Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.
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A. D. M. DC.VI.
In the Assemblie of the Kirk of Scotland conveinit be his Majestie and haldin at Linlithgow, Anno 1606,
Session 1a. 10 Decembris,
Were present the Noblemen following:
|Sir John Hamilton.|
The Ministers out of the Presbitries were about the number of 130, out of the most 3, out of some 5, some 6.
Mr Patrick Galloway, as Moderatour of the last Assembly, was desired to have preached on the morne. He refused, alledging he knew nothing of that meeting, and was not provided. It was ansuered, that the meeting should be prorogued to the 22 of that instant, and so he should have time to be provided; but he continued constant in his refusal. In end he was dealt with to make a prayer as his Majesties Minister, and not as Moderatour att the meeting, wherunto he yeilded. So the Bishop of Orkney, Mr James Law, made the fermon upon these words, Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Therafter Mr Patrick addressed himself to the Moderatours place, prayed, and made a discourse upon Math. 18, 20. He opened the causes why his Majestie appointed the meeting, namelie, to take order with Papists; to advise what way Ministers might be better provided with constand stipends; and how jarres among the Pastors might be removed.
The Erle of Montrose principal in the Commission followed with a short harangue, which was explained by Mr Patrick, because his voice was weak. The sum wherof was, that we had all cause to praise God for the care that his Majestie had for the peace of this Kirk and maintainance of the freedom therof; and ended with ane exhortation to the brethren conveened, to judge charitablie of his Majesties proceeding, and to give to his Hienes satisfaction in the matters to be proponed.
Mr John Prestown seconded him with a large discourse of the pains and travells which his Majestie had taen in the affairs of the Kirk, the manie good laws made by his Majestie for maintainance of religion, the great care his Majestie had to have all the Kirks of Scotland planted, and how in all the expeditions made in the South and North against his Hienes rebells, his Majestie employing ever some time in the affairs of the Kirk: And so ended with exhortation to give his Hienes satisfaction.
The Clerk of Register followed, affirming that seeing his Majestie was a Chrystian and religious Prince, and so well grounded in his religion to the admiration of the whole world, that he ought to be obeyed in all his directions, alledging Paul in his Epistle to Timothy, exhorting, for the peace of the Kirk, to pray for all Princes, efpecialie for the tyrant Nero, under whom they then suffered persecution. He remembred some speeches uttered by some of the Princes of Germanie, namelie the Duke of Saxony, extolling his Majesties constancie in his religion; and so inferred, that seeing strangers had so reverent regard of his Majestie, his own subjects should not be lead with a sinistrous conceit.
After this, Mr Patrick Galloway said it was needfull that there sould be a Moderator chosen, and produced 4 in leit, viz. Mr Patrick Sharp, Mr Robert Howie, Mr Alexander Lindsay, Mr James Nicolsone; and the said Mr James was chosen Moderator.
When he entered into his place, he assumed Mr Henry Philip, Minister of Arbroth, to be Scribe without the oath of sidelitie. Therafter a number were nominated for the privie conference, which was appointed to be that afternoon; and so the Assembly dissolved for that day.
Sessio 2a. 11 Decembris.
The Assembly mett at eleven hours, and after prayer the Moderator examined the whole Bishops and Commissioners of Presbitries upon their diligence in seeking the execution of his Majesties laws against the Jusuits and excommunicated Papists, of whom there were some given in be everie Presbitrie in writte. There was no diligence reported but excuse; and the chief excuse was upon the oversight granted to the Marquess of Huntlie and his Ladie. After a sharp rebook given unto the Bishops and the Commissioners for their negligence, and oversight in that point, the Assemblie dissolved for that night, and the Conference appointed to meet the morne att 8 hours.
There were handled these points; 1. Anent the suppressing or reforming of Papists; 2. Anent the planting of all the kirks in this land; 3. Anent the remeed of the eyelists and distractions that were among ourselves in the Ministrie here.
1. For the Suppressing and reforming of Papists.
The Papists were ranked thus. Some were Jefuits, Priests, sayers and hearers of Messe; and the whole number of Ministers were posed in conscience to delate their names. Manie ample promises were made and conclusions taken for prosecuting the laws with all rigour against them; yea his Majesties guarde here was then to be directed to take and apprehend them.
Some were recusants or not communicants, who were ordeaned to be processed be the Kirk with all expedition, and their names also to be givin in with the roll to the Counsell, who promised to exact the penaltie in the law prescribed against them, who att least communicat not once everie year, and no exceptions of persons to be; and this to be the civill punishment without prejudice of our censures; and promise made that no letters shall be directed from Counsell, as was wont, to stay our discipline against anie persoun whatsoever.
Some were Noblemen contraie minded and not as yett resolved, albeit they have subscribed, sworne, and communicated some time with us. These were ordained with all diligence to address themselves to several burghes to hear the Word, confer, &c. for their better resolution; and yett to be processed, except they wait well on and profited &c.
The Noblemen suspected of Papistrie are ordained to be confined in the towns following, viz. The Erle of Sutherland, his wife, and mother, in Innerness; the Erle of Cathness and his Lady in Elgine; the Marquiss of Huntlie, his wife and bairns, in Aberdeen; the Erle of Angus, his wife and bairns, in Glasgow; the Erle of Hume and Lord Hereis in Edinburgh; the Lord Maxwel in Lyth; the Lord Semple in Iruing.
