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.LXV.
The Generall Assemblie of the kirk, haldin in Edinburgh in the Ovir Tolbuith therof, the 25 of December 1565. In the whilk were present the Superintendents, Ministers, Exhorters, and Commissioners of townes and kirks. The invocatioun of the name of God was made be John Knox, minister of Edinburgh.
First, for eschewing of confusioun in reasoning, and that every brother speak in his rowme with sick modestie as becomes the ministers of Gods word to doe, with the whole consent of the brethren present, was chosen Johne Erskine of Dun, knyght, Superintendent of Mernes and Angus, to be moderator at this tyme, who acceptit the office on him.
[The superintendents of Louthian and Fife excused their slackness in visitation be the absence of the people following the Queen according to the proclamation. The Superintendent of Angus confessed, that he had not visited any kirk for two moneths bypast; but alledged withall, that his visitations could not be very profitable, in respect it behoved him to lodge in time of visitation with his friends for the most part, who had most need of correction and discipline; therefor he besought the Assemblie to provide some other to that office. Alexander, Commissioner of Galloway, excused his not visiting, with the building of his nephews house.
Tuiching ministers, exhorters, or readers disobeying their superintendent; the Assemblie ordained the superintendent to call the disobedient before himself and some of the neerest discreit ministers; and if being convict of disobedience, he refuse to satisfie according to their injunctions, that he be suspended from his ministrie and stipend till the nixt Assemblie: At the which the superintendent shall notifie the whole proceeding, that be their censure he may be farder corrected, or els restored to his former estate, according to the evidence of his repentance; provided his kirk be provided for in the meanetime be the superintendent.
Sir John Bellenden of Achinoull knight, Justice-Clerk, Mr James Makgill of Rankeillour, Mr John Row, John Craig, William Christesone, David Lindsay, ministers, and David Forrest, were appointed to conveen upon Wednesday, to decide questions proponed, and to report their decisions. C.]
The superintendent of Lowthiane complainit upon Mr Johne Frude, minister of Dumemanie, that wherin the last Generall Assemblie of the kirk it was decernit that Robert Patersone and Jenat Litell sould have satisfied the kirk of Edinburgh, for the offence committed be them in contracting mariage without parents counsell, ȝet nevertheles the said Mr John had perswadit them to solemnize the said mariage, ther bands not being proclaimit, and na satisfactioun made to the kirk of Edinburgh; and also had causit Mr Patrick Creich minister of Ratho to solemnize the said mariage betwixt the said parties in the kirk of Dumemanie, in great contemptioun of the decreit foirsaid, and all good ordour heirtosoir observit in the reformit kirk; desyreing the kirk publicklie assemblit to take ordour herein, asweill anent the saids parties as the saids twa ministers. The kirk ordainit to call both the saids parties and ministers to ansuer to the said complaint, betuixt this and the end of the Assemblie.
In lyke maner, Mr Johne Winram complainit upon the said Mr Johne Frude, that by his counsell and perswasion the Ladie Kilconquhar and Johne Weymis had contractit mariage [per] verba de presenti, notwithstanding that ane woman, called Elizabeth Pot, had claimed the said Johne Weymes before the superintendent, whilk clame was not ȝet justisfied; and that Mr Andro Kirkadie had maried the saids persouns, after the minister was departed out of the kirk where they were maried. Ordained in like manner to answer to this complaint.
The haill Assemblie appointit Mr Johne Row at St Johnstoun to put in wryte answers to the answers givin be the Queens Majestie to the Articles presentit to her Hienes be the Commissioners of the last Assemblie of the Kirk, because her Hienes ansuers satisfied not fullie the Kirk, as in the samein plainly appeareth; and the said Mr Johne to present them the morne after the preaching to the Assemblie, to advyse therwith, befor ther presenting to her Grace.
Followes the ansuer givin be the Queens Majestie to the Articles presentit to her Grace be the Commissioners of the Assemblie last haldin the 25 of Junij 1565, and als ansuers and requeists to these ansuers now conceivit in this Assemblie.
