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.XCV.
The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk of Scotland, haldin at Edenburgh, in the New Kirk thereof, the 24 [22. P.] day of Marche 1595.
Exhortatioun beand made be Mr James Nicolsone, last Moderatour, the Assemblie proceidit to the electioun of a new Moderatour, and appointing on the leits Mrs David Fergusone, David Lindsay, James Balfour, Robert Pont, the said Mr Robert, be pluralitie of votis, was chosin Moderatour hac vice.
[Mr Davidson, Minister at Saltprestoun, and a member of the Presbytrie of Hadintoun, produced the advice of that Presbytrie, touching the heads of the letter sent from the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly to them. The tenor whereof followeth:
Touching the two heads proponed be the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly to their brethren, to advise upon against this Assembly; viz. Of universal repentance, and earnest turning to God: And of order taking for resisting the enemies, and maintainance of the liberty of religion and country.
Our advice in the first is, That yet once at the last, the chief and gross fins of all estates, which procure this present wrath of God, be agreed upon by name severaly, and acknowledged by this Assembly, for the more easie provocation of the whole body of this realme to earnest repentance, and speedy turning away from the fins foresaid; for as John faith, If wee acknowledge our sins, God is faithfull and just to forgive us our sins: otherwayes, if in so great a multitude of our iniquities, which this day answer so plainly to the faces of all estates of this realme, wee say one still with the unhappy Jewes, as hitherto wee have done, Wherein have wee fined: what else do wee, but as desperatly they did, and said in the days of Jeremy, Surely wee will walk after our own imaginations, and doe every man after the stubborness of his wicked heart. And so as it is said in the Law, The Lord will not be mercifull vnto us, but will shew us the back, and not the face, no not though Moses and Samuel would pray for us in the day of our destruction.
And to begin at ourselves of the Ministry, That wee acknowledge our publick transgressions in our persons, and office particularly, whereof the catalogue is in readiness to be seen, according to the admonition of the Lord by his prophet, saying, Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, &c.; left it be found according to the saying of the Apostle, That wee that teach others, teach not ourselves, and so be found reprobats.
Next, That this Assembly agree upon the true and right taking up the sins of our Princes, and Magistrats superior and inferior; and on the sound means to deal with them duetifully and faithfully, without all flattery, for their true amendment, according to Gods command to the prophet, saying, Say unto the King, and to the Queen, humble yourselves, sit down, for the crown of your glory shall come doun from your heads; ffor their fins are not the least cause of the plague of God on the people, as by David, Manasses, and others may be seen.
Thirdly, and last, That the most notorious sins of the whole body of the people in burgh and land, be given in, and acknowledged, and order taken for the speedy ammendement thereof by the Ministry and Magistrats, according to the examples of Josuah, Jehosaphat, Ezekias, Josias, the King of Niniveh, Constantius, Constantine, &c., the Prophets, and Apostles, &c. The catalogue over easy to be made.
As for resisting the common enemy, which is the second, our judgement is, That the sound following out of the former advice touching the first, shall make an easy way for the second; otherwayes, which God forbid, it will be but lost labour to travell much in that matter; yet wishing and hoping the best, wee have remitted the particulars of that matter, and our advice thereanent, to the Commissioners of this Presbytrie, who faithfullie (wee doubt not) will discharge their duty in the same.
This advice was approved be many, but withstood be some, namely, the Moderator himself, Mr Robert Pont, who alledged, that the first and chief motive of their conveening was to consult upon their withstanding the Spainards. The Commissioners letter was read, and it was found that Mr Davidson had said right.
Mr Davidson was appointed to give up the particular catalogue of the chief offences and corruptions in all estates.
He presented the catalogue of offences in Ministers, upon Wednesday before the Assembly. Mr Andrew Melvill desired to be added, The censure answerable to the offence. Whereupon Mr Nichol Dagliesh, Peter Bleckburn, Walter Balcanquall, John Mackquhern, Adam Johnstoun, John Knox, James Law, John Johnstoun, and Mr Davidson himself, were appointed to goe apart, and to consider what offence merited admonition, what deprivation; which they did. C.]
Sessio 4a. 25 March. [1596.]
[Upon Wednesday the 25 of Marche, the King came himself to the Assembly. He urged a contribution of the whole realme, not to be listed presently, but when need should require. The Moderatour exponed to his Grace, the two heids quherin the Kirk hes hitherto bein occupied, and how farre els it hes proceidit, viz. First, The substantiall heid, [for] moyen how to resist the enemie, quhilk was verbo recited be my Lord Kinloss, for the rest of the number deput to advyse therwith; and nixt, concerning the purgatioun of the Kirk of offences: And because the first is not ȝet thoroughlie concludit, the Assembly thocht it expedient that the Barrones and Ministrie quhilk mett thervpon, take farther resolutioun afternoone, and present thair advyce to the Assemblie in wryte. C. & B.]
His Majestie therafter proponit the lamentable dissordour of the ȝeirlie alteratioun of the platt [appointed for the modification of Ministers stipends,] and therfor desyrit that ane constant platt sould be made, quhervnto his Majestie was most earnestly bent. The Assemblie hes thoght meit befor any thing be concludit therin, to fie the act of Parliament made in the ȝeir of God 1592 ȝeiris.
Sessio 5a. Eodem die.
Overtures for resisting of the enemies of the religioun and estate of the countrey, asweill forraine as intestine.
First, That all sic that hes kythit in actioun with his Majesties forfaultit rebells, and thair knowin favourers and assisters, be chargeit to enter thair persons in ward, ther to remaine ay and quhill they find sufficient cautioun, that they sall not trassique nor intertaine intelligence with the saids rebells, nor any vther enemies to the estate or religioun, neither sall joyne with them nor make them any assistance, in cace they repare within the countrey; and that they give thair eldest sonnes or neirest freinds in pledgis for the [maire sure] observing heirof.
2. That the haill livings of the forsaids rebells to his Majestie, be exactlie tane vp be his Majesties officiars to be appoyntit for that effect, and to be imployit for the intertainment of hyred men, for defence of the good cause against the enemies, and for bearing of vther charges necessar for the advancement of the said cause, as ane of the effectuall meanes to encourage all such as are knowin to be weill affectionat to the cause, and to procure thair anesald concurrence to the vttermost.
3. That ther be chosin in every paroch be his Majesties authoritie, and vott of the Minister, Sessioun, and Principalls of every paroch, Captaines knowin to be most meitt [and of best affectioun,] to convein the haill paroch in armes monethlie in mustures, and to fie that they be all sufficiently armeit according to thair abilitie, and trainit vp in the exercise of thair armes: And sicklyke that ther be chosin Generall Commanders in diverse quarters and shyres of the countrey, to conveine in armes at all occasiouns neidfull, to resist all attempts and interpryses of the enemie forraine and intestine.
4. That some substantious ordour be takin for bringing hame sufficient number of corsletts, musketts, picks, and vther armour neidfull; and that the samein be brocht and receivit aff the merchands hands with all expeditioun.
Last, That the haill cautioners that became bound for the good behaviour of the saids rebells without the countrey, be chargeit befor the Counsell, and convict of the penalties conteinit in the acts of the cautionrie; and that the saids penalties be imployit vpon the sustentatioun of hyrit men, and vthers burdens neidfull for the weill of the cause.
Sessio 6a. 26 March.
Forsameikle as the towne of Edenburgh hes takin purpose and labour in divyding of their populours congregatioun, and hes made good progresse therin to the good example of the countrey; nottheles the worke remaines imperfyte in a part, through not divisioun of the Auld Kirk be a parpall wall, being verie commodious and litle expensive: Therfor the Assemblie directit my Lord of Kinlose, the Kings Majesties Commissioner, the Lord Sinklair, the Justice Clerk, Mrs Peter Blackburne, James Nicolsone, Andro Melvill, [to] the Counsell of the said burgh, immediatlie from the Assemblie, to exhort and requeist the Counsell to further and persyte the good beginning, and to divyde the said kirk be ane parpall wall.
