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.LXXIV.
The Generall Assembly haldin and begun [in the upper Tolbooth] at Edinburgh the 7 day of August 1574: In the quhilk were present Barronis, Bischops, Superintendents and Commissioners to plant Kirks, Commissioners of Provinces, Townes, Kirks, Universities, and Ministers. Johne Dunkansone, Moderatour.
The Assemblie vnderstanding that be the deceis of Johne Gray thair late clerk, the said office of clarkship is vakand, and none as ȝet is provydit therto; and therefor befor any proceiding, that it is necessar the said rowme be silled, hes appointed thir brethren vnderwriten, viz. my Lord Deane of Aberdeine, Andro Hay, James Lowsone, Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge of Aberdein, James Melvill, Clement Litle, and David Lindesay, Minister of Leith, (all Masters) to appoint the leits of them, of whose number the clerk is to be chosin. Quhilk brethren all in ane voyce nominat Mr James Ritchie, George Mackysone, William Patersone, Wryter, Patrick Fylder, servant to Alexander Hay, clerk of the Secreit Counsell, to be the leits, of quhilk number the clerk of the said Assemblie is to be electit; and in the meane tyme, quhill the said clerk be chosin and receivit, the said Assemblie hes ordainit Mr Andro Mylne to supplie the place.
[In the trial of Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners: The Bishop of Glasgow granted he had not exactly done his duty, alledging the cause thereof to have been his occupation in temporall affairs of the Bishoprick, and hearing Ministers preach at their own kirks and promised amendment in time coming.
The Bishop of Dunkeld was complained upon, For not visiting of the kirks of Lothian which belonged to his diocy: Secondly, That he had taine no order with the reader of Abernethie, for his residence, nor for satisfaction of the slander given by him: Thirdly, For using Simonicall paction with unquhill Archibald Earle of Argile. To the first he answered, He had not opportunity to visite the kirks of Lothian: As for the second, He promised to take order with the said reader: To the thrid he answered, That my Lord Argile compelled him to give certain pensions forth of the Bishoprick, which he hath revocked sensyne: As for not excommunicating the Earle of Atholl, as he was enjoined in the last Assembly, could alledge no lawfull excuse.
For visitation of the kirks, of diligences of the Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners of provinces, and of the questions and supplications to be given into this present Assemblie, were appointed the brethren underwritten, to wit, John Porterfield, Mr Adam Johnston, Mr James Melvill, Peter Watson, John Dykes, Mr Robert Wilkie, William Christeson, Mr George Mackeson, to assemble every day before noon ane hour, and ane hour after noon, while the books be perused, the bills, supplications and questions answered; and what they doe herein, to report to this present Assembly.
Mr John Keith, Person of Duffus, and Dean of the Chapter of Murrey, being accused, Why he being summouned with the Chapter of Murrey to compear in Aberdeen before certain Commissioners appointed be the General Assembly the 26 day of May, to try of the Bishop of Murrey his admission, stayed not the time of triall of their process, according as he and they were commanded: Answered, That at their coming to Aberdeen to the paroich kirk before the said Commissioners, the Commissioners began to intreat certain particular matters, concerning the state of the kirk there, and preferred not their cause and the triall of their process to any other purpose. The Commissioners answered, That their untimeous coming caused them to enter into another cause; and when they desired them to stay till afternoon and the morning of the nixt day, they departed nevertheless upon the 27 day, without giving any advertisement unto them. The said Mr John being required, Whither, in conscience, he knew the approbation and witness given to the Bishop of Murrey his life, doctrine and good behaviour was true, as was written in the process, and of what assured knowledge they gave it: He answered, That the testimony of his conversastion was only be report and brute as he heard, and not otherwise; whereupon they proceeded to that witness given. Being demanded, Whither these that subscribed his admission were altogether present, and heard his triell of doctrine and conversation: Answered, That the triell continued three days, but all were not present the said three days together at the triell of his doctrine; but the last day when they subscrived, all were present, except Alexander Winchester. Mr Andrew Simpson, Minister in Forress, one of the said Chapter, answered to the Second article, touching the cause of their testification of his willing mind, and uprightness to enter in the Bishoprick, That that which they did was upon his own confession, who testified as they wrote his sute to be, and because he alledged he knew him at all times to be of sincere religion: To the Third he answered, That upon Sunday the 20 of December, the first of the three days, the whole Chapter was present, except Mr Alexander Gordon, Chanceller of Murrey, Donald Dow and Alexander Winchester. And upon the third day of examination, which was the 22 of December, All were present, except Donald Dow and Alexander Winchester and these that were present subserived together.