To the first, desyreing the messe to be supprest and abolisht, alsweill as in the head as in the members, with the punishment agains the contraveiners; as also the religioun now professit to be establishit be ane act of Parliament: It is ansuerit first, for the part of her Majesties selfe, that her Hienes is nawayes ȝet persuadit in the said religioun, nor ȝet that any impietie is in the Messe, and therefor believes that her loving subjects will no wayes prease her to receive any religioun agains her awin conscience, whilk sould bring her to perpetuall trouble be remorse of conscience, and therwith ane perpetuall unquyetnes. And to deall plainly with her subjects, her Majestie neither may nor will leave the religioun wherin scho hes bein nourishit and upbrocht, and beleives the samein to be weill groundit; knowing, besydes the grudge of conscience, if scho sould receive any change in her awin religioun, that sho sould tyne the freindship of the King of France, the ancient allya of this realme, and of other great princes her friends and confederates, who wold take the samein in evil pairt, and of whom scho may looke for great support in all her necessities. And having no consideration that may counterwey the same, sho wilbe laith to put in hazard the lose of all her freinds in ane instant; praying all her loving subjects, feeing they have had experience of her goodness, that scho neither hes in tymes bypast not ȝet meanes heirafter to prease the conscience of any man, but that they may worship God in sick sort as they are persuadit to be best, that they also will not prease her to offend her awin conscience.
As for establishing of religioun in the body of the realme, they themselves knowe, as appeirs weill be ther Articles, that the same cannot be done be only assent of her Majestie, but requyres necessarlie the consent of the thrie estates in Parliament; and therfor sa soone as the Parliament holds, that whilk the thrie Estates aggries upon among themselves, her Majestie sall grant the same to them, and allwayes make them sure that no man salbe troublit for using themselves in religioun according to ther conscience, so that no man sall have cause to doubt that for religiouns sake mens lyves or heiritages salbe in hazard.
To the second article it is ansuerit, that her Majestie thinks it no wayes reasonable that scho sould defraude her selfe of sa great a pairt of the patrimonie of her crowne, as to put the patronage of benefices furth of her awin hands; for her awin necessitie in bearing of her port and commoun charges will requyre the retentioun of ane good part in her awin hands. Nottheles her Majestie is well pleased, that consideration being had of her awin necessitie, and what may be sufficient for her, and for the reasonable sustentatioun of the ministers, ane speciall assignation be made to them in places most comodious to intromett therwith; the whilk her Majestie sall not intromett with, bot suffer the samein to come to them.
First, where Her Majestie ansuers that scho is not perswadit in religioun, neither that scho understands any impietie in the Messe, bot that the samein is well groundit. That is no small greife to the christian hearts of her godlie subjects, considering that the trumpet of Chrysts evangell hes bein so long blown in this countrey, and his mercie so plainly offerit in the same, that her Majestie remains ȝet unpersuadit of the truth of this our religioun; for our religioun is nocht els bot the same religioun whilk Jesus Chryst hes in the last dayes reveilit from the bosome of his Father, whereof he made his Apostles messingers, and they preachit and establischit among his faithfull, to the gaine comeing of our Lord Jesus Chryst; whilk differs from the impietie of the Turkes, the blasphemie of the Jewes, the vaine superstitioun of the Papists, in this, that our religioun hes only God the Father, his only Sonne Jesus Chryst our Lord, his Holie Spirit speikand in his Prophets and Apostles for authors therof, and ther doctrine and practise for the ground of the same; the whilk no uther religioun upon the face of the earth can justlie alledge or plainly prove; ȝea, whatsomevir assureance the Papists hes for manteinance of ther religioun, the same hes the Turkes for manteinance of ther Alcoran; and the Jewes farre greater for defence of ther ceremonies, whether it be antiquitie of tyme, consent of peiple, authoritie of [counsells,] great number or multitude consenting together, or any other sick lyke cloakes they can pretend; and therefor, as we are dolorous that Her Majestie in this our religioun is not persuaded, so most reverentlie we requyre in the name of the Eternal God, that her Hienes wald imbrace the means wherby scho may be perswadit of the trueth; whilk presentlie we offer unto Her Grace as weill be preaching of his Word, whilk is the chiefe means appointit be God to perswade all his chosen children of his infallible veritie, as be publick disputation agains the adversares of this our religioun, deceivers of her Majestie, whensoevir it salbe thoght expedient to her Grace. And as to the impietie of the Meffe we darre be bold to affirme, that in that Idole ther is great impietie; from the beginning to the ending, it is nothing els bot ane masse of impietie; the author or sayer, the actioun itselfe, the opinioun thereof conceivit, the heirars and gazers upon it allowes sacriledge, pronounces blasphemie, and comitts most abominable idolatrie, as we have evir offerit and ȝet offer ourselves most manifestlie to prove.
And wher her Majestie esteims that the change of religion sould dissolve the confederacie and allyance that sho hes with the King of France and uthers princes: Assuredly Christs true religion is the undoubtit meane to knitt up sure true consederacie and friendship with him that is King of all kings, and him who hes the hearts of all princes into his hands; whilk ought to be more precious to her Majestie nor the confederacie of all the princes; without the whilk, neither confederacie thereof nor kindness can indure.
