Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 2, 1629-38. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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The King's Letter to the Assembly.
Although We be not ignorant, that the best of Our Actions have bin mistaken by many of Our Subjects, in that Our Ancient Kingdom, as if We had intended Innovation in Religion and Laws; yet considering nothing to be more incumbent to the Duty of a Christian King, than the advancement of God's Glory, and the True Religion; forgetting what is past, We have seriously taken into Our Princely Consideration such Particulars as may settle and establish the Truth of Religion in that Our Ancient Kingdom; and also to satisfy all Our good Subjects of the reality of Our Intentions herein, having indicted a free General Assembly to be kept at Glasgow the 21 of this Instant. We have likewise appointed Our Commissioner to attend the same, from whom you are to expect Our Pleasure in every thing, and to whom We require to give that true and due Respect and Obedience, as if We were personally present Our Self: And in full assurance of Our consent to what he shall in Our Name promise, We have signed these, and wills the same for a Testimony to Posterity, to be registred in the Books of the Assembly.
'I pray God that as great (and I hope the worst)part of Mens Spirits hath bin evaporated into bitter and invective Speeches, so the best and last part of them may be reserved for Deeds, and these answerable to the Professions which have bin made on all sides when this great Assembly should come.
'For the Professions which have bin made by Our Sacred Sovereign, (whom God long preserve to reign over us) I am come hither, by his Command to make them good to his whole People, whom to his grief he hath found to have bin poisoned (by whom I know not well, but God forgive them) with misconceits of his Intentions, concerning the Religion professed in this Church and Kingdom. But to rectify all such Misconceptions of his Subjects, his Majesty's desire is, That before this Assembly proceed to any thing else, his Subjects may receive ample and clear satisfaction in these Points, wherein his Majesty's gracious Intentions have bin misdoubted, or glanced at, by the malevolent Aspects of such as are afraid that his Majesty's good Subjects should see his clear Mind through any other Glasses or Spectacles, than those they have tempered and fitted for them.
'First, As if there had bin in his Majesty, if not some Intentions, yet at least some Inclination, to give way, if not to Alterations, yet to some Innovations in the Religion professed in, and established by the Laws of this Church and Kingdom.
'I am consident that no Man can harbour or retain any such thought in his Breast any more, when his Majesty hath commanded that Confession of Faith (which you call the Negative ) to be subscribed by all his Subjects whatsoever, and hath bin graciously pleased to put the execution of this his Roial Command in your own hands.
'The next false, and indeed foul and devilish surmize, wherewith his good Subjects have bin misled, is, That nothing promised in his Majesty's last most gracious Proclamation (though most ungraciously received) was ever intended to be performed, nay, not the Assembly itself; but that only time was to be gained, till his Majesty by Arms might oppress this his own Native Kingdom; than which report Hell it self could not have raised a blacker and falser.
For that part which concerneth the Reporter of the Intention of not holding the Assembly, this Day and Place, as was first promised and proclaimed, (thanks be to God) consuteth that Calumny abundantly; for the other, making good what his Majesty did promise in his last gracious Proclamation, his Majesty, hath commanded me thus to express his Heart to all his good Subjects.
He hath seriously considered all the Grievances of his Subjects, which have bin presented to him by all and several of their Pettions. Remonstrances, and Supplications exhibited unto himself, his Commissioner, and Lords of his Secret-Council, and hath graciously granted them all; and as he hath already granted as far as could be by Proclamation, so he doth now desire, that his Subjects may be assured of them by Acts of this General Assembly, and afterwards by Acts of Parliament respective.
And therefore he not only desires, but commands that all the Particulars he hath promised, be first gone in hand with in this Assembly, and Enacted, and then afterwards what his Subjects shall desire being found reasonable, may be next thought upon, that so it may be known to God and the whole World, and particularly to all his good Subjects, how careful his Majesty is to discharge to all his good Subjects, how careful his Majesty is to discharge himself of all his gracious Promises made to them, hoping that when you shall see how roially, graciously, and faithfully his Majesty hath dealt with you and all his Subjects, you will likewise correspond in loial and dutiful Obedience, in chearful, but calm and peaceful Proceeding, in all other Business to be treated of in this Assembly: And because there shall be no Mistake, I shall now repeat the Particulars, that you may see they are the same which were promised by his Majesty's first Proclamation.
The King's Majesty being informed, Chat many of his good Subjects have apprehended, that by the Introduction of the Service-Book, and Book of Canons, the inbringing of Poverty and Supersition hath bin intended, is graciously pleased to discharge the said Books, and to annul all Acts made for establishing thereof; and for his good People their further satisfaction, is graciously pleased to declare by me, Chat no other in that kind shall hereafter be introduced, but in a fair and legal way of Assembly, allowed by Act of Parliament, and the Laws of this Kingdom.
The King's Majesty, as he conceived, for the ease and benefit of the Subjects, established the high Commission, that thereby Justice might be administred, and the faults and Errors of such Persons as are made liable thereto, taken order with, and punished with the more convenience, and less trouble to the People: But finding his gracious Intentions to be herein mistaken, hath bin pleased, like as he is graciously content, that the same be discharged, with all Acts and Deeds made for the establishing thereof, and is pleased to declare by me, That that Court or Judicatory, not no other of that nature, shall be brought in hereafter, but in that way allowed by the Laws of this kingdom.
And the King's Majesty being informed, That the urging of the five Articles of Perth's Assembly hath bred distraction in the Church and State, hath bin graciosly pleased to take teh same into his consideration, and for teh Duiet and Peace of Church and State, both not only dispense with the practice of the said Articles, but also discharges, and by these hath discharged all and whatsoever Persons from urging the practice thereof, upon either Laick or Ecclesiastick Person whatsoever: And both hereby free all his Subjects from all censure and pain, whether Ecclesiastical or Secular, for not urging, pracising, or obeying them, or any of them, notwithstanding any thing contained in the Acts of Parliament, or General Assembly to the contrary.
And because it is pretended, that Daths have bin administred to ministers at their entry, contrary and differing from that which is set down in the Acts of Parliament, his Majesty is pleased to declare and ordain, That no other Dath shall be required of any other Minister at his entry, than that which is expresly set down in the Acts of Parliament: And this he is content be considered of in the Assembly, to be represented to the Estates of Parliament, and enacted as they shall find expedient.
And that it may appear how careful his Majesty is, that no Corruption or innovation shall creep into this Church, neither any Scandal, Vice, or fault of any Person whatsoever, censurable or punishable by the Assembly, go unpunished, it is his Majesty's pleasure; like as by these his Majesty does assure all his good Subjects, that hereafter General Assemblies shall be kept as ost as the Affairs of this Kirk shall require: And to this Purpose, because it's probable that some things necessary for teh present estate and good of this Church may be left unperfected at this present Assembly, We do by these in did another Assembly to be holden at And that none of our Subjects may have cause of Grievance against the procedure of Prelats, Our pleasure is, That all and every one of the present Bishops, and their Successors, shall be answerable, and accordingly from time to time censurable, according to their Merits by the Assembly; which his Majesty is likewise pleased be enacted in this present Assembly, and thereafter ratified in Parliament.
And to give all his Majesty's good People good assurance that he never intended to admit any alteration or change in the true Religion prosessed within this kingdom, and that they may be truly and fully satisfied of the reality of his Intentions towards the maintenance of the Truth, and integrity of the same, his Majesty hath bin pleased to require and command all his good Subjects, to subscribe the Consession of Faith, subscribed by his dear Father in Anno 1580; and for that effect hath ordained the Lords of his Privy Council to take some speedy course, whereby the same may be done through the whole kingdom; which his Majesty requires likewise all those of this present Assembly to sign, and all other his Subjects who have not done it already: And it is his Majesty's Will, that this be inserted and registred in the Books of this Assembly, as a Testimony to Posterity, not only of the sincerity of his Intention to the said true Religion, but also of his resolution to maintain and desend the same, and his Subjects in the professing thereof.
After the Marquess had sound the temper of the Assembly, he sent up Sir James Hamilton to the King, with a full account of all Matters; containing likewise the Characters of all the Counsellors, together with his Advice to his Majesty how to induce that Country to his Obedience; and to send a Fleet of some Ships to lie in the Frith to block up their Trade, and then to follow with a Royal Army. He also shewed the King how the Bishops had miscarried, and that their Ambition had bin great, but their Folly greater. Concerning which his Majesty wrote to the Marquess;
That he totally agreed with him in the Characters of Men, as in the way he had set down to induce them to Obedience; only the time when to begin to act is considerable. To which end his Majesty fully instructed the Bearer with the state of his Preparations, that the Marquess may govern himself accordingly. Dated at Whitehall, Decemb. 3. 1638.
The Assembly proceeded to the choice of a Moderator, which before the Commissioner gave way to, he entred a Protestation, That their Act should neither prejudice the King's Prerogative and Authority, nor any Law of the King's or Kingdom, nor bar the King from taking legal Exceptions, either against the Person elected, or irregularity of his Election; so they chose one Mr.Alexander Henderson, nemine contradicente, except Dr. Hamilton.
But at this time they rejected the reading of the Declinator, and went to the election of a new Clerk, whom without one contrary Voice they did chuse one Mr.Archiblad Johnston, the Clerk Register of their Tables, (who was also Clerk of their Tables at Edinburgh ) against whole Election the King's Commissioner likewise protested. At his admission he made a short Speech, declaring his unwillingness to accept the Charge, yet would not be wanting to contribute his part toward the defence of the Prerogative of the Son of God.
The next day they spent in reading the several Commissions of Elections; but the King's Commissioner entred another Protestation, to take exception against their Elections in his own due time, only for the present he was contented they should go on, and a contestation did follow about the Commission for the Presbytery of Peebles, and another concerning the Election of the Lay-Elders for the Presbytery of Brichen.
|The Earl of Tranquair, Lord Treasurer.|
|The Earl of Roxborough, Lord Privy-Seal.|
|The Earl of Argile,||Lords of the Privy-Council.|
|The Earl of Lauderdale,|
|The Earl of Southesk,|
|And Charles Stuart, Advocate.|
But the absolutely refused to let them have any Voice at all, telling the Commissioner, That he might consult with those Assessors if he pleased, but they were to have no Voice in the Assembly. Upon this the Marquess took Instruments according to the Scotish Form, to preserve the Privilege of his Majesty.
The 27th of November, the King's Commissioner urged once again that the Bishops Declinator might be read, which was accordingly done by the Clerk of the Assembly; after it was ended, the King's Commissioner spoke home to them of the Reasons contained in the same, and in depressing their Libel against the Bishops, which he called infamous nd scurrilous, both in the matter of it, and the manner of promulging of it.
The Moderator in a short Speech deplored the obstinacy of the Bishops Hearts, who in all the Declinator had bewrayed no sign of remorse and sorrow for their wicked Courses; whereupon one Gibson, one of the Clerks of the Session, thundred out a verbal Protestation, That they would pursue their Libel against the Bishops so long as they had Lives and Fortunes.
The King's Commissioner protested against the Protestation, and discharged the Bishop's Proctor from giving appearance for the Bishops before the Assembly; and the Commissioner perceiving that they intended to keep up their Tables, although the Assembly should be continued, and all Elections said to be disorderly, were approv'd of, and no Nullines admitted; and the King's Commissioner well weighing his Instructions, resolved the next day to dissolve the Assembly.
According to which Resolution, on the 28th in the Morning, he called a Council in the Chapter-House, and told them, He was necessitated to dissolve the Assembly, and gave his Reason for doing it, using much industry to gain them to concur with him in it. The Earl of Argile asked, if he was to desire the Councils Approbation of what he intended, or not ? The Marquess answered, His Instructions from his Majesty were clear and positive for what he was to do, and therefore it was not in his Power to let any Debate be, whether he should do it or not; only he desired their Concurrence and Advice as to the manner of doing it.