Mr George Hay, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, and Mr John Craig, Minister of Aberdeen, produced the process exhibite be the Dean and Chapter of Murrey the 26 of May 1574, concerning the admission of the Bishop of Murrey to the said Bishoprick, together with their animadversions upon the said process, which they desired to be registered in the books of the Assembly. The Assembly appointed Mr John Keith and Mr Andrew Simpson and the rest of the Chapter to answer thereto the nixt Munday, at nyne hours before noon. C.]
Anent the creatioun of ane Clerk of the said Generall Assemblie of the Kirk: It was vottit through the said haill Assemblie, and concludit, That of the foure persons appointit on the leits, Mr James Ritchie, be reason the greatest part thereof gave thair consent to him, sould be clerk; quho, in presence of the whole Assemblie, solemnlie beand sworne to vse the said office of clerkship of the Kirk faithfullie, made promise to doe the same, and acceptit the said office vpon him.
Forsameikle as it is vnderstand to the said Assemblie, That diuerse Ministers within this realme vses the office of Collectourie and Chamerlainrie vnder Bischops and vthers beneficit persons, quherthrow they are avocat from thair cures, and gives great occasion to slander the Kirk: Therfor it is statute and ordained in this present Assemblie, That fra this tyme furth no Minister vse and exerce the said office of Chamberlainrie or Collectourie vnder whatsomever beneficit men, quherby they may be abstractit fra thair vocation; and contraveiners therof to be depryvit of thair office, and to be secludit therfra.
[Anent the supplication given in be Mr John Spotswood, Superintendent of Lothian, dimitting in the hands of the Assembly his office of Superintendentry, as well be reason of his age, now being unable to undertake the unportable travells committed to him in his office, as be reason that since his acceptation thereof, for the space of two years he received no stipend; therefore desiring some zealous able person to take the said cure upon him, that the Kirk be not destitute in thir perillous times: The Generall Assembly having considered the said supplication, seing the present necessity and state of time in danger, and appearand perrill effectually to succeed, in case the said dimission were received, brotherly requested the said Superintendent, in the name of God, to continue in his office till the nixt Assembly, using such diligence therein, as he may reasonably without hurt or damage to his person: and for assistance and aiding of him in his travells, the Assembly hath appointed Mr David Lindsay, Minister of Leith, or such two as he shall require within his bounds, who have promised to concurr with him; and in the mean time the Assembly shall procure at my Lord Regents Grace, provision to be made to him, and others of the like vocation and charge within the Kirk, for their stipend.
At the diet appointed Mr John Keith and Mr Andrew Simpson, for the Dean and Chapter of Murrey, to give in their replyes to the animadversions produced be Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge of Aberdeen, and his collegues, against the process used be the said Dean and Chapter in admitting of the said Bishop of Murrey to the Bishoprick, conform to the last act of the Assembly in this case; the said Mr Alexander and Mr George Hay, one of his collegues, being personally present, compeared the said Mr Andrew and Mr John Keith, and produced their replyes in writt. The Assembly continued their deliverance and answer in the said matter till the afternoon.
Anent the deliverance and determination of the General Assembly upon the impugnations given in be Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, and his collegues, against the process used be the Dean and Chapter of Murrey, in election and admission of the Bishop of Murrey to the said Bishoprick, produced by Mr Andrew Simpson and Mr John Keith, and upon the replyes given in be the said Mr John and Mr Andrew, for the part of the said Dean and Chapter; the said Mr George and Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, one of his collegues, being present, and the said Mr Andrew and Mr John likewise being personally present: the said Assembly continued the pronouncing of the deliverance and determination of the said matter to the tenth of this instant.
