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.LXVII.
The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk conveinit at Edinburgh, in the Nether Tolbuith therof, the 25 day of Junij 1567. In the quhilk were present the Erles, Lords, Barrons, Superintendents, Ministers, and Comissioners of Townes. The invocatioun of the name of God was made be Mr John Craig, Minister of Edinburgh.
Sess. 1a. 25 Junij 1567.
For eschewing of confusioun in reasoning, the whole Assemblie present conveinit nameit Mr George Buchanan, principall of St Leonards Colledge, moderator dureing this conventioun, who accepted the charge hac vice.
The kirk appointit the Lairds of Dun and Bargany to passe to the Lords of Secreit Counsell, and to requeist ther Lordships to conveine and concurre with the kirk presentlie assemblit, for heiring of sick articles as salbe thought good for the establishing of Gods word, the true religioun, and supporting of the ministrie within this realme.
[Some were appointed to decide questions which were to be proponed, and to revise the order of excommunication penned be Mr Knox, and to report their judgement to the Assemblie. C.]
Sess. 2a. 26 Junij 1567.
Forsameikle as it is thoght good be all the brethren presentlie conveinit, that ane Assemblie Generall be appointit to conveine againe the 20 day of July nixt to come, in this towne of Edinburgh, for the setting fordward sick things as sall at that tyme be proponit; and for that purpose ordaines to wryte missives to all and sundrie erles, lords, barrons, and uthers brethren, requyreing them to conveine the said xx day of Julij, and to that effect appointit also comissioners to present the said missives, and requyre according to ther commissiouns.
Tenour of the saids letters missive, sent to the saids erles, lords, barrons, comendators of abbayes, followeth:
My Lord, (or Worshipful Sir,) after our maist heartlie commendatioun of service in the Lord Jesus: Having now of lang time travellit both in public and private with all the Estates, continually craveing of ȝour Honours in special, that the course of the Evangell of Salvation, now once of the liberal mercie of God restorit to this realme, might continue to all ȝour comforts, and ȝour posteritie; and that for the mainteinance and furthering thereof, and persyte policie and full libertie might be grantit to this reformit Kirk within Scotland, the ministrie, the pure and failyeit provydit for sufficiently, as God and all good police and civil lawes ordaines and requyres; and that all superstition and idolatry, and the monuments therof, might be utterly removit and banishit out of this realme, quhilk God of his infinite mercy hes so lovingly and willingly callit from darkness to light. This matter indeed was lyked of all men; but sick impediment gave the enemie of the Kirk in his members to stay the good worke of God, that moyen could there none be had, but be the contrair, at every light occasion, the ministrie frustrat of all lyfe and sustentatioun; the lamit and impotent members of Chryst lying in the street as dung, perishing for hunger and cold, the ministrie frustrat of all lyfe and fustentatioun; the lamit and impotent members of Chryst lying in the street as dung, perishing for hunger and cold, ȝea and the whole flock of Jesus Chryst within this realme continuallie threatnit with the execution of that most cruell decreit of the last counsell of Trent, wherin was determinit and decreeit to make ane sacrisice of the whole professors within all Europe, be the tyrany of that Roman Antichryst. We are not ignorant how farre the samein was attemptit be way of deid within the realme of France, how farre now in Flanders and the parts neir adjacent therto; and also quhat practising to that effect hes bein continually thir thrie ȝeirs by past, and even now of late dayes, within our awin bowells, be our commoun conspired enemies, alsweill within as without this realme, how they were bent to ther enterprize, if God had not of his meere mercie preveined beyond all our knowledge and expectatioun, ther cruel and craftie practises. Upon the quhilk consideratioun, the Assemblie at this present convention of the Kirk, accustomit at the course of tyme occureand, hes thoght it needfull to repaire the decay and ruine of that Kirk so vertueously begun amongst us be ane universall concurrence and consent of the haill professours of Chryst Jesus within this realme, and be the same meanes to meet the forsaid dangers hingand over our heids, pro ceiding from the craft of our implacabill enemies, alsweill within as without same; and to that effect hes ordainit ane Generall Assemblie of the haill prosessors of all estates and degries within the kirks of Scotland, to be haldin heir within this towne of Edinburgh, upon the xx day of this nixt moneth of Julij, quherby ane perpetuall ordour may be takin for the libertie of the Kirk of God, sustentatioun of the ministers and failyeit members therof, and that ane sure union and conjunctioun may be had amongst the haill members for the libertie of Gods Kirk, quherby we may be able to withstand the rage and violence of the sorsaids enemies. And because it hes pleased the goodens of God so to move ȝour Lordships heart, that ȝe are a notable instrument and member of his Kirk, as our hope is, so sall our prayer be, that ȝe may continue increasing from vertue to vertue unto life everlasting, we thoght it our duetie, in name of our haill brethren heir conveinit, to notisie to ȝour Lordship the soirsaid appointment of the said Assemblie, and in the name of the Eternal our God, to recomend to ȝour care and solicitude the building of this ruinous house of God within this realme: Requyreing also in his name, that ȝe will give ȝour personal presence, ȝour labours and concurrencis to that effect, as in the forsaid Assemblie to be haldin the said day, that the haill body may be comforted be the presence and good advyce of so notour ane member therof. And because we doubt nothing butȝour Lordship salbe present, shewing so long experience of ȝour good part in all tymes past, we cease to trouble ȝou with longer letter, referring the rest to be declarit be our brethren the comissioners of the Kirk, who to this effect are direct to ȝour Lordship, and uthers our brethren in these partis; and we for our part, with earnest prayer to God, sall pray to augment in ȝou his love and feare, and blesseȝour Lordship to the comfort of his Kirk, Amen. From Edinburgh, the 26 of Junij 1567.