Two hours were spent in Discourse but clear Advices were not given from any of them; from thence the Marquess went to the Church where the Assembly fat, and after he fat long a Witness to some Debates were among them, it was offered to be put to Vote, whether the Assembly was a Free Assembly, notwithstanding the Bishops Declinator, or not? Upon which the Marquess knowing well how the Vote would run, rose up and said;
'I Find this day great contraries of humours in my self; first, cause of Joy, next cause of Sorrow; cause of Joy, in making good what hath bin promised by his Majesty; cause of Sorrow, in that I cannot make further known his Majesty's pious Intentions.
'You have called for a Free General Assembly; his Majesty hath granted you one most free on his part, and in his Intentions; but as you have handled and marred the Matter, let God and teh World judge whether the least shadow or foot-step of freedom can be discerned in this Assembly by any Man who hath not given a Bill of Divorce both to his Understanding and Conscience; with what wresting and wringing your last Protestation charges his Majesty's last gracious Proclamation in the point of Prelimitations, is both known and misliked by many, even of your own pretended Covenant; but whether your courses, especially in the Elections of teh Members of the Assembly, be not only Prelimitations of it, but strong Bars against the freedom of it, nay utterly destructive both of the Name and Nature of a Free Assembly, and unavoidably inducing upon it many and main Nullities, will be made manifest to the whole World.
'But his Majesty's sincere Intentions, being to perform in a lawful Assembly all he hath promised in his gracious Proclamation; if you find out a way how these things may pass and be performed even in this Assembly, such as it is, and yet his Majesty not made to approve any way the Illegalities and Nullities of it, for satisfying all his Majesty's good Subjects of the reality of his Meaning, I am by his Majesty's special Command ready to do it, and content to advise with you how it may be done.
And after this he caused to be read his Majesty's Concessions, as they had bin before proclaimed, upon which he took Instruments, that by producing and signing of them, first his Majesty's Intentions were made known, next that in the producing and delivering of them, the lawfulness of the Assembly was not acknowledged; after that he went on and discoursed against the Constitution of the Assembly in the following words.
'But now I am sorry I can go on with you no more, for the sad part is yet behind, about Rulling Elders; for neither Ruling Elders, nor any Minister chosen Commissioner by the practice or custom of either: for even that little which appeareth to make for those Elders in the Book of Discipline, hath at this time bin broken by you, there being more Lay-Elders giving Votes at every one of those Elections, than there were Ministers, contrary to the Book of Discipline; as in Lanerick but eight Ministers, and eighteen or nineteen Lay-Elders; and so in divers other Presbyteries: and in every Presbytery, when the Ministers upon the List were removed, the remaining Elders exceeded far the remaining Ministers. But say there were Law for those Lay-Elders, the interruption of the execution of that Law, for above forty Years, makes so strong a Prescription against it, that without a new reviving of that Law by some new Order from the General Assembly, it ought not again be put in practice; for if his Majesty should put in practice, and take the Penalties of any disused Laws, without new Intimations of them from Authoristy, it would be thought by your selves very hard dealing.
'To say nothing of that Office of Lay-Elders, it being unknown to the Scripture or Church of Christ for above 1500 Years, let the World judge whether these Lay-Men be fit to give Votes in inflicting the Censures of the Church, especially that great and highest Censure of Excommunication, none having Power to cast off the Church by that Censure, but those who have Power to admit into the Church by Baptism: And whether all the Lay-Elders here present at this Assembly be fit to judge of the high and deep Mysteries of Predestination, of the Universality of Redemtion, of the Sufficiency of Grace given, or not given to all Men: of the Resistability of Grace; of total and final Perseverance, or Apostacy of the Saints; of the Antilapsarian or Postlapsarian Opinion; of Election and Reprobation; all which they mean to ventilate, if they do determine against the Arminian, as they give out they will.
In many Presbyteries, these Lay-Elders disagreed in their Elections wholly, or for the most part, from the Ministers, and carried it from them by number of Votes, though in all reason the Ministers themselves should best know the abilities and fitness of their Brethren; and this was done in the Presbyteries of Chirnside, Linlithgow, Aberdeen, and divers more.
How can these Men now Elected be thought fit to be Ruling-Elders, who were never Elders before, all or most part of them being chosen since the Indiction of the Assembly, some of them but the very day before the Election of their Commissioners, which demonstrates plainly that they were chosen only to serve thir Associates turn at this Assembly.
Since the institution of your Lay-Elders, by your own Principles, is to watch over the Manners of the People in the Parish in which they live; How can any Man be chosen a Ruling-Elder from a Presbytery, who is not an Inhabitant within any Parish of that Presbytery, as hath bin done in divers Elections, against all Law, Sense, or Reason?
By what Law or Practice was it ever heard, that young Noblemen, or Gentlemen, or others, should be chosen Rulers of the Church, being yet Minors, and in all construction of Law thought unfit to manage their own private Estates; unless you will grant that Men of meanerAbilities may be thought fit to rule the Church, which is the House of God, than are fir to rule their own private Houses, Families, and Fortunes.
By what Law can any Ruling-Elder be sent to a Presbytery to give Vote in any thing, especially in chusing Commissioners for the General Assembly, who is not chosen for that purpose by the Session of that Parish in which he is a Ruling-Elder? And who gave power to the Minister of every Parish, to bring with him to the Presbytery for that purpose any Ruling-Elder of his Parish whom he pleased?
But it is well known, that divers Elders gave Votes in these Presbyteries to the Election of some Commissioners here, who were not chosen by the Session of their several Parishes to give Votes in those Presbyteries; and therefore such Commissioners as were chosen by such Lay-Elders, can have no Vote here.
'By what Law or Practice have the several Parishes or Presbyteries chosen Assessors to their Ruling-Elders, without whose consent some of the Commissioners here present are sworn not to vote to anything?
'This introducing of Ruling-Elders, is a burden so grievous to the Brethren of the Ministry, that many of the Presbyteries have protested against it for the time to come, some for the present; as shall appear by divers Protestations and Supplications ready to be here exhibited.
'For the Ministers chosen Commissioners hither, besides that the fittest are passed by, and some chosen who were never Commissioners of any Assembly before, that so they might not stand for their own Liberty, in an Assembly of the nature whereof they are utterly ignorant, choice hath also bin made of some who are under the censure of the Church, of some who are deprived by the Church, of some who have bin banished and put out of the University of Glasgow, for teaching the Scholars that Monarchies were unlawful; some banished out of this Kingdom for their Seditious Sermons and Behaviour; and some for the like Offences banished out of another of his Majesty's Kingdoms, Ireland; some lying under the fearful Sentence of Excommunication; some having no Ordination of Imposition of hands; some admitted to the Ministry, contrary to the standing Laws of this Church and Kingdom, all of them chosen by Lay-Elders: What a scandal were it to the Reformed Churches, to allow this to be a lawful Assembly consisting of such Members, and so unlawfully chosen?
'Three Oaths are to be administred to every Member of this Assembly; the Oath for the Consession of Faith, lately renewed by his Majesty's Commandment; the Oaths of Allegiance, and Supremacy; and whosoever shall refuse any of these, cannot be a Judge in any Judicatory of this Kingdom, and therefore resolve presently whether you will take them or not.
You have cited the Reverend Prelates of this Land to appear before you by a way unheard of, not only in this Kingdom, but in the whole Christian World, their Citations being read in the Pulpits, which is not usual in this Church; nay, and many of them were read in the Pulpits after they had bin deliverd into the Bishops own hands. How can his Majesty deny unto them, being his Subjects, the benefit of his Laws, in declining all those to be their Judges, who by their Covenant do hold the principal thing in Question, to wit, Episcopacy, to be abjur'd, as many of you do? Or any of you to be their Judges, who do adhere to your last Protestation, wherein you declare, at this present it stand established both by Acts of Parliament, and Acts of General Assemblies? Who ever heard of such Judges as have sworn themselves Parties? And if it shall be objected, That the Orthodox Bishops in the first four, and other General Councils, could not be denied to be competent Judges of teh Hereticks, though before-hand they had declared their Judgments against their Heresies: It is easily answered, That in Matters of Heresie no Man must be patient, since in Fundamental Points of Faith a Man cannot be indifferent without the hazard of his Salvation, and therefore must declare himself to be on Christ's side, or else he is against him; but in Matters of Church-Government and Policy, which by the Judgment of this Church, in the 21 Article of our Consession, is alterable at the Will of the Church; It is not necessary for any Man who means to be a Judge, to declare himself, especially against that Government which stands established by Law at the time of his Declaration, being not only necessary, but likewise unlawful for him at that time so to do: Now this Declaration, all you who adhere to the last Protestation, have made even since you moved to be the Bishops Judges. Besides, even those Orthodox Fathers never did declare themselves against the Hereticks, their Persons or Callings, by Oaths and Protestations, as you have done; for that had bin a prejudging in them; and this prejudging in you, makes you now to be incompetent Judges.
'Upon the whole Matter then there are but two things lest for me to say; First, You your selves have so proceeded in the Business of this Assembly, that it is impossible the Fruits so much wished and prayed, for, can be obtained in it; because standing as it does, it will make this Church ridiculous to all the Adversaries of our Religion, it will grieve and wound all our Neighbour-Reformed Churches who hear of it; it will make his Majesty's Justice to be traduced throughout the whole Christian World, if he should suffer his Subjects in that which concerns their Callings, their Reputations, and their Fortunes, to be judged by their sworn Enemies; if therefore you will dissolve your selves, and amend all these Errors in a new Election, I will with all convenient speed address my self to his Majesty, and use the utmost of my intercesion with his Sacred Majesty for the indiction of a new Assembly; before the meeting whereof, all these things now challenged, may be amended. If you shall refuse this Offer, his Majesty will then declare to the whole World, that you are disturbers of the Peace of this Church and State, both by introducing the Lay-Elders against the Laws and Practices of this Church and Kingdom, and by going about to abolish Episcopal Government, which at present stands established by both the said Laws. Two points (I dare say) and you must swear it, if your Consciences be appealed to, (as was well observed by that Reverend Gentleman we heard preach the last Sunday ) which these you drew into your Covenant were never made acquainted with at their entring into it, much less could they suspect, that these two should be made the issue of this Business, and the two Stumbling-Blocks to make them fall off from their natural Obedience to their Soveraign.
'As for your prerence of your unlimited freedom, you indeed refused so much as to hear from his Majesty's Commissioner, of any Precedent Tready, for the preparing and right-ordering of things before teh Assembly; alledging that it could not be a Free Assembly where there was any prelimitation, either of the Chusers, or of those to be chosen, or of any things to be treated of in the Assembly, but that all things must be discussed upon the place, else the Assembly could not be free: but whether you your selves have not violated that which you call Freedom, let any Man judge; for besides those Instructions, which it may be are not come to our knowledge, we have seen, and offer now to produce, four several Papers of Instructions sent from them, (whom you call the Tables ) containing all of them Prelimitations, and such as are not only repugnant to that which you call the Freedom, but to that which is indeed the Freedom of an Assembly. Two of these Papers were such as you were contented should be communicated to all your Associates; to wit, that larger Paper sent abroad to all Presbyteries, immediately after his Majesty's indiction of the Assembly; and that lesser Paper for your meeting first at Edinburgh, then at Glasgow, some days before the Assembly; which Paper gave order for the chusing of Assessors, and divers other Particulars: But your otehr two Papers of Secret Instructions were directed, one of them only to one Minister of every Presbytery, to be communicated by him as he should see cause, but to be quite concealed from the rest of the Ministers; the other Paper was directed only to one Lay-Elder of every Presbytery, to be communicated by him as he should see cause, to be quite concealed from all others: In both which Papers are contained such Directions, which being followed as they were, have quite banished all Freedom from this Assembly; as shall appear by reading the Papers themselves.