The Assembly hath concluded commission to be given to their loved brother John Areskine of Dun, Superintendent of Angus, Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge of Aberdeen, Mr John Craig, Minister there, Robert Fairlie of Braid, John Heriot of Trabroun, or any three of them, to treat with my Lord Regents Grace, upon the heads and articles concluded in this Assembly to be presented be them to his Grace, for resolution and answer to be had thereupon, conform to the commission granted to them thereupon; whereof, with the tenor of the saids articles, the contents after follow; and ordaineth a supplication to be direct to his Grace for his Graces answer upon the saids articles.
At Edenburgh the tenth day of August 1574, the Generall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, conveened presently within the same burgh for intreating of such things as concern the glory of God and weal of the said Kirk, understanding be diverse complaints proponed to them, the iniquity that universally abounds throughout this countrey; as also having putt in consultation diverse heads most necessar and godly, for the weal of the Kirk of God, and establishing of the Evangell, wherein my Lord Regents Graces good assistance and help would be earnestly craved; Has given, granted and committed, and be the tenor hereof gives, grants and committs to their loved brethren, John Areskine of Dun, Superintendent of Angus, Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge thereof, Mr John Craig, Minister there, Robert Fairlie of Braid, John Heriot of Trabroun, or to any three of them, their full, free and plain power to pass to my Lord Regents Grace, and to present to his Grace humbly the saids heads and articles, which the said Assembly hath putt in writt, direct with them to his Grace to reason and conser thereupon; and to require his Graces answer upon the saids articles, to be reported again be them to their nixt Assembly: firm and stable holding and for to hold whatsomever the saids Commissioners, or any three of them, in the premisses, to the glory of God and his Kirk righteously leads to be done. C.]
In the first, That stipends be grantit to Superintendents in all countreys destitute thereof, whither it be quher ther is no Bischops, or quher ther is Bischops and may not discharge thair cure, as the Bischops of Sanct Androes and Glasgow.
Item, That in all burrowstouns, quther the Ministers thereof are displacit and serves in vther kirks, that thair Ministers quho servit them of befor, be restoreit againe to awaite on thair cures, and they be not obleist to any vther kirk; or els that vthers be placit in the saids townes.
Item, That in every kirk destitute of Ministers, sick persons as are present and readie to be plantit, be placit, and stipends grantit vnto them; whose names salbe given up be the Bischops, Superintendents and Commissioners.
Item, In respect that in the ecclesiasticall functioun ther is two only distinct offices of teaching, the Doctour that interpretes the Scriptures, and the Minister to preach and apply the same: That his Grace will take ordour, that Doctours may be placit in Universities, and stipends grantit vnto them; querby not only they quho are presentlie placit, may have occasion to be diligent in thair cure, but also vther learned men may have occasion to seik places in Colledges within this realme.
Item, That his Grace will take ane general ordour with the pure, especially in the Abbayis, sick as Abersbrothock and vthers, conforme to the Act made at Leith; and in speciall to discharge teind sybowis, leiks, keale, onyoons, be ane act of the Secreit Counsell, quhill ane Parliament be conveinit, that they may be simpliciter dischargit.
[Item, Forsamikle as there is diverse books sett out be Jesuits and other hereticks and erroneous authors, containing manifest contumelies and blasphemies against God, and his revealed truth, and yet are dayly inbrought in this countrey be Poles, crammers and others, to the heavy offence of the Kirk of God, That his Grace will provide remeed.
Item, It is understand to the Generall Assembly be credible report of certaine learned men lately arrived within this countrey, that a French printer of the best renowned this day, nixt Henricus Stemphanus, being banished with his wife and family from his countrey, hath offered unto them to come in Scotland, and to bring with him three thousand franks worth of books, and to print whatsoever work he should be commanded; in so much that there should not be a book printed in French or Almain, but once in the year it should be gotten of him, if he might have sure provision of a yearly pension of three hundreth merk; which indeed is ane offer so comfortable to the countrey and Kirk, that it ought not to be overseen: That his Grace will consider the same offer, and take order therewith.
