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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The General Assemblie of the Commissioners from the Presbitries of the Kirk of Scotland, haldin at Lynlithgow, the 26 of Julij 1608: In the quhilk were present the Kings Commissioner, viz. the Earle of Dumbar, &c.
Sessio 1a. 26 Julij.
Exhortatioun being made be Mr Patrick Galloway, Moderatour of the last Assemblie, the brethren, after the accustomed maner, proceidit to the electioun of the Moderatour of this present Assemblie. The leits being nominat, Mrs. Patrick Sharp, James Law, Bischop of Orknay, John Michelsoune, Patrick Lindsay, John Hall, and Patrick Simsone; be pluralitie of votis, Mr James Law, Bischop of Orknay, was chosen Moderatour hac vice.
The Assessours appointit to conveine with the Moderatour in the Privie Conference for treating of such things as are to be concludit in the Assemblie, are these: The Erles of Dumbar, Wigtoun, and Lawthian, with the Collectour Generall, his Majesties Commissioners, the Erles of Glencarne and Kinghorne, the Lords Grahame, Lindsay, Lowdoun, Blantyre, Halierudehous, the Lairds of Balmanie, Kinnaird, Kilsythe, Carnell, the Bischop of Caithnes, Mr William Dowglas, the Bischop of Aberdein, Mr George Hay, the Bischop of brechin, Mr Andro Leich, Mr Patrick Simsone, Bischop chop of Sanct Androes, Mr John Michelsone, Mr Patrick Simsone, Bischop of Dunkeld, Bischop of Dumblaine, Mr William Cowper, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr John Hall, Mr David Hume, Mr John Knox, Bischop of Glasgow, Mr Patrick Sharp, Bischop of Galloway, Mr Alexander Scrymgeour, Mr William Hamiltoun, Mr Thomas Ramsay, Bischop of Argyle.
The houres of meiting are appointit to be, for the Privie Conference aught houres in the morning and twa afternoone; and for the Assemblie nyne houres in the morning and three afternoone.
The brethren appointit for reiding and answering of the bills are Mrs Airthur Futhie, Henrie Philp, John Clappertoun, John Reid, Peter Hewat, Edwart Hepburne, John Hay.
Sessio 2a.27 Julij.
Forsameikle as one of the most speciall causes of the conventioun of this present Assemblie is for suppressing of Papistrie and idolatrie, quhilk daylie more and more increases within this realme, and repressing of Jesuites, Papists, Seminarie Priests, whose number still more and more increases within the same, to the great dishonour of God and overthrow of true religioun profest within this realme, if the same be not with some solid remeid obviat in tyme: Therfor, it is thoght expedient be the Assemblie, that befor all vther things, this article concerning Papists and Papistrie be first advyseit vpon and concludit. And to the effect that the Assemblie may the more solidlie and with the greater light proceid in the said matter, therfor they have ordainit, that the Commissioners of every Synod, at the rysing of this Sessioun, conveine themselves severallie, and make ane roll containing the number of Papists and the names of them within the bounds of thair Synod: Secondly, The causes why Papistrie, idolatrie, and superstitioun is come to so great and hight within this realme: Thridlie, The remeids for suppressing all sorts of Papists and Idolaters within the same, viz. Papists already excommunicat, Papists quho hes sworne and subseryvit to the trueth, and ȝet refuses to imbrace the samein; and Papists that in word professes the trueth, but in actioun and in deid contrair the same: Fourthlie, Quhat forme of proceiding every Synod hes vsit against the Papists within thair bounds: Quhilks articles the said Synods sall put in wryte, and delyver the same to the Privie Conference at thrie afternoone.
It is lykewayes ordainit, that every Synod sall make a particular roll of the names of such as are resetters of Jesuites, trassiqueing Papists, and Seminarie Preists within thair bounds, and delyver the same privilie to the Erle of Dumbar his Maiesties Commissioner, to the effect ordour may be takin theranent.
Item, Because the Marqueis of Huntlie hes bein lang vnder proces and censure of excommunicatioun before the Synods of Aberdein and Murray; and in respect of his contumacie, and obdurat superstitioun of Papistrie and Idolatrie, they have ordourlie led and deduceit the said processe vnto the finall sentence, the giving soorth and pronouncing quherof hes bein continuit be them from tyme to tyme, vpon hope of his Lordships amendement, and turning from Idolatrie and Papisticall superstitioun to the true religioun presentlie profest within this realme; and because they find no hope of the same, but, be the contrair, greater obstinacie: Therfor the haill Assemblie in ane voyce decerns and ordaines the sentence of excommunicatioun to be pronuncit against his Lordship with all possible diligence, and continues the declaratioun of the place quher the same salbe done, and be quhom, to the nixt Assemblie.
Sessio 3a.Eodem die.
In presence of the haill Assemblie, compeirit Sir Thomas Ker of Hircha, Knight, in name of George Marqueis of Huntlie, and presentit ane supplication, in name of the said noble Lord, bearand as followes: Because that conscience is the only argument that moveit me this wayes to protract tyme till I have persytit resolutioun, and being sarre from ane opinator, or ane that is givin over to selfe will, as appeirit be my ȝeilding to conference, and, lastlie, be my going to the Kirk, I first wold have craved, if possiblie it might have bein done, that I might have bein heard with my awin mouth, that I might most heartlie intreate it, that ane tyme might be condiscendit on be ȝour Wisdoms, within the quhilk, as it sall please ȝou to conclude, I offer either to satissie the Kirk, or presently to find suretie vnder great sowmes to avoyd the countrey befor this day to be prescryved be ȝour Wisdomes. Et sic subscribitur, Huntlie. And conforme therto desyrit the same to be considderit, and requeists, in respect of the offers therin conteinit, the pronouncing of the sentence of excommunicatioun agains his Lordship might be continewit.
Wherewith the haill Assemblie being rypelie advysit, sand the offers conteinit in the said supplicatioun to be verie frivolous, and no wayes inclyning to obedience and satisfactioun; in respect quherof, and for many vther causes and consideratiouns, and in speciall, because his Lordship, be his band, subscryvit with his hand the last day of Junij 1608 ȝeirs, presentlie produceit in face of the Assemblie be the Commissioners of Aberdein, band and obleist himselfe to satisfie the Kirk, be communicating betuixt the dait therof and the 17 day of July last bypast, vtherwayes the Ministrie to proceid with the sentence of excommunicatioun against him, as at mair lenth in the said band is conteinit: Therfor, the haill Assemblie, all in ane voyce, ordaines the sentence of excommunicatioun presentlie to be pronouncit against him be the Moderatour of the Assemblie, in face of the haill Assemblie, but any delay.
Conforme to the quhilk ordinance, Mr James Law, Bischop of Orknay, Moderatour of this present Assemblie, in face therof, in most solemne forme, pronouncit the sentence of excommunication against George Marques of Huntlie.
Quhilk sentence is ordainit to be intimat in all the kirks within this realme, be the Ministrie the nixt Sonday immediatlie after thair returning from this Assemblie; and in speciall, they command and ordaine the brethren of the Synod of Aberdein and Murray to intimate the said sentence in the saids kirks immediatlie after thair returning, and inhibites and most straitlie charges them, and every ane of them, that they receive no offers of satisfactioun from the said Marqueis, but the speciall [advyce] of his Majestie and the Kirk had therto.
The Commissioners appointit in the former Sessioun for giving in the names of Papists, and [the causes of] thair increase, and remeid to obviat the same, produceit thair particular rolls, containing the [said heads, which the Assemblie thought good should be revised,] abridgit, and put in order be the Bischop of Glasgow, Mr Patrick Symsone, Mr William Cowper, Mr John Clappertoun, Mr John Hall, and Mr George Hay, to the effect the same might be presentit be them to the Privie Conference the nixt morning, that therafter they may be intreattit in face of the Assemblie.
Sessio 4a 28 Julij.
Forsameikle as the brethren of the Presbitrie of Glasgow and Synod of Cliddisdaill, who were appointit to deale and conferre with William Erle of Angus, Lord Dowglas, for bringing of him from blindness and superstitioun of Papistrie and Idolatrie to the acknowledging of the trueth presentlie profest within this realme, did testifie in presence of the Assemblie, that they could sie no appearance in his Lordship of conversioun from his errours, but that rather by all evident tokins he was the more obstinat and obdurit in heresie of Papistrie, quhilk sometyme he abjurit befor, be subseryveing of the true religioun presentlie profest within this realme: Therfor, the Generall Assemblie decerns and ordaines the Presbitrie of Glasgow to proceid against the said William Erle of Angus with the censures of the Kirk vnto the finall pronouncing of the sentence of excommunicatioun aganis him inclusivé, with all possible diligence, and that they pronounce the said sentence of excommunicatioun against him, betuixt and the 18 of September nixt to come; to quhom the Assemblie comitts thair haill power to that effect, dischargeing and inhibiteing any of them to receive any offers of the said Noble Lord for absolving him of the said sentence, without the advyse of his Majestie and Commissioners of the Assemblie had and obteinit therto.
Forsameikle as the brethren of the Presbitrie of Perth, quho were appointed to deale and conferre with Francis Erle of Erroll, Lord Hay, for bringing of him from blindness and superstitioun of Papistrie and Idolatrie to the acknowledging of the trueth presently profest within this realme, did testifie in presence of the Assemblie, that they could fie no appeirance in his Lordship of conversioun from his errours, but that rather be all evident tokins he was the more obstinat and obdurit in his erracie of Papistrie, quhilk he sometyme abjurit before, be subscriving to the true religioun presentlie profest within this realme: Therfor, the Generall Assemblie decerns and ordaines the Presbitrie of Perth to proceid against the said Erle with the censures of the Kirk, vnto the final pronouncing of the sentance of excommunicatioun against him inclusivé, with all possible diligence, and that they pronounce the said sentance against him betwixt and the 18 day of September next to come; to quhom the Assemblie commits thair full power to that effect, dischargeing and inhibiteing any of them to receive any offers from the said Noble Lord for absolving him fra the said sentence, without the advyce of his Majestie and Commissioners of the Assemblie had and obteinit therto.