These he caused to be read, but they were disowned by the Members of the Assembly; and they said, They might have bin the private Opinions of some, but did infer no prelimitation of the Assembly. To which the Marquess answered, That all the Elections being ordered according to these, was a clear proof they were sent by an Authority which all seared to disobey. And after that he hold, that for many months the orders of the Tables had bin obeyed by all, but he would now make a Trial what Obedience they would give to the King's Command; and protested, That one of the chief Reasons that moved him to dissolve this Assemby, was, to deliver the Ministers, from the Tyranny of Lay-Elders, who (if not suppressed) would (as they were now designing the ruin of Episcopal Power) prove not only Ruling, but Over-ruling Elders; so in his Majesty's Name he dissolved the Assembly, and discharged their further Proceedings under pain of Treason.
Mr.Henderson, and the Earl of Rothes answer'd him, That they were sorry be left them, but their Consciences bore them witness, they had hitherto done nothing amiss, and therefore would not desert the Work of God; protesing much of their Duty and Obedience to the King in its due Line and Subordination.
The Marquess presently went out and called a new Council, to whom he imparted his Mind: But from the Council the Earl of Argile withdrew, and fully cleared all Jealousies about him; for he told the Marquess in plain Language, He would take the Covenant, and own the Assembly : but most of the Council seemed satisfied with the Marquess his Carriage in the Assembly; yet the Marquess durst not offer to them the Proclamation for dissolving the Assembly to be signed in Council for fear of refusal, not having tried them all in it before-hand; but the next morning he got them to sign it, and then he sent it to the Market-Cross at Glasgow to be proclaimed, where it met with a Protestation; both which do follow.
Charles by the Grace of God, King of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, Desender of the Faith. To all Our Lovits, Heraulds, Pursevants, Our Sheriffs in that part conjunctly and severally specially constitute, Greeting.
Fdrasmickle as out of the Royal and Fatherly Care which we have had of the Good and Peace of this Our Ancient and Plative Kingdom; having taken into our serious Consideration all such things as might have given contentment to our Food and Loial Subjects: And to this end had discharged, by our Proclamation, the Service-Book, Book of Canons, and High-Commission; freed and liberate all men from the pratising of the Five Articles, made all our Subjects, both Ecclesiassical and Civil, liable to the Centure of Parliament, General Assembly, or any other Judicatory competent, according to the natue and quality of the Offence: And for the free entry of Ministers, that no other Dath be administred unto them, than that which is contained in the Act of Parliament, had declared all by gone Disorders absolutely forgetten and forgiven; And for the more full and clear extirpating all ground and occasion of fears of Innovation of Religion, We had command the Confession of Faith, and Band for maintenance thereof, and of Authoriry in defence of the same, subscribed by our dear father and his house hold, in Anno 1580, to the renewed and subscribed again by our Subjects here: like as for setting of a perfect Peace in the Church and Common Wealth of this Kingdom, We caused invict a free General Assembly to be holden at Glasgow the 21 of this Instant, and thereafter a Parliament in May, 1639. By which element dealing, we looked assuredly to have reduced our Subjects to their former quiet Behaviour, and dutiful Carriage, whereto they are bound by the word of God, and Laws, both national and Municipial, to Us theri native and Soveraign Prince. And albeit the wished Effects did not follow, but on the contrary, by our to gracious procedure they were rather amboldened, not only to continue in their sunnorn and unlawful ways, but also daily add to their former proceduces, acts of neglect and contempt of Authority, as evidently appeared by open opposition of Our just and religious Pleasure and Command, except in our last Proclamation anent the discharge of the Servive-Book, Book of Canons, High-Commission, &c. protesting against the same, and striving by many indirect means to withdraw the hearts of our good People, not only from a hearty acknowledgment of Our gracious dealing with them, but also from the due Obedience to those Our just and religious Commands, notwithstanding We had bin formerly so off petitioned by themselves for the same, by their daily and hourly guarding and watching about our Castle of Edinburgh, suffering nothing to be imported therein but at their discretion; and openly stopping and impeding any importation of Ammunition, or other necessaries whatsoever, to any other of our houses within that Kingdom: denying to Us their Soveraign Lord that liberty and freedom which the meanest of them assume to themselves, (an Act without president or example in the Christian World) by making of Convocations and Council-Tables of Nobility, Gentry, Burrows, and Ministers, within the City of Edinburgh; where, not regarding the Laws of the Kingdom, they, without Warrant of Authority, Convene, Assemble, and treat upon Matters, as well Ecclesiastical as Civil; send their Injunctions and Directions throughout the Country to their Subordinate Cables, and other under-Ministers appointed by them for that effect. And under colour and pretext of Religion, exercising an unwarranted and unbounded Liberty, require Obedience to their illegal and unlawful Procedures and Directions, to the great and seen prejudice of Authority, and lawful Monarchial Government. And notwithstanding it was evidently manfest, by the illegal and unformal Course taken in the Election of their Commissioners for the Assembly, whereof some are under the censure of this Church, some under the censure of the Church of Ireland, and some long since banithed for open and avowed teaching against Monarchy; others of them suspended, and some admitted to the Ministry, contsary to the Form prescribed by the Laws of this Kingdom;. others of them a long time since denounced Rebels, and put to the Borne, who by all Law and unviolable custom and prastice of this Kingdom, are, and ever have bin incapable, either to pursue, or defend, before any Indicatory, far less to be Iudges themselves; some of them confined, and all of them by Dath and Subscription bound to the overthrom of Episicopacy: And by this and other under-band working, and private Informations and perssuations, have given just ground of sulpicion of their partiality herein, and so made themselves unfit Indges of what concernith Epticopacy. And also it was sufficiently cleared by the percmptory and illegal Proceduces of the Preshyteries, who at their own hand, without ower of Law, and without due form of process, thrust out the Moderators lawfully establithed, and placed others, whom they found most inclinable to their turbulent Bumours; associate to them selbes for the chuling the said Commissioners for the Assembly, a Laick Elder out of each Paroch; who being in most places equal, if not more in number than the Ministry, made choice both of the Ministers who should be Commissioners from the Preshyteries, as also of a Ruling-Elder; being directed more therein by the warrants from the forelaid pretended Cables, than by their own Induments; as appears by the several private Instructions sent from them, far contraty to the Laws of the Country, and lawable custom of the Church: by which doings it is too manifest, that no calm nor peaceable procedure or course could have bin expected from this Assembly, for setling the present Disorders and Distractions: Yet We were pleased herein in some sort to blindsold our own Judgment, and over-look the said Disorders, and patiently to attend the meeting of the said Assembly; still hoping that when they were met together, by our Commissioner his presence, and assistance of such other well disposed Subjects who were to be there, and by their own seeing the real performance of all that was promised by our last Proclamation, they should have bin induced to return to their due Obedience of Subjects. But preceiving that their seditious Disposition still increases, by their repairing to the said Assembly with great Bands and Troops of Men, all boddin in fear of War, with Guns and Pistols, contrary to the Laws of this Kingdom, custom observed in all assemblies, and in high contempt of our last Proclamation at Edinburgh the 16th of this Instant. As also by their peremptory refusing of our Assessors authorized by Us, (although sewer in number than our dearest Father was in use to have at divers Assemblies) the power of Uoting in this Assembly, as formerly they have done in other Assemblies; and by their partial, unjust, and unchristian refusing, and not suffering to be read the Reasons and Arguments given in by the Bishops, and their Adherents, to our Commissioner, why the Assembly ought not to proceed to the election of a Moderator with them, neither yet to the admitting of any of the said Commissioners from Presbyteries, before they were heard to object against the same, though earnestly required by our Commissioner in our Name. And notwithstanding that our Commissioner under his hand, by Warrant from Us, gave in a sufficient Declaration of all that was contained in our late Proclamation and Declaration, the same bearing likewise our Pleasure of the Registration of the same in the Books of the Assembly, for the full assurance of the True Religion to all our good Subjects: And yet not resting satisfied therewith, left the continuance of their meeting together might produce other the like dangerous Acts, derogatory to Roial Authority, We have thought good, for preventing thereof, and for the whole Causes and Reasons above metioned, and divers others importing the True Monarchical Government of this Estate, to dissolve and break up the said Assembly. And therefore,
Dur Will is, That we do discharge and inhibit all and whatsover pretended Commissioners, and other Members of the said pretended Assembly, of all further meeting and convening, treating and concluding any thing belonging to the said Assembly, under the pain of Treason; declaring all and whatsoever that they shall happen to do in any pretended Meeting thereafter, to be null, of no strength, force nor effect, with all that may follow thereupon: Prohibiting and discharging all our Lieges to give Obedience thereto, and declaring them, and every one of them, free and exempt from the fame, and of all bazard that may ensue for not obeying thereof. And for the effect, We command and charge all the foresaid pretended Commissioners, and other Members of the said Assembly, to depart forth of this City of Glafgow within the space of 24 hours after the publication hereof, and to repair home to their own houses; or that they go about their own private Affairs in a quiet manner. With special provision always, That the foresaid Declaration, given in under our Commissioner's hand, with all therein contained, shall notwithstanding hereof stand full, firm, and sure to all our good Subjects in all time coming, for the full assurance to them of the True Religion. And our Will is, and We command and charge, That incontinent these our Letters seen, ye pass, and make publication hereof by open Proclamation, at the Market Cross of Glasgow, and other places needful, where through none pretend ignorance of the same.
Hamilton, Traquair, Roxborough, Murray, Linlithgow, Perth, Kinghorne, Tullibardin, Haddington, Galloway, Annandaill, Lauderdale, Kinnoull, Dumsreis, Southesk, Belhaven, Augus, Dabyel, J. Hay, W. Elphinston, Ja. Carmichael, J. Hamilton.
The Protestation of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, &c. made in the High Kirk, and at the Market-Cross of Glasgow, Nov. 29. 1638.
We Commissioners from Presbyteries, Burghs, and Universities, now convened in a full and free Assembly of the Church of Scotland, indicted by his Majesty, and gathered together in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Head and Monarch of his own Church; And we Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Ministers, Burgesses, and Commons, Subscribers of the Consession of Faith, make it known, That where we his Majesty's Loial Subjects, of all Degrees, considering and taking to heart the many and great Innovations and Corruptions, lately by the Prelates and their Adherents, intruded into the Doctrine, Worship, and Discipline of this Church, which had bin before in great purity, to our unspeakable comfort, established amongst us, were moved to present many earnest Desires, and humble Supplications to his Sacred Majesty for granting a free General Assembly, as the only legal and ready mean to try these Innovations, to purge out the Corruptions, and settle the Order of the Church for the Good of Religion, the Honour of the King, and the Comfort and Peace of the Kirk and Kingdom. It pleased his Gracious Majesty, out of his Roial Bounty, to direct unto this Kingdom, the Noble and Potent Lord, James, Marquess of Hamilton, with Commission to hear and redress the just Grievances of the good Subjects; who by many Petitions, and frequent Conferences, being fully informed of the absolute necessity of a free General Assembly, as the only Judicatory which had Power to remedy those Evils, was pleased to undergo the pains of a Voyage to England, for presenting the pitiful condition of our Church to his Sacred Majesty.