Quho returning back with the Bailyies of the towne, declarit that the Counsell, be reason this day of Law is not frequent, alwayes to the divisioun be a parpall, hitherto they could not aggrie, being myndit to build the Tolbuith; desyreand the Kirk earnestlie to requeist the Lords and Colledge of Justice, quho hes land within the burgh, that they wald contribute therto: quhervnto the Kirk aggried, provydeing that they wald fall to presentlie to the divisioun be a parpall: ordaining the Bailȝie to report the direct ansuer of the Counsell heirvpon, vpon Mononday nixt to come.
Ordaines ane article to be givin in to the Kings Majestie for establishing ane act, annulling all taks sett be Ministers without consent of the Assemblie.
Anent contraverfies and decisioun therof amongst the Ministers: The Kirk and Commissioners present ratifies the act made at Dundie heiranent, and ordainit the same to be extendit to Reidars asweill as Ministers; and the paine of contumacie mentionat theirin to be deprivatioun.
Because the bounds of Nithesdaill, Annandaill, and Galloway, are destitute of Pastors, the Kings Majesties Commissioners proponit to the Assemblie, that the Kirk wald take care to appoint some qualified men for the Ministrie ther, for whose provisioun and intertainment his Majestie wald take ordour.
Concerning the defectiouns of the Ministrie: The samein at length being red out, [reasonit,] and considderit, the brethren concludit the samen aggrieing therwith; and in respect that be Gods grace they intend reformatioun, and to fie the Kirk and Ministrie purgeit; to the effect the worke may have better successe, they think it necessar that this Assemblie be humblit for wanting such care as became them in such points as is sett downe, and some zealous and godlie brother [in doctrine] lay them out for thair better humiliatioun, and that they make solemne promise befor the Majestie of God, and make a new convenant with him for a more reverent and carefull dischargeing of thair ministrie: To the quhilk effect was chosin Mr John Davidsone, and Teusday nixt, at nyne houres in the morning, in the New Kirk, is appointit for that effect; quhervnto none is to resort but the Ministrie. The forme is to be advysed the morne in privie conference.
[This commission following was given for visitation of Kirks.
For as much as it being considered be the Assembly and Commissioners present, to be a thing most necessar, that the most dangerous parts of the country, and where least, or no planting is, a visitation should be appointed to occurre the dangers already fallen out, or that may farther fall out if they be not prevented; and for the better planting of the Ministry, where as yet it is not planted: Herefor the Assembly has given and committed, and be the tenour hereof gives and committs their full power and commission to their loving brethren under written within the particular bounds after specified, according to the division following, to visit and try the doctrine, life, diligence, and fidelity of the Pastors within the Presbytries, where they are established already; and also in the bounds, where as yet no Presbytries are planted; and therein to take inquisition and tryal, if there be any beneficed persons of the Ministrie not making residence, having no reasonable cause to purge the same; if there be any that have delapidated their benefices, sett tacks, or made to others dispositions of their benefices, or any part thereof, by the consent of the Generall Assembly; any slanderous, or unmeet to serve the Kirk of God: And if any such be found, to proceed against him according to the quality of the said offence, according to the acts of the Kirk; assuming to them such brethren of the Presbytrie, where they make tryal, as they think most zealous, sincere, and best affected to reformation, to assist them, with power alswa to depose such as are worthy of deposition be the acts of the Kirk, and place others in their rowmes. And where no Presbytrie is, the brethren appointed to the visitation of these bounds, to travell diligently to plant the Ministry therein, and to proceed in all the heads above written be themselves, with the like power of deposition with the former. The particular times of their visitation to begin as hereafter shall be appointed; and generally, in all things to proceed as the Assembly might doe, if they were present: That is to say, for the bounds of Orkney, Zetland, Caithness, and Sutherland, Mr Robert Pont, Mr Alexander Dowglass, Minister at Elgin, Mr George Monro, Elder, to beginne their visitation the first day of June next: For Ross, Murrey, and Abberdeen, Mr James Nicolson, Mr Patrick Bleckburne, Mrs James Melvill, Andrew Melvill, with the said Mr Alexander Douglass, to begin their visitation the first of August next: For Angus, Mr James Balfour, David Lindsay, Andrew Muncreif, or any two of them, to begin their visitation the first of July next: For Kyle, Carict, Cuninghame, and the bounds of Galloway, Mrs Robert Bruce, Patrick Sharp, John Spotswood, to begin their visitation the first of July next; and the said Mr Robert Bruces place, in his absence, to be supplyed be Mr Robert Rollock: For Nithsdale, Annandale, Lauderdale, Eskdale, and Ewisdale, Mr John Davidson, John Johnstoun, William Scott, John Carmichael, John Knox, and John Welsh; their visitation to begin the first of August next to come. And ordaines the Presbytries which have no visitors appointed be this Commission, to be carefull in their own visitation while the next Assembly: Injoyning also the Presbytries, out of which Commissioners are tane to visitation, and what the said Commissioners doe in execution of this commission, to report to the next Generall Assembly of the Kirk, &c. C.]
The tenour of the advyce of the brethren deput for penning the corruptions and enormities in the Ministrie, and remeid therof, allowit be the Generall Assemblie heir conveinit.
Corruptions in the Office.
Forsameikle as be the too sudden admissioun and light tryall of persons to the Ministrie, it cometh to passe, that many slanders fall out in the persons of Ministers, it wald be ordainit in tyme comeing, that more diligent inquisitioun and tryall be vsed of all such persons as sall enter in the Ministrie, as speciallie in thir points.
That the intrant salbe posed vpon his conscience befor the great God, (and that in the most grave maner,) quhat moves him to accept the office and charge of the Ministrie vpon him.
That it be inquyrit, if any by solistatioun or moyen, directlie or indirectlie, prease to entir in the said office; and it being found, that the solister be repellit, and that the Presbitrie repell all such of thair number from votting in the electioun or admission as salbe found moyeners for the solister, and posed vpon thair conscience to declare the trueth to that effect.
Thirdly, Because be presentatiouns, many forciblie are thrust in the ministrie and vpon congregatiouns, that vtters therafter that they were not callit be God, It wald be provydit that none seik presentatiouns to benesices, without advyce of the Presbitrie within the bounds quherof the benefice lyis; and if any doe in the contrair, they to be repellit as rei ambitus.
That the tryall of persons to be admitted to the Ministrie heirafter, consist not only in thair learning and abilitie to preach, but also in conscience, and seiling, and spirituall wisdome, and namelie, in the knowledge of the bounds of thair calling, in doctrine, discipline, and wisdome, and to behave him accordinglie with the diverse ranks of persons within his flock, as namely, with atheists, rebellious, weake consciences, and sick vthers, quherin the pastorall charge is most kythit, and that he be meitt to stop the mouthes of the adverfaries; and sick as are not found qualified in thir points to be delayit to farther tryall, and quhill they be found qualified. And because men may be found meit for some places, quhilk are not meitt for vthers, it wald be considderit that the principal places of the realme be provydit with men of most worthie gifts, wisdome and experience, that none take the charge of greater number of peiple nor they are able to discharge; and the Assemblie to take ordour heirwith, and the act of the Provinciall Assemblie of Louthiane made at Lynlithgow to be urgeit.
That such as salbe found not givin to thair booke and studie of Scriptures, not carefull to have bookis, not given to sanctificatioun and prayer, that studie not to be powerfull and spirituall, not applying the doctrine to his corruptiouns, quhilk is the pastoral gift, obscure and too scolastike befor the peiple, cauld and wanting zeale, negligent in visiteing the seik, careing for the poore, or indiscreit in choosing of parts of the Word not meiteft for the flock, slatterers, and dissembling publick fins, and speciallie of great personages in thair congregatiouns, for flatterie or feare; that all sick persons be censured according to the degries of thair faults, and continueing therin, to be depryvit.