Forsameikle as be the declaration of [the brethren of] the Presbitrie of Irwing, it was made known to the Assemblie, that after long dealing and conference had be them with the Lord Sempill for bringing him to the acknowledging of the trueth, [and embracing the true and sincere religion] presentlie profest [within this realme,] they could not reape any good fruit of thair labours and travells takin with him, but be the contrair he still continues obstinat and obdurit in his detestabill errour of Papistrie and Idolatrie, to the great hurt and evill example of the rest of the countrey: Therfor, the Generall Assemblie presentlie conveinit charges straitlie [and commands] Mr Alexander Scrymgeour, Moderatour of the Presbitrie of Irwing, vnder the paine of insamie and deprivatioun from his functioun, to pronounce the sentence of excommuncatioun against the said Lord Sempill, in the Kirk of Irvine, vpon the Sonday the 14 day of August nixt to come, after the sermoun, but any [delay or] impediment quhatsumevir: And that the haill brethren of the Ministrie within the bounds of the Synod of Kyle, Carrick, and Cunighame, intimat the sentence of excommunicatioun so pronouncit against the said Lord Sempill, every ane of them at thair awin Paroch Kirks, vpon Sonday nixt and imediatlie following therafter; discharging and inhibiteing also the said Moderatour and remanent brethren of the said Synod to receive any offers of satisfactioun from the said Lord Sempill, but advyse of the Kings Majestie and Commissioners of the Generall Assemblie had and obtainit therto.
Sessio 5a. Eodem die.
The brethren appointit of befor for reviseing and putting in ordour of the causes of the increase of Papistrie within this realme, and of the overtures for remeiding and suppressing of the same, gave in the saids causes and remeid therof; of the quhilk the tenour followes:
The causes of the growth and increase of Papistrie within this realme are thought either to arise of the part of the Ministrie, or els of vther causes ariseing from the Ministrie.
First, Thair negligence to sie the ȝouth in every parochin to be brought vp in the knowledge of the trueth by catechising; and carelesnes to vrge provisioun for Schooles within thair bounds.
Secondlie, The rasch and sudden admissioun of men to the Ministrie that are not able to withstand and convince the adversarie, a dangerous evill in the dayes of apostasie.
Thirdlie, The laike of care in Ministers to marke the offences, viz. to consider the course of the enemie, and to discover and dilate Jesuites and trassiquers against religioun, and vthers pervertit by them.
Fourthlie, The distraction ariseing among the Ministrie, quhill as diversitie of judgements hes drawin them vnadvysedlie to contrarietie of affectiouns, breeding carnall contentiouns among themselves.
Overtures for remeiding of the causes forsaids.
First, That it be of new inactit, that all Ministers examine ȝoung children of the age of fixe ȝeirs, and try that they have the Lords Prayer, the Articles of Beleife, and the Comandements; in the quhilk thair parents salbe haldin to instruct them before the saids ȝeirs, together with some short forme of grace befor and after meate, and some short morning and evening prayer: and agane, that thair growth in knowledge in greater points of religioun be tryed, that afterward it may please God to grant increase of knowledge at the age of fyftein or saxetein ȝeirs, they may be admittit to the holie Communioun.
Secondlie, That the Apostles precept be considderit, Lay hands fuddainlie on no man: And according to it, that for closing of the doore vpon the affectiouns of men, some longer tyme to be prescryvit for admissioun of men to the Ministrie; the exceptioun of rare gifts being reservit to the judgement of the Generall Assemblie.
Thirdlie, That Ministers quho salbe found after tryall to have delayit the executioun of discipline against Papists vpon negligence, that is, either not beginning processe, or, if it be begun, not ending the same within halfe ane ȝeir, sall lose ane ȝeirs stipend; and those that salbe found to have done it vpon some corrupt favour, salbe simplie deposeit.
Fourthlie, That ther be recomendit to the Ministrie a holie care mutuallie to eschew offences, and follow peace and love quhervnto we are callit. The meanes for removing such offences is reserrit to the Generall Assemblie.
Causes of the growth of Papistrie as they are conceivit to aryse of vthers.
First, The oversieing of Seminarie Preists and Jesuites to trassique within the land, for perverting of such as hes not had occasioun to goe out of the countrey, and impunitie of such as hes receivit them; as also the libertie of evill disposed persons voyde of knowledge, hes takin of the iniurie of tyme, to bring hame the books of apostats and profest Papists.
Secondlie, The preferment of men suspect of religioun to publick offices within this realme.
Thridlie, The favour shewin be these that are in authoritie to traffiquers and excommunicat Papists, after that they had been apprehendit [and wardit,] sick as the Abbot of Newabbay and vthers Mess Preists dimittit out of ward, as it is thoght not without reward, and without all warrand of his Majestie, and presentlie tolerate in the countrey without persute, quhilk hes not only wroght a coldnes in religioun in the hearts of many peiple, bot also nourischit a false opinioun of his Majestie, quhilks oppinly bursts out in the mouthes and speaches of many.
Fourthlie, That quher Presbitries are proceiding in the tryall of Mess sayers and mess hearers, impediment is made by the Lords of his Majesties Counsell, either by advocatioun befor the Lords, or dispensatioun to such as are excommunicat, or by contramanding the Presbitries to desist vnder the paines of horning; and that excommunicatioun being producit against any persone befor the Judges, the same is not regairdit, but processe granted vnto him as if he were a member of the Kirk and not excommunicat.
Fystlie, The great libertie grantit to the subiects of this kingdome to repaire to such parts, quherin nothing is taught but defectioun from religioun, and treason against lawfull Princes, and no securitie takin for thair constancie; and in speciall, the sending of Noblemens sonnes by such as are in authoritie, foorth of the land, with such convoy as may delyver them into the hands of Papists to be pervertit in religioun, quhervpon many of them are become apostats.
Last, The want of Preachers in many congregatiouns in this land, so that in ane province thretie ane Kirks are to be found vakand, and in vthers some 17 as in Nithesdaill, and in vthers 28 as in Annerdaill, and sicklyke throughout many vther parts of this land.
Overtures for remeiding of the causes forsaids.
First, That a commissioun be granted be his Majestie to the Bischop of every Synod, with such weill affected noblemen and gentlemen as the Com missioners of the Generall Assemblie sall nominat, to apprehend traffiqueing Papists, Jesuites, and Seminarie Preists that does haunt within thair bounds, with power to charge the receipters to make patent doores and delyver them vp vnder the paine of treassoun.
Secondlie, That his Majestie be humblie intreatit, that no Papists or suspect of Papistrie beare charge in Counsell, Sessioun, Governement of Townes, nor vther Publick Offices; and if ther be any in the estate presentlie quhom his Hienes knowis, in his awin wisdome, to be men evill affectit towards religioun, that his Majestie wald be pleasit to take ordour therwith.
Thridlie, That his Majestie will give ordour for executioun of his Hienes lawis against Papists and traffiquers with all rigour, and that no favour be grantit be any officer of estate without his Majesties privitie, vnder paine of incurring his hie displeasure; as also, that the Counsell make no impediment by thair letters of horning to discharge the proceiding of Presbitries against the persons forsaids.
Fourthlie, That Papists quho once have bein knowin professours of Pa pistrie, and for eschewing of civill paines, or hope of preferment, will abjur thair religioun, that his Majestie will please to cause inact, that it sall no be laufull to such to enjoy any office or honour in the Comounwealth, notwithstanding of thair aith and communicating, vntill fyve ȝeirs probatioun have bein takin of thair constancie and sinceritie in the professioun of the trueth.
Fyftlie, That the Act made at Bruntiland concerning the sons of noble men and vthers passing vnto other countries be considdered and confirmed, quherof the tenour followes:
Item, For eschewing of farther ill quhilk might come to the estate of religioun, be the evill educatioun of the ȝouth foorth of the countrey, it wald be cravit of his Majestie and Secreit Counsell, that such noblemen and vthers as directs a paedagogue with thair sons foorth of the countrey, that thair paedagogue be knowin godly and of good religioun, learnit and instructit in the same, and approvit in his religioun be the testimoniall of his Presbitrie; that thair remaining foorth of the countrey be in the places quher the religioun is presentlie profest, or, at the leist, quher ther is no restraint of the same be the crueltie of Inquisitioun; that dureing the tyme of thair absence they sall not have any idolatrous exercise of religioun; and such as hes not the moyen to sustaine a paedagogue with thair sons foorth of the countrey, that they send them to sick parts quher ther is no restraint of religioun; and in cace thair sons, after thair departure out of the countrey, haunt these parts quher the [professioun of the] true religioun is restrainit, that they find cautioun not to intertaine them. And in case any that passes foorth of the countrey imbrace any vther religioun then that quhilk is presentlie profest within this realme, and this to be ane exceptioun against the service of thair breives, and at the tyme of the admissioun of them to any office or honours; and in cace any of thair parents contravene any of these premisses, that they incurre such paines as his Majestie and Secret Counsell sall modifie; and that such as are alreadie out of the countrey either be callit back againe befor ane day to be appointit be his Majestie and Secret Counsell, or els that thair parents be subiect to the lyke conditiouns as is befor sett downe, with such vther conditiouns to be eikit as his Majestie sall think expedient: And in speciall, for better explanatioun heirof, that at every service of any man as heire to his father or any of his predecessours, he be not servit be the Shireff or any vther ordinar Judge to burgh or land, but the testimoniall of the Bischop and Moderatour of the Presbitrie quher he dwells, beirand the confession of his faith and integritie of religioun presently profest within this realme.
Sextlie, That the sonnes of such noblemen as professes Papistrie be delyverit to the custodie of vthers thair noble friends that are of religioun, to be brocht vp in the knowledge of the trueth.
Sevinthlie, That the searchers of merchandize broght hame from beyond seas, be comandit to sease vpon all bookes broght hame, and present them to be tryit be the Ministrie of the Presbitrie vnto the quhilk they arrive; and that all bookesellers lykewayes doe the same befor they make opin seale therof, vnder the paine of confiscatioun.