And the said Commissioner his Grace, returned again in August last, with Power to Indict an Assembly, but with the condition of such Prelimitations, as did both destroy, and could no ways cure the present Diseases of this Church; which was made so clearly apparent to his Grace, that for satisfying the reasonable Desire of the Subjects, groaning under the weariness and prejudices of long-some Attendance; He was again pleased to undertake another Journey to his Majesty, and promised to endeavour to obrain a free General Assembly, without any Prelimitation, either of the Constitution and Members, or Matters to be treated, or Manner and Order of Proceeding; so that if any Question should arise concerning these Particulars, the same should be cognosed, judged, and determined by the Assembly as the only Judge competent. And accordingly by Warrant from our Sacred Soveraign, returned to this Kingdom, and in September last, caused indict a free General Assembly to be holden at Glasgow, the 21st of November instant, to the unspeakable Joy of all good Subjects, and Christian Hearts, who thereby did expect the perfect satisfaction of their long Expectations, and the final Remedy of their pressing Grievances. But these Hopes were soon blasted: for albeit the Assembly did meet and begin at the appointed day, and hath hithereto continued, still assisted with his Grace's Personal presence; yet his Grace hath never allowed any Freedom to the Assembly, competent to it, to the Word of God, Acts and Practice of this Church, and his Majesty's Indiction; but hath laboured to restrain the same, by protesting against all the Acts made therein, and against the Constitution thereof by such Members, as by all Law, Reason, and Custom of this Church, were ever admitted in our Free Assemblies, and by denying his approbation to the things proponed and concluded, though most clear, customable, and uncontroverted.
And now since his Grace, after the presenting and reading of his own Commission, from our Sacred Soveraign, and after his seeing all our Commissions from Presbyteries, and Burrows, produced and examined, and the Assembly constitute of all the Members by unanimous consent, doth now, to our greater Grief, without any just cause or occasion offered by us, unexpectedly discharges us from any further meeting or proceeding in this Assembly, under the pain of Treason; and after seven days sitting, declare all Acts made, or hereafter to be made in this Assembly, to be of no force nor strength; and that for such Causes as are either expressed in his Majesty's former Proclamations, (and so are answered in our former Protestations) or set down in the Declinator and Protestation presented in the Name of the Prelates, (which are fully cleared in our Answer made thereto) or else were long since propounded by the Commissioner his Grace in his eleven Articles or Demands sent unto us, before the indiction of the Assembly (and so were satisfied by our Answers, which his Grace acknowledged, by promising, after the recept thereof, to procure a free General Assembly, and with power to determine upon all Questions anent the Members, Manner, and Matter thereof); all which, for avoiding tediousness, we here repeat, or otherwise the said Causes alleged by the Commissioner were proponded by his Grace in the Assembly: such as, first, That the Assembly refused to read the Declinator, and Protestation exhibited by the Prelates; which nevertheless was publickly read and considered by the Assembly, immediately after the Election of a Moderator, and constitution of the Members; before the which there was no Assembly established, to whom the same could have bin read.
'Next, That Ruling-Elders were permitted to have Voices in the Election of Commissioners from Presbyteries, which was known to his Grace before the indiction and meeting of the Assembly, and is so agreeable to the Acts and Practice of this Church, inviolably observed before the late times of Corruption, that not one of the Assembly doubted thereof; to whom by the indiction and promise of a free Assembly, the determination of that Question, anent the Members constituent, properly belonged.
And lastly, That the Voices of the six Assessors who did sit with his Grace, were not asked and numbered, which we could not perceive to be any just cause of Offence, since after 39 National Assemblies of this Reformed Church, where neither the King's Majesty, nor any in his Name was present, at the humble and earnest desire of the Assembly, his Majesty graciously vouchsafed his presence, either in his own Roial Person, or by a Commissioner, not for voting or multiplying of Voices, but as Princes and Emperors of old, in a princely manner, to countenance that Meeting, and to preside in it for external Order; and if we had bin honoured with his Majesty's Personal Presence, his Majesty (according to the practice of King James of Blessed Memory) would have only given his own Judgment in voting of Matters, and would not have called others who had not bin cloathed with Commission from the Church, to carry things by plurality of Voices.
'Therefore in conscience of our Duty to God and his Truth, the King and his Honour, the Church and her Liberties, this Kingdom and her Peace, this Assembly and her Freedom, to our Selves and our Safety, to our Posterity, Persons, and Estates, we prosess, with sorrowful and heavy, but Loial Hearts, That we cannot dissolve this Assembly for the Reasons following.
- I. 'For the Reasons already printed anent the necessity of convening a General Assembly, which are now more strong in this case, seeing the Assembly was already indicted by his Majesty's Authority, did convene, and is fully constitute in all the Members thereof, according to the Word of God, and Discipline of this Church, in the presence and audience of his Majesty's Commissioner, who hath really acknowledged the same, by assisting therein seven days; and exhibition of his Majesty's Roial Declaration to be Registrate in the Books of this Assembly, which accordingly is done.
- 2. 'For Reasons contained in the former Protestations, made in the Name of the Noblemen, Barons, Burgesses, Ministers, and Commons, whereunto we do now judicially adhere, as also untot he Consession of Faith and Covenant, subscribed and sworn by the Body of this Kingdom.
- 3. Because, as we are obliged by the Application and Explication subjoined, necessarily to the Consession of Faith subscribed by us; So the King's Majesty, and his Commissioner and Privy-Council, have urged many of this Kingdom to subscribe the Consession of Faith made in Anno 1580, and 1590, and so to return to the Doctrine and Discipline of this Church as it was then prosessed: But it is clear by the Doctrine and Disipline of this Church, contained in the Book of Policy then registrate in the Books of Assembly, and subscribed by the Presbyteries of this Church, That it was most unlawful in it self, and prejudicial to these Priviledges which Christ in his Word hath left to his Church, to dissolve or break up the Assembly of this Church, or to stop and stay their Proceedings, in constitution of Acts for the welfare of the Church, or execution of Discipline against Offenders; and so to make it appear, that Religion and Church-Government should depend absolutely upon the Pleasure of the Prince.
- 4. 'Because there is no ground of pretence, either by Act of Assembly or Parliament, or any preceding practice, whereby the King's Majesty may lawfully dissolve the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, far less his Majesty's Commissioner, who by his Commission hath Power to indict and keep,secundum legem & praxim; but upon the contrary, his Majesty's Prerogative Roial, is declared by Act of Parliament to be no ways prejudicial to the Privileges and Liberties which God hath granted to the Spiritual Office-bearers, and Meetings of this his Church; which are most frequently ratified in Parliament, and especially in the last Parliament holden by his Majesty himself: Which Privileges and Liberties of the Church, his Majesty will never diminish or insringe, being bound to maintain the same in integrity, by solemn Oath given at his Roial Coronation in this Kingdom.
- 5. 'The Assemblies of this Church have still injoied this freedom of uniterrupted sitting, without or notwithstanding any contramand, as is evident by all the Records thereof; and in special, by the General Assembly holden in Anno 1582; which being charged by Letters of Horning, by the King's Majesty, his Commissioner and Council, to stay their Process against Mr. Robert Montgomery, pretended Bishop of Glasgow, or otherwise to dissolve and rise; did, notwithstanding, shew their Liberty and Freedom, by continuing and sitting still, and without any stay, going on in the Process against the said Mr. Robert to the final end thereof: And thereafter, by Letter to his Majesty, did shew clearly how far his Majesty had bin uninformed, and upon misinformation, prejudged the Prerogative of Jesus Christ, and the Liberties of the Church; and did Enact and Ordain, That none should procure any such Warrant or Charge, upon the pain of Excommunication.
- 6. 'Because now to dissolve, after so many Supplications and Complaints, after so many reiterated Promises, after our long attendance and expectation, after so many References of Processes from Presbyteries, after the publick indiction of the Assembly, and the solemn Fast appointed for the same, after frequent convention, formal constitution of the Assembly in all the Members thereof, and seven days sitting, were by this Act to offend God, contemn the Subjects Petitions, deceive many of their conceived hopes of redress of the Calamities of the Church and Kingdom, multiply the Combustions of this Church, and make every Man despair hereafter ever to see Religion established, Innovations removed, the Subjects Complaint respected, or the Offenders punished with consent of Authority; and so by casting the Church loose and desolate, would abandon both to ruin.
- 7. 'It is most necessary to continue this Assembly for preventing the Prejudices that may ensue upon the pretence of two Covenants, whereas indeed there is but one; that first subscribed in 1580, and 1590, being a National Covenant and Oath to God, which is lately renewed by Us with that necessary Explanation, which the Corruptions introduced since that time, contrary to the same, inforced. Which is also acknowledged by the Acts of Council in September laft, declaring the same to be subscribed, as it was meaned the time of the first Subscription: And therefore for removing that shame, and all Prejudices that may follow upon the show of two different Convenants and Confessions of Faith in one Nation, the Assembly cannot dissolve, before it try, find and determine, that both these Convenants are but one and the self-same Convenant. The latter renewed by us, agreeing to the true genuine sense and meaning of the first, as it was subscribed in Anno 1580.
For these, and many other Reasons, we the Members of this Assembly, in our own Name, and in the Name of the Kirk of Scotland, whom we represent, and we Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Ministers, Burgesses, and Commons, before mentioned, do solemnly declare, in the presence of the Everliving God, and before all Men; and protest,
- 1. That our Thoughts are not guilty of any thing which is not incumbent to us, as good Christians towards God, and Loial Subjects towards our Sacred Soveraign.
- 2. That all the Protestations, general and particular, proponed or to be proponed by the Commissioner his Grace, or the Prelates and their Adherents, may be presently discussed before this General Assembly, being the highest Ecclesiastical Judicatory of this kingdom; and that his Grace depart not till the same be done.
- 3. That the Lord Commissioner depart not till this Assembly do fully settle the solid Peace of this Church, cognoscing and examining the Corruptions introduced upon the Doctrine and Discipline thereof: And for attaining hereof, and removing all just Exceptions which may be taken at our Proceedings, we attest God, the Searcher of all Hearts, that our Intentions and whole Proceedings in this present Assembly, have bin, are, and shall be, according to the Word of God, the Laws and Constitutions of this Church, the Confession of Faith, our National Oath, and that measure of Light which God the Father of Light shall grant Us, and that in the sincerity of our Hearts, without any preoccupation or passion.
- 4. That is the Commissioner his Grace depart, and leave this Church and kingdom in this present disorder, and discharge this Assembly, That it is both lawful and necessary for us to fit still and continue in keeping this present Assembly indicted by his Majesty, till we have tried, judged, censured, all the by-gone Evils, and the Introductors, and provide a solid course for continuing God's Truth in this Land with Purity and Liberty, according to his Word, our Oath, and Consession of Faith, and the lawful Constitutions of this Church; and that with the Grace of God, we and every one of us adhering thereunto, shall fit still and continue in this Assembly, till after the final setling and conclusion of all Matters, it be dissolved by common consent of all the Members thereof.
- 5. That this Assembly is and should be esteemed and obeyed as a most lawful, full and free General Assembly of this Kingdom; and that all Acts, Sentences, Constitutions, Censures, and Proceedings of this Assembly, are, and should be reputed, obeyed, and observed by all the Subjects of this Kingdom, and Members of this Church, as the Actions, Sentences, Constitutions, Censures, and Proceedings of a full and free General Assembly of this Church of Scotland, and to have all ready execution under the Ecclesiastical Pains contained, or to be contained therein, and conform thereto in all Points.