That such as be sloughfull in ministratioun of the sacraments, and irreverent, as prosaners, receiving cleane and vncleane, ignorants and sensles prosane, and making no conscience of thair professioun in thair calling or families; omitting due tryall, or vsing none or light tryall; having respect in thair tryall to persons quherin there is manifest corruptioun: that all sick be sharply rebuikit, and if they continue therin, to be deposit. And if any be found a seller of the sacraments, that he be deposit simpliciter; and sick as colludes with slanderous persons, and dispensing and ovirsieing them for money, incurre the lyke punishment.
That every Minister be chargeit that he have a Sessioun established of the meitest men in his congregatioun, and that discipline strike not only vpon grosse sinnes, as whordome, bloodshed, &c. but vpon all sins repugnant to the Word of God, as blasphemie of God, banning, profaining of the Sabboth day, dissobedience to parents, idle vnrulie anes without calling, drunkards, and sicklyke deboshit men that makes no conscience of thair lyfe and ruleing of thair families, and speciallie of educatioun of thair children, lying, slandering, backbytting, flattering, and breeking of promises: And this to be ane vniversall ordour throughout the realme; and such as are negligent, continueing therin after admonitioun, to be deposit.
That none falling in publick slanders be receivit againe in fellowship of the Kirk, except his Minister have some appeirand warrand in conscience, that he hes both ane feiling of fin, and apprehensioun of mercie; and for this effect that the Minister travell with him be doctrine and privat instructioun, to bring him heirto, and specially in the docttrine of repentance, quhilk being neglected, the publick place of repentance is turned in a mocking.
Dilapidatioun of benefices, dimitting of them for favour or money, that they become laik patronages, without the advyce of the Kirk; and sicklyke, interchanging of them be transactioun, and transporting of themselves be that occasioun, without the knowledge of the Kirk, be precislie punished: Sicklyke, setters of taks, without the consent of the Assemblie, be punished according to the acts; and that the dimissioun in favours for money or vtherwayes to the effect above wrytin, be punischit as the dilapidatours.
Corruptiouns in thair persons and lyves.
That sick as are light and wantoun in thair behaviour, as in gorgeous or light apparrell, in speich, in vseing light and profane companie, vnlawfull gameing, as dancing, cardeing, dyceing, and such lyke, not beseiming the gravetie of ane Pastour, be sharplie and gravelie reprovit be the Presbitrie, according to the degrie therof; and continuing therin after due admonitioun, that he be depryvit as slanderous to the Gospell.
That Ministers being found swearers or banners, profaners of the Sabboth day, drunkards, fighters, guilty of all thir or any of them, to be depofit simpliciter; and such lyke, liers, detracters, flatterers, breakers of promises, braulers and quarrellers, after dew admonitioun continueing therin, incurre the same punishment.
That Ministers givin to vnlawfull and incompetent trades for filthie gaine, as halding of hostlaries, taking of ocker besyd good conscience and lawis, and bearing wardly offices in Noble and Gentlemens houses, merchandise, and such lyke, buying of victuall and keiping to dearth, and all vther worldlie occupatiouns as may distract them from thair charge, and be slander to the Pastoural calling, be admonished and brought to the acknowledging of thair faults, and if they continue therin, to be deposit.
That Ministers not resident at thair flocks be deposed, according to the acts of the Generall Assemblie and laws of the realme; vtherwayes the burdein to be laid vpon the Presbyteries, and they be censurit therfor.
That the Assemblie command all thair members, that none of them awaite on the Court and the affaires therof, without the advyce and allowance of the Presbytrie.
Item, That they intend no actioun civill without the said advyce, except in small matters; and for remeiding of the necessitie that some Ministers hes to entir in pley of law, that remedie be craveit, that short proces be devysed to be vsed in Ministers actiouns.
That Ministers take speciall care in vseing godly exercises in thair families, and teaching of thair wyves, children, and servants, in vsing ordinarie prayers, and reiding of the Scriptures, in removeing of offenfive persons out of thair families, and such lyke vther points of godly conversatioun and good example; and that they, at the visitatioun of thair kirks, try the Ministers families in thir points forsaids; and such as are negligent in thir points, after due admonitioun, salbe judgeit vnmeit to governe the house of God, according to the rule of the Apostle.
That Ministers in all companies stryve to be spiritual and profitable, [and to] talk of things pertaining to godlines, as, namelie, of sick as may strenthen them in Chryst, instruct vs in our calling, of the meanes how to have Chrysts kingdom better established in our congregatiouns, and to know [how] the gospell flourishes in our flocks; and such lyke vthers the hinderances and the remedies that we find; quherin ther is manifold corruptiouns, both in the companying with ourselves and with vthers; and that the contraveiners heirof be tryit and sharply rebuikit.
That no Minister be found to countenance, assist, or procure for ane publick offender challengit be his awin Minister for his publick offence, or to beare with him, as thogh his Minister were too severe vpon him, vnder the paine of admonitioun and rebooking.
Anent Generall Assemblies: To urge the keiping of the acts anent the keeping of the Assembly, that it may have the awin reverence.
Sessio 10a. 29 [Martii.]
Instructiouns to Mrs James Prestoun, and Edward Bruce, Commendatour of Kinloss, his Majesties Commissioners to the present Generall Assemblie.
Imprimis, Ʒe sall shew to the said Assemblie our good will to have all the kirks of Scotland plantit with Ministers, and sufficient livings appointit to them, to the great hurt of our awin rent, and that portioun of the thrids quhilk was assignit to our house, and our Comptrollours in possessioun therof: Bot sieing that the haill thrids is not sufficient to plant the haill kirks, nor ȝet comodious to Ministers to serve in ane place, and have thair livings to seik in another [very] farre distant from thair cure: Therfor we thoght good to sett fordwart ane ordour for locall stipends, founded vpon this ground, that all the kirks of Scotland sould have Ministers, and all Ministers stipends within thair awin paroches, of sick valour, as be our authoritie on the ane part, and concurrence and procurement of the Kirk on the vther, might be obtainit from the taksmen of teinds, present possessours of the said rent; for the quhilk effect we causit ane act of Parliament to be made in the ȝeir of God 1592, grantand commissioun to certaine Noblemen, Counsellers, Officiars, [and] Ministers, on the vther parts, to intreat and prosecute this matter; and als hes givin command in particular, to certaine of our Lords of Checker to help, with thair advyce and labours, to bring this matter to some perfectioun, quherin, as we vnderstand, ther is something done, as ane part of the brethren can [bear] record. Lyke as we, continueand in our good mynd in our tyme to have the kirks settlit anent thair livings, and not intanglit ȝeirly with processes, and our haill kirks plantit within this realme, be thir presents, offers and promitts to the said Assemblie, to cause our Commissioners, Counsellours, and Officers, to conveine presentlie, befor the expyreing of this Assemblie, with the said Commissioners for the Kirk, to begin this good purpose, and to lay the ground, and sett downe the ordour, and tyme and place of conveining, to prosecute the samein to the finall end, conforme to the act of Parliament, so that the stay, (if any,) salbe on the part of the Kirk, as it has bein of befor, and not on our part.
Item, Ʒe sall shew to them that it is a stay to this good worke, that be some of thair preachings they wald make the peiple to vnderstand, that we and our Counsell stay the planting of kirks, and take away the present livings possest be Ministers; albeit the contrair be of veritie, that We and our Counsell is most willing that the haill kirks be plantit, and the rents of the Ministers augmentit, so farre as lawfullie may be obtainit with consent of our Nobilitie, and vthers taksmen of teinds, whose rights, but ordour of law, We cannot impare; and therfor this forme of preiching discourages our good Counsellours most willing to this work, and is ane heavie slander vpon the Ministers themselves, quherin ȝe fall desyre ordour to be taine, that the lyke be not done in tyme comeing.