And that these things might take effect according to the mind of that meeting, these two orders were devised. 1. That a letter of request should be formed and sent to his Majestaie, for causing the foresaid Noblemen refort with diligence to their several appointed cities. 2. That some brother be appointed ane Agent in everie Presbitrie, to informe the Counsell of all Papists, Jesuits, or Excommunicants within their bounds, to raise Letters, to keep the Counsells dyets, and to see the Counsells decreits put in execution, who should be a constant Moderator to be answerable for his diligence in these points; and for his service he shall have in pension of his Majesties patrimonie ane hundred Scottish pounds, if he be not a Bishop in that Presbytrie: Otherwise, where the Bishop is, he shall have the burthen and receive no gain therefor.
The Acts of the General Assemblie anent the instructing of Noblemens sons at home, who passing out of the countrie returne Papists, are promised to pass be statute in the next Parliament.
2. For planting of Kirks.
1. The Lords Modifiers chosen and appointed att Parliament promissed to sitt down att Edinburgh the first of January, for modification of stipends to the Abbey Kirks of this new erection; the same to be done in Bishops Kirks, and that be reason the act of annexation was dissolved in their favours in this last Parliament.
2. The benefices of cure, wherof Noblemen have a good part of the rent of, the Moderators, Bishops, Commissioners, are appointed to deale with our Lords of the College of Justice, for obteaning decreitts att least for sufficient provision.
3. Where they are small benefices and sett in tacks, to deal with the tacksmen for obteaning augmentation, and that be offering unto them new tacks, the gressome or entrisse silver wherof shall acress to the stipend in all tyme comeing, and not be employed to anie mans privat use; and who refuseth augmentation, or this condition, their names to be sent to his Majestie, who shall take farther order with them, or ellis their tacks to be sett to others.
4. Where kirks are near adjacent, and aither mean in number or provision, then the Parliament shall unite two in one, and provide for them.
3. For takeing up the eyeleists among the brethren, the causes therof were tryed to be these.
1. The warding of the brethren now banished and scattered, wherof the remeed was thought to be this, viz. a letter of supplication was appointed to be written to his Majestie, and a writte of information to be formed be some of that number who were best acquainted with his Majesties mind and pleasure, to be sent to the brethren to acknowledge their oversight.
2. The want of a General Assembly, which, with advice of his Majesties Commissioner at that meeting, was appointed to be holden at Edinburgh on the last Tuesday of July nixt.
3. A heavie suspicion and fear in all good mens hearts, that inbringing of Bishops in our kirk should spoil us of our discipline, &c.
For remeed wherof, the Bishops protested there was no such thing in their mindes, and willinglie submitted themselves in all time comeing to the judgement of the General Assemblie; and that his Majesties minde and pleasure was never otherwise, but that the most wife and grave men might be Moderators of the Presbitries ad culpam, who should be subject to the judgement of the Provincial Assemblies, without any farther pouer than they had before, except that his Majestie would have them members of his Parliament for the Kirk. Some objected their non residence within their Diocie, and not preaching there where their benefice lay. They answered, their benefices were spilt and wanted present provision; and therefore required a time to seek the benefite of the law.
That meeting ordeaned, that betuixt that time and July nixt, they should either make residence, or demitt their place to others who should do the same.
Then came in his Majesties desire, that untill the time that Papists were repressed, and jarres removed out of the Kirk, a constant Moderatour might be appointed for everie Presbitrie, because in the changing of the Moderator the diligence of executing the process failed, because the new Moderator was unacquainted with the former proceedings. It was ansuered in the privie conference, that all the presbitries and everie brother thereof should know the estate and proceedings of matters, and so might be able to put matters in execution, and much more the fittest to be chosen to the purpose, according to the nature and estate of the affaires in hand.
Mr Patrick Galloway proponed 3 difficulties. 1. The prejudging of the Presbitries in their free election, who did best know the qualities of their members. 2. The tyrranizing of such a Moderatour over his brethren, and usurpation of jurisdiction and authoritie over them. 3. The prejudice of the General Assembly in the free nomination of Commissioners for everie Presbitrie, seeing by all appearance there was no other thing meant but to make a General Assembly consist of Bishops and Moderatours of Presbitries.
For removing of these difficulties, it was provided, that the Moderator should be answerable to the Synod for all his oversights and offences, and removeable be them after a lawfull tryall; and the worthiest of the Presbitrie preferred to his place.
That everie Presbitrie should have free election of two or three Commissioners to everie Assembly; and that it should be in their option to make choise of the Moderator or not; alwise all the Moderators are appointed to be present at everie Assembly.
These cautions being sett down, and the articles fullie aggried upon in the privie conference, it past in open Assemblie, and agreed upon, that he who before was named the Agent, should be this constant Moderator. Two were non liquet; 4 refused to vote as wanting commission; 125 Ministers agreed.
Last, There was an admonition and exhortation given to all the brethren, to entertean alwise charity and love among themselves, and to bewar to speak any thing unadvisedly against his Majesty.
The great Commissioner the Erle of Dunbar thanked the Convention in his Majesties name, desired the whole brethren to thank him, seeing they had found all things to their contentment, and pray for him; and to make it known to their brethren and people, so soon as they came home, what good was done att that Convention.