Concerning her Majesties answer to the second article, wheras scho thinks it no wayes reasonable to desraude her selfe of the patronage of the benefices, whilk her Majestie esteimes to be ane portion of her patrimonie, and that her Majestie is myndit to retaine a good part of the benefices in her awin hands to support the comoun charges.
As to the first point, [our mind is not], that her Majestie or anie uther patron of this realme sould be desrauded of ther just patronages; bot we meane whensoevir her Majestie or any uther patron does present any person to a benefice, that the person presentit sould be tryit and examineit be the judgement of learned men of the kirk, sick as presentlie are the superintendents appointed therto. And as the presentation of benefices pertaines to the patrone, sa aucht the collatioun therof be law and reason pertaine to the kirk; of the whilk collatioun the kirk sould not be defraudit, more nor the patrones of ther presentation; for utherwayes, if it salbe leisum to the patrone absolutely to present whomever they please, without tryall or examination, what then can abyde in the kirk of God bot meere ignorance without all ordour.
As to the second point, concerning the retentioun of a good part of the benefices in her Majesties awin hands: this point aberreth so farre from good conscience, alsweill of Gods law as fra the publick ordour of our comoun lawes, that we are loath to opin up the ground of the matter be any long circumstances; and therfor we most reverently wish that her Majestie wold considder the matter with herselfe and her wise counsell, that howsoevir the patronage of benefices may appertaine to hir selfe, ȝet the retentioun therof in her awin hands, undisponit to qualified persouns, is both ungodlie and als contrair to all publick ordour, and brings no small confusioun to the poore soules of the comoun peiple, who by this means sould be instructit of their salvation. And wher her Majestie concludes in her second ansuer, that scho is content that ane sufficient and reasonable sustentatioun of the ministers be provydit to them, be assignatiouns in places most comodious to them, consideratioun beand had of her awin necessitie; as we are desyreous altogether that her Graces necessitie sould be releivit, so our duetie craves that we sould notifie to her Grace the true ordour that sould be observit to her in this behalfe, whilk is this: The teyndis are properlie reputit to be the patrimonie of the kirk, upon the whilks befor all things they that travells in the ministrie therof, and the poore indigent members of Chryst, aucht to be sustainit, the kirks also repairit, and the ȝouth brocht up in good lettres. Whilks things beeand done, then uther necessitie reasonable might be supported, according as her Grace and her godlie counsell could think expedient. Allwayes, we cannot but thank her Majestie most reverently, of her liberall offer of assignatioun to be made to the ministers for ther sustentation, whilk not theles is so generallie conceivit, that without more speciall condescending upon the particulars therof, no executioun is able to follow therupon. And so to conclude with her Majestie at this present, we desyre most earnestlie the saids ministers articles to be reformit; beseikand God, that as they are reasonable and godlie, so her Graces heart, and the estates presentlie conveinit, may be inclynit and persuadit to the performance therof.
Sess. 2a. 26 December 1565.
Anent the generall complaint of the ministers, exhorters and reidars, for wanting of their stipends, and as touching them that hes put violent hand in ministers for reproveing of vyce, the haill Assemblie ordainit ane generall supplicatioun to be presentit to her Majestie and counsell; and als requeistit the Lord Lindesay, and David Murray, brother to the Laird of Balvaird, to present the same, and to report the ansuer againe to the Assemblie.
Unto ȝour Majestie and most honourable counsell, humblie meanes and complaines, We ȝour Graces most obedient subiects, the consessors of Chryst Jesus, and his holie evangell within this realme, in name and behalfe of our ministers, exhorters and reidars; that wher oft and divers tymes promise hes bein made to us, that our saids brethren, travelers and preachers in the kirk of God, sould not be defraudit of their appointit stipends, neither ȝet in any wayes sould be molestit in their functioun; ȝet nottheles universallie they want ther stipends appointit for diverse tymes by past; violent hands are puttin in some for no uther cause, as they alledge, but for reproving of vyce; and none knowes what assureance he sall have of any reasonable lyse in tyme to come. Our most humble requeist is therfor unto ȝour Majestie, that our ministers may be payed of ther by gane stipends; that sick as hes receivit assignatioun therof from the former collectors, may have executioun of ther assignatiouns; that ȝour Grace pleases to appoint the assignatioun promised into ȝour Hienes last ansuers to the petitiouns of the kirk, so that we may know be what meanes our said ministers may be sustainit in tyme to come; and finally, how they may live without molestatioun of wicked men: And ȝour Graces ansuer we most humblie beseik.