Auchtlie, That excommunicat Papists, speciallie such as be of rank, be apprehendit and put in close ward, and none have accesse vnto them but such as are of religioun presentlie professit.
Nyntlie, That his Majestie give ordour for the downe casting of the Laird of Gichts chappell, the house of John Chein in Essilmonth, quho receipts all Jesuits and Seminarie Preists.
Tentlie, That ordour be takin with the Pilgrimages, viz. the Chappell callit Ordiquhell and the Chappell of Grace, and ane Well in the bounds of Enzie, on the south syde of Spey.
Elevintlie, That sick persons as are or salbe excommunicat and beares publick office within this realme, and therafter put to the horne, that they nor thair deputs sall bruik no office nor authoritie vnder his Majestie after thair denunciatioun, but that his Majestie sall appoint vthers in thair rowmes to doe and ministrat justice to his Majesties lieges.
Last, That his Majestie wald take ordour anent the planting of the Kirks that are presentlie destitute of Pastors, and in speciall, anent the Kirks of the Chappell Royall.
Quhilks haill causes of increase of Papistrie within this realme, with the overtures for remeiding therof, the Assemblie hes thoght expedient that the same be direct to his Majestie, with ane humble supplicatioun, requeisting his Hienes to take such ordour theranent, as his Majestie sall think most expedient for repressing of Papistrie, and increase of the trueth and light of the Gospell within this realme: whervnto the Erle of Dumbar, his Majesties Commissioner, with the remanent of the Nobilitie presentlie conveinit in this Assembly, hes promisit to concurre: And therfor the Assemblie hes nominat, and be thir presents nominats [George Earle of Dumbar,] Erle of Wigtoun, John Archbischop of Glasgow, Levingstoun of Kilsyth, Mr William Cowper, Minister at Perth, James Nisbit burges of Edinburgh, and Mr William Hart of Prestoun, thair verie laufull Commissioners, giving them their full power to present the humble supplicatiouns of this present Assemblie to his Majestie, together with the causes of increase of Papistrie, and overtures for remeid therof above rehearsit, desireing them that they wald earnestlie intreat his Majestie to consider of the same; and if his Hienes thoght expedient to cause the same to be put to executioun, and that the rather because that after the last Conventioun haldin at Lynlithgow, quher ther was many good actis and constitutiouns sett downe and concludit, the Papists, neverthelesse, did most proudlie and contemptuouslie vpbraid diverse of the Ministrie, manassing them that they or the nobilitie conveinit with them at that tyme, durst be bold to conclude any thing that might protend to the prejudice of Papists or Papistrie, as was cleirly vnderstood be the brethren conveinit in this Assemblie.
Sessio 6a. 29 Julij, Ante meridiem.
The quhilk day the Assemblie thoght expedient, that the Commissioners above specified, electit and chosin to present the supplicatioun of this present Assemblie to his Majestie, as is above rehearsit, sall with all commodious diligence repaire to his Majestie, and with all humilitie present the said supplicatioun to his Majestie, and quhat ansuer it sall please his Hienes to give, that they report the same betuixt and the 15 of November nixt to come: And to that effect the Assemblie hes chosin out of their number the Noblemen, Barrons, and Brethren vnderwrytin, viz. Erles of Craufurd, Mortoun, Glencairne, Lythgow, Kinghorne, Lords Grahame, Lindsay, Saltoun, Lovat, Torphichen, Lowdoun, Scone, Balcleugh, Blantyre, Halierudehous, the Constable of Dundie, the Lairds of Kynnaird, Balvaird, Carnell, Houstoun, Admistoune, Broxmouth, Polwart, Sir John Hoome of Northberwick, The Commissioners of Edinburgh, Perth, Sanct Androes, Glasgow, with the brethren after following, viz. Mrs William Dowglas, Alexander Rawsone, Abraham Sibbald, John Reid, Arthur Futhie, Andro Ramsay, John Kynneir, David Lindsay, Adame Ballantyne, Patrick Weimes, Edward Hepburne, George Ramsay, William Methven, Patrick Shaw, William Birnie, Walter Stewart, Hew Fullertoun, John M'Quhorne, Thomas Ramsay, Robert Glendinning, together with the Commissioners of this Generall Assemblie, to conveine at Edinburgh the said 15 day of November nixt to come, and ther to receive from the said Commissioners the report of his Majesties most gracious answer to the supplicatioun forsaid, in name of the haill Assemblie: And in the meane tyme, the Assemblie commands and ordaines the haill Presbitries within this realme to proceid against Papists of all sorts within thair bounds with the censures of excommunicatioun.
The said day the Commissioners of the last Generall Assemblie being callit to give count of thair haill proceidings since the last Assemblie, compeirit and offerit themselves to be tryit in thair proceidings be this present Assemblie, and to abyde at the censure of the same; and being demandit for productioun of thair acts and proceidings in wryt, declarit be the mouth of Mr John Hall, thair Moderatour, in absence of Mr Patrick Galloway, that the same could not be found, be reason that sometyme vmquhile Mr James Nicolsone, Minister at Meagle, and in his absence vmquhile Richard Thomesoune, Minister at Cassiltoun, were ordinar scrybes and keipers of the rolls of all thair proceidings, quho are both deceissit this lyfe; and albeit they have made travells at their executours hands for obtaining of the saids scrowis, ȝet they could in no wayes attaine vnto the same; and therfor they and everie ane of them did offer themselves to be particularlie censurit be this present Assemblie; [in respect whereof the Assemblie] ordainit them all to remove: quhilk being done, Mr William Couper, Moderatour, appointit to this effect, demandit publicklie, if any of the Assemblie had ought to object against the saids Commissioners proceidings why the same might not be ratified and allowit: and in respect of the taciturnitie of the haill brethren, and that nothing worthie of censure was objectit to any of them for thair proceedings, the saids Commissioners being returnit in the Assemblie, tooke instruments of the ratificatioun and allowance of thair saids proceidings.
The said day, the brethren of the Generall Assemblie presentlie conveinit having advysedlie considerit the [necessity of] electing and choosing of Commissioners from this present Assemblie, for giving advyce to his Majestie for suppressing of Papisticall superstitioun quhilk increases more and more daylie within this realme: Therfor they have made, constitute, and ordainit, lykeas they, be the tenour heirof, maks, constitutes, and ordaines Mr George Glaidstanes, Bischop of Sanct Androes, Mr John Spottiswood, Bischop of Glasgow, Mr David Lindsay, Bischop of Ros, Mr Alexander Lindsay, Bischop of Dunkeld, Mr Peter Blackburne, Bischop of Aberdein, Mr James Law, Bischop of Orknay, Mr Alexander Dowglas, Bischop of Murray, Mr Gawin Hamiltoun, Bischop of Galloway, Mr Alexander Forbes, Bischop of Cathnes, Mr Andro Lamb, Bischop of Brechin, Mr Andro Knox, Bischop of the Yles, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr David Hoome, Mr John Clappertoun, Mr John Knox, Mr Robert Howie, Mr John Hall, Mr John Caulcleugh, Mr John Strauchane, Mr Andro Boyd, Mr Andro Leich, Mr Robert Wilkie, Mr Patrick Sharp, Mr Patrick Symsone, Mr George Hay, Mr Patrick Lindsay, Mr William Scott, Mr Adame Ballantyne, Mr John Hay, Mr William Cowper, or any elevin of them, thair verie lawfull and vndoubtit Commissioners from this present Assemblie; giveand, grantand, and committand to them, or any elevin of them, as said is, thair full power to plant such kirks in the speciall Burrowstounes as presentlie are or salve [found] destitute of Pastors, befor the nixt Assemblie.
Attour, If it sall happin the Kings Majestie to be greivit at any of the Ministrie for quhatsomevir enormitie committit be any of them against his Hienes, with power to them, or any eleving of them, to try and cognosce thervpon, and take such ordour theranent as they sall think expedient to the glorie of God and weill of the Kirk; and, finallie, with power to them to present the greives and petitiouns of the Kirk to his Majestie, his Hienes Secreit Counsell, [Generall] Conventiouns, and Parliaments that sall happin to occurre befor the nixt Assemblie, and to crave redresse of the same: ordaining them to give compt of thair proceidings to the nixt Assemblie quhen it sall happin to conveine. Promitten de rato, &c.
It is alwayes speciallie provydit, that this present nominatioun of the same Commissioners, quhilks were for the most part Commissioners in the last Assemblie, salbe no wayes prejudiciall to the libertie of the Assemblie in choosing and electing Commissioners quhom they sall think most meitt and expedient; neither sall this electioun induce or import any perpetuitie of the office in the persons electit.
Item, It is statute, that the haill Commissioners be desyrit and warnit to keip all thair conventiouns, if opportunelie the same may be done.
Forsameikle as the distractiouns and eyelists, quhilk are suspectit to be in the hearts of the brethren among themselves, is one of the most speciall and vrgent causes of the increase of Papists and Papistrie within this realme: Therfor, for avoyding therof, that certaine of the brethren, viz. the Bischops of Sanct Androes, Glasgow, Ros, Orknay, Mr John Hall, Mr Patrick Simsone, Mr William Cowper, and Mr John Knox, conveine with his Majesties Commissioner to advyse vpon the most solid and substantious overture for removeing of the eyelists and distractiouns, and to report the same to the Assemblie the nixt Sessioun.
Sessio 7a. 26 Julij. Post meridiem.