The Erles of Cassils and Eglintown thinking all things well done, desired a copie of all things concluded before their departure. It was alledged that could not instantlie be done. They promised with all diligence to go to Edinburgh and there cause putt in print all things concluded att that meeting, that all men might know them. C.]
Sessio 3a. 12 Decembris.
In lyke maner the Conference finding that nothing mair weakened the credit and strenth of the Ministerie and discipline of the Kirk against Papists, nor mair emboldned the adversares to goe fordward in their erronious course, than the appearances of division in the Ministrie amang themselves, and the alienation quhilk seemeth to be of his Majesties mynd from some of them: Therefor, the removeing of all eyelysts and shew of division and alienation of mynds, either amang the Ministers themselves, or of his Majesties good affection and favour from any of them, was thocht ane soveraigne remedie for the effectual suppressing of Papistrie. And having searched and found out the cause of the distraction and alienation of mynds forsaids in the Ministrie, to be partlie a feare that some of their brether was of purpose and vpon course to subvert the libertie and discipline of the Kirk of Scotland, by removing their Sessiouns, Presbytries, Provinciall and Generall Assemblies, or by vsurping in thair awin persons some sick tyrranous and vnlawfull jurisdiction as is no wayes lawfull, neither to be tolerated in a truelie Christian reformed Kirk, and to shake off that obedience to all good ordour and comelines, established or to be established by the laufull assemblies with his Majesties consent; and partlie a greife that some of the brether were banished foorth of his Majesties dominions, and vthers diseased be long warding and relegation from their habitations and charges: And finding lykewayes be the declaration of his Majesties commissioners, and sick as were privie to his Majesties mynd, that his Hienes was no less grieved with divers formes and actions of some of the Ministrie, for not haveand due regard and care to vse sick course in their actions and administratioun in the Kirk affaires, as might serve to intertain a solid peace and quyetnes betweene his Majestie and them, as lykewayes mutuallie amang themselves; and in speciall, that the charge of that government was oftentymes and almost ordinarlie committed to sick as, for lake of wisdome and experience, was no wayes able to keip their estate in any good frame or quyetnes, quhervnto his Majestie imputed the chiefest cause of all the greifes and troubles quhilk had fallen out this lang tyme amangst the Ministrie themselves, or any offence given be any of them to his Majestie; and that his Majestie could not be satisfied quhill this inconvenient were first removed, and a faithfull remedie provyded, that heirafter the lyke sould not fall out, quhilk his Majestie summarlie comprehended in this, if the affaires of the Kirk sould be administrat be the wysest and most godlie; wheranent also his Majesties speciall overture as heirafter followes, was proponed.
It is his Majesties advyse to this Assemblie, and pleasure, that presentlie ther be nominat in everie Presbytrie ane of the most godlie and most grave, of greatest authoritie and experience, and meitest for government, to haue the moderation of his Presbyterie quhere he remaines, till the present sturres and fyre of dissention qwhilk is amangs the Ministrie, to the great prejudice of the authoritie and credit [of the same,] and the hinderance of the Gospell, and his Majesties high offence, be quenshed and taken away; and the noblemen and others professing Papistrie within this kingdome [be either reduced to the true profession and obedience of the Gospell, or ellis] so represt by justice and execution of lawes, or be the labours of the Ministrie and discipline of the Kirk, that they be not able to hinder the course of the Gospell, or strenthen and encourage the credit and power [of false religion, and that the chiefest burthen of delation of the said Papists, and solistation for justice and execution] of laws against them be committed unto the saids Moderators, and that the Bishops in the Presbyteries quher they are resident in ane of the kirks of the Bishopric, have this care and burden committed vnto them; and seeing that it will crediblie fall out that in the Presbytries, through the greatnes of parties and the langsumnes and difficultie of processe, the saids Moderators will sometymes be constrained to referre the doing heirof to the Provinciall Assemblie and the Moderators therof: It is therfor his Majesties advyse and pleasure that the moderation of the Provinciall Assemblie, and persewing of actions of greatest difficultie be committed vnto the Bishop makand lawfull residence within the said province, or to the worthiest of them quhen it fall happen moe than ane to be in ane province, in respect that his Majestie hes bestowed vpon them moyane and places, quherby they may be able to beare out the charges and burdein of difficile and dangerous actions quhilk other ministers were not able to sustane, and lykewayes, by their credit and place in counsell, are able in sick causes, to procure greater celeritie and execution of justice as in sick cases will be requisite, than vthers.
The Conference having advysed, first, anent the taking away of the forsaids feirs and suspitions, and satisfaction of the griefes, and willing to vnderstand of his Majesties Commissioners, and sick as latelie had been acquainted with his Majesties intentions, and willing lykewise to heare the declaration of the Bishops heiranent as touching their awin intentions and purposes in this errand: It was declareit, that it was not in any wayes his Majesties purpose and intention to subvert and overthrow the present discipline of the Kirk of Scotland, but rather to augment and strenthen the samen so farre as it could serve for the well of the Gospell and the restraint of vyce, and to sie sick eyelists and offences as in the administration therof was the occasion of just miscontentment vnto his Majestie, and a hinderance to the credit and authoritie of the ministrie [among the people, and amongst the Ministry] themselves, removed and tane away be sick good overtures as is above expressed.
