presence givin in the Assemblie, have libertie, as tyme requyres, to waite vpon thair laufull bussines: And this admonition we give ȝour Grace with all reverence and humilitie; and that chieflie in respect ȝour Grace, be ȝour awin articles and questions sent to the Kirk, desyres first to be admonishit charitablie, quhensoevir offences arises, befor the same be vtherwayes traduceit.
[Anent questions, complaints, bills and requests which could not be resolved and answered unto in the Synodall Conventions of provinces: The Assembly appointed Mr Robert Hammilton, Minister of Sanct Andrews, Mr John Young, Mr James Balfour, Mr David Cunninghame, Mr David Wemes, Mr James Carmichael, Mr John Davidsone, Mr Andrew Simpson, to read and consider the saids questions, bills and complaints, and give answer thereunto, and report the same to the Assembly again. C.]
[The Assembly appoints James Bishop of Glasgow, the Superintendent of Angus and Mernes, Mr John Winrame, Superintendent of Stratherne, Mr Robert Pont, one of the Lords of the Session, and preacher of Gods word, Mr John Row, Minister of Perth, Mr Robert Matlane, Dean of Aberdeen, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of Aberdeen, and John Duncansone, Minister to the Kings house, That they conveen the morne about 6 hours in the morning, in Mr James Lowsons house, to pen the heids and articles concerning the jurisdictioun of the Kirk, and thereafter to present the samein to the Assemblie, to the effect that resolution may be had thereof at my Lord Regent Graces hand. C.& B.]
Anent the jurisdiction of Bishops in thair ecclesiasticall functioun: The Kirk presentlie assemblit hes concludit, That the same sall not exceid the jurisdictioun of Superintendents, quhilk heirtofoir they have had and presentlie hes; and that they salbe subject to the discipline of the Generall Assemblie as members therof, as the Superintendents hes bein heirtofor in all sorts.
That no Superintendents nor Commissioners for planting kirks, have nor sall give collatioun of benefices, nor admitt Ministers, without the assistance of thrie of thair qualified Ministers, of thair province, quho also sall give thair testimonialls to the saids Superintendents or Commissioners, subscryvit with thair hands, in signe of thair consent therto: And, in lyke manner, That no Bishop give collatioun of any benefice within the bounds of Superintendents within his dyocie, without thair consent, and testimonialls subscryvit with thair hands: And, that Bischopes within thair awin dyocies, visite be themselves, quher no Superintendents are; and give no collatioun ordinar vpon benefices, without consent of thrie weill qualified Ministers, as said is, of Superintendents and Commissioners to plant kirkis.
[The Assembly ordaineth the Bishop of Glasgow, to take order with John Hammilton, son to unquhil Sir William Hammilton, and to give him injunctions for satisfieng of the Kirk of Mauchlin. His complices, John Dunbar, Hugh Farquhar, Patrick Hammilton of Linnerhaugh, William Dumbar, parochiner of Tarbolton, David Blair, parochiner of Munckton, and patrick Reid, being often called and not compearing, the Assembly ordained the said Bishop of Glasgow, To direct his precepts to the Ministers or Readers of the kirks where the forsaids persons dwell, to admonish them and every one of them respectivé in their own paroich kirk, to satisfy the kirk of Mauchlin for the offence done to the said kirk, under the pain of excommunication; and in cafe of disobedience of the saids persons, sons, or any of them, that he give commandment to the saids Ministers or readers where the saids disobedients dwell, to pronounce the sentence of excommunication against them, according to the order appointed in the Book of Excommunication. C.]
[The Assembly presently conveened, in one voice and mind, giveth full power and commission to their loving brethren, John Areskine of Dun, Knight, Superintendent of Angus and Mernes, Mr John Winrame, Superintendent of Stratherne, Mr Robert Pont, one of the Senators of our Soveraign Lords Colledge of Justice, and Minister of Gods word, Mr John Row, Mr George Hay, Mr David Lindsay, Commissioners of Galloway, Kile, Carict and Cunninghame respective, Mr James Lowsone, Minister of Edenburgh, John Duncansone, Minister of the Kings Majesties house, to conveine with my Lord Regents Grace and Lords of Secreit Counsell, to conserre and reason vpon the heids concerning the jurisdictioun and policie of the Kirk, and sick vther heids and articles as salbe proponit be his Grace and Counsell to them; and upon the heads, articles and requests, which are to be proponed to his Grace and Counsell, in name of the Assembly presently conveened, and concerning all and sundry other things tending to the setting forward of the glory of the eternall God, maintaining the preaching of his word, the Kings Majestys authority, and common wealth of this realme: firm and stable, &c. C. & B.]
[Forsamikle as George Bishop of Murrey was ordained to have compeared before this Assembly the 10 day of this instant, to have given his purgation of the slander given be him of fornication, alledged committed with the Lady Ardrosse, and hath not yet compeared; therefore the Assembly ordains James Bishop of Dunkeld to warn the said George, to compear the 12 day of this instant moneth at 10 hours before noone, to make his purgation, according to the ordinance appointed to him the 8 day of this moneth.