- 6. 'That whatsover Inconveniences fall out, by impeding, molesting, or staying the free Meeting, Sitting, Reasoning, or Concluding of this present Assembly, in Matters belonging to their Judicatory, by the Word of God, Laws and Practice of this Church, and the Confession of Faith; or in the observing and obeying the Acts, Ordinances, and Conclusions thereof, or Execution to follow thereupon, that the same be not imputed unto us or any of us, who most ardently desire the concurrence of his Majesty's Commissioner to this lawful Assembly: But upon the contrary, That the Prelates and their Adherents, who have protested and declined this present Assembly, in Conscience of their own guiltiness, not daring to abide any legal Trial; and by their misinformation have moved the Commissioner his Grace to depart and discharge this Assembly; be esteemed, reputed, and holden the Disturbers of this Peace, and Overthrowers of the Liberties of the Church, and guilty of all the Evils which shall follow hereupon, and condignly censured according to the greatness' of their Fault, and Acts of the Church and Realm. And to this end we again and again do by these Presents cite and summon them, and every one of them, to compere before this present General Assembly to answer to the Premises, and to give in their Reasons, Defences, and Answers against the Complaints given in, or to be given in against them, and to hear Probation led, and Sentence pronounced against them, and conform to our former Citations, and according to Justice, with certification as Esseirs; like as by these Presents we summon and cite all those of his Majesty's Council, or any other who have procured, consented, subscribed, or ratified this present Proclamation to be responsable to his Majesty, and three Estates of Parliament, for their counsel given in this Matter, so highly importing his Majesty, and the whole Realm, conform to the 12 Act King James, 4 Parliam. 2. and protest for remedy of law against them, and every one of them.
- 7. 'And lastly, we protest that as we adhere to the former Protestations, all and every one of them, made in the Name of the Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Ministers, Burgesses, and Commons; so seeing we are surprised by the Commissioner his Grace's sudden departure, far contrary to his Majesty's Indiction, and our Expectation, we may extend this our Protestation, and add more reasons thereunto in greater length and number, whereby we may fully clear, before God and Man, the equity of our Intentions, and lawfulness of our Proceedings: And upon the whole Premises, the aforesaid Persons, for themselves, and in name aforesaid, asked Instruments.
'This was done in the High Church of Glasgow, in publick Audience of the Assembly, begun in presence of the Commissioner his Grace, who removed and refused to hear the same to the end, the 28th day of November, and upon the Market-Cross of Glasgow the 29th day of the said month, the Year of God 1638 respective.
After the Marquess had dissolved the Assembly, the Council resolved to write to his Majesty a Letter of Thanks for those gracious Prossers which he by his Commissioner had made at the Assembly, which they did as followeth, dated the 29th of November.
Most Scared Soveraign,
In Obedience to your Majesty's Roial Commands, we have attended your Majesty's Commissioner here at Glasgow, since the 17th of this Instant, and according to our bound Duty in so exigent Occasion, have not bin wanting, with our humble and best Advices; and although we do admit the particular Relation of what past to his Graces self as best known to him, yet we cannot for Truths-sake be so silent, as not to acknowledge to your Majesty, that never Servant did with more Industry, Care, Judgment, and Patience, go about the discharge of so great a Trust: And albeit the success hath not answered his desires, neither yet his extraordinary pains, and (as we may confidently affirm) most dextrous and advised Courses taken to compass the just Command of so gracious a King; yet his deserving herein merits to be remembred to Posterity. And since your Majesty hath bin pleased to renew to us your former Act of Grace, expressed in your Proclamation and Declaration anent the maintenance of the True Religion, and we in the defence and profession thereof; We do all in humility and hearty acknowledgement of so great Goodness, return to your Majesty the offer of our Lives and Fortunes in defence of your Scared Person, and maintenance of your Roial Authority: And shall in all our Actions approve our selves your Majesty's most loial Subjects and humble Servants.
Traquair, Roxborough, Marre, Murray, Lithgow, Perth, Wigtoun, Kinghorn, Tullibardin, Haddington, Galloway, Annandail, Lauderdale, Kinnoul, Dumsreis, Southesk, Angus, Elphinston, Napier, Dalyel, Hay, W. Elphinston, Ja. Carmichael, Hamilton, Blackhall.
My very good Lord,
I Received your Lordship's Letters of November 27. they came safe to me on December 2, after eight at Night. I was glad to see them short; but their shortness is abundantly supplied by the length of two Letters, one from the Lord Ross, and the other from the Dean. They have between them made their Word good to your Lordship, for they have sent me all the passages, from the beginning of the Assembly, to the time of the date of their Letters: And this I will be bold to say, Never were there more gross Absurdities, nor half so many in so short a time, committed in any publick Meeting; and for a National Assembly, never did the Church of Christ see the like.
Besides his Majesty's Service in General, that Church is much beholden to you, and so are the Bishops in their Persons and Calling; and heartily sorry I am, that the People are so beyond your expression furious, that you think it fit to send the two Bishops from Glasgow to Hamilton; and much more, that you should doubt your own safety. My Lord, God bless your Grace with Life and Health to see this Business at a good end; for certainly, as I see the face of things now, there will very much depend upon it, and more than I think fit to express in Letters; nay, perhaps, more than I can well express if I would.
I am as sorry as your Grace can be, that the King's Preparations can make no more hast; I hope you think (for truth it is) I have called upon his Majesty, and, by his command, upon some others, to hasten all that may be, and more than this I cannot do; but I am glad to read in your Letters, that you have written at length to his Majesty, that you may receive from himself a punctual Answer to all necessary Particulars; and I presently going to him to write largely to you, that you may not be in the dark for any thing.
But, my Lord, to meet with it again in your Letters, that you cannot tell whether this may be your last Letter, and that therefore you have disclosed the very thoughts of your heart, doth mightily trouble me. But I trust in God he will preserve you, and by your great Patience, Wisdom, and Industry, set his Majesty's Affairs (to your great honour) in a right posture once again; which if I might live to see, I would be glad to sing my Nunc dimittis.
I heartily pray your Lordship to thank both the Bishop of Rofs and the Dean for their kind Letters, and the full account they have given me; but there is no particular that requires an answer in either of them, saving that I find in the Dean's Letter, that Mr. Alex. Henderson, who went all this while for a quiet and well-spirited Man, hath shewed himself a most violent and passionate Man, and a Moderator without Moderation, Truly (my Lord) never did I see any Man of that humour yet, but he was deep dyed in some Violence or other; and it would have bin a wonder to me if Henderfon had held free. Good, my Lord, since you are good in the Active part, in the commixture of Wisdom and Patience, hold it out till the People may see the violence and injustice of them that would be their Leaders, and suffer not a Rupture till there be no Remedy. God bless you in all your ways, which is the daily Prayer of
My very good Lord,
This day I have received your other Letter, with three Papers, viz. that which shews you have keeped within your Instructions, the Copy of the Proclamation which dissolves the Assembly, and a Copy of the Councils Letter the King; both which his Majesty takes to be very good Service done for him, and commands me to give your Grace thanks in his Name, which I am very glad to do, and I do it heartily.
I have done, and do daily call upon his Majesty for his Preparations; he protests he makes all the hast be can, and I believe him; but the jealousies of giving the Covenanters umbrage too soon, have made Preparations here so late.
After the King's Commissioner's departure from Glasgow, they still continued the Assembly, notwithstanding the King's Dissolution of it by Proclamation under pain of Treason; and then immediately the Earl of Argile began to declare himself openly the Head of it, and adjoined himself presently to them, and sat continually with them in the Assembly, although he were no Member of it, but sat only as their chief Director and Countenancer.
In a short space of time they declared six General Assemblies to be null and void; they condemned all the Armenian Tenents, without defining what those Tenents were: They deprived the Arch-Bishop of St. Andrews, the Bishop of Galloway and Brechin; They declared Episcopal Government to be inconsistent with the Law and Church of the Kingdom of Scotland, and so abolished it for ever, though it did then, and still stands (as the King faith in his Declaration) confirmed by many Acts both of Parliaments and Assemblies.
Here followeth one of the Sentences given in against Mr.John Gatbrie, pretended Bishop of Murray; Mr.John Graham, pretended Bishop of Orkney; Mr.James Fairly, pretended Bishop of Lismoir; Mr.Neil Campbell, pretended Bishop of the Isles, viz.
The General Assembly having heard the Libels and Complaints given in against the foresaid pretended Bishops, to the Presbytery of Edinburgh, and sundry Presbyteries within their Diocess, and by the said Presbyteries referred to this Assembly to be tried; The said pretended Bishops being lawfully cited, oftentimes called, and not compearing, proceeded to the cognition of the Complaints and Libels against them; and finding them guilty of the breach of the Cautions agreed upon in the Assembly at Montrose, Anno 1600, for restricting of the Minister-Voter in Parliament, from incroaching upon the Liberties and Jurisdictions of the Kirk, which was set down with certification of Deposition, Infamy, and Excommunication; and especially for receiving Consecration to the Office of Epifcopacy, condemned by the Confession of Faith, and Acts of this Kirk, as having no Warrant nor Fundament in the Word of God; but by virtue of this usurped Power, and Power of the High-Commission, pressing the Kirk with Novations in the Worship of God; and for their resusal to underly the trial of the reigning slander of sundry other grofs Transgressions and Offences laid to their Charge:
'Therefore the Assembly moved with Zeal to the Glory of God, and purging of this Kirk, ordains the said pretended Bishops to be deposed, and by these Presents doth depose them, not only of the Office of Commissionary to Vote in Parliament, Council, or Convention in Name of the Kirk, but also of all Functions, whether of Pretended, Episcopal, or Ministerial Calling; and likewife in cafe they acknowledge not this Assembly, reverence not the Constitution thereof, and obey not the Sentence, and make not their Repentance conform to the Order prescribed by this Assembly, ordains them to be Excommunicated, and declared to be of these whom Christ commandeth to be holden by all and every one of the Faithful, as Ethnicks and Publicans, and the Sentence of Excommunication to be pronounced upon their refusal, in the Kirks appointed by any of these who are particularly named to have the charge of trying their Repentance or Impenitency; and that the execution of this Sentence be intimate in all the Kirks within this Realm, by the Pastors of every particular Congregation, as they will be answerable to their Presbyteries or Synods, or the next General Assembly, in case of negligence of the Presbyteries and Synods.
The Declinator and Protestation of the Arch-Bishops and Bishops of the Church of Scotland, and other Adherents within that Kingdom, against the pretended General Assembly holden at Glasgow, Novemb. 21.1638.
We Arch-Bishops, Bishops, and other under-subscribers for our selves, and in the name and behalf of the Church of Scotland. Whereas it hath pleased the King's Majesty to indict a General Assembly of the Church to be kept at Glasgow the 21st of November 1638, for setling and composing the Distractions of the same; first, do acknowleege and prosess, That a General Assembly; lawfully called, and orderly convened, is a most necessary and effectual mean for removing these Evils, wherewith the said Church is infested, and for setling that Order which becometh the House of God, and that we wish nothing more than a meeting of a peaceable and orderly Assembly to that effect. Secondly, We acknowledge and prosess, as becometh good Christians and faithful Subjects, that his majesty hath Authority, by his Prerogative Roial, to call Assemblies, as is acknowledged by the Assembly at Glasgow 1610, and Parliament 1612; and that it is not lawful to convene without his Majesty's consent and approbation, except we will put our selves in danger to be called in question for Sedition.