In signe quherof, as ther is nothing done in derogation of the halding of the Sessions, the Presbytries and Provinciall Assemblies, so it was never his Majesties intention, but that the keiping of Generall Assemblies at certaine competent tymes was, and is a most necessarie mean for the preservation of peace and vnion in the Kirk, and extermination of all herefie and schisme in the same: Therfor his Majestie doeth graciouslie declare, that as the Acts of Parliament doeth still stand in full force and effect for the conveining of Assemblies anes everie ȝeir by his Majesties direction, so it is his Majesties will that the day of conveining the next Assembly salbe at Edinburgh the last Tuesday of July.
Siclyke, the haill Bishops declarit that it was not their intention to vsurpe and exerce any tyrannous and vnlawfull jurisdiction and power over the brethren, nor to ingyre themselves any wayes vnlawfullie in the Kirks government, or any part therof, farder nor fall be committed to them be the Presbytries, Provinciall or Generall Assemblies; and if it sould happen to fall out that they, or any of them, sould be found to doe the contrair, then, and in that case, they were content to submit themselves vnto the censure of the Kirk als humblie as any other of the brether of the ministrie.
In lykemaner, it was declared that his Majestie, according to his accustomed longanimitie and patience towards sick as happened to offend him of the ministrie, had delayed for a verie lang tyme to give foorth any sentence against the brether now banished, still hopeing that by their good behaviour and humble sute for his Hienes pardon and favour, his Majestie might have occasion to shew his clemencie towards them; and albeit his Majestie beand justlie provocked, was moved to give forth his will anent their banishment, yet imediatlie, being requeisted in their favours be the Bishops and other brethren there present with them, it pleased his Majestie to declare, that their want of his favour proceidit upon their awin default, quho had never humbled themselves to seek his pardon as became them.
In respect quherof it was thought meit to direct the Bishop of Aberdeen, Mrs Patrick Sharp, Patrick Gallaway, Robert Wilkie, John Struchane, John Hall, John Hay, with the Moderator of the Assemblie, to write a letter to the said brether in their name, [givand them advyce so to frame and send their humble] sute to his Majestie for his pardon and favour to them as may give his Majestie greatest satisfaction, and that the Assemblie earnestlie requeisted his Majesties Commissioners and vthers Noblemen employed be his Majestie to this Assemblie, so soone as their said supplication sould come from them of the tenor forsaid, to concurre be their credit and intercession with his Majestie, to procure them to be partakers of that gracious favour quhilk his Majestie at no tyme heirtofoir refused to any of that profession quhom he fand willing to acknowledge and amend their oversight, and have recourse to his clemencie; for the quhilk declaration the Conference praised God, and thought good that the brethren sould be written to as is befoir said, and be the brethrin befoir named.
Thereafter, having considered the overture proponed to them in his Majesties name, and finding it in shew, to carie some appeirance of novation in the discipline of the Kirk, and fearing that it might bring with it some inconvenients: Therfor the Conference wold not take on them to determine their advyce theranent, quhill first the mater were exactlie reasoned in their presence, and sufficient remeid provyded for preventing all inconvenients [which] might [be feared to] follow thereupon: Whereupon a good number of the most learned, godlie, and wifest of the brethren of the Conference, being appointed to reason and heare ane after another; and having exactly and at good length reasoned and examined quhatfumever inconvenients might follow upon the establishing of the said overture, it was considered and found at last be ane vniverfall voyce and consent of the whole Conference, but contradiction, that the said overture was both wise and godlie, and tending many wayes to the well of the Kirk: Provydeing that certaine cautions were observed for preventing such evils as might happen to fall out in case the said Moderators, or any of them, [should] either arrogantlie presume to vsurpe any farder power in the saids Presbyteries and Assemblies than it is comelie and lawfull for Moderators in sick causes to doe, and presently use, without innovating and altering at their owne fantassies, and at their owne hands, the custome that the discredit Moderators have vsed and aught to vse in that place, or utherwayes be found remisse in proponening or prosecuting any good purpose or overtures quhilk should be given in be the brethren or any of them to the saids Presbyteries and Assemblies: and according to the doubts quhilk in reasoning were found out and feared, the cautions following were aggried upon:
1. That it be provyded that the Moderators of Presbytries and Provinciall Assemblies to be nominat and chosen according to his Majesties overtures, sall presume to doe nothing in the Presbytries and Provinciall Assemblies where they moderate, without the speciall advyse and consent of their brethren.
2. That the acts of the Generall Assemblies and caveats therein prescrybed anent Bishops be observed.
3. That they sall vse no jurisdiction or power farder than the Moderators of Presbytries and Provinciall Assemblies has bein in use of, be the constitutions of the Kirk befoir.
4. In case it sall happen the Moderators of Presbyteries or Provinciall Assemblies to be absent the time of thair convention, then it sall be in the power of the saids Provincialls and Presbytries, to nominate and choose out the wisest and gravest of their brether, to moderate their meitings in absence of the saids Moderators.
5. Quhen the place of the Moderator in any Presbyterie sall happen to vaike, the election of another to succeed in his rowne, sall be made be the whole Provinciall Assemblie, with consent of his Majesties Commissioners, if any happen to be there present for the tyme.
6. And quhen any of the saids Moderators sall happen to depart this life betuixt Assemblies, it sall be lawfull to the Presbyteries to nominat ane of the gravest and worthiest of their number to continue in the Moderation of the Presbyterie quhill the nixt Provinciall Assemblie.