Item, Ʒe fall desyre these ȝour instructiouns in our name, to be registrat
in the Books of the Assemblie, as ane perpetuall testimonie of our good
will; and als that ansuers be given, [in particular,] be ane generall voting
of the haill Assemblie, and no wayes to be referrit to ane privat conference;
and the ansuers sa vottit to every particular heid to be registrat in lyke
maner therwith, and the extract of all these articles and ansuers to be delyverit to ȝou, to report to vs again. Sic subscribitur,
[Upon Tuesday the 30 of March, the Ministers and other Commissioners conveened in the Little Kirk at nine hours, the one kirk door being shutt, and the other sett open for a certain space, whereby it came to pass, that few were present, except the Ministry, the whole number amounting to four hundred persons, all Ministers, or choise prosessors. After the first prayer, Mr Davidson caused the Reader to read the 15 and 34 chapters of Ezekiel: which being done, first, he purged himself of ambition for that place; yet seeing it pleased God, said he, to move them to choise him the least worthy, and unmeetest in the number, to occupy the place of a teacher that day, they were not to look, that he came there to be censured of them, but to use the authority of a teacher as to disciples in that respect; and yet did not take from them the liberty that God gave them to try the spirits, whither they were of God or not. He shewed, that the end of that convention was the consession of their own sins, who were Ministers, and promise of amendment in time to come, and so to enter into a new league with God, that being sanctified by repentance, they might be the meeter to provock others to the same; that they should not think it needless nor strange to enter in examination of themselves guilty of the imminent judgment. They were to conferr, and compare themselves, their learning, yeal, godliness, multitude, dayes, times, occasions, and helps, or rather wants, with the Prophets of former times, namely the Prophets of these dayes, whereof these two chapters treated, and see what priviledge they have more than they had; and why among their multitude pro re nata there might not be as many false prophets, and as few true and sincere, as were in these dayes. He amplified this head, and said by preterition he would not be rhetorical in discourse; and yet he was very moving in applicatioun to the present times, so that within an hour after they entered in the kirk, they looked with another countenance, than that wherewith they entered. He exhorted them to enter into their privy meditations, and to acknowledge their sins, with promise and purpose of amendment. So while they were humbling themselves for the space of a quarter of an hour, there was such sighs and sobs, with shedding of tears, among the most part of all estates that were present, every one provocking another by their example, and the teacher himself be his example, that the kirk resounded, so that the place might worthyly be called Bochim; for the like of that day was never seen in Scotland since the Reformation, as every man confessed. There have been many dayes of humiliation for present or imminent dangers; but the like for sin and defection was there never since the Reformation.
After the prayer and publick consession, he treated upon Luke 12. 22, with rare assistance of Gods Spirit, to the wonderfull astonishment, and casting doun, and to the raising up again of the brethren. The exercise continued till near one afternoon. When the brethren were to dissolve, they were stayed be the Moderatour, and desired to hold up their hands to testify their entering into a new league with God.
Sessio 12a. Penultimo Martij.
Forsameikle as the brethren of the Ministrie conveinit in this Generall Assemblie, hes with solemne humiliatioun acknowledgit thair sins this day, and negligence of thair conscience befor God, and hes entrit in a new covenant with him, protesting to walk more warlie in thair wayes, and to be more diligent in thair charges; and seeing ane great part of the Ministrie is not present at this actioun: Therfor the Kirk commands the brethren of the Synodall Assemblies to make the lyke solemne humiliatioun and protestatioun as was observit be the Generall, at thair nixt conveining; and so many as beis not at thair Synodall, to doe it at the Presbitries.
Articles proponit be the Commissioners of the constant Platt to be advysit and past in Acts be the Generall Assemblie.
First, It is thought requisite be the saids Commissioners, and Craveit, that the said Assemblie wald ordaine, that the Moderatours of ilk Presbitrie within this countrey, sould give presentations, jure devoluto, of all benefices of cure, belanging to laick patrones within their bounds, that hes not presentit qualified persons within sex monethis of the deceis of the last possessour therof; and sicklyke, of benefices that sall vaik heirafter, in cace the saids patrones neglect to present within sixe monethis, to Ministers serving, or that sall serve the cure of the saids kirks, vnder the paine of deprivatioun; and that the saids Ministers accept thair presentations. and persew [them:] And if ther be not actuall Ministers presentlie at the saids kirks, in that cace, that the said Moderatouras deale effectually with vthers qualified persons, to accept the saids presentatiouns, and to prosecute the samein be law.
That all beneficit persons, that are heir present in this Assemblie, be movit presentlie to interdyte themselves from all setting and disponing any part of thair benefice to quhatsomevir person or persons, without the speciall consent and allowance of the Generall Assemblie; and the interdictioun to be subscryvit be sick as are present; and vthers that are absent, to be vrged be thair Presbitries to doe the same, immediatlie after the dissolving of the Assemblie.
Because the kirks in diverse places of the countrey sustaines great hurt through the laik of qualified persons in the Ministrie, instructit and trainit vp in the Schooles of Theologie: Therfor it is craveit, that ane act be made in this Assemblie, ordaining every Provinciall Assemblie to furnisch a sufficient intertainment for a burser in the New Colledge of Sanct Andores, this 96 ȝeir, and so sourth, ȝeirlie, in all tyme comeing; and that every Provinciall Assemblie sall have the priveledge to present the said burser so oft as the benefice or place sall vaik: And in cace ther be any of the Ministers sonnes within the Province, of meit graces for the said place, that he be preserrit to all vthers to the Ministrie; and after the expyring of his course in the studie of Theologie, that he be bound to imploy his travels within the Province, to the quhilk his graces may be ansuerable; and that it be not leisum to the said burser to imploy his travells in any vther place, except be the speciall advyce and consent of the said Province.
Seeing the necessitie of the commoun affaires of the Kirk craves, that ther be a continuall travelling and attendance at Court, both for the furtherance of the present worke, quhilk is in hands, of the planting of the kirks; as also of the continuall diligence of the enemie, waiting at all occasiouns, speciallie when they find any slacknes vpon the part of the Kirk, in the discoverie and resisting of the interpryses of the said enemie: Therfor it is craveit, that a care and burdein of the commoun cause be laid vpon some brethren be the Generall Assemblie, either of them that are residents heir about Court, or els of some vthers to be appointit in diverse parts of the countrey, because vtherwayes ther is none that finds themselves in conscience bound to have any care heirof, or to take any paines heirin.
To the first two articles the Assemblie aggreit.
To the thrid, The Assemblie ordainit it to be movit in the Provinces first.
To the fourt, Appoints Mrs Robert Bruce, David Lindesay, James Balfour, and James Nicolsone with them, quhen he is present.
Session 13a. Ultimo die Martij.
Anent the articles concerning thair Majesties persons and houses: The Assemblie hes nominat Mrs Patrick Galloway, James Nicolson, and James Melvill, to conserre with thair Majesties theranent.
Offences in his Majesties House.
First, As strangers and vther good subjects repairing to the Court, hes bein confortit to fie Christian religioun religiouslie exerciseit; so now they are somequhat troublit, seeing now the exercise of the reiding of the Word at table, and reverent saying of the grace befor and after meat, diverse tymes omittit.
That on the weik day the repairing to the heiring of the Word is mair rare then befor; and that he wald be admonischit for hearing of speaches, in tyme of sermoun, of them that desyre to commoun with his Majestie.
Privie meditatioun with God in Spirit and conscience, earnestly to be recommendit to him.
His Majestie is blottit for banning and swearing, quhilk is over commoun in courteours also, and movit be thair example.
His Majestie wald labour to have sick companie about him as himselfe, according to his awin [blank] quhilk is gravelie to be recommendit to his Majestie to be put in practise. Robert Laud, and such as are suspectit, to be removit; especiallie murtherers, [Papists,] and prosane persons.
The Queens Majesties ministrie to be reformit; and tuiching her companie, her not repairing to the word and sacreaments, night walking, balling, &c.; and such lyke concerning her gentlewemen.
In respect of the report of the brethren of the North, that gentlemen and burgesses are lyke to leave thair houses for feare of the enemies, seeing thair great insolence vnrepressed at home; the returning of thair wyves to the countrey againe, and thair provisions in thair houses and castells for thair home comeing, quhilk is murmurit against in all the countrie: For remeid, it is to be craveit that the Ladies of Huntlie and Erroll presentlie be brought back againe and placeit in Sanct Androes; my Lord Gordoun sicklyke to be broght to the South, and put to the schooles; thair freinds in the South to be wardit; and Cluny, Geicht, Abergeldie, Cowbairdie, Bonytoun ȝounger, Craig ȝounger, Alexander Hay of Auchmather, Mr Alexander Lessie of Peill, James Knowis, Johne Gordoun of Newtoun, [Towie Barclay, Patrick Conn,] to be apprehendit. And for this [effect] it was thought good that some Commissioner, the Provest of Edinburgh, with the Laird of Wedderburne, be directit to the North, with the Kirks Commissioners already appointit.