The said day, the brethren appointit for advyseing vpon the best overtures anent the distractiouns and eyelists that were entrit in the hearts of the Ministrie, declarit, that after mature deliberatioun they fand the saids eyelists and controversies to arise either vpon distractiouns of affectiouns, or vpon diversitie of opiniouns; the first quherof being carnall, and therfor more dangerous, because it sufferit not the brethrein whose affectiouns were separatit to vnite themselves with efauld and vniforme counsell and advyce, to resist the subtile practice of the commoun enemie, and so give him place with his subtile crasts and schifts to enter in the Kirk of God, and therby to supplant and vndermyne the same: Therfor, thair advyce was, that as the danger increases be the nourishing of the distractit affec tiouns of the brethren, even so the cure was the more necessar, and the more hastilie to be applyit, to wit, that the haill brethren in the Ministrie sould presentlie, in the feare of God, lay downe all rancour and distractiouns of heart and affectiouns, quhilk either of them hes borne against vthers in any tymes bypast, and be reunited and reconcileit with heartie affectioun in Christ, as becomes them quho are Ministers of the Word of God, and Preachers of peace and Christian love and charitie to his people; to the effect that by this heartie reconciliatioun, thair hearts and devyse may be communicat for dissappointing of the craftie devyse of the commoun enemie: Quhilk advyce the haill brethren of the Assemblie most lovinglie and heartilie imbraceit, and ordainit every ane of them, asweill Commissioners present as of the Ministrie that were absent, to obey the same by laying downe all grudge or rancour that any of the brethren doe beare at vthers; in tokin quherof, and of the effauld vnioun of hearts and affectiouns, they all held vp thair hands to God, testifieing to his Majestie the truth of thair hearts in the said matter: And lykewayes they ordainit the same to be intimat to the rest of thair brethren at thair returning to thair Presbitries, to the effect that the samein may be done in every Presbitrie immediatlie after thair returning, as said is; inhibiteing also and discharging any such distractiouns or rancour to be among them, either in affectioun, or in word, deid, or countenance, but that they concurre in ane mutuall friendship and holie amitie in God, as becomes the Pastours of the Kirk of Christ; and quhosoevir does in the contrair, that he be censurit in his awin Presbitrie or Synod; and in cace of thair negligence, be the Commissioners of the Generall Assemblie.
As for the second cause of eyleists, quhilk is said to arise vpon diversitie of opiniouns, because the said diversitie of opiniouns results vpon different judgements amangs the brethren concerning the externall governement and discipline of the Kirk, quhilk cannot be so shortlie discussit and advyseit vpon as the brevitie of this Assemblie permitts: Therfor, it was the opinioun of the brethren forsaid, that the same sould be delayit to ane tyme more convenient, and in the meanetyme certaine appointit to reason, treat, and advyse vpon the same: quhilk lykewayes the Assemblie hes thoght expedient, and therfor, they have electit and chosin the brethren after following, viz. the Bischop of Sanct Androes, Bischop of Glasgow, Bischop of Dunkeld, Bischop of Orknay, Bischop of Cathnes, Mr Patrick Sharp, Mr Robert Howie, Mr John Michelsone, Mr Henrie Philp, Mr George Hay, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr John Hall, Mr Patrick Simsone, Mr William Scott, Mr Archibald Ofwell, Mr John Knox, Mr John Carmichaell, Mr Adame Ballantyne, Mr John Weimes, and Mr William Cowper, thair Commissioners in that pairt, to conveine with his Majestie, or sick of his Majesties Counsell as be his Majestie is appointit, [at such tyme and places as they shall be requyrit be his Majestie] and to treat, reason, and consult vpon all matters standing presentlie in controversie among the brethren anent the discipline of the Kirk; and quhatsoevir they aggrie vpon to report to the nixt Generall Assemblie.
And in the meanetyme, quhill the nixt Assemblie, for ane interim, the advyse of the brethren conveinit at Falkland, the 16 of Junij last, be observit anent the constant Moderatour.
Item, It is statute and ordainit, that as vpon every fyft day of August, publick thanksgiving is given to God, for the preservatioun of his Majestie from the treason of sometyme John Erle of Gowrie, throughout all the parts of Great Britaine, that evin so the same be intimat at every paroch Kirk with all possible deligence, ordaining that such as refuses to doe the same, be observit and delait to the Commissioners of the Generall Assemblie.
Item, Because the brethren appointit for tryall of the diligence of the Commissioners appointit be the last Generall Assemblie for visitatioun of the Presbitries, did report, that it was ane generall greife and complaint givin in be the few Commissioners, that had produceit thair diligence, of the great desolatioun of the want of Pastours, and in speciall of the farest of the South and North parts: Therfor the brethren ordaines the Commissioners of this Assemblie to direct ane supplicatioun to his Majestie for taking ordour for planting of the haill Kirks within this realme.
And in respect of the great necessitie of the Kirks of Annerdaill, Ewisdaill, and Eskdaile, and the rest of the Kirks of the Daills quhilk are altogether vnplantit, as lykewayes of the Kirks of Cathnes and Ros, in the quhilks it is regraitit that in many of them the holie communioun was never celebrate: Therefor, the Assemblie has givin and grantit, lykeas they, be the tenour heirof, gives and grants thair full power and commissioun to the brethren vnderwrytin, viz. to the Bischop of Glasgow, [and Mr John Knox,] for visitatioun of the Kirks of Annerdaill, Ewisdaill, Eskdaile, and the rest of the Daills vnplantit, as said is; and to the Bischop of Cathnes, George Dowglas, and Mr William Dowglas, for visitatioun of the Kirks of Cathnes and Ros, with power to them to plant Ministers at the Kirks within the saids bounds respective; and to try the literature, qualificatioun, and conversatioun of such as are already plantit, and in cace of vnsufficiency to deprive them from thair functiouns; with power also to cause kirks be reedified quher as they are demolished; and if neid beis to vnite kirks quher necessitie requyers; and to report thair diligence to the nixt Assemblie: Promitten de rato &c.
Sessio vltima. Penultimo die Julij, ante meridiem.
Item, Because ane great part of the desolatioun of Kirks proceids from the absence of certaine of the Ministrie from thair flocks, be reason they are so confynit: Therefor, the Assemblie hes thoght it expedient, that thair Commissioners direct ane humble supplicatioun to his Majestie, humblie desyreand his Hienes to sett at libertie such of the Ministrie as are consynit, to the effect be thair presence and waiting on thair cure, thair flocks may be conforted, quhilks are now left desolate.
Item, Because it is humblie lamentit that the inhabitants of the towne of Aberdein ceases not ȝeirlie to elect and choose such persons to be Magistrats and vpon thair Counsell as are wilfull and profest Papists, and enemies to the trueth profest within this realme, to the dishonouring of God, dishearting of such as feares his name, and to the contempt of discipline within that burgh: Therefor, it is ordainit [be the Assemblie,] that the Presbitrie of Aberdein inhibit the Counsell and inhabitants of the said burgh, that they elect nor choose no Papists to beare office of ane Magistrate or vpon any Counsell in any tyme comeing, and if they doe in the contrair, that they proceid against them with the censures of the Kirk; ordaining lykewayes the Commissioners appointed for his Majestie to adjoyne this petitioun to the rest of thair supplicatiouns, that by his royall authoritie ane civill paine may be imponit vpon the contraveiners of the said act.
Item, It is ordainit, that no Minister in any tyme comeing sall take vpon him to solist in favours of Papists, or suspect of Papistrie, either before the civill or spirituall Judge, or vtherwayes, either be word or wryte, vnder the paine of deprivatioun.
Item, Because ther is sundrie supplicatiouns and bills givin into the Generall Assemblie, quhilk for the shortnes of tyme cannot be decydit and ansuerit: Therfor, the Generall Assemblie remitts the same to thair Com missioners above constitute, ordaining them to conveine vpon the 15 day of November nixt to come, and ther to decyde and ansuer all such bills and supplicatiouns as salbe directit vnto them vpon the back, from this present Assemblie.
Item, Because it hes pleased God of his mercie to grant a good and happie successe to this present Conventioun, to the confort of his awin Kirk, and discontentment of the enemies, therefor the Assemblie ordaines the same to be intimat be every Presbitrie at thair severall paroch Kirks immediately after the dissolving of this Conventioun, and that they give publick thanks for the same, and pray God for a prosperous and long reigne to his Majestie and the health of his royall posteritie.
The nixt Generall Assemblie is ordainit to hald at Edinburgh the last Tuesday of May 1609 ȝeirs, if his Majestie sall think expedient.
Thanks being givin to God for the prosperous event of this present Assemblie be prayer and singing of psalmes, the same was dimissit.
[Extract furth of the Registers of the Acts of the General Assemblie by me Mr Thomas Nicolsone, Clerk Keeper and Extractor therof. C.]
[Proclamation by the King for proroguing the meeting of the Commissioners appointed be the last Assembly, from the 15 of November till the 6 of December.