7. The Moderators of the Presbyteries sall be subiect to the tryall and censure of the Provincialls; and in case it sall happen that they be found to have been remisse in the discharge of their duetie, or [to have presumed] to vsurpe over their brethren any farder power than is given them be the Assemblie, it sall be ane cause to them of deprivation from their office of Moderation, and they sall be depryved therefra be the saids Provincialls.
8. In Iykemaner, the Moderator of the Provinciall Assemblie sall be tryed and censured be the Generall Assemblie; and if he be found there, or to have been remisse from his office of Moderation, or to have vsurped any farder power nor the simple place of ane Moderator, he sall be depryved fra his said office of Moderation be the Generall Assemblie.
9. That the Moderator of ilk Presbyterie and Provinciall Assemblie, with their Scrybes, being chosen, faithfull, wise, and formall men, be astrictit to be present at all Generall Assemblies as members therof, and to have the Register of the acts and proceiding of the Presbytries and Provincialls there present with them, that their fidelitie and diligence may be fein be the Generall Assemblie, and the estate of the countrey therby knawen.
10. That it sall be leisum to ilk Presbyterie to send Commissioners to the Generall Assemblie, by and attour the Moderator and Scrybe, two or thrie, according to the act of the General Assemblie anent the Commissioners from Presbitries to General Assemblies, if they sall think it expedient.
11. That it is heirby declared, that notwithstanding of any thing done at this tyme, the Sessions, Presbyteries, Provinciall and Generall Assemblies, are to be observed, keiped, and obeyed as they have been heirtofoir.
12. That the Moderator of the Generall Assemblie be chosen be vote of the said Assemblie, certaine leits being first nominat and proponed frielie, as vse hes bein in tymes bypast.
13. That in everie Provinciall Assemblie quher there is no Bishop makand actuallie lawfull residence, and haveand the Moderation of ane of the Presbyteries, the Moderators of the Presbyteries within the said Province beand proponed on leitt, the meitest of them sall be chosen be the said Assemblie Moderator thereof, his Majesties Commissioners consent there present beand had therto.
And farder, the Conference having examined the rolls of ilk Presbyterie, to sie is any was meiter to vse the office of moderation than these quhilk befoir hes bein nominat to have the care of the delation of Papists and vncommunicants, they fand in their judgement, that the same persons was of all vthers, in everie Presbyterie, meitest alsweill to moderat as to haue care of delation forsaid; reserveand alwayes vnto the Ministers of ilk Presbyterie here conveinit, their awne priviledge and power, to nominat vnto the Assemblie a meiter, if any be in the Presbyterie, for the moderation: And therefore the said Conference finds it expedient, that the persons forsaids accept and take vpon them presentlie the said office of moderation within the Presbyteries respective, and that the Presbyteries embrace and allow of them; and for this effect, that the saids Moderators and Presbyteries be requeisted thervnto earnestlie be this Assemblie, and if neid beis, lykewayis charged, that the Kirk of God be not long frustrat of the comfortable effects that the forsaid ordour is able shortlie, be the grace of God, to produce.
This overtrue beand proponed and declared at lenth in presence of the full Assemblie, everie article and heid therof was with ane vniform consent and allowance approved of all, without contradiction, except only so farre as concerned the Moderators in moderating of Presbyteries, and their continuance in the office of the Moderation beyond the accustomed tyme, quheranent certaine doubts beand proponit and satisfied, and the Bishops haveand given their declaration foorth of their awne mouthes anent their intentions and purpose, to be subject unto the acts and caveats of the Generall Assemblie, and to make residence within such a space as should be limitated to everie ane of them be this present Assemblie; and if it sould be found expedient for the well of the Kirk, that other meiter and more worthie than they to possesse and occupie their places, to demitt their benefices at the pleasure of the Assemblie; his Majesties consent [and approbatione] beand had thereto, wherein they promised, and if neid were, to be earnest suiters at his Majesties hands. Lykeas some of them declared, that they had alreadie most humblie craved the same of his Majestie for the respect they had to take away all offence from their brethren, provyding alwayes if aither, vpon his Majesties advyse or proposition to the Assemblie, or their awne supplication, the Generall Assemblie be moved heirafter, to grant them any relaxation of any of the caveats, quhilk vpon good reason might appeare to the said Assemblie to be over strait, that this their promise sall make no derogation to the libertie quhilk the Assemblie heirafter sall be moved to grant them.
It was voted, and be pluralitie of votes concluded, to witt, his Majesties Commissioners, whole Nobilitie, Erles, and Barrons, to the number of threttie-three, together with ane hundreth twentie and saxe of the Ministrie votting affirmative, that the said overture anent the continuance of the Moderators quhill the present division of the kirk be removed, and the whole brethren brought to that unitie of mynd and affection quhilk is agreeable to their calling, and may serve best to the furtherance of the cause of God, and overthrow of all contrarie cause, and the Papists als fullie represt or brocht to the obedience of the Gospell, sould passe and be enacted as ane of the conclusions of this Assemblie; the forsaids caveats beand alwayes keiped be everie ane of the saids Moderators, and the contraveiners coensured and punished as is befor expressed; four only of the whole Assemblie be their votes disassenting therfra, and vther foure refusing to vote for want of commission fra their presbyteries, and twa beand non liquet.
Extract foorth of the Book of the Acts of the Assemblie at Lynlithgow,
and subscryvit be the Moderator and Scrybe thereof.