We ȝour Lordships to command with service in Chryst Jesus, in
name of the rest of our brethren,
John Erskine Of Dun.
The names of the persons to whom this letter was directit, are the Erles Huntlie, Argyle, Cassills, Rothes, Crawfurd, Menteith and Glencarne, Lords Boyd, Drummound, Sanchar, Herreis, Cathcart, Yester, Mr. of Grahame, Fleming, Levingstoun, Forbes, Salton, Glames, Ogilvie, Mr. of Sinclair, Gray, Oliphant, Methven, Inermeath, Mr. of Somervell, Barrons, Lochinvar, Gairles, Sherriss of Air, Glenurquhair, Sir James Hamiltoun, Bonytoun, Comendators, Arbroith, Kilwinning, Dumfermeling, St. Colmes, Newbottle, Halyruidhouse.
The Superintendents and Quarters of countreyes were ordained to direct this letter to the foirsaids persons severallie.
Tennour of the Commissiouns givin to every ane of the foirsaids Commissioners, within every ane of ther bounds respective, followes:
Forsameikle as Satan this long tyme in his members hes so rageit and perturbit the good successe and proceeding of Chrysts religioun within this realme, be craftie meanes and subtill conspiracies, that the same from tyme to tyme doeth decay, in hazard altogether to be subvertit, unlesse God of his mercie find hastie remeid, and that cheiflie through the extreame povertie of the ministers who sould preach the word of lyfe to the peiple, who therthrow are compellit, some to leave the vocatioun alluterlie, and some uthers so abstractit be carefull povertie, that they may not insist so diligently in the exercise of the word as they wold doe; and therfor the kirk presentlie conveinit at Edinburgh in this Generall Assemblie, hes thoght it most necessar be thir presents to requeist and admonisch most brotherlie all sick persons as truely professes the Lord Jesus within this realme, of what estate or degrie thatevir they be, asweill the nobilitie, barrones and gentlemen, as all uthers true professours, to conveine in Edinburgh the 20 day of Julij nixt, in there personal presence, ther to assist with the counsell and power, for ordour to be tane asweill toward the establishing of Chrysts religioun universallie throughout this haill realme, and abolishing of the contrair, whilk is papistrie, as the sustentation of the ministers, not only for the present tyme and instant necessitie, but also for ane perfyte ordour to be tane and established in all tyme comeing, toward the haill libertie of the patrimonie of the kirk, and the due restoring of the same to the just professours therof, according to the word of God: With certification to all and sundrie, of what estate and degrie so evir they be that compeirs not, due advertisement being made, that they salbe repute heirafter as hinderers of this godlie purpose, and as dissimulat brethren, unworthie to be esteimit heirafter of Chrysts flocke, seing God of his mercie at this present hes offerit some better occasioun nor in tymes bygane, and hes begun to tred downe Satan underfoote. And for the dew requisitioun and admonitioun, in name of the eternall God, to the effect foirsaid, to all and sundrie the brethren, alsweill to brugh as to land, the kirk presentlie conveinit in this Generall Assemblie, be thir presents gives ther full power and commissioun to ther lovites N. and N. for the bounds of N. In verificatioun heirof thir presents are subscryvit be the comoun clerk of the kirk, in the said Generall Assemblie, and 2 Sess. therof, haldin at Edinburgh, the 26th day of Junii 1567.
Sess. 3a.27 Junij 1567.
[Mr John Row, minister of Sanct Johnstone, was ordained to attend upon the printing of the commission direct be the Kirk, for presenting of the forsaids missives, and to bring so many as shall be necessarie to be sent, to be subscrived be the clerk of the Assemblie, and the names of the commissioners to be insert accordingly. And in like manner ordained Mr John Wood to cause write so many missives as shall be needfull, to be sent to the earles, lords, and barrowns, and other brethren, and to return the said missives to be subscrived and directed.