The commoun corruptiouns of all Estates within this realme.
Ane vniversall caldnes and decay of zeale in all Estates, joynit with ignorance and contempt of the Word, Ministrie and Sacraments; and quher knowledge is, no sense nor seiling, quhilk vtters itselfe, most manisestlie be this, that they want religious exercises in thair families, as of prayer and of reiding of the Word; and quher the samein, for the most part abused and prosanit be cuiks, stewarts, jackmen, and sicklyke; and the masters of families ashamit to vse thir exercises of godlines in thair awin persons; and no conference at thair tables, but of prosane, wanton and worldie matters.
Superstitioun and idolatrie mantainit, quhilk vtters itselfe in keiping of sastuall dayis, and boonestyres, pilgrimages, singing of carrells at Yoole.
Great blasphemie of the name of God in all Estates, with horrible banning and swearing in all thair speiches.
Prosanatioun of the Sabboth, and speciallie in seid tyme and harvest, and commoun journeying on the Sabboth, and trysting on wardlie turnes, exerciseing of all kynd of wanton gamis, keiping of mercatts, dancing, drinking, and such like.
Litle care, reverence, and obedience of inferiours to thair superiours; as sicklyk of superiours in discharging thair duties to thair inseriours; as quher children pleyis in law aganis parents, and many of them maries against thair fathers [will and] consent; and no care of thair parents for thair educatioun in virtue and godlines.
Ane flood of bloodsheds and deadlie seids ryseing thervpon, and vniversall assisting of blood sheds for eluding of lawis.
Adulteries, fornicatiouns, incests, vnlawfull mariages, and divorcements allowit be publick lawis and Judges; and children begottin in such marriages declairit to be lawfull; [excessive] drinking, waghting, and gluttony; quhilk is no doubt the cause of this [great dearth and] samine; [and] gorgeous and vaine apparrell, filthie and baudrie speiches.
Sacriledge in all estates without any conscience, growing continuallie mair and mair, to the vtter vndoing of the Kirk, and staying of the planting of the gospell.
Cruell oppressioun of the poore tennents, quherby the haill commouns in the countrey are vtterly wrackit, be extreame dear setting of thair rowmes, and halding out of thair cornes by vntymeous teinding, and extreame thraldome in services.
Oppressioun vnder pretext of law, be vsurie, and be contracts against law; forestalling of mercats, and regrateing be gentlemen, burgesses, and commouns; quherby pryces of victualls is mervailouslie raised to the great hurt of the poore; and sicklyke be girnelling of victualls, and withhalding them from the mercatts, and not threshing of them out in due tyme.
Ane great number of idle persons without lawfull calling, as pypers, fidlers, sangsters, sorners, pleasants, strang beggers, living in harlotrie, and having thair children vnbaptizit, without all kynd of repairing to the word.
Offences in the Court and Judgement Seat.
Vniversall neglect of justice both in civill and criminall causes, as, namelie, in granting of remissions and respitts for blood, adulteries and incests; no executioun of good lawis made against vyces, or in favour of the Kirk; and in civill matters, the Judges, for the most part, vnmeitt, either in respect of the want of knowledge, or conscience, or baith; and quhen any office vaikes, the worst men advancit therto, both in high and inferiour rowmes.
No executioun made against the adherents of the detected enemies, and the enemies themselves, nor imploying of thair livings to the [vse of] resisting of the enemies, quherby the enemies are rather benefitit nor hurtit.
The odious murther of Dunnibirsle not punischit.
In Parliaments, sacrilegious persons, as Abbots, Pryours, dumb Bischops, voteing in name of the Kirk, contrair to the lawis of the countrey, quherby the cause of the Kirk is damnified.
The Sessioun is chargeit with buying of pleyis, delaying of justice, and bryberie, quhilk is evident by extraordinar and sudden conqueists.
Greives to be humblie meanit to his Majestie, in name of the Generall Assemblie, be thair Commissioners, touching the principall offences in the estate of the countrey, that, be his Majesties counsell and authoritie, sufficient remedie in tyme may be provydit thervnto.
First, It is humblie meanit to his Majestie, that, to the great hazard of religioun, and peace of the countrey, and greise of all good men, the forsaltit rebells, and enemies of his Majesties estaite, inioyes thair lands and livings als peaceablie, and to thair greater advantage, then if they were at his Majesties peace within the countrey; and thair consederats and friends, partakers and assisters with them in thair treasonable attempts, are sufferit in so great a libertie, nevir having once so mikle as entrit thair persons in ward, or givin pledges and suretie for thair good and duetiefull behaviour and obedience to his Majestie, in cace it sall happin the said rebells, or any forraine enemies, to repaire within the countrey for disquyeting of the estate therof; as if they [had] immunitie and exemptioun from all lawis, to confirme themselves for strenthening the hand of the enemies, quhen they happen to arrive; as it appeirs thair intentioun is, by [thair] preparatioun of force and armour, and leagues of friendship quhilk they are daylie binding vp.
Diverse Jesuites and excommunicat Papists are intertainit within the countrey, deteining such as they have pervertit in thair errours, and induceing vthers in the samein corruptioun; and halding them in hope of [the] returning of the Papists Lords, with assistance of strangers; as, namelie, Mr Robert Abercrombie, Mr Alexander Mcquhirrie, Abbot of Newabbay, Johne Gordoun of Newtoun, the ȝong Laird of Bonytoun, Mr Alexander Leslie of Peil, Patrick Con, Alexander Ramsay, and diverse vthers.
That in many places of the countrey, for lake of provisioun of sufficient stipends for provisioun of Pastours, the peiple lyis altogether ignorant of thair salvatioun, and duetie to God and the King, quherthrow the land is overflowit with atheisem and all kynd of vyce; ther being above foure hundreth paroch kirks destitute of the ministrie of the word, by and attour the kirks of Argyle and the Yles.
It is regratit vniversallie be his Majesties lieges, that throw the delaying, perverting, and eluding of justice, murthers, oppressions, incest, adulteries, and all [kynd of] haynous crymes abounds.
It is to be heavilie meant, that the brethren of the Ministrie, that hes gottin any meane provisioun or help be the assignatioun [made] lxxxxv ȝeirs, are delayit and resuisit of justice, be the Lords of Sessioun resusand to decide thair suspensiouns according to the act of February 1587.
Articles to be proponit to his Majestie for remeid of the former greives.
For remeid of the former greives, it is humblie to be craveit of his Majestie, that the lands of the foresaultit rebells be disponit to sick as are knowin to be most meitt, and of best affectioun, to resist the enemies of religioun, and of his Majesties Estate, both forraine and intestine: And in the meane tyme that thair livings be takin vp, and intromettit with be his Majesties officers, and imployit vpon the intertainment of wagit men, and vther necessar vses, for the manteinance and advancement of the good cause; and that the Ladies of Huntlie and Erroll be chargeit to come south, and make thair residence in Sanct Androes, that they be no more a receipt and incouragement to the enemies, as they are presentlie, be thair subtile forme of practise, quhilk they have vsit this ȝeir by past, to the confirming of thair freinds and consederats, and intysing of vthers quhom they might seduce to thair purpose, and open violence to such as refuses to yeild to thair course; and that the Ladie Huntlies eldest sonne be brocht south, to be trainit vp in the knowledge of good letters and religioun; and that the Lairds of Clunie, Gicht, Abergeldie, Cowbairdie, Craig ȝonger, Alexander Hay of Auchmatie, Buckie, James Knowis, Towie Barklay, Patrick Con, and the rest of thair principall freinds and consederats, that hes kythit with them in actioun, in thair treasonable interpryses against his Majestie, be chargeit to come south, and entir thair persons in some sufficient ward, ther to remaine ay and quhill they find sufficient catioun vnder the paine of great sowmes, that they sall neither traffique, intercommoun, supplie, nor intertaine intelligence, or give any kind of assistance to any of his Majesties rebells, or [any vther] enemies of religioun [quhatsumevir,] and give sufficient pledgis of thair sonnes and neirest friends to that effect.