'First, Before his Majesty's Roial Warrant to my Lord Commissioner's Grace, to induct a lawful free General Assembly, the usurped Authority of the Tables (as they call it) by their Missives and Instructions, did give order and direction for all Presbyteries to elect and chuse their Commissioners for the Assembly, and for seeking God's Blessing to it, to keep a solemn Fast, Sept. 16, whereas his Majesty's Warrant for indicting that Assembly was not published till the 22d of that Month; so that they preventing, and not proceeding by Warrant of Royal Authority, the pretended Commissioners being chosen before the Presbyteries were authorized to make Election, cannot be reputed Members of a Lawful Assembly, must not only be indicted by lawful Authority, (as we acknowledge this to be) but also constituted of such Members as are requisite to make up such a Body; for if according to the Indiction, none at all do Convene, or where the Clergy is called, there meet none but Laicks, or more Laicks than of the Clergy, with equal Power to judge and determine; or of such of the Laicks and Clergy as are not lawfully Authorized, or are not capable of that Emploiment by their Places; or such as are legally disabled to fit and decide in an Assembly of the Church, a Meeting consisting of such Members cannot be thought a Free and Lawful Assembly by that Act of Parliament, Ja. 6 Par. 3. cap. 46. 1572. Every Minister who shall pretend to be a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments, is bound to give his assent and subscription to the Articles of Religion, contained in the Acts of our Soveraign Lord's Parliament, and in the presence of the Arch-Bishop, Superintendent or Commissioner of the Province, give his Oath for acknowledging and recongnoscing of our Soveraign Lord and his Authority, and bring a Testimonial in Writing there upon a and openly upon some Sunday, in time of Sermon, or publick Prayers, in the Kirk where he ought to attend, read both the Testimonial and Consession, and of new make the said Oath, within a month after his admission; under the pain, That every one that shall not do as is above appointed, shall, ipso facto, be deprived, and all his Ecclesiastical Promotions and Livings be then vacant, as if he were then naturally dead: And that all inferior Persons, under Perlats, be called before the Arch-Bishop, Bishops, Superintendents, and Commissioners of the Diocess or Province within which they dwell, as the Act bears.
2. 'All of the Clergy convened to this Assembly, pretend themselves to be Ministers of God's Word and Sacraments; and having Benefices, or other Ecclesiastical Livings, yet nevertheless most of them have never in the presence of the Arch-Bishop, Bishop, Superintendent, or Commissioner of the Diocess or Province, subscribed the Articles of Religion contained in the Acts of Parliament, and given their Oath for acknowledging and recongnoscing our Soveraign Lord and his Authority, and brought a Testimonial thereof; and therefore they are, ipso facto, deprived, and their Places void, as if they were naturally dead; and consequently having no Place in the Church, nor Function in the Church, cannot be Commissioners to this Assembly: Hoc maxime attento, that the said Persons not only have never given their Oath for acknowledging his Majesty's Authority, nor can shew any Testimonial threupon, as they are bound by the said Act; but also as Subjects having bin comprehended in the Representative Body of this Kingdom, promised to acknowledge, obey, maintain, defend, and advance the Life, Honour, Safety, Dignity, Soveraign Authority, and Prerogative Roial of his Soveraign Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, and priviledges of his Highness's Crown, with their Lives, Lands, and Goods, to the uttermost of their Power, constantly and faithfully to withstand all and whatsoever Persons, Powers, and Estates, who shall presume, prease, or intend any-wise to impugn, prejudge, hurt, or impair the same, and never to come in the contrary thereof, directly or indirectly for the time coming, as the Acts of parliament, Jac. 6, Parl. 18. Cap. 1. Car. Parl. cap. 1. do report'
And moreover, being obliged at their admission, to give their oath for performance of this Duty of their Allegiance, and to testify and declare on their Conscience, That the King is the lawful Supream Governour, as well in Matters Ecclesiastical and Spiritual, as Temporal, and to assist all Jurisdiction, and defend Authority belonging to his Majesty, by Act of Parliament 1612. Yet not withstanding of the said Bands, Acts, and Promises, whereby the said Persons are so strictly bound to the performance of the Promises, his Majesty having ordained by Act of Council, at Hally-Rood-House, Septemb. 24. 1638. and Proclamation following thereupon, That all his Majesty's Lieges, of whatsoever Estate, Degree, or Quality, whether Ecclesiastical or Temporal, should swear and subscribe the said Confession, together with the General Band, for defending his Majesty's Person and Authority, against all Enemies within this Realm and without, have not only refused to subcribe the same band and Confession, but have in their Sermons, and other Speeches, disswaded, deterred, impeded, and hindred others of Lieges to subscribe the same, publickly protested against the subscription thereof; and thereupon cannot concur or convene lawfully to the making up of the Body of the Assembly of the Kirk, as being deprived and denuded of all Place and Function in the same.
3. A General Assembly was condescended unto, out of his Majesty's gracious Clemency, and pious Disposition, as a Roial Favour to those that should so acknowledge the same, and acquiesce in his gracious Pleasure, and carry themselves peaceably, as Loial and Dutiful Subjects, which the Commissioners directed to this Assembly, supposed to be of the Number that did adhere to the last Protestation made at Edinburgh, Sept. 1638. do not so account of and accept, as appears by the said Protestation; whereby they protest that it shall be lawful for them, as at other times, so at this, to assemble themselves, notwithstanding any Impediment or Prorogation to the contrary; as also by continuing their Tables and Meetings, discharged by Authority, resusing to subscribe the Band, according to his Majesty's and Council's Command, for maintaining his Majesty's Roial Person and Authority, protesting against the same, still insisting with the Lieges to subscribe the Band of Mutual Defence against all Persons whatsoever, and remitting nothing of their former Proceedings, whereby his Majesty's Wrath was provoked thereby; they are become in the same state and condition wherein they were before his Majesty's Proclamation and Pardon, and so sorseit the favour of this Assembly, and liberty to be Members thereof; and others of his Majesty's Subjects may justly fear to meet with them in this Convention; for that by Act of Parliament, James 6. Parl. 15. cap. 31. Prelacies being declared to be one of the three Estates of the Kingdom; and by the Act of Parliament are discharged to impugn the Dignity and Authority of the three Estates, or any of them in time coming, under pain of Treason. And whereas the King by his Proclamation, declares Arch-Bishops and Bishops to have Voices in the General Assembly, and calls them to the same for that effect, as constantly they have bin in use in all Assemblies where they were present, as appears by many Acts of the General Assembly, ordaining them to keep and assist at the same; as in the Assembly at Edinburgh, Decemb. 15. 1566. at Edinburgh, March 6. 1572. at Edinburgh, May 10. 1586. and by a Letter written by the Assembly, March 6. 1573, to the Regent, earnestly desiring his own, or his Commissioners presence, and the Lords of the Council, and the Bishops at the Assembly. They notwithstanding, by the said Protestation, dated Septemb. 22. declared the Arch-Bishops and Bishops to have no Warrant for their Office in this Kirk, to be authorized with no lawful Commission, and to have no Place nor Voice in this Assembly: and withal do arrogate to their Meetings a Soveraign Authority, to determine of all Questions and Doubts that may arise, contrary to the freedom of the Assembly, whether in Constitution and Members, or in the Matters to be treated, or in Manner and Order of proceeding; which how it doth stand with his Majesty's Supremacy in all Cases, over all Persons, and in all Causes, we leave it to that Judgment whereunto it doth belong, and do call God and Man to Wirness, if these be fit Members of an Assembly, intended for the Order and Peace of the Church.
4. 'Giving, and not granting, That the Persons aforesaid directed Commissioners, in the Name of the Clergy, to this Meeting, were capable of that Authority, and that the said Presbyters had the Authority to direct Commissioners to the General Assembly; yet have they now lost and fallen from all such Right, if any they had, in so far as they have deposed the Moderators, who were lawfully appointed to govern them, by the Bishops in their Synods, and elected others in their place, contrary to the Act of the Assembly at Glasgow, 1610, an Act of Parliament 1612, ordaining Bishops to be Moderators at these Meetings; and in their absence, the Minister whom the Bishop should appoint at the Synod. So these Meetings having disclaimed the Authority of Bishops, deposed their lawful Moderators, and chusing others without Authority, cannot be esteemed Lawful Convocations, that can have lawful Power of sending out Commissioners with Authority to Judge of the Affairs of this Church.
And yet doth the nullity of the Commissions, flowing from such Meetings, further appear in this, that they have associate to themselves a Laick Rulling-Elder (as they call him) out of every Session and Parish; who being ordinarily the Laird of the Parish, or a Man of the greatest Authority in the Bounds, doth over-rule in the Election of the said Commissioners, both by his Authority and their Number, being more than the Ministers; whereof some being ordinarily absent, and five, or six, or so many of them put in List, and removed, there remain but a few Ministers to Voice to the Election; and in effect the Commissioners for the Clergy are chosen by Lay-Men, contrary to all Order, Decency, and Custom observed in the Christian World, in no wise according to the custom of this Church which they pretend to follow, the Presbyteries formerly never associating to themselves Lay-Elders in the Election of the Commissioners to the General Assemblies, but only for their assistance in Discipline, and correction of Manners, calling for them at such times and occasions as they stood in need of their godly concurrence, declaring otherwise their Meeting not necessary; and providing expresly that they should not be equal, but fewer in number than the Pastors, as by Act of Assembly at St.Andrews, April 24.1582.(where Mr. Andrew Melvill was Moderator) doth appear; like-as these forty years by gone and upwards, long before the re-establishment of Bishops, these Lay-Elders have not bin called at all to Presbyteries: And by the Act of Dundee, 1597, (whereby it is pretended that Presbyteries have Authority to send these Lay Commissioners) it doth no way appear that those Lay-Elders had any hand in chusing of the Ministers; and this is the only Act of Assembly authorising Presbyteries to chose Commissioners to the General Assembly: Nor have Lay-Elders fat ordinarily in Presbyteries, upon any occasion, this forty Years and upwards, nor ever had any Place or Voice in the Election of Ministers for the General Assembly; and consequently those chosen by them to this Assembly, have no lawful Power nor Authority: Besides the Persons Ecclesiastical, pretended to be authorised Commissioners to this Assembly, have so behaved themselves, that justly they may be thought unworthy and uncapable of Commission to a free and lawful Assembly.
'First, That by their railing and seditious Sermons and Pamphlets, they have wounded the King's Honour and Soveraign Authority, and animated his Lieges to Rebellion, averring that all Authority Soveraign is originally in the collective Body, derived from thence to the Prince; and that not only in case of negligence it is suppletive in the collective Body, as being communicate from the Commonalty to the King, cumulative nor privative, but in case of Male Administration, to return to the collective Body; so that Rex excidit Jure suo, and that they may resuse Obedience.
'Next, They are known to be such as have either bin schismatically refractory, opposite to good order setled in the Church and State; or such as having promised, subscribed, and sworn Obedience to their Ordinary, have never made Conscience of their Oath; or such as have sworn, and accordingly practised, yet contrary to their Promise and Practice, have resisted, to the contempt of Authority, and disturbance of the Church; or such as are under the Censures of this Church, or convened, or at least deserving to be convened, before the Ordinaries, or a lawful General Assembly, for divers transgressions deserving deprivation.
'As first, for uttering in their Sermons, rash and irreverent Speeches in the Pulpit against his Majesty's Council & their Proceedings, punishable by deprivation, by the Act of the Assembly at Edinburgh, May 22, 1590.
'Ninthly, For pressing the People to subscribe a Covenant, not allowed by Authority; and opposing and withstanding the subscribing of a Covenant offered by his Majesty, and allowed by the Council; besides many personal Faults and Enormities, whereof many of them are guilty, which in charity we forbear to express; but hereby it doth appear, how unfit these Person are to be Members of a free and lawful Assembly.