It will please your Grace: In this our late Assembly diverse great enormities and faults being found universally through the countrey, proponed for amendement thereof, and whereof very necessity craveth to have had correction; as also sundry other heads being putt in this consultation, very necessar and profitable for the advancement of the Kirk of God within this realme: most necessar it was thought of all, that your Graces help and assistance should be sought and implored thereunto, that the wrath of God, which presently hangeth over this realme be reason of the same enormities, may be taken away; and therefore we have direct commission to our beloved brethren, John Areskine of Dun, Mr George Hay, Commissioner of Aberdeen, Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge thereof, Mr John Craig, Minister thereof, Robert Fairlie of Braid, John Heriot of Trabroun, or to any three of them, with certain articles to be presented to your Grace for reformation of such things as are contained in the same; whereof we doubt not, seing the samine are both godly and honest, and for the weal of the Kirk of God, which we doubt not but your Lordship tenders, but your Grace will give a reasonable and godly answer thereto; seing your Grace is and should be the father of the Kirk and common weal, which we recommended to your Grace, praying God to preserve the same in good estate, to the comfort of his Kirk, and the common weal of this realme. From Edenburgh the eleventh of August 1574.
For reading and answering to the supplications and complaints given to the Assembly, this present Assembly nominates and appoints their brethren, Mr David Cunninghame, Mr James Carmichael, Minister of Hadinton, William Sanderson, Minister at Whittinghame, Alexander Foster, Minister at Tranent. C.]
Forsamikle as it is vnderstand to the General Assemblie of the Kirk, that ther is diverse persons quho, in their wyfes tyme, committs adulterie with vther mens wyves, and therafter, after thair wyves deceise, maries them quhom they have polluted in adulterie: Therfor it is statute and ordanit be this present Assembly, That Bischops, Superintendents and Commissioners of provinces charge all sick persons so joy nit in that slanderous and vnleisum band, to separate themselves and abstaine fra vther, vntill the tyme it be decydit be the Judge Ordinar, Whither the said mariage be lawfull or not, vnder the paine of excommunication to be execute against dissobeyers.
[In the books of visitation which shall be presented to the Assembly be the Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners of provinces, it is ordained, That the names of their kirks be given up in speciall be them in the beginning of the saids books.
Anent Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners of Kirks, who shall be found negligent in their office, or doe not their dutifull charge, either in their visitation, doctrine or life: The Assembly hath decreed and ordained, That they shall be punished and corrected according to the quality of their faults, either be admonition, publick repentance, deprivation for a time, or deprivation simpliciter, at the sight of the said Assembly.
Anent the time appointed be the General Assembly to pronounce their deliverance and answers upon the impugnations produced be Mr George Hay and his collegues, against the process of admission and election of the Bishop of Murrey, produced by Mr Andrew Simpson and Mr John Keith in name of the Chapter and Dean of Murrey, and upon the replyes made thereto: The said Assembly understanding, That the said Bishop hath speciall interess in the said cause, and is not summoned thereto, ordaineth a citation to be direct out for summoning of the said Bishop, Dean and Chapter, in the premisses to the nixt Assembly; and appointeth John Durie, Minister of Edenburgh, and Mr George Mackesone, Soliciter of the Kirk, to travell with the procurators of the Kirk, for libelling of the said summons against them, and to see that diligence be used for raising thereof.
Tuiching the complaint made vpon the Bischop of Dunkeld, for ministration of the holy supper vpon worke dayes, at the kirks within his jurisdictioun: It is thoght good be the Generall Assembly, That the said Bischop forbeare the ministratioun of the said sacrament vpon worke dayes, and cause it to be ministrat vpon the Sabboth dayes, according to the ordour of the rest of the kirks within this realme.
[Forsamikle as in the acts of the General Assembly concluded of before, the said Bishop of Dunkeld was decerned and ordained to pronounce the sentence of excommunication against John Earle of Atholl, wherein notwithstanding nothing is proceeded, but the said act plainly contraveened: Therefore it is statute and ordained, That the said Bishop proceed against the said Earle with the sentence of excommunication within 40 days nixt thereafter, under the pain of suspension of him from his said office; and to the observation of this present act, the said Bishop hath interponed his faithfull promise.