James be the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, To our Lovites, &c. Messengers, our Sheriffs in that part conjunctly and severally, specialy constituted, Greeting. Forasmuch as although the first advertisement of the godly forwardness and zeal kythed be these of our Nobility, Clergy, and the other Estates of this our kingdom, conveened lately in a General Assemblie at our Burgh of Linlithgow, did give unto us no small cause of joy and contentment, that there should be so great a number of well affected and disposed people in religion within our said kingdome in these dayes, when blindness and ignorance have taken so great hold in forain parts; yet since that first advertisement, we are so much the more satisfied and contented with their whole proceedings, being certified of the same at length by our oun Commissioner who was present all the time thereof, and be repair hither of some Commissioners selected out of everie Estate, and directed be the said Assemblie, suited unto us for the allowance of certain matters moved amongst them; upon the first hearing of which propositions, we having clearly discovered the true difference betuixt the lawfull and unlawfull meetings, and the good fruits that well licensed and lawfull conveened Assemblies will produce, concurring together in a continued harmonie to advert the common enemy, and to deliberat upon such matters, whereby his grouth and increase may be stayed; and that such in whom errours are so far rooted as there is no hope of reclaiming, may be either utterly suppressed, or at least brought to that case, that they need not to be feared in any fort, or reguarded; and not according to some late proofe of unlawfull conventicles, who upon a hair brained folie do preasse to rais a schesim in the Church, and by division doe give that advantage to the enemy, that their untimous concurring afterward together will hardly gett remeeded: and as love is the main point in all religion, so the tokens of a general uniformity amongst the Clergy and other Estates there conveened, uttered be them before the disolving of their Assemblie, did testifie to the world, with what true sincerity and affection of heart that whole meeting was; wherein their proceedings, by excommunication of one of the great subjects in this land, did therewith shew the small reguard they have to offend any that are of contrarie profession; which as we cannot but commend very much in them, so since the Almightie God hath been pleased to committ the Patrocinie of this Church in our dominions to our care and protection as his Lieutennant here on earth, and nurse Father of the same, we intend no way to be defective therein, but to assist all the lawfull proceedings of that Church, as well in advancing the Gospel as repressing contrarie professours. And having considered the petitions brought unto us by these Commissioners sent from the said Assemblie, as we doe very well allow of the same, so for the better incouraging of these who have had this turn in hand, of whom we hold everie one in their oun degree to have deserved our special thanks, and to affray all such who dare kyth themselves of a contrarie faith; it being certified unto us, that, at the dissolving of the said Assemblie, certain of everie Estate were appointed to meet at Edinburgh, the 15 of November nixt, to attend the Commissioners return, and to understand from them our acceptation of the propositions brought hither with them; and we being willing not only to declare our allowance of the same, but farther to authorize and countenance the same with our royal authority and pouer, have therefor thought meet to appoint a Convention of our Estates of this our kingdom, the 6th day of December nixt, against which time we doe intend to send doun thither our particular pleasure and will concerning all these petitions prefered be the said Commissioners to us. Our will is, therefor, and we charge you straitly and command, that incontinent these our Letters seen ye pass to the Mercat Cross of our Burghs of Edinburgh, Perth, Sterline, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Elgine, Dumfries, and other places needfull, and there, in our name and authority, be open Proclamation, make intimation to all such who expect for the return of our answere at the said 15 day of November, that they repair to our said Burgh of Edinburgh, the said 6 day of December nixt, where we intend not only a good, plausable and acceptable answere delivered for the true comfort of all good professours; but that some such farther courses also shall be concluded upon by our Estates to be at that time convened, as may most avail for the prosecuting of ....... may both repreasse the common enemy; and that, in this happie union of the Church of that our Kingdome, God his glory may be advanced, and true religion professed.
Given at our Mannour of Hamptoun Court, the 2d day of October,
and of our reigne the 6, and 42 years, 1608.
The Convention of Estates appointed by the Kings Proclamation to be holden at Edinburgh, on the 6 day December, was continued to the 24 of Januar, 1609.
On which day, the Kings Commissioner the Earle of Dumbar being present, there was holden at Edinburgh a General Convention of the Estates, to hear the report of the Kings answere to the Petitions of the last General Assembly. The Bishop of Glasgow, Mr John Spotswood, rehearsed at great length the Kings speeches concerning the approbation of all that was done at the last Assembly, yea, that he commended the same so farre that he confessed, that if he had been there in his oun person he would neither have done more nor less than they had done. What concerned Papists and Papistrie, that, said he, his Majestie has granted absolutely, yea, hath sent the Earle of Dumbar armed with all authority needfull to doe, as they craved. But as for the Brethren that are under the Kings displeasure, who were banished, imprisoned or consined, that if they would make an humble supplication for their libertie, so gentle and clement was his Majestie, that he would be readier to grant, then they to suit. These things reported at length be the Bishop of Glasgow and Mr William Couper, Mr James Law, Bishop of Orknay, Moderator of the last Assemblie, asked at the Noblemen, what they thought of the Report. They all in one voice answered, they thought well of it, and praised God from their hearts, for giving them such a religious and gracious Prince, who had such a respect to the glory of God, and good estate of the Kirk, and hated everie thing that was prejudicial to the same.
Then were past the following resolutions. First, That the Bishops should be examiners of Pedagogues that passed with Noblemen and Gentlemens sons out of the countrie.
Item, That none suspected of Popery that are young Gentlemen, be entred to their lands, except they have the Bishops recommendation to the inqueists, and a testificat of their soundness in religion.
In end, mention was made of the Conference which was to be holden between the Bishops and the Ministers. The Bishop of Glasgow said, that a day was appointed already be the Earle of Dumbar, and the Commissioners of the Kirk, in Februar nixt to come; and for that effect advertisment should be made to all having entress.
Follow the Memorials penned by Mr Spotswood, Bishop of Glasgow, sent to his Majestie by the Bishop of Galloway, Mr Gawin Hamiltoun.
Memorials to be propounded to his most excellent Majestie.
1. Yow shall relate the proceedings of the late Convention, and what affection some that were present kythed therein, that his Majestie may be forseen with mens dispositions, for the better choice of these to whom the affairs shall be concredited.
2. Yow shall remember the care we have had of reclaiming the Mar quise of Huntlie, and the Earle of Erroll, from their errours, and the small profite we have seen thereof; and insist for his Majesties favour to the petition of our Letter.
3. Anent the Ministers that are confined, your Lordship shall excuse the request made be us in some of their favours, shewing how it proceeded; and farther declare, that of late they have taken course to give in supplications to the Counsel for their enlargeing to a certain time, for doeing their particular businesses at Session, and otherwise in the country; and that some of them have purchased licence be the votes of the Counsel, albeit we opponed: Therefor beseek his Majestie to remember the Counsel, that the confineing of these Ministers was for faults done be them to his Hienes self, and that they should be acknowledged and consessed to his Majestie, and his Hienes pleasure understood therein, before the grant of any favour; otherwise they shall undoe all that has been hitherto followed for the peace of the Kirk.
4. Touching the Erections, it is our humble desire to his Majestie, that the Noblemen, in whose favours the same hath been past, may take order for the provision of their Kirks, according to the conditions made in Parliament, or then discharge their Erections, which seems best to be done be an Act in this insewing Session of Parliament, for which his Majesties warrant would be had: And sicklike, some course would be taken for the Prelacies erected, which have past also the constant Platt; that the presentation of Ministers to the modified stipends, at the vacancy of the Church, should be in his Majesties hand, whereunto, although his Majesties express commandment was given of before, no head was taken be such as had the charge of affairs.
5. Since this matter of the Commissariats importeth so much to the reformation of our Church government, as this being restored, in a little time the rest may be supplied that will be wanting, it shall be good to remember it be a serious letter to my Lord Dumbar, that we may know in due time what is to be expected. And since our greatest hindrance is found to be in the Session, of whom the most part are ever in heart opposite unto us, and forbear not to kyth it when they have occasion, yow shall humbly intreat his Majesty to remember our suit for the Kirkmens place according to the first institution, and that it may take at this time some beginning, since the place vacant was even from the beginning in the hands of the Spiritual side, with some one Kirkman or other till now; which might it be obtained, as were most easie be his Majesties direction and commandment, there should be seen a sudden change of many humours, in that State, and the Commonwell would find the profite thereof.
6. Anent our Conference with the Ministrie, your Lordship will declare the time that is appointed, and the reasons of the continuation of the same.
7. Because in the time of Parliament chiefly it should be expedient to have the Bishops teach in the pulpits of Edinburgh, his Majestie would be pleased to commend this to my Lord of Dumbar be a particular letter; and to require also the Ministers of Edinburgh to desire their help at that time, if it were for no other end, but to testifie their unity and consent of mind to the Estates.
8. Because the Kirk of Leith lyeth destitute in a sort through the Bishop of Rosse his age, and the imprisonment of Mr John Murray; and that the said Mr John is no way minded, as appeareth, to give his Majestie satisfaction; neither were it meet, in respect of his carriage, that he should return to that Manistrie; and to insist in his deprivation with the Commissioners, might perhaps breed unto us a new difficulty: If his Majestie shall be pleased, we do hold it most convenient for this errand, that the said Mr John be conveened before the Counsel be his Majesties command, and be them be charged to ward in the Toun of Newabbay and some miles about, having libertie to teach that people, amongst whom he shall find some other subject to work upon than the State of Bishops. And for the provision of Leith, that his Majestie will be pleased to command the Presbytrie of Edinburgh, in reguard of the Bishop of Rosse his age, and the said Mr Johns transportation be his Hienes appointment, to have care that the said Kirk of Leith be planted with all convenient diligence be Mr David Lindsay sometimes Minister of Sanct Andrews, for whom both the people is earnest, and we may have sufficient assurance to his Majesties service. And in case the said Presbytrie prove wilfull, that another letter to the same effect may be sent to the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly, who may take order to see that matter ended, if such shall be his Majesties pleasure; and this would be done with all diligence convenient.
We cannot but remember also the misorder creeping in the countrie, that once was happily repressed, the wearing of gunnes and pistolls; and humbly beseek his Majesty, that some new course may be established be searchers of such persons, and delating of them to the Counsel, that they may be punished; and that the Treasurer may have commandment to make choice, in everie country, of certain that shall be thought fittest to search, which shall be known only to his Lordship self, and satissie them for their pains, to the end this insolence may be restrained. Particularly it would be sorbidden in the granting of Commissions, that this liberty be not permitted; for this is one of the causes of their so open bearing, as said is.
These particulars, your Lordship will have care to propone to his Majestie at some fit time, and fee the answers thereof dispatched accordingly.
Your Lordships shall remember my Lord of Cathness and his pension.
Glasgow, be warrant, and at the desire of the
rest of my Lords the Bishops.
My Lord, when your Lordship shall speak for the help of our Kirks, be
the fall of these men that possess our livings, and do justly incurre his Majesties indignation be their hainous offences, be pleased to remember the
case of Lanerk; the possessors of the tithes be now excommunicated, and
at the horn. Desire his Majesties favour for the grant of them to Mr William Birnie, Minister there, whose disposition your Lordship knows to his
Majesties service; and his Hienes letter for that effect to my Lord Treasurer, that he may be possessed in the same with all convenient diligence.
Likewise remember the provision of Cramond, and the Bishop of Dunkeldens interest to these tithes.
Proceidings of the Conference, appointed be the last Assembly, holden at Falkland, the 4th of May, 1609.