7. 'Nor doth it stand with Reason, Scripture, or Practice of the Christian Church, that Lay-Men should be authorised to have decisive Voice in a General Assembly; in that Act of Dundee, 1597, whereby these Elders pretend to have this place, there is no Warrant expressed for them to deliberate and determine: Their presence and assistance we approve, being allowed and authorised by the Prince; the King's Majesty present in Person, or by his Delegates, we hold most necessary to see all things orderly and peaceably done, and that he have the chief hand in all Determinations and Deliberations. Nor do we refuse that any moderate or intelligent Man may make remonstrance of his Opinion, with the Reasons of it, in that way that becometh him in a National Assembly, due reverence being kept, and confusion avoided; but that any Lay-Men, except Delegates by Soveraign Authority, shall presume to have a definitive and decisive Voice, we esteem it to be intrusio upon the Pastoral Charge, and without Warrant; may we not therefore entreat my Lord Commissioner his Grace, in the words of the Fathers of the fourth General Council at Chalcedon, Mitte for as supersluos? Nor will a pious Prince be offended with it, but with Theodosius the Younger will say, Illegitimum est eum qui non sit, in ordine Sanctissimorum Episcoporum Ecclesiasticis immisceri tractatibus.— And Pulcheria the Empress commanded Strategus, Vt Clerici, Monachi & Laici vi repellerentur, exceptis paucis illis quos Episcopi secum duxerunt. Upon this respect was Martinus in that Council of Chalcedon moved to say, Non esse suum, sed Episcoporum tantum sub scribere.
8. 'If these pretended Commissioners, both Lay and Ecclesiastical, were lawfully authorised, (as it is evident they are not) and for none other Cause declinable, yet the Law doth admit, that a Judge may justly be declined who is probably suspected; and of all Probabilities this is the most pregnant, when the Judge, before he come to Judgment, doth give Sentence of these things he hath to Judge. This made our Reformers Protestation against the Council of Trent valid, and their not compearing justisiable; because Pope Leo the 10th had pre-condemned Luther, as appeared by his Bull dated Junii 8. 1520. renewed by Paul the third, dated in August 1535. This was the cause why Athanasius would not give his appearance at some Councils, nor Hosius of Corduba, nor Maximus Patriarch of Constantinople; But so it is, the most part, is not all of the said Commissioners directed to this Meeting, have pre-condemned Episcopal Government, and condemned, at least suspended, obedience to the Acts of the General Assembly and Parliament, concerning the five Articles of Perth, have approved their Covenant as most necessary to be embraced of all in this Kingdom; and have not only given Judgment of these things before-hand, but by most solemn Oaths have bound themselves to defend, and stand to the same, as doth appear by their Covenant, Petitions, Protestations, Pamphlets, Libels, and Sermons, and therefore by no Law not Equity can these pretended Commissioners be admitted to determine in this Meeting concerning these Persons and Points, which before-hand they have so unjustly condemned.
'Furthermore, with no Law nor Reason can it subsist, that the same Persons shall be both Judges and Parties. And we appeal to the Consciences of all honest Men, if all, at least the greatest part of the pretended commissioners, have not declared themselves Party to the Arch-Bishops and Bishops of this Church; for in that they have declined the Bishops to be their Judges, as being their Party, (as their Declinators, Petitions, Declarations, and Protestations do bear) have they not, simul & semel & ipso facto, declared themselves to be Party against the Bishops; whom they have not only declined, but persecuted by their Calumnies and Reproaches, vented by Word and Wit, in publick and in private, by invading their Persons, opposing and oppressing them by strength of an unlawful Combination; for the subscribing and swearing whereof, they have by their own Authority, indicted and kept Fails, not only in their own Churches, but where worthy Men refused to be accessary to these disorderly and impious Courses: They have (by aid of the unruly Multitude) entred their Churches, usurped upon their Charges, reading, and causing to be read that unlawful Covenant, by threatning, and menacing, compelling some (otherwise unwilling) out of just fear, to set their hands to it, by processing, suspending, and removing obedient and wrothy Ministers from their Places, by the usurped Authority of their Table and Presbyteries.
An Index of the Principal Acts of the Assembly at Glasgow, 1638.
An Act annulling the six late Assemblies holden at Linlithgow, 1606, and 1608. at Glasgow 1610. at Aberdeen 1616. at St. Andrews 1617. of Perth 1618; with the Reasons of the Nullity of every one of them.
Act ordaining the Commissioners from Presbyteries and Burroughs, presently to get under the Clerk's hand, an Index of the Acts, and hereafter a full Extract of them, which they are bound to take back from the Assembly to the Presbyteries and Burroughs.
Act ordaining the Presbyters to intimate in their several Pulpits, the Assemblies Explanation of the Confession of Faith, the Act against Episcopacy, the Act against the Five Articles, the Act against the Service-Book, Book of Canons, Book of Ordination, the High-Commission, the Acts of Excommunication and Deposition against some. Prelates; an Act of Deposition only against some others of them.
An Act discharging Printers to print any thing, either anent the Acts of the Proceeds of this Assembly, or any Treatise which concerns the Kirk, without a Warrant under Mr. Archibald Johnston's hand, as Clerk of the Assembly, and Protector of the Kirk, and that under the pain of all Ecclesiastical Censure to be intimated with other Acts.
Act that none be chosen Ruling-Elders to sit in Presbyteries Provincial, or General Assemblies, but those who subscribe the Covenant, as it is now declared; and acknowledges the Constitution of this Assembly.
Charles by the Grace of God, King of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith. To all Our Lovits, Heraulds, Pursevants, Our Sheriffs in that part conjunctly and severally specially constitute, Greeting.
Whereas for the removing of the Disorders which had happened of late within this our Kingdom, and for setling of a perfect peace in the Church and Common-Wealth thereof; We were pleased to cause indict a General Assembly to be holden at Glasgow, the one and twentieth of November last: And for our Subjects their better content and assurance that they should be freed of all such things, as by their petitions and Supplications given in to the Lords of our Privy-Council, they seemed to be grieved at, We in some sort prevened the Assembly, by discharging, by our Proclamation, the Service-Book, Book of Canons, and High-Commission; freed and liberate our Subjects from the practising of the Five Articles; eximed all Ministers at their entry, from giving any other Oath than that which is contained in the Act of Parliament, made all Persons, both Ecclesiastical and Civil, liable to the Censure of Parliament, General Assembly, or any other Iudicatory competent, according to the nature of their Offence, had declared all by by-gone Disorders absolutely forgotten and forgiven at last, for securing to all Posterity the Truth and Liberty of Religion, did command the Confession of Faith, and Band for maintenance thereof, and of Authority in defence of the same, subscribed by our dear Father and his houshold, in Anno 1580, to be renewed and subscribed again by our Subjects here. And albeit that this our gracious and pious Command, instead of Obedience and Submission, rancountred open and publick Opposition and Protestation against the same: And that they continued their daily and hourly guarding and watching our Castle at Edinburgh, suffering nothing to be unpotted therein but at their discretion stopping and nonpeding any importation of Ammunition, or other Necessaries whatsoever to any of our bauses within this Kingdom; denying to Us, their Sovereign Lord, that Liberty and freedom which the meanest of them assume to themselves (an Act without President or Example in the Chieftain Word) like as they spated not boldly and openly to continue their Conventious and Council-Cables, of Nobility, Sentry, Ministers and Burgesses within the City of Edinburgh; where not regarding the Laws of the Kingdom, without Wattant of Authority, they convened, affeiubled, and treated upon Matters, as well Ecclesintical as Civil's sent their Jnjunctions and Directions thoughout the Country to their Subordinate Cables, and other Under-Ministers appointed by them for that effect. And under colour and pretect of Religion, execciting an unwarranted Liberty, required Obedieuce to their unlawful and illegal Directions, to the seen prejudice of Authority, and lawful Monarchial Government. And notwithstanding it was ividently manifest, by the illegal and unformal course taken in the Election of the Commissioners for the Assembly, whereof some of them were under the Censure of this Church, some under the Censure of the Church of Ireland; some long since banished for open and avowed teaching against Monarchy, others of them suspended; and some admitted to the Ministry contrary to the form prescrided by the Laws of this Kingdom, others of them Rebels, and at the born; some of them confined, and all of them by Oath and Subscription bound to the overthrow of Episcopal Government. And by this and other their under-hand working, and private Informations and Perswastions, have given just ground of suspicion of their partiality, and so made themselves unfit Judges of what concerneth Episcopacy. And also alheit it was sufficiently cleared by the peremptory and ifsegal proce-dures of the Presbyteries, who at their own hand, by order of Law, and without due form of Process, thrust out Moderators lawfully established, and placed others, whom they found most inclinable to their turbulent humours, afsociate to themselves, for chusing of the Commissioners to the Assembly, a Laick-Fiver out of each Parish; who being in most places equal, if not more in number than the Ministry, made choice both of the Ministers, who should be Commissioners from the Presbyteriesh, as also of a Laick-Flder, (which in time will prove to be of a dangerous consequence, and unport a heavy burden to the Liberty of the Church and Church-men) being more therein directed by the Warrants of the foresaid pretended Cables, than by their own Judgments; as appeared by the several Instructions sent from them, (far contrary to the Laws of this Country, and lowable custom of this Church) some whereof were produced and exhibited by our Commissioner, and publickly read: one whereof, direct to the Noblemen and Barons of each Presbytery, doth, among many other odd Passages, require diligence, lest (say they) by our own silliness and treachery, we lose so fair an occasion of our Liberty, both Christian and Civil; a strange phrase to proceed from dutiful or loial-hearted Subjects. The other to the Moderator of the several Presbyteries, under the Title of Private Instructions, August 27.
Fourthly, That they be careful that no Chappel-men, Chapter-men, or Minister Justice of Peace, be chosen, although Covenanters, except they have publickly renounced or declared the unlawfulness of their places.
Sixthly, That the Commissioner of the Shire cause convene before him the Ruling-Elders of every Kirk chosen before the day of the Election, and enjoin them upon their Oath, That they give vote to none but to those who are named already at the Meeting at Edinburgh.
Whereby it is most evident what Prelimitations, indirect and partial Courses, and dangerous Propositions have bin used in the Preparations and Elections to this pretended Assembly. By which unlawful doings, although We had sufficient Reason to have discharged the meeting of the said Assembly, yet We were pleased patiently to attend the same, still hoping, that when they were met together, by the presence of our Commissioner, and assistance of some well=affected Subjects who were to be there, and by their own seeing the real performance of what was promised by our Proclamation, they should have bin induced to return to the due Obedience of Subjects: But when we perceived that their turbulent Dispositions did encrease, as was manifest by their repairing to the said pretended Assembly, with great Troops and Bands of Men, all boddin in fear of War, with Suns and Pistolets, contrary to the Laws of this Kingdom, and in high contempt of our Proclamation at Edenburgh the 16th day of November last. And also by the peremptory refusing to the Assessors authorized by Us (although fewer in number than Our dearest Father was in use to have) the power of voting in this Assembly, as formerly they had done in all others; openly averring, That We, nor our Commissioner, had no further Power there than the meanest Commissioner of their number. And by their partial and unjust refusing, and not suffering to be read the Reasons and Arguments given in by the Bishops, and their adherents to our Commissioner, why they ought not to proceed to the Election of a Moderator, neither yet to the trying and admitting of the Commissioners before they were heard, though in our Name they were earnestly required thereto by our Commissioner: And notwithstanding that our Commissioner, by Warrant from Us, gave in under his hand a sufficient Declaration of all that was contained in our late Proclamation, bearing likewise Our pleasure of the Registration of the same in the Books of Assembly, for all assurance of the Truth and Purity of Religion to all our good Subjects, as doth clearly appear by the Declaration it self, whereof the tenour follows.