James Nicolsone, Moderator.
Master Hendrie Philp, Scrybe.
The Names of the Moderators of Presbyteries.
Ʒetland. Mr James Pitcairne.
Orknay. The Bishop of Orknay, in his absence Thomas Swintone, vpon his expenses.
Caithnes. The Bishop of Caithnes, and in his absence Mr Samuel Bruce, vpon the Bishops expenses.
Taine. Mr Johne Ros.
Ardmannath. Mr George Monro, to be payed by the Bishop of Ros quhill he be resident ther himselfe.
Innernew. Mr James Bischop.
Forres. Mr James Dundas.
Elgin. The Bishop of Murray.
Dubennan. Mr Robert Hay, and failyeing of him Mr George Chalmers.
Cullen. Mr George Douglas.
Bamff. Mr George Hay.
Deir. Mr Abraham Sibbald.
Ellone. Mr John Reid.
Garioch. Mr Robert Burnett.
Aufurd. Mr Alexander Guthrie.
Kinkardin Oneill. Mr John Strauchane.
Aberdein. The Bishop of Aberdein.
Mernes. Mr Andro Ramsay.
Brechin. Mr Dugall Campbell.
Aberbrothok. Mr Arthur Futhie.
Dundie. Mr John Ramsay.
Megle. Mr James Nicolsone.
Perth. Mr Alex. Lindesay.
Dunkeld. Mr William Glass.
Couper. Mr William Scot, and till his return Mr Johne Caldcleuch.
SanctT Andoris. The Bishop of Sanct Andrews, and in his absence Mr Robert Wilkie, to be payit be the Bishop.
Kirkadie. Mr John Michelsone.
Dunfermling. Mr John Fairfull.
Auchterardour. Mr. John Davidsone.
Stiviling. Mr Patrick Simsone.
Lynlithgow. Mr Robert Cornwall.
Edinburgh. Mr John Hall.
Dalkeith. Mr George Ramsay.
Haddingtoun. Mr James Carmichaell.
Dunbar. Mr Edward Hepburne.
Chirnesyde. Mr John Clappertoun.
Dunce. Mr David Hoome.
Melors. Mr John Knox.
Kelso. Mr James Knox.
Jedburt. Mr John Abernethie.
Twidaill. Mr James Logane.
Lanerick. Mr William Birnie.
Hamiltoun. Mr Robert Dalkeith.
Glasgow. The Bishop of Glasgow, and in his absence Mr Patrick Sharp.
Paislay. Mr John Hay.
Dumerton. Mr John Blackburne, and quhill he make residence, Mr William Stewart.
Air. Mr John Inglis.
Irwing. Mr Alexander Scrimgeor.
Dumfries. Mr Thomas Ramsay.
Kirkudbright. The Bishop of Galloway, and in his absence, Mr Robert Glandynning.
Wigtoun. Mr James Adamsone.
Argyle. The Bishop of Argyle.
Isles. Mr Robert Steuart in absence of the Bishop, and on his expenses.
James Nicolsone, Moderator.
Master Hendrie Philp, Scrybe.
Followeth the tenour of Letters of Charge to Presbytries to accept constant Moderatours.
James by the grace of God &c. For as much as at the General Assemblie of the Kirk keeped at our Burgh of Linlithgow, in the month of December last, and assisted be a very frequent number of the Nobility, Counsel, and Barons of the Kingdome, it was thought very meet and expedient, and in end concluded, and aggreed with uniform consent of the Assemblie, that for the well of the Kirk, and staying of the grouth and number of Papists in this our Kingdome, there should be a constant Moderator for a certain space nominated in every Presbytrie, who should have the charge to inform the Lords of our Secret Counsell of all Papists and recusants in their bounds, and to sute the execution of our laws against them, as in that Act made thereupon at length is contained: Which being seen, and considered be us, we have not only allowed and approved the same, and interponed our authority thereto; but have recommended to our Counsell, that they have a special care and reguard to see the same receive due obedience and execution; likeas … was nominated and appointed Moderator of the Presbytrie of … And albeit it was hoped that this godlie and necessar conclusion, importing so highly the well of the Kirk, should have been with all thankfullness received and embraced be the Presbytries of this our kingdome: nevertheless the Ministers of the Presbytries of … for what cause we know not, refuse, at least delay to receive the said Moderator, and conforme themselves to the ordinance and conclusion foresaid, the continuance whereof will altogether make the same ineffectual, without remeed be provided. Our will is herefor, and we charge you straitly and command, that incontinent these our Letters seen, ye pass, and in our name and authority command and charge … all Ministers of the Presbytrie of … … and their Clerk of the said Presbytrie, to conform themselves to the ordinance and conclusion of the said Assemblie, and to receive their said Moderator, and to acknowledge him in all things dew to the priviledge of that office, without excuse or delay, within 24 hours next after they be charged be you thereto, under the pain of rebellion, and putting of them to our horn; and if they fail therein, the said space being bypast, that ye incontinent thereafter denounce the dissobeyers our rebells, and put them to our horn, and escheat and inbring all their movable goods to our use for their contemption. The which to doe we committ to you conjunctly and severally our full power be these our Letters, delivering them be you dewly executed, and indorsed again to the bearer.
Givin under our Signet at Edinburgh the vi day of January,
and of our reigne the 44 year 1607.
Per actum Secreti Consilij. James Primrose.