Anent the question, whither any might marie his wyses brother daughter, or his wyfes sister daughter, and what ordour sould be tane if any sick mariages be made, it was votit and found be the word of God, that none may marie his wyfes brother or sister daughter, and if any such mariages was contracted, the samein to be null and aught not to stand.
Persons revolting from the professioun of the gospell, by offering ther children to be baptized after the papisticall maner, or receiving themselves the sacrament of the altar, after admonitioun, to be excommunicat if repentance intervein not, &c.
[The Commissioners of Sanct Andrews requested that Mr Knox might be transplanted and placed in Sanct Andrews, which was refused. The Assemblie willed them to choice one out of their own universitie, in place of Christopher Gudman, who latelie departed into England. C.]
Sess. 3a. 27 December 1565.
Anent the complaint givin in be the Superintendent of Lowthiane aganis Mr Patrick Creiche, Minister of Ratho, for the marieing of Robert Patersone and Janet Littell in Dumanie kirk, neither the bands being proclaimit, nor ȝet satisfactioun made to the Kirk of Edinburgh, according to the tenour of the decreit of the last Assemblie: The said Mr Patrick grantit publicklie that he had offendit, and submittit himselfe to the correctioun of the kirk. Therfor be the haill Assemblie he was ordainit to satisfie the kirk of Edinburgh, upon two severall sondayis, be his awin opin confessioun, when the said Kirk of Edinburgh sall requyre him; and the thrid sonday, to satisfie the Kirk of Dumdanie, wher the offence was committed; suspending for this present all farder correctioun, in hope of his better bearing in tymes to come.
The haill Assemblie in ane voyce statutes and ordaines, that no minister heirafter receive the parochiners of ane other paroch to be maried, without a sufficient testimoniall of the minister of the paroch wherfra they came, that the bands are lawfullie proclaimit, and na impediment found; sua that the ordour that hes bein tane be the kirk in sick affaires be dewlie observit, under the paine of deprivatioun fra his ministrie, tinsell of his stipend, and uthers paines, as the Generall Kirk sall heirafter thinke to be injoynit.
Anent the complaint givin in be the Superintendent of Fyfe agains John Melvill, minister of Craill, alledging the said John to preceid to the solemnizatioun of mariage betuixt Robert Arnot and Euphame Corstarphin, notwithstanding that ane uther woman claims the said Robert; the haill kirk assemblit, ordainit ane inhibitioun to passe agains the said Johne, that he in no wayes solemnize the said mariage untill sick tyme as Mr John Dowglas, rector of the Universitie, and Mr James Wilkie regent, heare the complaints to be givin in be the said superintendent, and alse any uther partie haveand entresse, and the same to be discussit be them; giveand power to them to give foorth sentence according to Gods word, and to use the censures of the kirk agains the dissobeyars.
Sess. 4ta, 28 December 1565.
[The Assemblie gave commission to Mr John Row, minister of Sanct Johnston, to visite kirks, schools, colledges, to remove or suspend ministers, exhorters, readers, in Kyle, Carrick, and Cuninghame, as they shall be sound offensive or unable, to eradicat idolatrie, &c. and the Superintendents of Angus and Fife to supply his place in his absence alternatim.
Mr Knox was appointed to penn a comfortable letter, in name of the Assemblie, to encourage ministers, exhorters, readers, to continue in their vocation, which in all likelihood they were to leave off, for lack of payment of stipends; and to exhort the professors within the realm to supply their necessities. He was appointed likewise to visite, preach, and plant kirks in the South, where there was not a superintendent, and to remain so long as occasion might suffer. C.]
Master Johne Frude, minister of Dumemanie, is ordained to satissie, as is befor sett downe in the thrid sessioun anent Mr Patrick Creich, for his offence specified in the act of the first sessioun; suspendand the said Mr Johne fra all functioun in the ministrie in the meantime, whill the compleiting of the said satisfactioun, and therafter to returne to his vocatioun and ministrie.
It was askit, if it be lawfull that a minister, what title or honour that ever he beare, receiving sufficient benefite and provisioun of his flocke, may leave them, and make his comoun residence in uther places, so that his flocke is destitute alsweill of his doctrine and ministrie, as of other comfort that the flocke sould receive of ane faithfull pastour, notwithstanding that worldlie reasons may seime to excuse the absence of some?
The ansuer.—No minister of the evangell of Jesus Christ, nor no person receiving sufficient living for the preaching of the evangell, may with safe conscience leave his vocatioun, together with his flocke, and the place appointit for his ordinarie residence, what permissione and oversight that ever he hes be corruptioun of tymes, or negligence of rulers, sa to doe.