Mr John Davidsone and Mr David Wemes, ministers of Hammiltoun and Glasgow, were ordained to pass to Lanerk, and there to conveen the balyies and counsellours of the said town, and to require them to assist John Leverance minister, and to punish manifest offences, maintain Christian religion within that town, and to support the said minister with things necessary for his sustentation; and if they deny to doe the said premisses, then the forsaid ministers to give to the said John Leverance their testimoniall of simple demission from the said kirk of Lanerk, and libertie to be placed whersoever it shall please God to call him.
Mr John Row, Mr John Douglass rector, Mr John Craig, William Christeson minister at Dundie, Mr Robert Hamiltoun minister at Irving, Mr Robert Hamiltoun minister at Sanct Andrews, Mr James Melvill minister at Tannades, appointed in the first session to decide questions, report their decisions at this session. C.]
Questions and ther Ansuers.
Ane man being accuseit of notorious fornication, promiseit faithfullie to the minister for the tyme to abstaine in all tymes comeing from all societie of that woman, and in cace he chancit to have any deale with her heirafter, he sould marie her; therafter he medlit with the same woman. Queritur, Quhether this man may be compellit to keip the foirsaid promise of mariage or not?
The kirk dicernes all sick promises to be of none effect, and that none be compellit to marie upon sick promises; and ordaines this offender to be punished for his offence.
Quhether if it be lawfull to marie her quhom he befor, in his wyfes tyme, had pollutit with adulterie, his wyfe now being dead. The kirk will not grant that thing to be lawfull quhilk Gods law damnes, neither ȝet admitt any sick mariages, for causes conteinit in the law.
Ane man being divorceit for adulterie, queritur, Quhether he may marie again lawfullie or not? The kirk will not resolve heirin schortlie, bot presentlie inhibites all ministers to meddle with any sick mariages, quhill full decision of the question.
Sess. 4ta. 28 Junij 1567.
Anent ane complaint given in be the brethren of the kirk of Machlen, that quher they had, be the just law of God, pronouncit the sentence of excommunication against Johne Spottiswood of Foullar, some tymes ane elder of the said kirk, for the horrible cryme of adulterie committed be him: Nottheles, Sir William Hamilton of Sanquhar knight, now an elder of the said kirk, plainly mantaineth the said John in his house, notwithstandand the said John is excommunicat, to the greater slander and offence of God and his law. And albeit the said Sir William hes bein diverse tymes admonished to withdraw his familiar companie fra the said John, ȝet will not abstract the same, to the offence of many; requyreing the kirk presentlie assemblit to take ordour heirin according to the wisdome of the brethren present, that farther slander ryse not therthrow.
The kirk ordaines ane letter to be sent to the said Sir William, Requyreing him to remove the said John Spotiswood out of his companie, and the same to be subscryved be the scrybe of the Assemblie; the tenour wherof followeth.
Right Worshipfull, &c. Forsameikle as we are informit be the minister and ane part of the elders of the kirk of Machleine, that ane called John Spotiswood, sometyme ane elder of the said kirk, for the adulteries committed be him in the tyme he was ane elder, and the same beeand sufficientlie provin, hes bein and is excommunicat: Nottheles ȝ e now being ane elder of the said kirk, contrair to ȝour charge and vocation, mantaines and keips in ȝour companie the said Johne, notwithstanding diverse admonitions made to ȝow to put him therfra, to the great contempt of Gods ordinance, and slander of the kirk of Jesus Chryst; quhilk we lookit not for at ȝour hands, being placeit in so honourable ane rowme within his kirk. Heirfor this is most heartlie to requyre ȝow, in the name of the eternall God, and as ȝe look to reigne with his Sonne Jesus Chryst for evir, to remove from you all manner of slander, and be not partaker of uther mens sins, bot remove from ȝour societie that wicked person, who being abhorreit be the faithfull, may be Gods grace repent his impietie, and returne to that companie of the faithfull, fra the whilk be his haynous offence he hes so horriblie fallin; in the quhilk doing ȝe sall not onlie please God, but also have praise of us ȝour brethren: Utherwayes we may not with safe conscience suffer sick mantaining of manifest wickedness, but must oppone ourselves therunto, and use the censures of the kirk alsweill against the mantainer as the committer of manifeft crymes. Thus wishing unto ȝou the spirit of righteous judgement, comitts ȝou to the protectioun of the Omnipotent. From Edinburgh, out of our General Assemblie, and 4th Sessioun thereof, the 28 of Junij 1567.
The haill kirk thoght good that ane publick fast sould be proclaimed in the towne of Edinburgh only, to begin on Sonday the 13 of Julij nixt, and on Sonday the 20 of the same. And so was the Assembly dissolvit, and appointit the 20 day of Julij nixt to come into the towne of Edinburgh.