The same day, complaint being made upon John Brand, Minister of Halyrudhouse, That he had not pronounced the sentence of excommunication against Alexander Bishop of Galloway, conforme to the act of the Generall Assembly made of before: It was statute and ordained, That the said John proceed against the said Bishop and pronounce the sentence of excommunication against him, if the said Bishop compeared not betwixt and Lambmess nixt, and satisfy the said Kirk, under the pain of deprivation of the said John of his office, in case he failzie therein. C.]
[Forsasmikle as be imprinting and putting [to] light of works repugnant to the truth of Gods word, or containing manifest error, the weak ones of the truth may be heavily prejudged and seduced from the truth: There fore the Generall Assembly presently conveened, all in one voice have given power to their loved brethren, Mr Robert Pont, Provest of the Trinity Colledge, Mr James Lowsone, Minister of Edenburgh, Mr David Fergusone, Minister of Dumfermline, Mr David Lindsay, Minister of Leith, Mr Clement Little, one of the Commissioners of Edenburgh, John Brand, Minister of Halyrudhouse, or any three or four of them conjunctly, To visite and oversee all manner of books or works that shall be proponed to be printed, and to give their judgement thereupon, if the samine be allowable and approved be the Law of God or not; their judgement and opinion thereof be their subscription and hand writt to witness and testify for relief of such as shall read the said works: which commission of oversight forsaid the said Generall Assembly witheth to endure firm and stable to their nixt Assembly.
For reviewing and sighting of the history of Job compiled be Mr Patrick Adamsone in Latine verse: The present Assembly hath willed their loved brethren, and the right honourable Mr George Buchanan, keeper of the Privy Seal, Mr Peter Young, Pedagogue to our Soveraign Lord, Mr Andrew Melvill, Mr James Lowson, Minister of Edenburgh, to take travell in perusing of the said work; and if the same be found be them agreeable to the truth of Gods word, to authorize the samine with testimony of their hand writt and subscription. C. & B.]
[Anent the petition of Mr Robert Pont and Mr Thomas Makchyean, two of the Senators of our Soveraign Lord his Colledge of Justice, proponed in name and behalf of the said Colledge, desiring the Generall Assembly to provide, That the readers of ilk kirk note up the names of the persons departed within their parishes yearly, and deliver the samine to the Superintendents to be exhibite be them at ilk Assembly: For satissieng of the said petition, it was thought good and delivered be the said Assembly, That the readers at every kirk, in the Synodall Assembly present the catalogue of the names of the persons deceased within their paroich to their Superintendents, to the effect that they may report the same to the Generall Assembly, to be delivered to such as shall be appointed be the saids Lords for receiving of the same. C.]
For avoyding of Simonie in the Kirk, the haill Assembly of the Kirk, all in ane voyce, hes vottit, concludit and decreit, That all sick persons as either buyes or sells benefices, or vses any vther kynd of couping thereof, either directlie or indirectlie, salbe depryvit of all kynd of function within the Kirk, and the discipline of the Kirk strike vpon them with all kynd of rigour and extremitie; and the buyers, sellers, or vtherwayes coupers of the benefices to tyne the same for ever.
It is ordained, That the Clerk of the Assembly receive of the Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners, the names of the Ministers and readers provided since the decease of unquhill John Gray, late Clerk of the said Assembly, with the day and date of their admissions, to the effect their names may be insert in the books of the Kirk.
Ordains to writt to the brethren Commissioners appointed for presenting the articles concluded in this Assembly to my Lord Regents Grace, to receive the saids articles with their commission and supplication to his Grace; and, in speciall, to putt them in remembrance touching Mr John Davidsons Dialogue.
The Commissioner of Cliddisdaill, Ranfrew and Lennox resigned over in the hands of the Assembly his commission in these parts, praying the Assembly to provide some qualified zealous person in his place, that the countrey grow not to all kind of insolence and dissolution; which dimission the said Assembly, in respect of the present state and necessity of time, would not receive, requesting him brotherly to continue in his commission till the nixt Assembly, with such diligence in his office as he may reasonably use, that the Kirk be not destitute in the mean time.