The Assembly ordaineth the Bishop of Glasgow to take order with John Carmichael, Captain of Crauford, now submitting himself to the discipline of the Kirk for adultery committed be him, and to receive him to publick repentance, according to the Acts of the Generall Assembly heretofore made against the committers of such crimes.
The brethren appointed to reason upon the Commissioners and their commission, that are to pass to the Regents Grace and Secret Counsell, do declare that their opinion was and is, That they should pass the morne at time appointed to the Regents Grace and Counsell with their commission: and if they were refused to reason as Commissioners of the Assembly, then and in that case they should return again to the Assembly with their commission, and report their refusal, to the effect the Assembly may take order thereanent. This their opinion being read, was approved be the whole Assembly.
Anent the Assemblies answer, touching the head of allowing of the order of assignation of Ministers stipends, &c.: The Assembly appointed Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, and Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge, to present the said answer to my Lord Regents Grace, and to report his Graces answer again thereanent. C.]
As concerning the appointing of sundrie kirks to one Minister: To the end the matter may be plainer, and the mynd of the Kirk knawin to all men herein, the Kirk hes declarit, That howbeit sundrie kirks be appointit to ane man; yet sall the Minister make his residence at ane kirk, quhilk salbe properlie appointit to his charge, and he salbe callit principallie the Minister of that kirk; and as concerning the rest of the kirks to the quhilks he is nominat, he sall have the oversight thereof, and help them, in sick sort as the Bishop, Superintendent and Commissioner shall think expedient, and as occassion sall serve from his awin principall charge, the quhilk he in no wayes may neglect: And this ordour only to remaine quhill God of his mercie sall thrust out more labourers vnto his harvest.
[John Areskine of Dun, Knight, Superintendent of Angus and Mernes, for certain causes moving him, purely and simpliciter demitted his office of Superintendentry in the hands of the Assembly presently conveened, desiring them to provide for another in that room, that the country be not destitute of ane overseer; not the less promising to doe that thing which lyeth in his power for the comfort of the Kirk.
In like manner, Mr John Spotswood, Superintendent of Lothian, demitted his office in the hands of the Assembly, desired them to provide for another in his room, that the countries whereof he had the oversight, be not destitute of a visiter; desiring also the Assembly to be mindfull of his pains and travells tane be him these 14 years bygane, in overseeing and visieng of the kirks from Stiriling to Berwick, and labour in such sort, that he may be payed of his appointed stipend, yearly not yet paid, either be payment of the same whole together, or, at the least, that such a portion yearly be paid to him, ay and while the said stipend be compleatly payed. The Assembly promised to travell with my Lord Regents Grace for performing of the said reasonable request, as occasion might serve.
Mr John Winrame, Superintendent of Stratherne, demitted purely and simpliciter his office in the hands of the Assembly.
Forsamikle as the Diocy of Glasgow is of great and large bounds, so that impossible it is that the Bishop thereof may visite the same: In resepect whereof, the Assembly thinks good, That there be two Commissioners appointed to support the visiting of the said diocy, to plant kirks therein. The naming of them, and their bounds where they shall travell, and their stipends for their travell was deferred; but to be done before the dissolving of this Assembly.
Mr Robert Pont, Commissioner of Murrey, in respect that George Douglas, Bishop of Murrey, is admitted Bishop of Murrey, purely and simpliciter demitted his office of Commissionarie.
The Assembly ordaineth Alexander Sibbald, Commissioner for Sanct Andrews, to warn Mr John Rutherford to produce his book before the brethren, appointed to revise the samine, upon Sunday at four hours afternoon, in the Minister of Edenburghs chamber. Incontinent Mr John personaly compeared, and protested as follows: Forsamikle as I Mr John Rutherford is required be the Assembly to communicate a certain book, which I have written, albeit not of purpose to sett forth the samine, without the advice of them to whom it appertaineth, to certain brethren, I protest it prejudge not the jurisdiction of the Rector, nor be prejudiciall to me in any sort, seing it is but a free conference; and the Rector be immediate Judge, is one of the persons with whom I am willing to communicate the same; and alledges my book to be imperfect, therefore should not produce it, nor will not produce it, till I speak and advise with my immediate Judge Ordinar, the Rector of Sanct Andrews, &c. And thereafter he departed incontinent out of the Assembly. Notwithstanding the forsaid protestation, the Assembly ordained Mr Robert Hammilton, and Mr James Melvill, Ministers, To warn the said Mr John to produce his book before the forsaid brethren, on Munday at 8 hours before noon, in the Ministers chamber, to be tryed and sighted there, under the pain of disobedience to the Assembly.
The Commissioners appointed to try Mr John Davidsons book, were the Laird of Dun, the Bishop of Sanct Andrews, against whom Mr John excepted, but was not heard, Mr Robert Pont, the Dean of Aberdeen, Mr James Lowson, Mr George Hay, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet.