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. XCVII.
The Generall Assemblie, halden at Dundie the 10 day of May 1597, in the Litle Kirk.
Exhortation beand made be Mr Robert Pont, last Moderatour, the brethren appointit on the leits Mrs Nicoll Dalgleish, James Melvill, Patrick Simsone, Patrick Sharp, Thomas Buchannan, Johne Porterseild, Robert Rollock, James Balfour, David Fergusone, and David Lindsay: be pluralitie of vottis Mr Robert Rollock was elected Moderatour hac vice.
Mr Thomas Nicolsone, and Johne Williamsone, Writer, beand put on leits for the Clerkship, vaikand be the deceis of Mr James Ritchie; be pluralitie of votis, Mr Thomas Nicolsone, Advocat, was chosin, sworne, and admittit.
[Also it was ordainit, That at the penning of every Act, there should be certain discreit and wise brethren, with the Clerk, to see the Acts formed; of which number were Mr James Melvil and Mr James Nicolson; but when Mr James Melvil came to attend, they were commanded to come to the King with the minuts: So he got not access again.
It was also ordained, That all the Acts should be read in audience of the haill Assemblie, before the dissolving of the same; and therafter to be inbookit and registrat. C. & B.]
[It was shewed to the Assembly, how the Kings Articles past at Sanct Johnstoun; but no remedy: Howbeit, a great number of the sincerest sort did their part honestly.
Mr John Davidsons letter to the Assembly was read in the third Session, the copy whereof followeth.
Gal. 5. Stand fast therefore in that liberty wherewith Christ has made us free; and be not intangled again with the yock of bondage.
As infirmity of body hindered my presence from this Assembly, (Reverend and loving brethren,) so straitness of time suffereth me not to supply my absence be writt, as I would: yet seeing duty craved somewhat in this case, at so necessary a tyme, I abridged a few things to call to your godly rememberance; beseeking you all to take them in good part, as they come of a loving mind to Christs cause and weale to his Kirk. It is not unknown to you, (dear brethren,) that the unity and the liberty in the sincerity of doctrine, has been, and is to this day, the rose garland of the Kirk of Scotland; and that the preservation of this unity and liberty in doctrine, come of the agreement in the liberty of the execution of discipline, which has been the hedge and bulwark, as it were, to the doctrine hitherto: Therefore the invasion of the freedom of discipline cannot be without ensueing danger to the liberty and unity of doctrine, no more than Edinburgh can be long free of fear of perrill, if invasion of the borders be not resisted at the borders. And it may well be thought, that the preservation of the liberty and unity in discipline, was saved be the wise wearing off thornie questions thereanent, by wise foresight of our worthie fathers and brethren, who ranged the questions in the General Assembly to allow the tyme and place therof, that the heat therof should not burst out at the beginning, and so disturb the whole action. Besides this, these questions were limited to come by degrees from other inferior Assemblies, who were not able to solve them; and not to break in at the broad side. And last, if they were questiouns of weight, they were remitted from one Assembly, to be ripely advised on by the brethren, to the nixt Assembly, for avoiding of contention and rash conclusions. Which good custome, if it had not been keeped, our liberty and unity could not have stood, as two loving sisters, to this day; for where questions get over great liberty, godly edisying is excluded, as miserable experience teacheth among the Popish schoolmen. They breed strife, as the Apostle writes; and the beginning of strife is, as one that openeth waters: wherefor, ere contention beginne, let us leave of, as Solomon faith. Neither is it about mere externall things, or alterable, as men speak, that the chief question is now a day; howbeit, questions, even in these matters, as is said, are warrilie to be admitted; for as that ancient Father gives out, Facilius est constituta labesactare, quam labefactata in pristinum statum reducere: But it is about a substantiall part of doctrine, to wit, rebuke of vice, and that manisest, open, and obstinat vice, that groweth to such great hight, as it would be licentiat be lawes, with imprisonment and bondage of the liberty of the truth, as all that are not wilfully blind, may easily see; for the which truth, and liberty therof, wee are bound to strive: Therefore, let us stand fast in that liberty, wherewith Christ, in that case, has made us free above all nations; and let us not agree with men in these things, quæ concordiam prorsus excludunt. Nefarie quidem impieque concordes erant, qui turrim extruebant. Nanzianzenus. And let libido novandi circa ecclefiam be far, at the lest, from ourselves of the Ministry; as in sense the same Author hath. Many things hath our Kirk need of at this time, meeter to be handled, than such questions. Neither has our Prince, (God be praised,) occasion to conveen us, for making agreement and concord among us, as the good Emperours had. And as for things to be reformed for the well of the Kirk, I hear no word of them. I pray, Satan's drift be not to break our agreement, that hath stood so long in Christ: For it is delivered be an ancient Father in this sense, Nam tyranni Ecclesiam insectando, firmiorem etiam ipsam reddiderunt, &c. Quod cum versipellis ille animadvertisset, aliam fraudem excogitait, inimicitasque et funesta disidia inter duces (Antistites) ipsos excitavit. And Basil giving the cause of this plague, writeth in this sense, Dissentio multorum contra multos ex eo contingit, quod indignos nos ipsos gubernatione et moderamine Domini constituimus. Wherfor, brethren, let us stand fast in our Christian liberty and unity, et absit, ut inter nos tristi contentione (as one writes) decertemus. But if the tyme be come, that the sentence of the Apostle is to be performed, Oportet enim, etiam hæeses inter vos esse, we doubt not but, Qui probati sunt, manifesti fient inter nos. And if any act shall pass (as God forbid) in contraire anie jote of your Christian liberty, agreable to Gods word, and the laws of the realme, I, in my own name, and the rest of Chrysts faithfull Messengers within this realm, will stand, be Gods grace, to the protectation made verbaly be me, in his Majesties presence, at the last General Assembly holden at Edinburgh: for it will not be the new cords of the Philistins, that will keep Sampson bound. Howbeit Moses would not leave behind him ne ungulam quidem, he was not for that a shismatick. And Elias was no troubler of Israel. Haec, [Greek: Thrasios men kai amathos]. Yet I trust the good brethren will take my simple meaning in good part. Farewell, good brethren: and the good Spirit of the Lord be president among yow. Amen. From Saltprestoun, the 8th of May 1597.
Your loving brother in Christ,
My simple advice is, if any grant of absolving from excommunication be made, as I know no cause yet why; yet if others know, that they get annum probationis injoyned to them before they be admitted to Court, or have access to sit at the helme: for though they have Jacobs voice, yet I fear, Esaues hands. But it is objected, that this matter will be troublesome to us, if we stand to it: Answer, It is a new doctrine of say, That Christians be without a cross.
Anent the supplicatioun givin in be the Laird of Wachtoun, and Glennagies, desyrand a command to be givin to Mr William Murray, Minister at Dysert, to sett in tak and assedatioun to them or thair tennents thair teynds of thair awin lands, lyand within the parochin of Dysert; or els, for eschewing of farder danger, to retaine the saids teinds in his awin hand: The Assemblie ordaines the said Mr William to retaine the saids teinds in his awin hand; discharging him of all setting of the same to any person quhatsumevir, vnder the paines conteinit in the acts of the Generall Assemblie.
Anent the supplicatioun givin in be the Presbytrie of Dumbartan, desyrand, in respect of the fewnes of thair number, that certaine of the Presbytrie of Paislay might be adjoynit to them, to the effect they might be the more able to awaite vpon the commoun affaires, pertaining to the glory of God and weill of the Kirk: The Assemblie ordaines a commissioun to be direct for visitatioun of the haill Presbytries within the bounds of Clidsdaill, Ranfrew, and Lennox, with power to them to considder how many Presbytries salbe necessar within the saids bounds, and to sett downe a solid ordour theranent.
Anent the complaint givin in be the Presbytrie of Brechin aganis Mr Dowgall Campbell, Minister of Fernewell, for his obstinacie in refuseing to pronounce the sentence of excommunication aganis Patrick Butter at command of the said Presbytrie, he being Moderatour thereof for the tyme; for the quhilk they had suspendit him from preiching the Word vnto this Assemblie: The Generall Assemblie ratifies and allowes the said suspensioun.
The brethren of the Presbytries of Murray, Aberdein, and Mernes, with the vther brethren joynit with them in commissioun joyntlie, respectivé appointit be the last Generall Assemblie haldin at Perth, for tryall of the obedience of the Erles of Angus, Huntlie, and Erroll, to the particular injunctiouns sett downe be the said Assemblie, and injoinit to them for declaratioun of thair repentance, being desyrit be the Generall Assemblie to report what resolutioun they fand in the saids Lords, tuiching sick articles and conditiouns as were sett downe in the said commissioun, They being present befor the haill Assemblie testified and declared, that they fand them obedient and willing to satisfie in all humble manner, and persevering and continuing in thair earnest sute for reconciliation with the Kirk: And as concerning the saids articles and conditiouns, quhervpon the saids Commissioners were ordainit to have tryed and resolvit them, the saids Commissioners, every ane for thair awin parts respectivé, produceit the said ar ticles and conditiouns, with full ansuers to every ane of them particularlie subsequent made be the saids Lords, offering to acquiesce to the saids conditiouns, and to fulfill the same: And for more declaratioun of thair consents therto, the saids articles and ansuers therto particularly following every ane of them were subscryvit severally be the saids Lords, in figne and tokin of thair embraceing therof, as followes:
The Erle of Huntlies anfuers to the Articles.
The first is obeyit: For he compeirit [at Aberdeen] the 22 of Marche appointit to him, and ther abode, [waiting] on doctrine and conference, till the Commissioners were satisfied with his resolutioun; and so the conference endit.
2. The brethren appointit to deale with him, brocht him, after lang conference, to consesse [the verity of] the haill grounds of religioun affirmativé resolvit his doubts be the Word of God; and moveit him with knowledge to resuse and detest all heids of Papistrie contrair to the same.
3. He acknowledges the Reformit Kirk of Scotland to be the true Kirk: he is ready to joyne himselfe efaldlie therto, acknowledging himselfe a member therof, submitting himselfe to the same; will heare the Word, and obey the same be the grace of God; participat the sacraments; and obey the haill discipline [of the Kirk,] as it is allowit be the Kings Majestie and Estates.
4. He is readie to sweare and subscrive the Confessioun of Faith in presence of the haill Commissioners, so soone as they sall come back with power to pronounce his absolutioun.
5. In significatioun of his obedience to the articles, he hes declarit to the haill commissioners, that sen he entrit in dealing with the Kirk, he never intercommunit be word or wryte with any Jesuite, Priest, or excommunicat Papist, except so many as are vnder conference with the Kirk; and is content to abyde thereat in all tymes coming: Sicklyke he is content to give his wrytin band, that he sall banisch and expell out of his [company and] haill bounds all Jesuites and Seminarie Preists, and sall expell therefrom all excommunicat Papists, except such as sall have licence from the Kirk and Kings Majestie: and, finallie, that none sall have recept be his knowledge, in the places of his commandement, that are profest enemies to the religioun.
6. He is content now, or heirafter, to satisfie for his apostasie, in the place appointit, at the discretioun of the saids Commissioners; and then to ratifie the forsaids premisses.
7. He declares his vnfained greife for the slaughter of the Erle of Murray, and will satisfie the pairtie at the pleasure of the Kings Majestie, the Kirk, or of godlie and indifferent freinds, will make offers to that effect; lykeas he hes given a blank to his Majestie to be fillit vp with particular assythment, and that after his absolutioun.
8. He promises now, or heirafter, to crave of God mercie for the said slaughter, quhen, quher, or how the Kirks Commissioners sall appoint.
9. At the desyre of the saids Commissioners, he presentlie remitts all rancour and malice conceivit be him, for any occassioun or deid offerit to him be the countreymen in the Kings service; and promitts, vpon his sidelitie, nevir to quarrell any for the same that are within thir bounds, and speciallie none of the Ministrie either north or south.
10. He aggries, that at the sicht of the Ministers Mrs David Cunighame, Alexander Dowglass, George Glaidstances, and of his freinds Pitlurge, Clunie sall sett downe ane ordour for provisioun of his kirks, quhilk he promises to execute immediatlie after his absolutioun.
11. Be advyce of the saids Commissioners, he promitts to take a Minister, and intertaine him in his awin house.
12. He confesses, that be his publick offences he gave sufficient matter to
the Kirk to have deduceit the sentence of excommunicatioun aganis him.
The Erle of Errolls ansuers to the Articles.
1. The first is obeyit: For he having sufficientlie excuseit his absence fra the first dyett, the 27 of Marche, came to Aberdein, the fyft of Aprile, quher the Commissioners appointit him to resort to Aberdein, about the 20 day of Apryle, to have conference with such of thair number as they appointit to meit him ther; quhilk he did, comeing in the towne the 20 of Apryle, and ther abode, resorting to publick doctrine, and conference till the Commissioners were satisfied with his resolutioun; and so the conference was endit.
2. The brethren appointit to deale with him, after long reasoning, brocht him to confesse the veritie and whole grounds of religioun affirmativé, resolvit his doubts be the Word of God, and ancient Doctours; and movit him, with knowledge, to refuse all heids of errour in Papistrie, contrair to the same.
3. He acknowledgis the reformit Kirk of Scotland to be the true Kirk. He is ready to joyne himselfe therto, and professes himselfe a member therof; will heare the Word, obey the same be the grace of God, participat the sacraments; and obey the haill discipline of the Kirk, as it is acknowledgit presentlie be the Kings Majestie and Estates.
4. He solemnlie promises and offers his wrytin band, that lykeas, sen his promise, and entring in conference with the Kirk, he never intercommunit with Jesuits, Preists, or excommunicat persons, except sick as are dealing with the Kirk, swa to keip in all tymes comeing; and that he sall banisch out of his companie and bounds all Jesuites, Priests; and sall expell therfra all excommunicat Papists, except sick as sall have licence fra the Kirk and Kings Majestie; and, finallie, that none sall have receipt in his bounds that are profest enemies to the Kirk, be his knowledge.
5. He is readie to sweare and subscrive the Confession of Faith, in presence of the haill Commissioners, so soon as they sall come back from the nixt Generall Assemblie, with power to pronounce his absolutioun.
6. He is content to satisfie for his apostasie in the place appointit, and ther to ratifie the forsaids premisses.
7. At the desyre of the saids Commissioners, he presentlie remitts all rankour and malice conceivit be him, for any occasioun or deid offerit to him be the countrey men in the Kings service; and promitts, vpon his sidelitie, never to quarrell any for the same, specially none of the Ministrie, south or north.
8. He aggries, that such as of the Ministrie salbe appointit, with such freinds [as he sall appoint,] sett downe quhat sall be his part for planting of the kirks within his bounds; quhilk he promises to execute after his absolutioun.
9. Be the advyce of the Commissioners, he is content to take a Minister, and intertaine him in his house.
10. He confesses, that he gave sufficient matter to the Kirk to denunce
the sentence of excommunication aganis him. Sic subscribitur,
The Erle of Angus ansuers to the Articles.
1. He being callit befor vs, it was injoynit to him to remaine at Barras in the parochin of Kynness, and ther awaite vpon the heiring of the doctrine in that his paroch kirk; and vpon conference at such tymes [and places] as was appointit in Conveth and Aberbuthnot kirks; quhilk he hes faithfullie keipit and observit untill his resolutioun was obteinit.
2. After we had reasonit and conferrit with him in many of the contravertit heids of religioun, be the Scriptures, and ancient Doctours, he satisfied vs affirmativé and negativé.
3. He acknowledgit the Kirk of Scotland to be the true Kirk, and is ready to joyne himselfe therto, and professe him to be a member thereof, will heare the Word, participat the sacrements, and obey the haill discipline of the Kirk, as it is allowit presentlie be his Majestie and Estates.
4. He solemnlie promises be his word and wrytin band, to remove foorth of his haill companie and bounds, Jesuites and excommunicat persons; lykeas he hes done since the Commissioners nominat thir articles to him.
5. He desyres the Commissioners to get a power to absolve him, and immediately therafter, he sall sweare and subscrive the Confessioun of Faith.
6. He is content to satisfie for his apostasie in his awin paroch kirk, and ther to ratifie his forsaid promises.
7. He vnderstands none of the countrey to have incurrit his wrath or deadly feid for persewing him in his Majesties service, quhilk he protests befor God; that he nevir meanit to harme any man for giving obedience to his Majesties lawis, quhilk if he had done, he sould rather have made mends nor [have] forgivin; and if any in particular will complaine, he will satisfie this article, albeit, in very trueth, as all the countrey knowis, he hes sustained great loss, quhilk he hes the Kirk to meane, in most humble manner, to his Majestie, as the Commissioners will declare at more length.
8. He is content at the sicht of the Commissioners, and his best advysit freinds, to provyde stipends for his kirks, how soone he salbe absolvit and restoreit to his living.
9. He will most willingly take a Minister and intertaine him at his awin house, be the advyce of the Commissioners.
10. He confesses, that he deserved to be excommunicat.
The quhilk report made be the saids Commissioners, in discharging of thair forsaid commissioun, the Generall Assemblie presentlie conveinit, ratifies and allowis, as aggrieable and ansuerable to the ordinance of the last Assemblie, haldin at Perth, in all poynts: and therfor ordaines the saids Commissioners respectivé, to proceid farther with the saids Erles in the said matter, and to receive a satisfactioun of sick things as are promised be them in the saids conditiouns, and to crave the present accomplishment therof, so farre as possiblie can be done. They are to say,
That as they, in thair ansuer, hes allowit and subscryvit, sa that they presentlie confesse the veritie of the haill grounds of our religioun affirmativé and with some measure of knowledge, refuse and detest all heids of Papistrie, contrair to the same.
That they acknowledge the Reformit Kirk of Scotland to be the true Kirk; that they effaldlie joyne themselves, and acknowledge themselves members therof, submitting them to the same; and salbe readie, at all occasiouns, to heare the Word, and obey the same, participat the sacraments, and obey the haill discipline of the Kirk, as it is allowit be his Majestie and Estates.
That, befor thair absolutioun, they sweare solemnlie and subscrive the Confessioun of the Faith, in presence of the haill Commissioners.
That as they have testified be thair writt, even so be thair band they promise to remove out of thair companie, in all tyme comeing, all Jesuites, Preists, and excommunicat Papists, except sick as salbe licentiat be the Kirk.
That, at the time of thair absolutioun, they satisfie in most humble manner in the kirks of Aberdein and for thair former apostasie, and ther ratifie these thair promises in most solemne manner.
That the Erle of Huntlie, befor his absolutioun, ask God mercie for the Erle of Murrays slaughter, and declare his penitence for the same.
And because thair Lordships hes promised never to quarrell any Gentlemen of the countrey, that hes persewit or vtherwayes troublet them, and therby incurrit thair wrath in his Majesties service, and at his Hienes commandement: Therfor, to the effect the fruites therof may more evidently appeir, that thair Lordships faithfullie promise, that lykeas thair sonnes hes already obtainit, or at the leist is to obtaine of his Majestie, of frie grace and meere donatioun, the gift of thair foirfaultries; evin so the gentlemen in the countrey, that are vassalls to them, and hes incurrit the lyke [sentence of] foirfaltour, and perrillit thair lands, not through thair awin evill demerit, bot be reason they were vassalls to them, may receive and obtaine of thair Lordships, the lyke grace as is impairtit vnto them be thair Soveraigne: and as his Majestie grantit a benefite to them, who had offendit, evin so thair Lordships vassalls be not trublit for any compositioun of thair lands, quhilk, not be thair fault, bot throw thair Lordships failzie, were indangerit and holdin in none entrie; and that thair Lordships renew the promises of remitting all rancour and malice of heart against the said gentlemen.
And as to the provisioun of Kirks quhilk pertaines to [ilk ane of] the said Erles respectivé, that [they, at] the advyce of thair best affectionat freinds and the saids Commissioners, sett downe ane solid ordour, how the Ministrie may be plantit and honestlie sustainit at the same; quhilk they sall ratifie and approve, and put in executioun immediatelie after thair absolutioun.
That, be the advyce of the Commissioners, they make choise of a Minister, quho salbe intertainit in thair house for instructing of the same.
That they renew the confessioun of thair sins, acknowledging that they were justlie excommunicat for the same.
And to the effect that all slander may be removit from the Erle of Huntlie, and speciallie that quhilk did arise vpon the slaughter of Mr William Mure, quhilk was committit dureing his Lordships remaining in Aberdein, that his Lordship provyde sick remeid, that the poore woman, mother to the said Mr William, may be satisfied; and sick assythment made, alsweill for him as her husbands slaughter, as the Commissioners sall think expedient.
With power to the saids Commissioners, after the accomplishment of the premisses, to absolve the saids Erles from the sentence of excommunicatioun, and receive them again in the bosome of the Kirk.
Sessio 7a. 14 Maij.
Anent the Articles givin in be his Majestie in the last Assemblie haldin at Perth, the decisioun and ansuering quherof was referrit be the said Assemblie, to be reasonit and intreatit be certaine Commissioners, and therafter to be concludit in this Assemblie; and anent the declaratioun of certaine acts made in the said Assemblie haldin at Perth, for satisfactioun of such as were not present at that tyme, nor acquaintit therwith: The saids articles and questions being reasonit and vottit in face of the haill Assemblie, his Majestie being present for the tyme, these declaratiouns and conclusiouns after following were sett downe and concludit be the said Assemblie, as followis.
Notes in forme of declaratioun of certaine of the Acts made in the Generall Assemblie haldin at Perth in Februar last by past, for explaining of his Majesties and the Assemblies meaning, for the satisfactioun of such as then were not acquaint therwith: quhilk are ordainit to be registrat in the Acts of this present Assemblie.
First, Anent the lawsulnes of the said Assemblie haldin at Perth: It is declairit be this present Assemblie, that one of the reasons moving the brethren to acknowledge the lawfulnes of the said Assemblie, was found to have bein, that the Commissioners of the Kirk accordit with his Majestie theranent, as is expresslie sett doune in his Majesties letter.
Item, The reason moving the Assembly to grant the more willinglie to the 2 Article concerning the reproving of his Majesties laws, was this; his Majesties earnest and constant affectioun to the religioun, and obedience to the Word, was evidentlie knawin to the haill Assemblie; and that it was his Majesties declarit will and intentioun, alwayes to frame his laws and whole government according to the same; for the quhilk causes the Assemblie aggried to the said article.
Anent the Article ordaining that no mans name be exprest in pulpitt, except in notorious crymes, &c.: The point of notorietie is farder defyned, [If the cryme] be so manifest and knowin to the world, ut nulla tergiversatione celari possit.
Anent the Article ordaining, that no conventioun of Pastours be without his Majesties knowledge and consent: His Majesties consent is declarit to be extendit to all and quhatsoevir forme either of Generall [Assembly,] or speciall Synodall, permittit and authorizit be his Hienes lawis, according as they have warrand in the Word of God, as being the most authentick forme of consent that any king can give.
Anent the Article concerning provisioun of Pastours to burrowes: It is declarit that the reason therof was and is, that his Majestie was content, and promised, that quher the Generall Assemblie finds it necessar to place any person or persons in any of the saids townes, his Majestie and the flock sall either give thair consent therto; or els a sufficient reason of the refuisall to be proponit either to the haill Assemblie, or to a competent number of the Commissioners therof, as his Majestie sall think expendient.
Ansuers to the rest of his Majesties Questiouns, according as they were proponit be his Hienes and his Commissioners in the present Assemblie.
First, Anent the propositioun movit be his Majestie to the Assemblie, craving that befor the conclusioun of any weghtie matters concerning the estate of his Hienes or of his subiects, his Majesties advyce and approbatioun be cravit therto, that the same being approvit be his Majestie, may have the better executioun, and, if neid beis, be authorizit be his Hienes lawis: The Assemblie craves most humblie, that his Majestie, either be himselfe or his Hienes Commissioners, in matters concerning his Majesties estate, or the haill estate of his subiects, and vthers of great wecht and importance, that hes not bein treattit of before, wald give his advyce and approbatioun therto, before any finall conclufioun of the same: and, for the better obedience to be given to such lyke statutes in all tyme comeing, that his Majestie wald ratifie the same, either be act of his Hienes Parliament, or Secreit Counsell, as salbe thocht neidfull: The quhilk his Majestie promised to doe, according to his Hienes propositioun, quhilk was acceptit and allowit of the haill Assemblie.
The Assemblie ordaines, that there be ane vniformitie in the ordinatioun of the Ministrie throughout the haill countrey, impositioun of hands; and that they be admittit to certaine flocks, vpon the quhilk they salbe astricted to attend, according to the Acts of the Assemblies made of befor; and ordaines that none, that are admittit to the Ministrie, be promovit to teach in publick and great rowmes, except vpon very vrgent necessitie, in defect of actuall Ministers, they be ordainit to supply sick wants be the Presbytries, Synodall or Generall Assemblies, quho sall tak diligent ordour that they keip themselves within the bounds of thair gift, and speciallie in applicatioun.
That no Pastour exercise any jurisdictioun, either in making of constitutiouns, or leading of processes, without the advyce and concurrence of Sessioun, Presbytrie, Provinciall or Generall Assemblie.
That all Sessiouns be electit with consent of thair awin congregatiouns.
That all Sessiouns, Presbytries, and Provincialls, vse sick forme in all thair processes as may be found laufull and formall, and able to abyde tryall; the quhilkis salbe registrat in matters of importance: and, to that effect, ordaines the proceidings of privat Sessiouns to be sightit at Presbytries; and the proceidings of Presbytries at Provinciall Assemblies; and the proceidings of the Provinciall at Generall Assemblies.
The Assemblie ordaines, that in the exercises, quhen the Ministers are conveinit at thair Presbytries, no applicatioun be vsed.
That in the determinatioun of matters of importance, quher the vottis salbe only different [vpon] two or thrie, that nothing be concludit therin till better resolutioun; and that, in such difference, he that gives the negative with his vote, sall give rationem negandi.
The Assemblie ordaines the Presbytries to meddle with nothing in thair judicatour, quhilk sall not be found, but contraversie, proper to the Ecclesiastick judgement; and that heirin ane vniformitie be keipit throughout the haill countrey.
That all processes and acts be extractit to parties having interess, quher is ane wrytin processe.
The Assemblie superseids to ansuer the article tuiching summer excommunicatioun quhill the nixt Generall Assemblie; and in the meane tyme suspends all summar excommunicatioun: alwayes, in great crymes, the Assemblie ordaines a publict intimatioun therof to be made, and the committer therof to be suspendit a sacris, and prohibited a privato convictu.
If any Presbytrie salbe desyrit be his Majesties missive to stay the proceiding of any thing prejudiciall to the civill jurisdictioun or privat mens rights, It is ordainit, that the said Presbytrie sall desist in the said matter, vntill they send to his Majestie for satissactioun theranent.
Sessio 8a. 16 Maij.
Because sundrie slanders rises, through the dissordour of reidears, be baptizeing of bairnes gottin in adulterie and fornicatioun, befor satisfactioun made by the offenders; and celebrating of vnlawsull marriages: The Assemblie statutes and ordaines, that no Reidar minister the sacrament of baptisme in any way, in all tymes coming; and that they presume not to celebrate the bands of marriage without speciall command of the Minister of the Kirk; and in cace ther be no Minister therat, of the Presbytrie, had to that effect: and ordaines every Presbytrie to cause this act to be intimat at every paroch kirk, that none pretend ignorance heirof in any tyme coming.
Sessio 9a. 16 Maij.
The quhilk day, in presence of the haill Assemblie, the Kings Majestie being personally present, declarit, that [seeing,] through the shortnes of tyme, ther were sundrie matters of weght and importance, not only concerning particular flocks, bot quhilk did in speciall tuitch the haill estate and body of the Kirk, quhilk could not be commodiouslie intreatit and concludit in this present Assemblie; as namelie, twitching both the planting of particular congregatiouns and of the haill kirks within this realme, quhilks as ȝet, through the default of honest intertainment, remaine vnplantit and destitute of the comfort of the Word; and anent ane solid ordour to be takin anent a constant and perpetuall provisioun for the sustentatioun of the haill Ministrie within this realme, to the end they be not, as in tymes bygane, to depend and awaite vpon the Commissioners appointit for modifieing of their stipends, and so be forcit to absent themselves the most part of the ȝeir from thair flock, to the great disgrace of thair calling, dishearting of thair congregatioun, and discontentment of his Majestie, whose care ever hes bein, and earnest desyre continues as ȝet, that every congregatioun have a speciall Pastour honestly sustainit, for the better awaiting on his cure, and dischargeing of his duetiefull office in the same: and therfor his Majestie desyrit the brethren to considder, whither it were expedient that ane generall commissioun sould be grantit to certaine of the most wyse and discreit of the brethren, to conveine with his Majestie for effectuating of the premisses: The quhilk his Majesties advyce the Assemblie thinks very necessar and expedient; and therefor hes given and grantit, lykeas, be the tenour heirof, they give thair full power and commissioun to the brethren vnderwrytin, viz. Mrs Alexander Dowglas, James Nicolsone, George Glaidstaines, Thomas Buchannan, Robert Rollock, Robert Pont, David Lindsay, Patrick Galloway, Johne Duncansone, Patrick Sharp, Johne Porterfeild, James Melvill, William Couper, and Johne Clappertoun, or any sevin of them, to convene with his Majestie, betuixt the day of thir presents and the last of May instant, [with power to them] to take solid ordour anent the provisioun of Ministers to the townes of Edenburgh, Dundie and Sanct Androes, his Majesties and the Princes houses; to give thair advyce and opinioun to his Majesties, anent the planting of every particular kirk within this realme; to make such overture as they can best devyse twiching the constant platt; and generally to give thair advyce to his Majestie in all assaires concerning the weill of the Kirk, and intertainment of peace and obedience to his Majestie within this realme: with expresse power and command to the saids Commissioners to propone to his Majestie the petitouns and greives, asweill of the Kirk in generall, as of every member therof in particular, promitten de rato.
Anent the supplicatioun givin in be Mr John Rutherfurd, makand mentioun, that quher in the Generall Assemblie last bypast haldin at Perth, he gave in ane supplicatioun, quherin he desyrit the proces of deprivatioun [led and] deduceit aganis him be the Presbytrie of Sanct Androes, to be produceit before the said Assemblie, to the effect the same might be tryit, and the proceidings thereof examinit be them, the quhilk was referrit be them at that tyme to this present Assemblie, ordaining the said Presbytrie of Sanct Androes to produce the said proces befor this present Assemblie, and to answer to the complaint givin in be the said complainer, desyrand therefor the brethren of the Presbytrie of Sanct Androes to be callit for productioun of the said proces, to the effect the samein might be sein and considderit be this present Assemblie, according to the ordinance made at Perth, as said is: The Generall Assemblie, in respect of shortness of tyme, remitts the said complainer and his supplicatioun to the Commissioners appointed to conveine with his Majestie at Edinburgh, and ordaines the Presbytrie of Sanct Androes to produce the said processe befor the saids Commissioners, and the ansuer to the said complainers supplicatioun in all points; with power to the saids Commissioners, or any sevin of them, to take full tryall, cognitioun, and finallie to conclude in the said matter, promitten de rato.
Sessio vltima. 17 Maij.
Anent the supplicatioun givin in be James Wood, appeirand of Bonytoun, makand mentioun, that, according to the directioun of the last Assemblie haldin at Perth, he had attendit vpon the Commissioners appointit be the said Assemblie, and had aggried, be thair conference, in many heids of religioun with them; desyreand therfor, as he is willing to persevere in conference with the saids Commissioners to his finall resolutioun, that a commissioun may be grantit to the brethren appointit for dealing with the Erles of Huntlie and Errol, to continue in conference with the said complainer; and in cace they find him resolvit, to absolve him from the sentence of excommunicatioun, and receive him again in the bosome of the Kirk: as also that the Commissioners of Angus appointit for the said purpose, may have a speciall command to intreat with the said complainers father, for appeasing his wrath towards him, in respect he is content to submitt himselfe most humblie to his said father, or to the Kirk, for satisfactioun of any eyelists that he or they hes found in him in tymes by past: The Assemblie gives full power and commissioun to the brethren appointit for receiving the Erles of Huntlie and Erroll, to enter in farther conference and tryall with James Wood, appeirand of Bonytoun: and in cace of full satisfactioun to be made be him to the saids Commissioners, in such heids and articles quherin he hes not as ȝet satisfied, the Assemblie gives vnto them power to absolve him from the sentence of excommunicatioun, and receive him againe within the bosome of the Kirk. Attour, the Assemblie ordaines Mrs George Gladstanes, Andro Mylne, Andro Leich, Johne Ramsay, and Andro Lamb, to deale with the Laird of Bonytoun, and travell in the reconciliatioun desyrit and satisfactioun offerit be the said complainer his sonne.
Anent the supplicatioun given in be Mr William Murray, Minister at Dysart, making mentioun, that quher the hes livit vpon the duetie of the tak of the Personage thir diverse ȝeirs bygane, being only thrie hundreth merks, and sustaineth great charges thervpon; and now seing the saids taks are outrunne, and he is informit that diverse supplicatiouns are givin in be the gentlemen of the said parochin, craveand the said complainer [to be astricted] to sett them taks of thair awin teinds respectivé desyreand therfor not to astrict the said complainer to any particular persons, bot to give him power to sett taks to sick as sall doe most commodiouslie for the weill of the Kirk: The Assemblie gives power to the said complainer to sett in tak the teinds of the Personage of Dysart, except of the lands pertaining to the Lairds of Glennagies and Wachtoun, refervit be ane vther act of this Assemblie, with advyce and consent of the Presbytrie of Kirkcaldie, and of the brethren after following, viz. Mrs Thomas Buchannan, William Cranstoun, James Melvill, Robert Wilkie, David Fergusone, and Johne Fairfull; vnto the quhilks the Assemblie remits the supplicatioun of such as craves tackis of the teinds of the said Personage.
Anent the Erle of Craufurds request, desyreand licence to a person of Inneraritie to sett a tack of the teinds therof, in cace it be found be the civill Judge that he hes best right therto: The Generall Assemblie gives power to the Commissioners appointit to conveine in Edenburgh with his Majestie, to give power to the person that salbe presentit, to sett taks of the teinds controvertit to either my Lord Craufurd, or the Laird Purie Fothringhame, that salbe found be civill magistrate to have best right to the same.
Thanks being given to God, the brethren ordaines the nixt Assemblie to be haldin at Striveling, the first Tuesday of May 1598.
Here followeth the tenour of a Missive sent by the Commissioners of the General Assembly to the Presbyteries.
[Grace and peace from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Beloved brethren, as we have found continuance of mercy in staying the desolation, which was already begun, according to many threatenings against the contempt of this land; so wee see, through the lack of due consideration and foresight in such as principaly should have the most tender care of this work, and partly through the subtile wayes of dissembling friends, good occasions are likely to be turned to our hurt, unless remeed be wisely provided in tyme: For this cause wee have thought it needfull, and be consent of his Majestie concluded, that the General Assembly, which was ordained to be in May, should hold the first Tuesday of March next at Dundie, for preventing of inconveniences, that delay of tyme might draw to further evil, and for taking of solid resolution in such things as are necessary to be deliberat upon, concerning the Kirks vote in Parliament, and some other necessary points; whereanent, for your better information, wee have thought expedient to acquaint you with the effect of our travells here at this tyme.
According as it has been the continual custome of the Kirk at Parliaments to crave such things as were found necessary to pass in lawes for their well and priviledges; so with advice of diverse Commissioners of Presbyteries, were sound it requisite to insist in such articles as have been craved be the Kirk at Parliaments in tymes bypast; and namely wee urged the article anent the Kirks vote in Parliament, and the article anent the universal provision of the whole Kirk with stipends. In both wee found great opposition be the far greatest part of the Lords: but the Kings Majestie conveyed our suits with such wisdom and dexterity in our favours, that in end, after many hard answers, his Majestie procured, that he might dispone the whole great benefices to Ministers; and that such Ministers as should be admitted thereto, should have vote, but prejudice alwayes to the present discipline and jurisdiction of the Kirk in any point; as ye will understand be the act itself, whereof we have sent you here a copy, which his Majestie thinks shall be a mean, in short tyme, to vindicate the Ministry from their present contempt and poverty; and this is already perceived be many to their grief, who fear their hurt in our credit. For this cause we have been earnestly requested by sundry of the wisest of all Estates, who most favour the good cause, that without scruple we should accept this good occasion. The which point of present acceptation was urged be the Lords so straitly, that unless we wold give our consent thereto presently, in name of the Kirk, they wold not suffer the foresaid act to pass in our favours; yet his Majestie was so favourable towards us, and so carefull to save our credit, and eschew offence, that, be his moyen, all is referved free to this Assembly for our part: Therefore we beseek you, Brethren, to have a regard hereof with such wisdom and care as is necessary in a matter of so great importance, and send in commission to the said Assembly, the most wife, grave, and of best credit and experience among you, so far as infirmity and age may suffer; that good occasion may be used at this tyme, as that the good may be taken without any hurt, so far as is possible.
Anent the Platt and provision of stipends at every Kirk, commission is given to a number of Lords and Ministers, who are to essay that work with all diligence, and to crave your farther help in the information anent the estate of the kirks: which therefore ye shall take paines to have in readiness, as ye shall be required upon the next advertisement.
The Lord direct you in all sincerity and wisdom, that ye may find a
blessing upon your labours alwayes.
From Edinburgh the 22 day of December 1597.
Your Brethren and fellow labourers, the Commissioners of the General Assembly, and in their name and command Mr Robert Rollock, Moderator of the General Assembly. C.]
Tenour of the Act of Parliament.
In Parliamento apud Edinburgh, 13tio Decembris A. D. MDXCVII.
Our Soverain Lord, and his Hienesse Estaites in Parliament, havand speciall consideration and regairde of the great priviledges and immunities granted bee his Hienesse predecessoures of maist worthie memorie to the halie Kirk within this realme; and to the speciall persones exercing the offices, titles, and dignities of Prelacies within the samin: quhilkis persones hes ever represented ane of the Estaites of this realme, in all Conventiones of the saidis Estaites; and that the saidis priviledges and freedomes hes bene from time to time renewed and conserved in the same integritie and condition, quhairin they were at ony time of before; swa that his Majestie acknowledging the samin now to be fallen, and becummin vnder his Majesties maist favourable protection: Therefore his Majestie, of his greate ȝeale, and singular affection, quhilk hee alwaies hes to the advancement of the trew religion presentlie professed within this realme, with advise and consent of his Hienesse Estaites, statutis, decernis, and declaris, that the Kirk within this realme, quhairin the samin religion is professed, is the trew and halie Kirk; and that sick Pastoures and Ministers within the samin, as at ony time his Majestie sall please to provide to the office, place, title, and dignitie of ane Bishop, Abbot, or vther Prelate, sall at all time hereafter haue vote in Parliament, siklike and als freelie as ony vther Ecclesiasticall Prelate had at ony time bygane: And als declaris, that all and quhatsumever Bishopprickes presentlie vaikaud in his Hienesse handes, quhilkis as ȝit ar vndisponed to ony person, or quhilkis sall happen at ony time hereafter to vaik, salbe onelie disponed be his Majestie to actual Preachers and Ministers in the Kirk; or to sik vthers persones as salbe foundin apt and qualified to vse and exercise the office and function of ane Minister and Preacher; and quha in their provisiones to the said Bishopprickes, sal accept in and vpon them to be actual Pastoures and Ministers; and according therto sall practize and exerce the samin thereafter.
Item, As concerning the office of the saidis persones to be provided to the saidis Bishoppricks in their spirituall policie and governement in the Kirk, the Estaites of Parliament hes remitted, and remittis the samin to the Kingis Majestie, to be advised, consulted, and agreed vpon be his Hienesse with the General Assemblie of the Ministers, at sik times as his Majestie sall thinke expedient to treat with them thereupon; but prejudice alwaies in the meane time of the jurisdiction and discipline of the Kirk established be actes of Parliament, maid in onie time preceeding, and permitted be the saidis acts to all Generall and Provincial Assemblies, and vthers quhatsumever Presbyteries and Sessiones of the Kirk.