Proclamation for proroguing the General Assembly indicated at Linlithgow to be holden at Halyrudhous the last Tuesday of Julie.
James be the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, &c.: For as much as the increase of the adversaries of the truth, and contrarie professours, has proceeded of nothing so much as of the dissention of the Ministrie of our kingdome of Scotland, some of them by natural inclination being enemys of quietness, and turbulent spirits, making choice rather to drink in mudie water, than to taste of the clear fountain, being emboldened be reason of the societie of a great many others who being guiltie of themselves, of their own unworthieness, and small gifts in that respect, out of all hope of preferrment, and therupon envayous, and uncharitable toward their brethren of the best quality; and all of them runne and concur together like a headstrong faction to uphold and maintain an anarchie, and thereby to induce disorder and confusion in that Church, to the great hindrance of the progress of the Gospel, and dishonour and scandal of the professours thereof: Whereupon we of our princely care and fatherly affection to the peace of the Kirk, desiring rather in them to extinguish the fire of division, than to suffer it to grow to any confusion, and being ever willing to an uniformity of minds and affections, did thereupon appoint a most grave, frequent and serious Assemblie, to be keeped at Linlithgow in December last bypast, of a great number of the most godlie, zealous and well affected of the Nobility, Counsel, and small Barons, from all the parts of that our kingdome, as also the most learned and experienced, wise, godlie, and discreet of the Ministrie, from all the Presbytries in great number, by whose travels, care, and wisdome, every occasion and pretext of griefe was in such moderation and godliness removed, that as the same did yield us contentment, so was every thing done in that Assemblie with a great and general applause of all, giving great hopes, that from that furth there should be nothing found but unitie and concord in the Kirk, and that all their meetings thereafter should be full of peace and love; and thereupon, be our special warrant and allowance, it was specially appointed, that the nixt General Assemblie should be conveened and holden at Halyrudhous, the last Tuesday of July nixt to come: But we now perceiving, that, by the means of these evil disposed, turbulent, and contentious spirits, all the proceedings of that Assemblie are brought in question, and traduced; and by some no obedience given, and by others direct opposition made to the Acts concluded at that time, and therewith among the brethren such distraction of minds, and bitter exasperations one against another; and howsoever the meeting of the brethren, if it were in love and peace and unity, no doubt would be good in that Kirk; so there is no question, but their conveening with a preoccupyed mind fraught with envy and malice, would give the enemys too much advantage to enter by that breach of their discord and division, to make themselves strong, and weaken them: Therefor, we, to preveen the danger that is imminent to the estate of the Kirk by the distraction of mens affections therein; and that the General Assemblie may be keeped with the greater tranquility and peace, have thought meet and expedient, the whole Provincial Assemblies, within that our kingdom, shall be keeped and holden at their ordinary places of meeting the 4 of August next to come; and that in every one of the saids Assemblies there be chosen two of the most godlie, peaceable, wise, and grave, of the best experience of their number, with power and commission to conveen at Halyrudhous, the 27 of August next to come, with the remanent Commissioners of the Provinces, and with the Commissioners of the General Assembly, and such of our Counsel as it shall please us to nominat for that effect, there to confer, reason, and conclude, by common advice, upon the most convenient remedys against these evils, which, for lake of sufficient preparation, might fall out at the said General Assembly, that thereafter the same being holden and keeped in such a quiet and peaceable manner as might bring true comfort to the godlie, and terrour to the wicked: And, in the mean time, we have thought expedient, that the General Assemblie, which was to be holden, be prorogued to the 24 of November nixt to come; and that no person presume to keep the said Assemblie in any place whatsomever, untill the time that the Commissioners from the Synods first proceed in their meet ing; and we have appointed the place of keeping the said General Assemblie to be in Dundie the day foresaid. Our will is herefor, and we charge you straitly and command, that incontinent thir our letters seen ye pass, and, in our name and authority, make publication and intimation hereof be open Proclamation &c. Certifying all such as upon any pretext whatsomever shall presume to conveen and assemble themselves, contrare to the tenor and intent of this our Proclamation, they shall be punished and proceeded against, as contemners and disobeyers of this our most royal commandment.
Given under our Signet at our Court of Greenwich the 24 of May, and of our Reigne the 45 years.
Proclamation by the King, for proroguing the General Assemblie.