That his Majestie give commissioun to some of his speciall servants, and vthers that are knawin to be of [abilitie and] good affectioun, to seik, search, apprehend, and present before his Majestie, Mr Robert Abercrombie, Mr Alexander Mcquherrie, the Abbot of New Abbay, Alexander Ramsay, the ȝong Laird of Bonytoun, Alexander Leslie of Peile, Johne Gordoun of Newtoun, and vthers, Jesuites, and excommunicat Papists, as thair names salbe givin in a roll.
That his Majestie wald prosecute his good purpose and intentioun declairit befor the Assemblie, anent the planting of the haill kirks within the countrey, with qualisied Pastours, and sufficient provisioun of stipend for thair intertainment; and for that effect, that he wald give commissioun to the visitours nominat be the Generall Assemblie, to take inquifitioun of the estate of all the kirks within the bounds of thair visitatioun, and to deal with the tackismen and possessours of the teyndis, in his Majesties name, for sufficient provisioun to the Ministers, out of the rent of every paroch, and to report the samein to his Majesties Commissioners appointit for the wark of the Platt, in the act of Parliament, and provyde some honest moyen for the intertainment of thair charges in the journey.
That his Majestie take ordour substantially be advyce of his Counsell and Estate, how the principall Judgement seats and vther inferiour Judgements may be purgeit of vnqualified and corrupt persons, and filled with vthers meit to discharge that calling faithfullie, for the comfort of his Majesties peaceable and well disposed subiects.
That his Majestie wald command [and ordain] the Lords of Sessioun to minister justice to the brethren of the Ministrie, that hes gottin any augmentatioun of thair meane stipends or new provisioun by the Commissioners appointit be his Majesties Commissioun the 1595 [ȝeirs,] and that according to the act of February 1587, as they are bound by thair solemne aith and promise; seeing the extraordinarie dearth vrges them with so great necessite, that vnlesse his Majestie have some consideratioun of thair estate, they and thair families will be driven to extreame povertie and want.
[The new and constant Platt of planting all the Kirks of Scotland, penned to be presented to the King and Estates, anno 1596.
Our Soverane Lord, with consent of the three Estates in Parliament, understanding that be the law of God it is expresly commanded, as also for intertainment of religion and Gods service, it is more nor necessar, that the Ministers of his holy word have sufficient rents for their honest sustentatioun; considering also that the rents and patrimony, which of old pertained to the Kirk, is greatly damnified and exhausted be annexation of the whole temporalitie thereof to his Hienes Crown, and be erection of a great part of the said temporal lands of the Kirk, with diverse kirks, and tithes included therewith, in new temporal Lordships; and be the new fashoun of setting of long tacks of the said tithes for divers nineteen years and life rents successivé, for payment of small silver duety, no wayes equivalent to the half of the reasonable valour of the said tithes; and be the pretended rights of many pensions, life rents, assignations, and other dispositions of the saids tithes, and duetie of tacks; and be his Majesties right of the thirds, superplus, commoun kirks, first fruicts, and fyst pennie of every benefice, rights and disposition of the same, proceeding from his Hienes after his perfect age, and from his Graces predecessors, for the most part ratified in Parliament, whereby there is no moyen left presently to augment the small stipend of a poor Minister, albeit he had never so great necessity, nor yet to plant anie new Minister at anie congregation, albeit the most part of the parish kirks of Scotland are altogether destituted of all exercise of religion; and that there is a great number of Ministers not provided, but wanting upon some special charge and vocation; lyke as a great number of good schollers of the youth of this realme, for the like poverty, is compelled to pass to France, to the great danger of apostacy from religion, whereas otherways they might be profitable to the Kirk, and might be honestly intertained upon the said tithes; which tithes, not only before the written law of God, and thereafter be express commandement of the same, but also be the consent of all nations, and specialy of this realme, have ever pertained to the Kirk, whereby of all reason the Kirk having no other patrimony, ought to be maintained in the right and possession of the said tithes, at left ay and while they be sufficiently provided otherwayes; conform to the which divers acts have been made in Parliament, That before the new provision of anie Prelat, the Ministers at the kirks and parishes united to the said Prelacie, should be first provided to sufficient stipends, otherwayes the provision of the Prelacy to be null: And likeways in the tenth act of Parliament holden 1567, it is ordained, that the whole thirds be first imployed to the use of the Ministers, ay and whill the Kirk come in possession of their own patrimony, which is the tithes: and also in the said act of annexation, and divers other laudable acts, it is exprefly provided, that the Ministers should be sufficiently provided of livings furth of the best and readiest of the spiritualities; and that they should be provided in title to all small benefices, that they should be provided to manses and gleebs for their residence at their kirks; and that laick patrons should provide qualified persons: which acts have not tane fully effect, but on the contrair the livings of the said Ministers left uncertainly to be sought from year to year, at his Hienes Exchecker, out of the thirds with infinit process in law, be reason of the manifold disposition of the thirds to other laick persons, proceeding from his Hienes as having right to the whole thirds, commoun kirks, superplus, fyft pennie, and temporalitie of ilk benefice, and be reason of the collation of benefices pleno jure to persons no wayes qualified, contrair to the good meaning and intention of the foresaid acts of Parliament, to the utter wrack and destruction of the Kirk be plain povertie, as the prosessed enemies of Christ would have done of old, if speedie remedy be not found: Therefore his Hienes remembring that there is nothing more proper to his royal office, nor to be nurisher of the true Kirk, and to be carefull of the advancement of the true religion, and continuing thereof to the posterity, with consent of the Estates in Parliament, be the tenor of this act declares, that the whole tithes of this realme, both Personages and Vicarages, as well united to Prelacies and other dignities, as not united, and other tithes quhatsomever, have pertained in all times bygane, and shall pertain in all times, to the Kirk as their proper patrimony: and of new, with consent foresaid, giveth, granteth, and disponeth, and perpetually mortifieth the said tithes of all Personages, and Vicarages, and other benefices whatsomever, within the realme, to the Kirk to remain therewith, as their own proper patrimony, conform to the tenor of this present act, in all time coming: And, with advice foresaid, statuteth and ordaineth, that the Lords of Exchecker, with such of the Ministry as shall be appointed hereunto, being of equal number with the said Lords, shall modifie and assigne out of certain touns of every parish, a certain quantity of victual of the teind shaves thereof, and other dueties of the Vicarage, as the nature of the ground may pay, with the manse, and whole gleeb land, if the same remain yet unfewed; and if the said glebe be fewed, four aiker of the said gleeb, whither the same be of the Parsons, Vicars, Bishops, Pryors, or Prioresses, Deans, and Subdeans, Abbeys, or any other Kirk Land, for the gleeb, as a local stipend to every parish kirk of this realme, without exception, for sustentation of the Minister thereat sufficiently and honestly in all respects, of the fruicts of the parish itself, notwithstanding the said kirks be annexed to Prelacies, or other benefices, or not doted to Colledges, or Universities, or otherwayes pertaining to old possessors of whatsomever degree, or to Ministers newly provided in title therto at the Kings presentation, or laick patrons, divided amongst many Prebendaries, Deanries, or Chaplanries, or not divided commoun kirks, or other whatsomever qualitie, or condition the said parish kirk has been of, or be whatsomever manner of way the tithes thereof have been bruiked in times by past, and notwithstanding all and whatsomever right his Majestie may have, or pretend to the thirds, superplus, first fruits, and fist penny, of the said benefices; and notwithstanding of all pensions, tacks, assignations, life rents, erection of the said tithes, or any part thereof in a temporal Lordship, provision to Prelacies, or other benefices, unions, or divisions of the said parishes, and other dispositions of the said tithes, or any part thereof whatsomever, proceeding from his Majestie, or his predecessors, after his or their perfect age, confirmed in Parliament with whatsomever solemnity or otherwayes, to whatsomever