The Earles of Dumbar and Wigtoun, my Lord Skoone, and my Lord Fentounbarns, Collector, Commissioners for his Majestie; Mrs George Gledstains, John Spotswood, Alexander Lindsay, Alexander Forbesse, Patrick Sharp, Robert Howie, John Mitchelson, Henrie Philip, and George Hay for the Bishops; Mrs Patrick Galloway, John Hall, William Scott, Archbald Ofwald, John Knox, John Carmichaell, Adam Bannatyne, John Wemes, and William Cowper, (Patrick Simson being absent,) mett in that chamber, which was her Majesties, for discharging a Commission directed from the last General Assemblie, holden at Linlithgow, the 29 day of Julie 1608 years. In the which meeting the said Commissioners proceeded as followeth:
After prayer, and a short speech uttered be Mr James Law, Moderator, the Commission of the General Assembly was read; whereof the tenour followeth:
At Linlithgow, the 29 of Julie 1608, post meridiem.
As for the second cause of the eyelists which are said to arise upon diversities of opinions, because the said diversities of opinions result upon different judgments among the brethren, concerning the external government and discipline of the Kirk, which cannot so shortly be discussed and advised upon as the brevity of this Assemblie permitts: Therefor, it was the opinion of the brethren appointed for the adviseing of the best overtures anent the distractions and eyelists that are entred in the hearts of the Ministrie, that the samen should be delayed till a time more convenient; and, in the mean time, certain appointed to reason, treat, and advise upon the same, which likewise the Assemblie has thoght expedient; and, therefor, they have elected and chosen the brethren after following, viz. the Bishops of Sanct Andrews, Glasgow, Dunkelden, Orkney, Cathness; Mrs Patrick Sharp, Robert Howie, John Mitchelson, Henrie Philip, George Hay, Patrick Galloway, John Hall, Patrick Simson, William Scot, Archbald Oswald, John Knox, John Carmichael, Adam Bannatine, John Weemes, and William Couper, their Commissioners in that part, to conveen with his majestie, or such of his Majesties Commissioners as his Hienes shall appoint, at such time and places as they shall be required be his Majestie; and to treat, reason, and consult upon all matters standing presently in controversie among the brethren, anent the discipline of the Kirk; and whatsomever they aggree upon, to report to the nixt General Assemblie; and, in the mean time, while the nixt Assemblie, the advice of the brethren conveened at Falkland, the 16 of June last bypast, be observed anent the constant Moderators.
There was read also his Majesties Missive Letter, and a letter of excuse from Mr Patrick Simson. And thereafter a motion was made be his Ma jesties Commissioner, and propouned be the Moderator, that five of either side should be put apart, to sett down the order of proceeding.
After some reasoning upon the said proposition, and some objections against the same, it was admitted and followed: and for the Bishop were named, Sanct Andrews and Glasgow, Patrick Sharp, Robert Howie, and Henrie Philip; for the Ministers, Patrick Galloway, John Hall, William Couper, John Carmichael, and William Scot.
The Earl of Dumbar, my Lord Fentounbarns, James Law, Moderator, and the ten which were nominated and chosen removed and went into his Majesties Chamber, where the Commission was read again; which being considered, was thought very general be some; and for limitation thereof, the particulars after following were proponed be the Ministers:
First, That the brethren, among whom the alledged controversies were, should be particularly named, or at leist some way designed, whereby the one party might be known be the other.
21y, It was required, that the alledged controversies should be denominated and condescended upon, for clearing of the first point. These of the part of the Ministrie declared, that they were one in judgment with the godlie Fathers, reformers of the Kirk of Scotland, and such as had from time to time, in General Assemblies, appointed the discipline, and obtained ratification thereof; as also that they esteemed the discipline appointed be the Kirk, and ratified be the laws of the countrie, to be most godly and meet for the ruleing of Christ his Kirk within this Realme.
These of the other opinion came to no particular nomination nor designation, whereby their difference from such as had established the discipline, might be perceived.
For better understanding of the second, the Ministers desired, that distinction be made betwixt matters standing in controversy among the brethren, [and matters] extra controversiam in the Kirk, in which case they take to be all things concluded in lawfull General Assemblies.
Item, That clear difference might be made betwixt privat brethrens opinions and conceits, (put case their numbers be great,) and matters in controversie in the Kirk; seeing nothing can probably be called a controversy of the Kirk, but that which has been received as a doubt before in some General Assemblies, and depends as yet undecided, for there is an order concerning cases, where the brethren doubt and crave reformation, viz. that such matters should be proponed to the General Assemblie, ordine decenter, animo aedificandi, non tentandi; in respect of the which order, it is no wayes convenient, that the saids Ministers should participat in a Conference with their brethrens opinions, different from the judgment of the Kirk; and syne report the same to a General Assemblie.
Lastly, Seeing the Assemblie at Linlithgow has directed Commission anent matters presently standing in controversy concerning discipline, which claws of necessity must be referred, either to matters that stand in controversy before that Assemblie, and in the time of it; or els to matters called and received in controversy before the same: It was demanded be the said Ministers, what particular matters either stood in controversy, or were called or received into controversy.
The intention of this their dealing was to shew, that the Commission above written bore no warrant to the said Commissioners, either to make particular questions and controversies, which had not been heard in General Assemblies of before; or yet to call in controversie the acts, conclusions, allowed practices, or established order of the Kirk. This purpose was taunted among the Ministers themselves; and it was alledged, that this form of dealing would be accounted a shifting of disputation; and so the blame would lye upon the Ministers.
It was answered, it was better to bear the unjust blame, than to break a whole cause, which, if it were broken, could not escape to be hurt, feeing the one partie were 16 or 17, and the other but 9. The other sort, for the party of the Bishops, termed that form of proceeding tergiversation, policy, quarelling of the General Assemblie, frustration of their good intention, &c. Much time and talk were spent hereabout, and shoring and boasting; but no clear satisfaction returned to this demand, and propositions above specified. And so somewhat abruptly it was said, they mett either for something, or nothing; and confusedly was cast in, that some of the brethren had received the constant Moderators, and others not; so that was a controversy of the Kirk, said they, whether the Moderator should be constant, or circular as they termed it.
Item, Some of the brethren think that the cautions should be keeped, and others think that reason would that some of them should be abolished. It is a quetion then, forsooth, whether the cautions shall be keeped, or not.
It was answered to the first, that the foresaid Assemblie at Linlithgow, wherefra this Commission was directed, had expressly provided, that the advice, given in their Conference at Falkland, should be observed till the nixt General Assembly; and true it is, that in that Conference at Falkland, the meeting at Linlithgow, wherein the intended innovation of the Moderatour was begun, was spyed; and that matter to be further treated in the ensueing Assembly at Linlithgow; which Assembly, when it conveened, acquiesced in the advice given at Falkland; so that there is no warrand in this Commission to call the accustomed and established order of Moderation in doubt.
Unto the second it was answered, that the cautions, after ling reasoning and advisement had in Presbytries, Provincial and General Assemblies, they were solemnly concluded in two Assemblies, one at Dundie, another at Montrose, his Majestie being present at the one and the other, and as yet stand in full sorce unrepealled, and can no more be called in question be vertue of this present Commission, than the acts anent vote in Parliament, or any other acts of the General Assemblies.
It was thought meet be the most part, that both these matters of the Moderation and Cautions should be put in question; and so they, that went apart, reentred in the place of Conference; and all being present, the Moderator demanded, whither if the said matters should pass in question, or not. It was answered be the most part affirmative, they should; and so the question was conceaved, as followeth.
1. Whither in Synods or Presbytries the Moderation shall be constant, or not.
2. Whither the cautions sett doun in the Assemblies holdin at Dundie and Montrose for restraining the power of Bishops, should be observed and sworn to, or not.
Thereafter, the Moderator desired, that one of either side should be named to reason these two questions; but being late, no nomination was made; but thanks given, and so that Session ended.
After the dissolving of that Session, the Ministers mett be themselves, and having conserred a little anent the dissadvantage and danger, be suffering themselves to be separated in that former Session, all were desired to think that night upon the meetest remedy, and tymously meet in the morning, which they did.
In that their meeting they concluded, 1. That Mr Patrick Galloway should be speachman, and some others to assist him as need required.
2. That they should suffer themselves no ways to be divided; but whatsomever should be proponed, (although of less importance,) they should take it to be advised be the whole, before that any answer should be returned. 3. That in respect of the members of that Conference, and of the quality of matters called in doubt, that they would no ways dispute but be write.
Sessio 2a. Maij 5, bora 9, ante meridiem.
The aforesaid Commissioners conveened in the morning, in the place before named; and after prayer, the Moderator proponed, that one of either side should be named and appointed to reason the first question. Mr Patrick Galloway being desired to speak, answered, that it was most convenient to reason the matter be writt, for the reasons following: 1. For eshewing of idle and hot speaches, superfluous digressions, and impertinent discourses, whereby brethren might be irritated, and time unprofitably spent. 2. For avoiding of different reports to be made be the brethren of different judgments, after the Conference ended. And, therefor, he required the other partie, that they would shortly and clearly set doun their opinion in articles, touching that matter, and reasons whereby they would confirm the same; promising that the said opinion and reasons should be plainly and brotherly answered, in such succinct forme as was possible they could conceive and express in write.
Many things were objected against that answer and offer; but all objections were answered. And so, the Ministers standing constantly to their resolution, the other party desired that they might advise among themselves anent the premises; unto which desire the Ministers agreed, and removed themselves; and the other partie with his Majesties Commissioners sat still.
After their reentry, the Moderator objected four reasons against writting.
1. The custome of the Kirk of Scotland. 2. The custome of Conferences in other countries, and some Colloquies were named. 3. His Majesties prohibition of writt. 4. Sundry inconveniencies that might follow thereupon, as namely, that the copies would pass abroad, and would come in the hand of enemies, whereby it could not fail, but slander and skaith would come to the cause of religion.