If sick as hes once entrit in the ministrie, bein appointit be the superintendent, and receivit of the peiple, may leave ther vocatioun and follow the world, because they cannot have a sufficient stipend?
The ansuer.—Seing that our master Chryst Jesus pronounces that he is but ane mercenarie shepheard, who seiing the wolfe comeing, flieth for his awin safeguard, and that the very danger of lyfe cannot be ane sufficient excuse for sick as fall back from Jesus Chryst; We on na wayes thinks it lawfull that sick as once puts there hand to the plough, sall leave that heavinlie vocation and returne to the profane world, for indigence or povertie. Lawfullie they may leave ane unthankfull peiple, and seik wher Jesus Chryst his holy evangell may bring foorth greater fruit; but lawfullie they may never change their vocatioun.
If knowin murtherers, with convict adulterers, together with sick as comitt [the like] horrible crymes, may not, upon the notoritie of ther fault, be denunceit excommunicat, for declaratioun that the kirk abhorres sick impietie, &c.?
The ordour to call them for the slander (for civill things we remit to the civile magistrate) we judge to be this: Whensoever sick fearfull crymes are comittit, if it be in the country, the minister, reidar, or exhorter of that place, or if ther be nane, the minister of the place nixt adjacent, aught to give significatioun of the fact to the superintendent of that dyocie, who without delay ought to direct his sumounds, chargeing the persons slanderit to compeir before him at a certaine day and place.
Or, if it be done in townes wher ordour is established, the sessioun therof aught to call the accusit offenders, who, if they compeir, and either alledge just defence, or shew themselves unfainedly penitent, then man the superintendent, and kirks reformed without the superintendent, dispense somewhat with the rigor of the punishment, secluding onlie the offender fra participatioun of the sacraments till sarder tryall of his repentance, and that baith ther diligence and sentence be publicklie pronounceit in the kirk wher the offence is knowin.
Bot if the offender be stubborne, as if he compeir not or shew himselfe litle touchit with his offence, then aught the superintendent, with advyce of the nixt reformit kirk, to discerne him or them to be secludit from all participatioun of comunioun with the faithfull members of Jesus Chryst, and to be givin to Satan to the destructioun of the flesch, whois slaves, (be impietie committit, and impenitencie shawin), they declare themselves to be; and ther sentence to be publishit in all places wher the offence is knowin. If the persons secludit from the sacraments be negligent in seiking reconciliatioun with the kirk, behave themselves insolentlie or utherwayes then it becomes penitent persons, the kirk, after admonitioun, may proceid to the uttermost; for wanton behaviour, after iniquitie comittit, is ane plaine argument of impenitency; and negligencie to seik reconciliatioun, declares that contempt lurkes in the heart.
When sick children comes to ȝeirs of understanding, they sould be instructit in the doctrine of salvatioun; the corruption of the papistrie must be declared to them, whilk they must publicklie damne befor they be admittit to the Lords Table, whilks if they doe, there neids not the externall signe to be reiterat, for no papists ministers baptisme without watter, and some forme of word, whilk are the principalls of the externall signe. We ourselves were baptized be papists whose corruptiouns and abuses now we damne, cleaving only to the simple ordinance of Jesus Chryst, and to the vertue of the Holy Spirit, whilk makes baptisme to work in us the proper effects therof, without any reiteratioun of the externall signe. If such children come never to the knowledge of the true doctrine, they are to be left to the judgement of God.
As concerning punishment, the civile magistrate aught therein to dis cerne; as touching the slander, the persons aught to be secludit from participatioun of the Sacraments, whill they have satisfied the kirk as they salbe comandit.
What punishment salbe usit agains them that ly in fornicatioun, under promise of mariage, whilk they deferre to solemnizat, and to satisfie be publick repentance for the slander givin? Alsweill the man as the woman, sould publicklie in the place of repentance lykewayes satisfie on ane Sonday befor they be maried.
[Mr John Craig, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, Mr John Douglas rector of the Universitie of Sanct Andrews, Mr Robert Maitland deane of Aberdein, William Christiesone minister at Dundie, Mr David Lindsay minister at Leith, Mr Gilbert Garden minister at Moniefuth, Mr Thomas Mackcalȝean, and Mr John Marjoribankes, commissioners for Edinburgh, were appointed, in the third session, to collect the heads and causes of the publick fast: They returned in this session, and declared the necessitie of a publict fast at this time; therfor the Assemblie, with ane voice, ordained Mr Knox and Mr Craig ministers at Edinburgh, to set out the form therof, with the exercise to be used in the same, and to cause Robert Likprevick print it. C.]