Castles, Colledges, Universities, or particular persons of whatsomever degree: And notwithstanding of whatsomever other tacks, pensions, life rents, fewing of the said tythes, with lands, and fewing of the said gleebs, and other dispositions whatsomever, made be Prelats, or beneficed persons, with consent of their Chapters, to whatsomever particular person, Colledge, or University, for whatsomever space of years, or yearly duty: And notwithstanding of the priveledge of the Lords of Session, and acts of Parliament, and other laws bygane, unions, annexations, and incorporations of several parish kirks to a Prelacy or other benefice, or division of the fruicts of a parish amang many Prebendaries, or Chaplanries, or others; and notwithstanding all other impediments which any way may stay the full execution of this present act: Declaring all and whatsomever the said provision of benefices, unions, incorporations, divisions, tacks, pensions, life rents, erections, and fewing of tithes, manses, gleebs, priveledges, acts, lawes, and former constitutions, and other dispositions whatsomever of the said tithes, manses and gleebs, proceeding from his Majestie, or his Majesties predecessors, or whatsomever other beneficed person, with whatsomever solemnity, to be null in time coming, in so far as they may make any prejudice to this present act, and to the particular local assignation of stipends to be assigned to every parish kirk, conform thereto, and to the full execution thereof, but any other reduction or declarature of law: With power to the saids Lords and Ministers to take true tryal of the valour of the said tithes; and to appoint, ordain, and assigne the saids perpetual local stipend at every parish, out of such special touns and lands of the said parishes; and to unite several parishes in one, to diffever one in moe, with consent of the parochiners; and to make a special book thereupon; and generaly to doe all things necessar for this effect: Which local assignations of stipends and tithes whatsomever of the particular towns and lands to be specified therein, shall pertain as freely to the Minister of the said parish, as if he had been provided of old in title thereto: with power to the said Minister to collect, gather, and intromett with, and to make warnings and inhibitions against the possessors of the said tithes, manses and gleebs, with as great effect as any Person, or Vicar, or any other beneficed person might have done in any time bypast, notwithstanding all impediments foresaids, and other whatsomever, but prejudice of the saids Ministers rights to the whole remanent of the faid benefices, when the same shall vaike, and sall in their hands, be deceafe of the present possessors, reducing or expyring of tacks, or other ways whatsomever, and of the free disposition thereupon, as accords of the law, and conforme to this present act in all points. And for the better execution of the premisses, our Soverane Lord, with advyce foresaids, dissolves expressly all and whatsomever unions of several parish kirks to Prelacies, benefices of dignity and others, and suppresseth and abrogateth the name and stiles of the said Prelacies and dignities, and unites of new the tithes of every parish, where the same were divided of old amongst many Prebendars, Chaplans, and others, in a whole benefice; and ordaines that Ministers be provided in title to every parish kirk in particular, which was before united to Prelacies now vacant, or which have vaiked in his Graces hand, since the Parliament holdin at Edinburgh in anno 1584, or which sall in any wise hereafter vaick be demission, deprivation, or other ways whatsomever; and to all other several parishes vacant, both to the Personage and Vicarage thereof, with the manse, and gleeb of four aikers of land, conform to the former acts made anent the said gleebs and manses; at the which kirks the said Ministers shall be oblished to make their residence, and shall have intromission with the fruits thereof, conform to this present act, and book of perpetual modification of the local stipends to follow hereupon: and after their decease, demission, or deprivation, the other qualified persons to be presented thereto be his Hienes and his Graces successors, and be others having the right of presentation and patronage thereof; and that no new Prebendars shall be provided after the deceass of the present possessors, but the rent to accresce to the living of the Minister, conforme to this act, &c.
And becaus it is most necessar that the saids local stipends be of a certain quantity, according to the nature of the ground, and out of certain special lands most ewest to the kirk, and commodious to the Minister, that the Minister may know of whom to crave his duetie: And seing it is impossible to the Lords of Excheker to know what lands to appoint for payment hereof, be reason they know not, neither the names of the lands, nor valour of the teind shaves of every particular toun and land within this realme: Therefore his Hienes, with advyce forsaids, ordaines, that every Presbytrie within this realme, with advice of three Barons, or landed Gentlemen, who have their residence within the said Presbytrie, of good religion, and leist participant of Kirk rents, chosin be advice of the General Assembly, and failling the concurrence of the saids Barrons, that the said Presbyters be themselves shall have power to estimate reasonably the valour of tithes, both Personage and Vicarage, of every particular town, and lands laying within each one of the saids touns, and parishes of their Presbytries, and of the commodiousness thereof to the sustentation of their Minister: which estimation shall be published upon two several Sundayes, in time of divine service, in the said parish kirks; with provision, that whatsomever party interessed in any wise be the said estimation, and please to complain thereupon, shall have most summar remeed before the saids Lords of Exchecker, after summar cognition of the caus betwixt the said Presbytrie, and particular Minister of the parish kirk, and general Procurator of the Kirk, or others having interest on the one part, and the said partie compleaner on the other part.
Attour because the dilapidation of the rents of the Kirk has proceeded for the most part from the Kirkmen themselves, who had ower great liberty to sett such long tacks, and fewes, and for such dueties as they pleased; the solemnity of ordinar Chapters serving not to restrain the said dilapidation, for which they were first instituted, but rather to authorize the same; which Chapters for the most part be now worn out: Therefore, our Soverane Lord, with advice foresaid, statutes and ordaines, that no Minister or beneficed person shall have power to sett in tack, or to make any kind of disposition, alteration, or change in any wayes, the estate of the local stipends of the parsihes, with whatsomever consent or solemnity; neither to sett new tacks, or to renew old tacks of whatsomever other tithes of his parish, or any part thereof, or make whatsomever disposition of the same in tyme coming, without consent of the whole or the most part of the Presbytrie, wherein the parish lyeth, [assemblit] at the ordinary day of conveening, after reasoning two former ordinar dayes, anent the equity of setting, renewing, or making of the said tacks and dispositions: And declares, that the converting of victuals or other dueties [in filuer,] shall be express diminution of the rentall, and a cause of nullity and reduction: And for eschewing of antedeating of tacks and rights of tithes [whatsumeuer], and of the infinit time for which the same was sett in tyme bypast, his Hienes, with advice foresaid, ordains, that all and whatsomever tacks of whatsomever tithes sett in any time preceding the date hereof, for whatsomever longer time of many nynteen years tacks, or lyfe rents successivé, shall endure only for the space of nineteen years after the date of the said tack; with provision, that whatsomever nynteen year tack, or life rent of tithes, which has not begun in the setters tyme, shall be null and of none availl, albeit another nineteen year tack or life rent contained in the same tack, has begunne or run out in the said setters time: and that all former tacks of tythes preceeding the date hereof, life rents, assignations, pensions, erections, fewes, and other dispositions of tithes, shall be produced before the Lords of Exchecker before the day of next to come, and registred in the books of the Collectorie: at the left so much of the said erections and fewes to be registered, as containeth the rights of tithes contained therein; and the date of the registration thereof, and the person ingiver of the saids tacks and other rights, to be registred therewith in like manner, and marked and subscribed be the Collectors Clerk, vpon the bak of the said tacks and rights, for eshewing of all frauds which may be herein; with certification, that the tacks, and other rights of whatsomever tithes, not registred, as said is, shall be null, and make no faith in judgment nor without: and that the imprinting or publication of this act, shall be sufficient intimation hereof, and of the certification foresaid, without any other special letters, &c.