To the first it was answered, that while the Kirk of Scotland had adoe with the Counsel thereof, anent the treating and concluding of the heads of discipline, they gave and received write one from another.
To the second, that the Colloquies named be them had very evill events; and others treated be write, specified be the Ministers, had better success, and made more for the advantage of religion.
As for the custom of countries generally alledged, writt was more usuall than word, as may be seen by [Ambassadoris deillings,] learned mens Epistles, printed Colloquies, and Traities of all ages.
To the third, It is evident in his Majesties letter, that his Hienes intention is to settle all matters peaceably, and beside the same there is nothing produced: Therefor, writting, whereby jangling of words, hot speaches, and tedious digressions shall be avoided, is the most fitt and safe way to come to his Majesties purpose.
To the fourth, In case of agreement, interchanged papers may be riven or burnt; and the conclusions agreed upon only put in write to remaine. If they can no wife agree, whatsoever shall pass in write may be, with consent of all, destroyed.
And after these answers, the Ministers concluded, that reasoning by word, without a Judge, could not possibly be had without tumult in the time of treaty, and different and contradictorious reports after breaking up of the meeting; whereby the present distractions would be augmented, and the cause of religion farther prejudged, Papists and all sorts of enemies, wishing, working and watching for division among Ministers, so far as they may.
The matter being thus stand to be the Ministers, some speaches of terrours was given out; and thereafter the Moderator proponed, that a short history might be sett doun, with all consents, of that meeting, and the proceedings therein, to some such effects as followeth: That the Commissioners mett, the Commission was read, two questions were agreed upon. They for the part of the Bishops offered to disput thereupon; and the Ministers refused. The Ministers desired the last point to be mended after this manner; that they for the Bishops offered to reason be word, and refused writt; and the Ministers were willing to reason be writt: but when they should be before a General Assembly, Judge ordinar in such matters, they should be ready to reason be word or writt, as it should please the Assembly to injoyne; but here they could not reason be word, because they wanted a Judge. This was refused, and so no history was agreed on: But the Moderator desired that his Majesties letter, and the Commission being laid aside, either of the parties would advise upon some overtures for the peace of the Kirk; and for reporting thereof, three after noon was appointed for all to meet again. Thus, after thanks giving, the Commissioners rose.
Immediately after dinner, the Commissioners conveened be themselves, and after consultation agreed upon four articles as follows:
1. That a declaration should pass from this Conference to be published in the Kirk of Scotland, proporting, that the Kirks within this realm are well constituted in doctrine and discipline, praised be God; and that the discords and differences among the Ministers anent the one and the other, aggredged and given out be Papists, Atheists, and other enemies, are but slanderous calumnies tending to sedition, and to deceive the simple.
2. That the handling of the discords and differences among the Ministers be laid aside and spaired; and the said differences covered under the skirts of brotherly patience and christian wisdom, while first Papists and Papistrie be proceeded against, and put to a point.
3. Seeing the matter of Bishoprick and Hierarchie cannot be handled at this time, but with advantage to Papistry and Papifts, and disadvantage to the established order of this Kirk, which has been a special mean, whereby they and their kingdom have been dissipated and overcome; that purpose would be superceded, till the land were purged of them and their leaven.
4. That an humble supplication should pass from this Conference to his Majestie, for grace and favour to the Ministers that have been so long banished, keeped in prison, and confined; namely, that they may be relaxed, sett at liberty, and returned to their places.
Sessio 3a. Eodem die, hora tertia, post meridiem.
The whole Commissioners mett in the place above specified; and, after prayer, the Moderator required the Ministers to present their advice, as was appointed before noon. And Mr Patrick Galloway presented the articles above written, which were read; and after the reading thereof, some freated, and pressed to speak; but authoritative be the Moderator and some others, that vehemency was keeped at under, and silence was commanded. Thereafter the advice of the other party was read, and all demanded, what they thought of it. Little said for it, and nothing against it. The Moderator desired the Ministers to take up their articles; which being done, the conclusion after following was agreed upon.
At Falkland, the fist of May 1609.
The brethren conveened, having read the Commission given to them be the General Assembly, and considering the generality therof, and how it is needfull, for ending of all controversies standing in discipline among the Ministry, that the particular points in question be condescended upon, have, for the present, agreed upon two, viz. Whither in Synods or Presbytries the Moderators should be constant, or not: And whither the Cautions sett doun in the Assemblies holden at Dundee and Montrose for restraining the power of Bishops, should be holden, and sworne unto, or not. Which two questions being proponed, becaus neither the brevity of time permitts, nor is it, for divers causes, thought expedient to enter in reasoning thereof at this present, the brethren continue all treating of the same till the first Tuesday of August nixt to come, appointed for their meeting to that effect in Stirling: Willing and commanding every one of the said brethren to advise and consider gravely on the said questions, and all points thereof; and to be ready at their said meeting to propone their mindes either be word or write, as they shall think fittest; and farther to sett doun in write all the differences, which they conceive in the matter of discipline, that some solid course may be taken with common consent, for removing the same.
In the mean time, it is thought expedient, be the consent of the whole number, that the General Assembly be prorogued till the first Tuesday of May nixt to come, to be holden at Sanct Andrews, if it shall please his Majestie; that these affaires being brought to some point, report may be made, according as is ordained in the said Commission.
And becaus his Majesties most zealous care for the good peace of the Kirk, and the suppressing of Papists and all contrary religions, does so many wayes appear, that we have all exceeding great matter of thanks to be given to the Almighty God, for the blessing bestowed upon this Kirk in his Majesties person: It is found meet, that a letter of humble thanks be written from this Conference to his Majestie, and that, in all congregations of this kingdom, declaration be made be every Minister of his Hienes good affection and resolved mind to settle the Kirk in peace and truth, and to free the same of all the enemies, and their pernitious practices; and that publick thankes be given to God for his mercies, and prayers conceived for happy progress of his Majesties purpose.
As also, the brethren knowing the great dangers, that the Kirk standeth in, through the enemies of religion, have thought meet to recommend to all the Ministers and Presbytries in this realme a carefull proceeding against Papists, and such [as remaine suspect in religioune; and that they be diligent to lairne] of the strangers that resort from forrain parts, and to make intelligence to his Majesties Commissioner, the Earle of Dumbar, or such other of his Hienes Counsel as they are best acquainted with, that they know zealous of Gods truth, and faithfull to his Majestie: And, above all things, that they and every one of them intertain peace, friendship and brotherly love with others; laying aside all jealousies, suspitions and other prejudices; and that they communicat their counsels and helps to the advancing of religion, and establishing a good and solid agreement in the Kirk; which the brethren present for themselves have solemnly promised: and likeways to labour others to the same as far as they can, that God may have the glory, and his most excellent Majestie satisfaction and contentment in all things.
This conclusion and his Majesties letter being written and subscribed, the Moderator gave thanks to God in the place where they mett.
Mr William Couper being requeested by his Majesties Commissioner and some of the brethren, went to the Kirk of Falkland, and all that were there with him. He made an exhortation and thanksgiving upon the last three verses of the 74 psalme; and thereafter the 133 psalme was sung, and thus all were dismissed.
A Commission given under the great feal to the two Archbishops, to hold two courts of High Commission, was proclaimed at the Cross of Edinburgh, in March, 1610: The tenor whereof followeth.