At Edenburgh, the eleventh day of August, the year of God 1574 years. The whole Kirk presently assembled, in one voice and mind, giveth full commission, speciall power and charge to their loved brethren, Mr Robert Grahame, Archdeacon of Rosse, and Mr John Robertson, Thesaurer thereof, conjunctly and severally, to pass to the countries of Cathness and Sutherland, and there to visite Kirks, Colledges and Schools and other places needfull within the saids bounds, and in the samine to plant Ministers, Readers, Elders and Deacons, Schoolmasters and others members necessar and requisite for erecting of a perfect reformed Kirk; suspend for a time or simpliciter deprive such as they shall find unworthy or not apt for their office, whither it be for crimes committed or ignorance; abolish, eradicat and destroy all monuments of Idolatry; establish and sett up the true worship of the eternal God, as well in Cathedrall and Colledge Kirks, as in other places within the saids bounds, conform to the order taine and agreed on in the Book of Discipline; and also to search and inquire the names of all these that prossess benefices within the saids bounds, at whose provision they have been; and if any vaike or happen to vaike within the Commissionary, to confer and give the famine to the persons qualified, and being presented be the just patrons of the famine, the due examination preceeding, to reject and refuse such as they shall find unable and not apt thereto, as they will answer to God and the Kirk thereupon: Their diligence to be done therein with thir presents, to report them to the nixt Assembly, where it shall happen to be holden for the time. Given in the Generall Assembly and 9 Session thereof. Subscribed be the Clerk of the same, day, year and place forsaid.
Anent the answers reported from Mr Robert Hamilton, Minister of Sanct Andrews, direct to the Moderator present, to the bill direct from the Assembly to him for his compearance before them to answer super inquirendis, excusing him be the business of the Colledge, and be the Superintendent of Stratherne who declared to him that the Assembly was to dissolve incontinent: The Generall Assembly of the Kirk giveth commission to Mr John Spotswood, Superintendent of Lothian, Mr Robert Pont, Provest of the Trinity Colledge, Mr David Lindsay, Minister at Leith, John Brand and the Kirk of Edenburgh, with any three of the fornamed persons, conjunctly to summon the Ministers, Elders and Deacons of Sanct Andrews to compear before them and to try the cause, why the Fast was not keeped among them according to the Act of the said Assembly; and of the violation of the Sabbath day by profane playes, and such other things as they shall inquire of them at their coming; and what beis done be them hereinto, to certify the brethren in their nixt Assembly.
The brethren underwritten, they are, to witt, Mr Robert Pont, Provest of the Trinity Colledge, and the rest of the Commissioners depute be the Kirk to the conference with my Lord Regents Graces Commissioners, reproduced in plain Assembly the tenor of the said conference, hinc inde in writt; which conference the said Assembly caused deliver to Mr George Mackesone, Soliciter for the Kirk, to be copied and given out in examples to the Bishops, Superintendents and Commissioners of the Kirk and Ministers, as he should be required upon their reasonable charges.
Questio, To the question moved to the Assembly, C.] Whither if the parochiners of a towne, or the Provest and bailies thereof, aught to have the electioun of thair awin belman and Clerk: It is ansuerit, That sick as payis them sould choose them.
Forsamikle as it is necessar, in case of the Assembly of the Estates of the realme or Parliament, that the Kirk be resolved in such things as they have to propone to the same, which necessarly requires a certain space of before: Therefore C.] The brethren hes thoght good, in cace of any Parliament to be haldin, or any vther weghtie cause requyreand necessarlie the presence of the body of this haill Assemblie, That the Superintendent of Louthiane, Mr James Lowson, Minister of Edenburgh, Mr David Lindesay, Minister of Leith, make laufull premonitioun and advertisement to thair brether, to be present vpon sick competent space befor as they fall think needfull; quhilk Convention of before salbe recountit for ane Assembly.