The King's Majesty being informed, That many of his good Subjects have apprehended, that by the introducing of the Service-Book and Book of Canons, the inbringing of Superstition hath bin intended, hath bin graciously pleased to discharge, like-as by these he doth discharge the Service-Book, and Book of Canons, and the practice of them, and either of them; and annuls and rescinds all Acts of Council, Proclamations, and other Acts and Deeds whatsoever, that have bin made or published for establishing them, or either of them; and declares the same to be null, and to have no force nor effect in time coming. The King's Majesty, as he conceived, for the case and benefit of the Subject, established the high Commission, that thereby Justice might be administred, and the faults and Errors of such Persons as are made liable thereto, taken order with, and punished with the more conveniency, and less trouble to the People. But finding his gracious Intention therein to be mistaken, hath bin pleased to discharge, like-as by these be doth discharge the same, and all Acts and Deeds whatsoever made for establishing thereof. And the King's Majesty being informed, that the urging of the five Articles of Perth-Assembly hath bred distraction in the Church and State, hath bin graciously pleased to take the same into his Roial Consideration, and for the Quiet and Peace of this Country, hath not only dispensed with the practice of the said Articles, but also discharge all and whatsoever Persons from urging the practice thereof, upon either Laick or Ecclesiastical Person whatsoever; and hath freed all his Subjects from Censure and Pains, whether Ecclesiastical or Secular, for not urging, practising or obeying them, or any of them, notwithstanding, of any thing contained in the Acts of Parliament, or General Assembly in the contrary. And his Majesty is further contented, that the Assembly take the same so far to their consideration, as to represent it to the next Parliament, there to be ratified as the Effates shall find fitting. And because it hath bin pretended, that Oaths have bin administred different from that which is set down in the Acts of Parliament, his Majesty is pleased to declare by me, That no other Oath shall be required of any Minister at his entry, but that which is set down in the Act of Parliament. And that it may appear how careful his Majesty is, that no Corruption nor Innovation shall creep into this Church, neither yet any Scandal, Vice, or Fault of any person whatsoever, censurable or punishable by the Assembly, go along unpunished, his Majesty is content to declare by me, and assure all his good people, That general Assemblies shall be kept soft, and as oft as the Affaires of this Church shall require. And that none of his good Subjects may have causes of Grievances against the proceedings of the Prelates, his Majesty is content that all and every one of the present Bishops, and their Successors, shall be answerable, and accordingly from time to time censurable, according to their merits by the General Assembly. And to give all his Majesty's good people full assurance that he never intended to admit any alteration or change in the true Religion professed within this kingdom; and that they may be truly and fully satisfied of the reality of his Intentions and integrity of the same, his Majesty hath bin pleased to require and command all his good Subjects, to subscribe the Confession of Faith, and Band for maintenance thereof, and of his Majesties Person and Authority, formerly signed by his dear Father in Anno 1580; And now also requireth all these of the present Assembly to subscribe the same. And it is his Majesty's will, That this be insert and registrate in the Books of Assembly, as a Cestimony to Posterity, not only of the sincerity of his Intention to the said true Religion, but also of his Resolutions to maintain and defend the same, and his Subjects in the profession thereof.
Which Declaration was by our special command and direction given in, and subscribed by our Commissioner, upon protestation made by him, that his assenting to the registration hereof, should be no approbation of the lawfulness of this Assembly, nor of any of the Acts or Deeds done, or to be done therein. And finding them in like sort no ways to be satisfied therewith, and that nothing else was able to give them contentment, except at their own pleasure they were permitted to overthrow all Episcopal Government of this Kingdom, in taking away one of the three Estates, contrary to express acts of parliament. And lest the continuance of their Meetings might have produced other the like dangerous Acts so derogatory to Roial authority, We were forced, for preventing thereof, and for the Reasons and Causes above-mentioned, and divers others importing true Monarchial Government, to dissolve and break up the said pretended Assembly, and to discharge them of all farther meeting, treating, and concluding any thing therein. And yet in that calm and peaceable way, as our Commissioner before his removing desired their pretended Moderator for that time to have said Prayer, and so concluded that days Session, that so they might have had time to think upon the just Reasons of his refusing to assist, or be any longer present at the said pretended Assembly, and of the Causes moving Us to the dissolving thereof: and notwithstanding his earnest urging the same, and being willing to return the next morning to hear their answer; in place of all other satisfaction to his so reasonable and moderate desires, it was refused, and met with a protesration of an high and extraordinary strain, thereby presuming to cite and call our Council in question, for their dutiful assistance and obedience to Us and Our Commissioner. And finding their Disobeence thus to encrease, We were constrained to discharge them of new again the next day thereafter, by publick proclamation, under the pain of Creason. And albeit that their contumacy is such as hath not bin heard of in former Times, yet they shall never move Us to alter the least Point or Article of that We have already declared by Proclamation or Declaration under our Commissioner's hand. All which was publickly read, and by our Commissioner required to be insert and registrate in the Books of Assembly, therein to remain as a Cestimony to Posterity, not only of the sincerity of our Intentions to the True Religion, but also of our Resolution to maintain and defend the same, and our Subjects in the profession thereof: And perceiving likewise that in contempt of our Proclamation at Glasgow, the 29th of November, they go still on to convene, meet, and to make illegal and unwarrantable Acts, We have conceived it fitting to forwarn all our good Subjects of the Danger that they may incur by being ensnared by these their unlawful Procedures. And to this purpose do not only liberate and free them from all Dbedience to any of the pretended Acts, made, or to be made at the said pretended Assembly or Committees direct therefrom, but do also free them from all pain and censure which the said pretended Assembly shall inflict upon them, or any of them. And therefore do discharge and prohibit all our Subjects, That they, nor none of them, acknowledge nor give Obedience to any pretended Acts nor Constitutions, made, or to be made at the said pretended Meetings, under all highest pains. And we command, charge, and inhibit all Preshyteries, Seffions of kirks, Ministers within this Realm, that none of them presume, nor take upon hand privately nor publickly in their Sessions and Meetings, nor in their Conference, Sermons, nor no other manner of way to authorize, approve, justify, or allow the said unlawful meeting, or Assembly at Glasgow, neither yet to make any Act thereupon, nor to do any other thing private or publick, which may seem to countenance the said unlawful Assembly, under the pain to be repute, holden, and esteemed, and pursued as guilty of their unlawful meeting, and to be punished therefore with all rigour. And sicklike we command all and sundry noblemen, Barons, gentlemen, magistrates, and all other our Lieges who shall happen to be present and hear any ministers, either in publick or private Conferences or Specches, or in their Sermons, to approve and allow the said unlawful Assembly, rail and utter any Speeches against Our Roial Commandments, or Proceedings of Us, or Our Council, for punishing or suppressing such Enormities, that they make Relation and Report thereof to Our Council, and furnish Probation, to the effect the same may be accordingly punished, as they will answer to Us thereupon; certifying them who shall hear and conceal the said Speeches, that they shall be esteemed as allowers of the same, and shall accordingly be taken order with, and punished therefore without favour. And to this effect we likewise straightly Charge and Command all Judges whatsoever within this Realm, Clerks and Writers, not to grant or pals any Bill, Summons, or Letters, or any other Erecution whatsoever, upon any Act or Deed proceeding from the said pretended Assembly, and all keepers of the Signet from signeting thereof, and that under all highest pains. And because we gave Order and warrant to Our Commissioner to make open Declaration, not only of our Sense, but even of the true meaning of the Confession of Faith, in Anno 1580; by which it may clearly appear, that as we never intended thereby to exclude Episcopacy, so by no right construction can it be otherwise interpreted, as is more than evident by the Reasons contained in the said Declaration, and many more, which for brevity (the thing in it self being so clear) are omitted; wherefore We do not only prohibit and discharge all our Subjects from subscribing any Band, or giving any Writ, Subscription, or Oath to, or upon any Act or Deed that proceeds from the foresaid pretended Assembly, but also to require them not to subscribe nor swear the said Confession, in no other sense than that which is contained in the said Declaration, and manifestly emitted by our Commissioner, under all highest pains. And that none of our good Subjects, who in their Duty and bound Obedience to Us, shall refuse to acknowledge the said pretended Assembly, or any of the pretended Acts, Constitutions, Warrants, or Directions proceeding therefrom, may have just ground of fear of danger or harm by doing thereof, We do by these promise, and upon the Word of a king oblige our Selves, by all the Roial Authority and Power wherewith God hath endowed Us, to protect and defend them, and every one of them in their Persons, fortunes, and Goods, against all and whatsoever Person, or Persons, who shall dare or presume to call in question, trouble, or any ways molest them, or any of them therefore. And our Will is, and We charge you straitly and command, That incontinent these our Letters seen, ye pass, and make publication hereof by opin Proclamation, at the Market-Cross of Edinburgh, and other places needful, where-through none pretend ignorance of the same.
After the publishing of this Proclamation, the Assembly at Glasgow made a Protestation at the Market-Cross of Edinburgh, the 18th of December 1638. which by reason of the very great length of it, and the many repetitions of former Passages, we forbear to trouble the Body of the Story or the Appendix therewith, referring the Reader rather, for his further satisfaction, to the King's Large Declaration, page 375, unto page 401.
Not long after this Proclamation and Protestation, the King's Commissioner (seeing all things tending to a present Rupture) began his Journey, according to the Leave granted him by his Majesty for his Return. After which time, and ever since, the Scots have throughout the whole Kingdom, by threats, made the Acts of their unlawful Assembly to be received, in many Places have perswaded the reception of them by Force and Arms, have levied Souldiers, and imposed Taxes upon the King's Subjects for payment of them; have required of the Judges, or Lords of the Session, to approve their Acts, though none of them consented thereunto, have threatned and menaced them for refusing of it; have raised divers Fortifications in our Kingdom; have blocked up our Castles and Forts; and now at last forcibly taken our Castle at Edinburgh: Have at home got their Preachers most seditiously and rebelliously to teach the People, That there is a necessity of their carrying Arms against his Majesty, under pain of Perjury and Damnation; have scattered abroad, especially here in England, divers infamous Libels justifying their own wicked and rebellious Courses, inciting the People of England to attempt the like Rebellion, and to deface our Ecclesiastical Government.
One of them, upon the Commissioner's coming home, Prayed God to deliver them from all crafty Compositions. Another refused to pray in the Church for Sir William Neshett late Provost of Edinburg, when he was lying upon his Death bed, only because he had not subscribed the Covenant. Another prayed God to scatter them all in Israel, and to divide them in Jacob, who had counselled us to require the Confession of Faith to be subscribed by the King's Authority. Many Ministers would not admit to the Communion those who had not subscribed their Covenant, but in their Exhortation before it, barred them in express terms with Adulterers, Slanderers, and Blasphemers, & c. Others would not suffer Children to be Baptized in the Churches of those Ministers who were not of the Covenant, though they were their own Parish Churches, but carried them sometimes many miles to be baptized by Covenanting Ministers. One preached, That all the non-subscribers of the Covenant were Atheists; and so concluded, That all the Lords of the Council, and all the Lords of the Session were such, for none of them had subscribed it. Another preached, That as the Wrath of God never was divered from his People, until the seven Sons of Saul was hanged up before the Lord in Gibeon; so the Wrath of God would never depart from that Kingdom, till the twice seven Prelates (which makes up the number of the Bishops in that Kingdom) were hanged up before the Lord there; which is extream foul and barbarous. Another preached, That though there were never so many Acts of Parliament against the Covenant, yet it ought to be maintained against them all. Another delivered these words in his Sermon, Let us never give over till we have the King in our Power, and then he shall see how good Subjects we are. Another in his Sermon delivered this, That the bloodiest and sharpest War was rather to be endured, than the least Error in Doctrine and Discipline. Another in his Sermon wished, That he and all the Bishops in that Kingdom were in a bottomless Boat at Sea together; for he could be well content to lose his Life, so they might lose theirs, &c.
Titles of Proclamations, &c.
A Proclamation and Declaration, to inform Our loving Subjects of Our Kingdom of England, of the seditious practices of some in Scotland, seeking to overthrow Our Regal Power under false pretences of Religion.