James, be the grace of God, King of Great Brittane, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, To our lovites, &c. Messangers and Shireffs in that part, conjunctly and severally, specialy constituted, greeting. For as much as complaint being made to us in behalf of the Ministry of this our Kingdom, that the frequent advocations purchased be such as were either erroneous in religion or scandalous in life, not only discouraged the Ministry from censuring of vice; but emboldened the offenders to continue in their wickednefs, useing their advocations as a mean to delay and dissappoint both tryall and punishment: We, for eschewing of this inconvenient, and that the number of true professors may be known to increase, the Antichristian enemy and his grouth suppressed, and all forts of vice and scandalous life punished; and that neither iniquitie, nor delay of tryall and punishment, be left be this subterfuge of discouraging of Eccleliastical censures to proceed on things so meet and proper for them, have, out of our duty to God and love to his Kirk, being the nurse father of the same on earth, within our dominions, given power and commission to the Reverend Father in God, and our trusty and well beloved Counsellor, George Archbishop of Sanct Andrews, Primat and Metropolitan of our kingdom; and to our right trusty cusine and counsellor, Alexander Erle of Dumfermling, Lord High Chancellor of this our Kingdom; George Erle of Dumbar, Treasurer; George Erle of Merschall, John Erle of Marr, John Erle of Montrofe, Patrick Erle of Kinghorn; to the Reverend Fathers in God, Alexander Bishop of Dunkelden, Peter Bishop of Aberdeen, Alexander Bishop of Murrey, Andrew Bishop of Brechin, David Bishop of Ross, George Bishop of Dumblain, Alexander Bishop of Cathness, and James Bishop of Orkney; to our trusty Cusines and Counsellors Lord Lindsay, Simon Lord Frazer of Lovat, David Lord of Scoon; and to our trustie and well beloved Counsellers, Mr John Preston of Pennycook, President of our College of Justice; Sir David Cockburn of Clerkingtoun, Knight, Lord Privie Seal; Sir Alexander Hay, Knight, our Secretar; Sir James Hay of Kingask, Comptroller; Sir Thomas Hamilton of Binnie, Knight, our Advocate; and to our Lovites, Sir David Carnagie of Kinnaird, Knight, … Dundas of that ilk, Alexander Irving of Drum, … Ramsay of Balmany, Mr John Arthur, Mr Thomas Henderson, Mr Adam King, and Mr James Bannatyn, Commissarys of Edinburgh; Mr John Weymes, Commissar of Sanct Andrews; Mr James Martin, Rector of the University of Sanct Andrews; Mr Robert Howie, Principal of the New College there; Mr David Monipennie, Dean of Faculty; Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr John Hall, Mr Peter Hewat, Mr John Mitchelson, Mr Robert Wilkie, Mr John Strauchan, Mr Andrew Leitch, Mr Hendry Philp, Mr Arthur Futhie, and Mr Patrick Lindsay, Ministers; or to any five of them; the said Archbishop being always one, within the whole bonnds of the Province of Sanct Andrews: And to the Reverend Father in God, and our trusty and well beloved Counseller, John Archbishop of Glasgow, Alexander Erle of Dumfermling, George Erle of Dumbar, John Erle of Cassils, James Erle of Glencarne, John Erle of Wigtpun, James Erle of Abercorn: And to the Reverend Fathers in God, Gawin Bishop of Galloway, John Bishop of Argyle, Andrew Bishop of the Isles; and to our trusty cousine and counseller, Walter Lord Blantyre; and to our lovits, Mr John Arthure, Mr Thomas Henryson, Mr Adam King, Mr James Bannatyne, Commissars of Edinburgh; David Forsyth, Commissar of Glasgow; Mr James Halyday, Commissar of Dumfries; Mr John Hamilton, Commissar of Hamilton; Mr James Hamiltoun, Commissar of Lanerk; Sir George Elphinston of Eastwood, Knight; Mr Patrick Sharp, Principal of the College of Glasgow; Mr William Birnie, Minister of Lanerick; Mr John Hay, Parson of Ranfrew; Mr James Hamiltoun, Dean of Glasgow; Mr David Sharp, and Patrick Walkinshaw, Subdean of Glasgow; Mr Thomas Ramsay, Minister at Dumsries, Mr John Bell, Minister at Glasgow, and Mr Walter Steuart, Minister at … or any five of them, the said Archbishop being always one of them, within the whole bounds of the Province of Glasgow: To call before them, at such times and places as they shall think meet, any person or persons dwelling and remaining within the Provinces respective above writen of Sanct Andrewes, of Glasgow, or within any Dioceis of the same, being offenders either in life or religion, whom they hold any ways to be scandalous; and that they take tryal of the same; and if they find them guilty and impenitent, refusing to acknowledge their offence, they shall give command to the Preacher of the parish where they dwell, to proceed with sentence of excommunication against them; which if it be protracted or delayed, and their command be that Minister be not presently obeyed, they shall conveen any such Minister before them, and proceed in censuring of him for his disobedience, either by suspension, deprivation, or warding, according as in their discretion they shall hold his obstinacy and refusal of their direction to have deserved; and farther, to syne at their discretions, imprison or ward any such person, who being convicted before them, they shall find upon tryall to have deserved any such punishment; and a warrand under the hand of any five above named, of every Province respective above written, the said Archbishop of the Province being one, shall serve for a sufficient command for the Captains and Constables of our wairds and castles, and to all keepers of jayles or prisons, either to burgh or land, within any part of the Provinces respectiue above written, for receiving and detaining such persons as shall be unto them directed to be keeped be them, in such forme as be the said warrand shall be prescribed, as they will answer upon the contrair at their perrill: and of all such synes as shall be imposed on any offender, the one half to pertain unto ourself, and the other half to be imployed upon such necessary things as our said Commissioners shall be forced unto, by charging of parties and witnesses to compear before them; and the superplus to be bestowed at the sight of the said Commissioners be distribution among the poor: Commanding the Lords of our Privie Counsel, upon fight of any certificat subscribed be any fiue of the said Commissioners within every Province, as said is, the said Archbishop of the Province being one, either of any fine imposed be them upon any partie compearing and found guilty, or of the contumacy and refusal of any to compear before them, that the said Lords of our Privie Counsel direct a summar charge of horning upon ten dayes only; and that no suspension or relaxation be granted, without first a testificat under the hand of the Archbishop of the Province, containing the obedience and satisfaction of the party charged, be produced; and in case of farther dissobedience or rebellion of the party who shall be charged for his fyne or not compearance, the saids Lords of our Counsel are then to prosecute the most strick order, as is usual against rebells, for any other cause whatsomever. With power to our saids Commissioners to proceed herein, as also to take tryall of all persons that have made defection, or otherways are suspected in religion; and as they find any just cause against them, to proceed in manner foresaid: and als whensoever they shall learn or understand of any Minister, Preacher, or Teacher of Schools, Colleges, or Universities, or of exhorting or lecturing Readers, within these bounds, whose speeches in publick have been impertinent, and against the established order of the Kirk, or against any of the conclusions of the bypast General Assemblies, or in favour of any of these who are banished, warded, or consined for their contemptuous offences; all such being no matter of doctrine, and so much idle tyme spent without instruction of their auditory in their salvation, ought so much the more severely to be punished; in regard that they are Ministers, who of all others should spend least idle talk, and specially in the chair of verity: and, therefor, after the calling of them before said Commissioners, they are to be questioned and tryed upon the points of that which is to be laid against them, and punished according to the quality of their offence: And whereas complaints shall be made unto them be any party that shall be conveened before any Ecclesiasticall Judicatory for any such crime as he shall be then suspected of, or that the partie doeth alledge alwayes the matter itself to be improper to that Judicature, or the proceeding to have been informal, or that the Judicature itself has been too partial; and when the Commissioners shall see any just cause, they are then to take tryal and cognition thereof unto themselves, and to discharge the said Judicature of all farther proceeding: Giving power also to our said Commissioners to make choise of a Clerk, and other members of Court; and to direct out precepts in name of the said Archbishop, and his associats within every Province, for citation of any parties before them, within the bounds of the said Provinces, in any of the said causes above mentioned; which precepts are to be sealed with a special seal, containing the armes of the said Bishoprick: giving also power to charge witnesses to compear before them, under the pain of forty pounds scots money; and upon the certificat of the said Commissioners, that any of the said penalties are incurred be them, the said Lords of our Counsel are to direct the like charges for payment of the same, as is appointed for payment of the fynes in the said Commission past our Great Seal, containing diverse other heads, clauses, articles, and conditions, and bearing date at our Court at Roystoun, the 20 of Januar last, at length is contained: wherof necessar it is that publication be made to all our lieges, that none pretend ignorance thereof. Our will is herefor, and we charge you straitly, and command, that incontinent these our letters seen, ye pass to the said burghs within the Provinces above written, and there be open proclamation, that ye make publication of the premisses, that none pretend ignorance: And als, that ye, in our name and authority, command and charge all our lieges and subjects to reverence and obey our saids Commissioners in all and every thing tending to the execution of this our Commission; and to doe nothing to their hinder or prejudice, as they and ilk one of them will answer to us and our Counsell, upon their obedience, at their highest paine, charge, and perrill. The which to do, &c.
Given under our Signet at Edinburgh, the 15 day of Februar, and
of our reigne the 47 year, 1610.
Per Actum Secreti Consilij.
The Kings Missive.
Trustie and well beloved, we greet you well. Albeit we justly fearing the diforders that might arise in the General Assembly appointed to be holden at Sanct Andrewes, the day of May next, be reason of the differences now in the Church for matters of discipline, did be our Letters, published in Februar last, desrt the said meeting; and specialy declared, that it was not our mind to appoint any new Assembly, before we were well assured of the peacable inclination of these of the Ministry, who should meet and conveen therat: Yet having been lately advertised of great confusion ariseing in the Church, by reason of the loose and unsettled government which is therein, and being intreated be sundry of our good subjects, Bishops, Ministers and others, for licence to some general meeting of the Church, wherein hope is givin us, that some good course by common consent shall be taken for redrefs of all unorders, and the division of minds, that has so long continued among the Ministry, to the great fcandal of their profession, should ceafe and be extinguished, we have been pleased to yield to their requiests, and granted liberty for a General Assembly to be holden at Glasgow, the 8th day of June next: And, therefor, we will and require you to make choise of the most wife, discreet, and peaceably disposed Ministers among you, to meet and conveen the said day and place, instructed with sufficient commission from the rest, as in other Assemblies you have been accustomed; and to advise anent the excommunicated Erles, what order shall be taken with them for their satisfaction of the Church; anent the late erections, to communicat to our Commissioners the estate of every church within any of the same, the maintainance allowed thereto; an overture for supplying the churches, which are not sufficiently provyded; and what is the best course to be taken for the ready payment of the Ministers, so as they be not distracted from their charge, and forced to attend the Law for discussing of suspensions, and such like questions ariseing thereupon: in which point we have had many grievous complaints from diverse of the Ministers there, and understood our good purpose touching them and their maintainance to have been wonderfully crossed; and that they be ready to give their best opinion in all the former points, and in every thing else that shall be demanded of them for the good peace of the Church. And becaus by our Letters we have particularly acquainted the Archbishop of Sanct Andrews of our purpose herein, and sent unto him a special note of the names of such as we desire to be at our said meeting; it is our pleasure, that you conform yourselves thereto, and make choise of the persons that we take to be fittest for giving advice in all matters: wherein ye shall doe us acceptable service. We bid you farewell.
From our Court at Whitehall, the first of Aprile, 1610.
The Bishop of Sanct Andrews Letter to the Presbytrie of Chirneside.
Grace be multiplied unto you.
Beloved Brethren, after my heartie commendations in the Lord, I have received a Letter from the Kings Majestie anent the direction of Commissioners to the approaching General Assembly. And to the effect ye may understand my Commission to you for that effect, and the Kings Majesties pleasure, I thought good, as having credit of his Majestie in these matters, to shew to your Moderator the authentick Letter that has proceeded from his Majesties hand, and to send to you the note of the persons, whom his Majestie has thought fittest for that work. This I beseech you, since our Presbytries in Fife, and, as I hear, the Presbytrie of Edinburgh hath agreed to the Kings desire, that ye will not fail to send a free, voluntary Commission with these brethren, who have also received their several Missives from the Kings Majestie, that ye seem not to be singular, and resractorie to reasonable petitions. I hope, that this my counsel shall be well accepted of you: and since suddane and willfull conclusions haue wrought such bitter effects, I hope, ye will not provock the Kings Majestie to wrath, without any necessary occasion. Thus I beseek God to bless you all with the spirit of truth and love to the end.
Edinburgh, the 28 of May, 1610.
Your loving and assured Brother,