James be the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, To our Lovites, &c. For as much as the General Assemblie being appointed to be keeped in the month of November nixt to come, at our Burgh of Dundie; and upon a speciall reguard to the well of that Church, for the preventing of all dissorder and confusion in that meeting, which ought to be a president, and should give good example to all others of good order, discretion, and dutiful carriage, we having ordained a meeting of some Commissioners from every Synod in September last, to the effect all things may be so duetifully prepared as the adversaries of the Religion should not take any advantage of the contentions amongst the Brethren at their meeting: But so perverse is the disposition of some, who doe account nothing for oracles, but the invention of their own brain, that disdaining the course concluded be us, and by all appearent directly opposing themselves to the peace of that Church, by absenting themselves, or withstanding the sending of Commissioners to the foresaid meeting, which was appointed in September last, as said is, doe clearlie thereby demonstrat their unquiet and unrulie inclination, as too manifestly appears in this their insolent and wilfull misreguarding of these Acts of the Assemblie at Linlithgow made with so uniform an applause: but whereas this was more than sufficient cause to have stayed the meeting of the said Assemblie, which, without this preceeding preparation, must needs be tumulteous and disorderly; so in like manner, Gods present visitation of our said Burgh of Dundie be the Plague, inforceth the prorogation of the said Assemblie to some other time. As also whereas the last Assemblie keeped in our presence, before our comeing out of that Kingdome, special Commission was given for visitation, the reports whereof are the only special things to be treated on in this Assemblie; yet so great has been the neglect of them who were appointed to goe every one in Circuit within the bounds of their visitation designed, that hitherto the same hath been pretermitted. To the effect, therefor, that in this point the conveening of the said Assemblie should not be ineffectual, we have, by our special Letters, willed these Commissioners then appointed every one to have care in reporting against the time of the Assemblie hereunder mentioned, their several reports of their travels and tryels in their visitation; having also nominated others in place of such of the said Commissioners as since that time are either defeased, exiled, or confined. Our will is, herefore, ye pass, and in our name and authority make publication and intimation be open Proclamation, at the Mercat Crosses of our Burghs of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundie, and other places needful, that the General Assemblie is continued and prorogued to the last Tuesday of Aprile nixt to come, at which time it is to be keeped within our said Burgh of Dundie, and betwixt and then it may be hoped that it may please God of his mercie to remove the said plague of pestilence. And in this mean space all Clergiemen whatsoever of whatsoever rank or degree are discharged heerby; like as that ye in our name and authority discharge them of all conveening in anie form of pretended Assemblie at our said Burgh of Dundie, or any part ells, the said 24 day of November nixt, or any day thereafter before the said last Tuesday of Aprile, under the pain of incurring our high displeasure; and the contempt of the same to be punished in most severe manner and highest degree. The which to doe &c. Be these our Letters given at our Court of Roystoun, the 18 day of October, and of our Reigne the &c. Per Regem.
Proclamation by the King for again proroguing the General Assemblie.
James by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, To our Lovites, &c. our Sheriffs in that part conjunctly and severally, specially constituted, Greeting.
For as much as the General Assembly of the Kirk having, upon many necessary considerations, received sundrie continuations heretofore be our special command and direction, we, of our princely care, and fatherly favour, and affection to the peace and well of this Kirk, having left no good means unassayed to extinguish the fire of division standing amongst the brethren, and to bring them to an uniformity of minds, and harmonie, and charity, and they themselves made the more able and strong to oppose themselves against the adversaries of the truth, and contrarie professours, whose increasing number and practises hath proceeded of nothing so much as the dissention amongst the Ministrie: and the last prorogation and continuation having proceeded upon a godlie course and resolution intended by us be directing of the Commissioners nominated be the General Assemblie with our consent, to have visited the whole Presbytries and particular congregations within this our kingdome; the said visitations, in respect of the long and great storm, and unseasonable time of the year, have received no effect nor execution. And we considering how that it is most necessar and expedient, that this visitation should yet preceed the said Assemblie; and we being minded, if the necessity of other weightie affairs impesche us not, to honour this our native country with our own presence this year, and to be present ourself at the said Assemblie, and be our royal authority settle the present jarres and differences in the Kirk, and establish the same in a perfect unity, love, and harmony: Therefor, we have thought meet yet to proroguat and continue the said Assemblie untill the last Tuesday of July nixt to come, upon which day, God willing, it shall begin and hold at our Burgh of Dundie. Our will is herefor, and we charge you straitly and command, that incontinent these our Letters seen ye pass to the Mercat Crosse of our Burgh of Edinburgh, and other places needfull, and there be open Proclamation make publication hereof, wherethrough none pretend ignorance of the same; and that ye in our name and authority command and charge all and sundrie our subjects of the Ministrie, that none of them presume nor take in hand to hold or keep a General Assemblie at any time or place before the said last Tuesday of July nixt to come, under all highest pain and charge that they may committ, and … against us in that behalf. The which to doe we committ to you, &c. deuly executed, and indorsed again to the bearer.
Given at our Court at Whitehall, the 24 of December, and of
our Reigne the 5, and 41 years 1607.
Articles agreed upon be the Brethren conveened at Falkland the 16 of June 1608, and be way of advice recommended to all the Presbyteries within the kingdom.
1. That the questions presently standing in controversie among the Ministers anent the matters of government, be untouched and unhandled on either side, till the nixt General Assemblie, and no occasion given, be privat or publict speeches, of any farther distraction of minds; but that all by good countenance and otherwise kythe themselves to others, as Brethren, and Ministers of Christ, setting themselves with their endeavours, specialy in doctrine, against Papists, their superstitious religion, and proud pernicious practises.
2. That the General Assemblie hold at the time appointed, which is the last Tuesday of July; and that his Majestie be most humblie intreated for that effect.
3. That in the said Assemblie the commoun affairs of the Kirk shall be handled, and an account of the Commissions given in the Assemblie preceeding; and some solid course advised upon, for disappointing the practises of the enemys, and the advancing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. That nothing which is in controversie and make strife in the Kirk, be treated in the said Assemblie; but the same be conferred upon in a private conference, be such as the Assemblie shall appoint to prepare a way for composeing these differences; and the Assemblie to appoint a meeting of brethren at such times, place, and manner, as they think fit for that effect.
5. That request shall be made to his Majestie, for relaxing the brethren that are confined; and speciallie such of them as have been present at the Conference, that they may keip the said Assemblie.