Moreover, because the Ministers and other beneficed or laick persons, having the rights of tithes of other mens heritage, oft times unjustly trouble both themselves and the lawfull possessors of the saids tithes, with inhibitions, and actions of spoilzie, whereby they compell them to hight their tithes above the reasonable valour: Therefore our Soverane Lord, with advice foresaid, declares and ordaines, that whatsomever person is lawfully in the natural possession of tithes be leading and intrometting therewith, the heritage or present right of possession of the land being his own, and makes good and thankfull payment, within dayes after ilk terme, of the duetie of the said tithes, conforme to the estimation above written, to be made be the Presbytries forsaids to the Ministers and others having right to the said tithes; in that case, the said person shall be free of all action of spoilzie and danger which may follow upon inhibition led against him thereanent: provyding alwayes, that whatsomever person committ any violence in ejecting another furth of the natural possession of leading of tithes, shall be subject either to the action of spulzie, or the quadruple of the estimation foresaid, at the option of the partie ejected, as said is. Like as also it is provyded, that quher the right both of the property, and present right of the actual possession of the land, and als of the tithes, concurre in one mans person, it shall be leasome to him to use inhibitions, and, conforme to the old order, apprehend posses sion of his own tithes, paying always the duetie and valuation thereof to the Minister, or others having right; in which case, the offer of the estimation foresaid shall be no relevant defence to rescind the natural possession of the tithes of another persons heritage; and to eshew the danger of spulzie in prejudice of him who has the right both of the lands and tithes, as said is, and in favour of him, who has not present right to the actual possession of another mans land, nor yet of the tithes thereof. &c.
Attour, be reason that the said patrimony of the Kirk should also sustain and uphold schools and poor, with common affairs of the Kirk, and other godly uses: Therefore our Soveraign Lord, with advice foresaid, statutes and ordains, that a persect rentall be made of the superplus of the rents of every parish kirk, by and attour the foresaid local stipends, containing the rights, be the which the superplus of every benefice is possessed; and that the Minister, albeit he be provided in title to the whole benefice, and have the collection of the whole fruicts thereof, and liberty to reduce tacks and fewes, as any other beneficed person might have done of before; yet the said Ministers shall not have the free disposition of the said superplus to their own use, but shall be comptable therefor to them who shall obtain the right thereof: and in case of their failzie in thankfull payment, or committ violence, they shall be subject to the danger of spulzies double or quadruple of the estimation foresaid, fic like as others that make not payment thankfully to the said Ministers themselves, conforme to the former article.
And as for the superplus of the rent of every particular parish kirk, by and attour the local and perpetual stipend appointed for the Minister, which superplus either presently pertaineth to the Kirk be vaiking of the benefice or vtherwayes, or shall hereafter pertain, or fall in the Kirks hands, be expyring or reduction of tacks and other rights, decease of the present possessors, or otherways whatsomever, our Soverane Lord, with advice foresaid, ordaines and statutes, that the said superplus shall be disponed be the advice of the Lords of Exchecker, and brethren of the Ministry appointed for modification of Ministers stipends; first, to the Colledges, and Lords of Session, and old possessors of the benefices, induring their life times, for so much as shall be tane from them be the present order; next, that the common affaires of the Kirk be sufficiently sustained thereupon; thirdly, that reasonable consideration be had of the poor, strangers, widowes, and orphans; reparation of bridges, kirks, hos pitals, and other godly works: And if there be any rest, the same shall be collected, and keeped to the use of the Kirk, and at their disposition allenerly. And whatsomever particular person, Colledge, or other shall obtain assignation of any part of the superplus be the saids Lords and modifiers, their said assignation and letters thereupon shall be specialy in quantity, and out of what touns and lands the same is assigned; and the said letters shall be specialy directed against the tennents and actual possessors of the said particular lands, and the Minister of the parish allanerly, so that no letters in time coming be directed generaly against all and sundrie the parochiners, &c.; and of the best and readiest of the fruicts where the right whereupon the letters pass extends only to a part of the fruits, and not to the whole fruicts of the paroich, as was of before, which was the occasion of great consusion.
And becaus the Prelacies in effect were before dissolved, the whole temporalities thereof being annexed to the Crown, and Ministers stipends ordained to be tane out of the parish kirks united and incorporated therewith; lyke as be this order the whole spiritualitie and tithes are of new destinated, given and mortified to the Kirk, whereby the saids Prelacies are all utterly dissolved, and so ceass in time coming to be one of our Estates in Parliament: Therefore our Soverane Lord, with advyce foresaid, statutes and ordains, that in time coming every Presbytrie shall send, of their own number, a Commissioner to the Parliament, out of the which whole number of Commissioners the rest of the Estates shall choise so many as, being joyned with the old possessors of the Prelacies, who shall be present for the time, may make out the full and compleat number of them who have vote in Parliament for the estate of the Kirk, which number shall be equal with the number of any of the other Estates. And after the decease of the whole present possessors of Prelacies, the whole number of the Kirks Estate shall be elected, and tane of the said Commissioners of the Presbytries, who shall have such vote, priveledges and liberties in Parliament, as the said Prelats had of before, &c.
And to the effect that the rights of no parties be further prejudged, our Soverane Lord, with advice foresaid, ratifieth all acts and statutes made of before in favour of the Kirk, in so far as the same agrees, or may in any wise fortify this present act; and specialy the act of Secret Counsell, Sesfion, and Exchecker, upon the 14 of Februar 1587: And in like manner, all acts and statutes made in favour of fewes, tacks, patronages, pensions, erections and other dispositions of the kirk rents, in so far as they are not contrair or any ways repugnant to this present act, or full execution thereof: Which acts, together with all and whatsomever rights pertaining to privat persons and parties, such as fewes, provision of their benefices, erections, tacks, lyfe rents, pensions, patronages, assignations, and dispositions whatsomever of the tithes, shall stand in the same force as of before the making of these presents, excepting plainly in so far as they are expressly prejudged be the said local stipend to be appointed to every particular parish, conform to the tenor of this present Act, and Book of particular modification to follow thereupon, and other provisions and restricitons expressly contained herein. Lyke as our Soverane Lord, with advice foresaid, abrogateth all former lawes, acts, constitutions, practicks, and ordinances whatsomever, which may in any wise hinder, stop, or impede this present act and full force and execution thereof: and declares whatsomever shall be done in the contrair thereof, or any part of it, the failyie and contravention shall be tryed; and the right disposition or other deed whatsomever, done contrair to the tenor hereof, shall be reduced and annulled, als well by way of exception, reply, or duply, as by way of action. Lyke as our Soveraign Lord, with advice foresaid, commands, that no Judge remitt to an action, or delay the proponer of the said nullities by way of exception, reply, or duply, but proceed instantly to the tryall of the said nullities, as said is.
Attour, becaus there are divers and sundry persons who presently bruike the rents of every parish kirk, our Soverane Lord, with advice foresaid, ordaines, that the quantity of the local and perpetual stipends should be equally tane from every one of the saids persons proportionally, at the left every one to relieve others proportionally, according to the free profit which they receive of the saids tithes, at the discretion and summar cognition of the said Modifiers, who shall be only Judges herein, and shall try, judge, and cognosce summarly upon the equity of the relief betwixt the possessors of the saids tithes, such as where there is a Prelat, or old provided man, ane, or moe tacksmen or pensioners, new erected Lordships, with tithes included, with the fewes of lands, fewes of fermes, and whatsomever other variety there is of rights, be the which the possessor of the tythes of every parish respectivé bruiketh the same: and what relief the rest ought to make them, from whom immediatly the rights of the tithes are tane, which shall be assigned for the perpetual local stipend of every parish kirk; wherein also shall be considered the right which our Soverane Lord had to the thrids or any other parts of the benefices, togither with such other actions, for the which his Majestie might have charged the possessors of the said tithes. Like as also the saids Lords of Exchecker, in making of the said relief, shall consider immunities, priveledges, and rights, which parties had of before, and validitie thereof, with all other circumstances ex æquo et bono. And for this effect, our Soveran Lord, with advice foresaid, giveth power to the said Lords of Excheker, and Ministers specially to be appointed, be his Hienes Commission, being always equal in number with the saids Lords, to interpret all obscurities, and to decide summarly all controcersies, which shall arise upon this present act, and upon the foresaid relief, betwixt all parties subject thereto. C. & Melvills Diary.]