Acts and Proceedings: 1616, August

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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Maitland Club, 'Acts and Proceedings: 1616, August', Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839), pp. 1116-1139. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

Maitland Club. "Acts and Proceedings: 1616, August", in Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839) 1116-1139. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

Maitland Club. "Acts and Proceedings: 1616, August", Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839). 1116-1139. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

In this section


The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk of Scotland, halden at Aberdein the 13 day of August 1616: Where was present the Erle of Montrois, Commissioner for his Majestie, Lords and Barones, together with the Archbishops, Bishops, and Commissioners from Presbitries.

[A Fast was indicted, be Proclamation and found of trumpet, to be keeped this day: Patrick Forbes, Laird of Corse, taught in the morning; the Bishop of Sanct Andrews before noon; Mr William Forbes after noon.

The King ordained by his Letter, the Primat to rule the Clergie, and his Commissioner, the Earle of Montrose, to order the Laitie; and desired the Assembly to advise upon certain overtures for the rooting out of Popery, which he promised to authorize be his lawes. So Mr John Spotswood, Archbishop of Sanct Androis, stepped into the Moderators place without election. Secretar Hamiltoun and the Lord Carnegie were appointed by the King to assist the Earle of Montrose. The Catalogue of the Presbytries was not called, nor Commissioners considered, whether free or limited. A number of Lords and Barones decored the Assembly with silks and sattins, but without lawfull Commission to vote. Bishops had no Commissions from Presbytries. The Moderators of the Presbytries came according to the Bishops Missives.

The whole Bishops and Lords of Councel, that were present, together with the Kings Commissioner, and his Assisters, the Secretary, and the Lord Carnegy, and fifteen other Lords and Barones, with twenty Ministers, or thereby, were appointed to fit upon the Privie Conference. The first four dayes were spent in preaching, renewing old acts, and making some new acts against Papists. C.]

Sessio 2a. 14 Augusti.

Forsameikle as the most vrgent causes of the convocation of this present Assemblie, is to obviat the great increase of Papistrie within this realme, and to try out the just causes heirof, to the effect that sufficient remedies may be provided for redressing of the same in all tyme coming; and that it is found be the whole Assemblie, that ane great part of the causes of the said increase relyes partlie vpon the slackness of the Ministrie in thair holie professioun, and partlie vpon the not executing of the laws, alsweill civil as ecclesiasticall, against such persons as either were excommunicat themselves, and oppinly contemnit the said censure; or quho intertaines, receipts, and maintaines quho were excommunicat; or quho were traffiquers against the true religioun presentlie prosest within this realme: For remeid quherof, the whole Assemblie in ane voyce hes statue and ordaint in maner after following.

In the first, For the better tryall and discovering of Apostates, it is statute and ordainit, that quhosoever hes confessit the true religioun presentlie professit within this realme, and hes subscryvit the samein, and hes received the holy sacrament of the Supper of the Lord, and communicat conforme to the ordour observit within this realme; if at any tyme heirafter he or sche be found any tyme, either to reason against the said true religioun presentlie prosest within this realme, or any article or heid therof, or to raile against the same, or els directlie or indirectile to be a seducer or perverter of vthers from the said trueth presentlie profest, as said is; or if he or sche be found to receipt or intertaine any traffiqueing Papists, Jesuites, or Seminarie Priests: Any of the said facts or deids salbe a sufficient cause of apostasie, and these doers salbe reput, haldin and punishit as apostates.

And because the probatioun in the saids causes is difficile and almost impossible, in respect that the saids deids are committit covertlie, and quherin probatioun can hardly be deducit: Therefor it is statue, that in case vther probatioun cannot be had, that it sall be lawfull to prove the samein be the aith of the partie alledgit committer of the saids facts and deids; and that it sall not be leisum to him to refuse to give his oath in the saids matters, vpon quhatsoevir colour or pretence of criminall actioun, or vthers following thervpon: and to this effect that ane supplicatioun be directit to his Majestie, that it might please his Hienes to sett downe ane ordinance for ratificatioun of the former statute, to the effect it may be receivit in all Judicatories.

Item, It is statute, if any person of persons quho hes conformit himselfe to the true religioun presentlie profest within this realme, and hes subseryvit the Consessioun of the Faith, and receivit the Communioun, if at any tyme heirafter he or they doe not haunt the ordinar exercises of religioun, being admonischit be thair ordinar Pastour trina admonitione [directed from the Sessioun of the Church,] the same being proven salbe ane sufficient cause to punish them as hald and repute apostates.

Item, It is statute and ordainit, that quhatsumevir person, known of before tyme to have bein a Papist, and after his reconcileing to the Kirk, he salbe tryed and found to weare and beare vnder person Agnus Dei, beids, croces, crucifixes, or to have in their houses idols and images, or in thair bookes sick things as befor they have superstitiouslie vsed, the samein sall inferre just suspitioun of apostasie, and falling back in the saids errours; and they being convict thereof, salbe haldin and repute as apostates.

Item, It is statue and ordainit in all tyme heirafter, quhensoever any Minister sall receive any Papist returning from his errours to the besome of the Kirk, that at the tyme of his receiving, the Minister sall first take his aith solemnlie sworne, that he sall declare the veritie of his faith and beliefe in every particular point and article, contained in the Confessioun of the Faith, quhilk salbe speirit at him; and that immediatlie therafter the said Minister sall examine him particularlie vpon everie heid conteinit in the Confession of Faith, and receive his particular answer thervpon assirmativé, conforme to the samein; vtherwayes that he fall not be receivit.

Item, It is statute anent the wyves of Noblemen, Gentlemen and others professing Papistry, quho resetts traffiqueing Papists, Jesuites, and Seminarie Preists, as if the same were done against the will and knowldege of thair husbands, that all such wemin salbe callit and conveinit for the said recept and intertainment; and thair being convict therfor, that they salbe wardit ay and quhill they find sufficient cautioun to abstaine from the lyke receipt or intertainment, in any tyme comeing, vnder a certaine paine; but prejudice of any actioun that may be competent against thair husbands, conforme to the laws of this realme.

Item, Because the speciall cause if increase of Papistrie proceids vpon the not putting to execution of the statutes and acts of Parliament made against traffiqueing Papists, Jesuites, and Seminarie Priests; that therfor a supplication be direcit to his Majestie, that it will please his Hienes to take such ordour, that the loveable lawis and acts of Parliament, made be his Majestie in tymes bypast against traffiqueing Papists, Jesuites, and Seminarie Priests, may be put to executioun, in all tymes comeing, with all severitie.

Item, It is ordainit, that the haill names of Papists recusants, within this realme, be givin in be the Commissioners of this present Assemblie, to the Clerk, to be delyverit be him to the Archbishops of Sanct Androes and Glasgow, conforme to thair severall Provinces, to the effect they may be callit and conveinit before them in the Hie Commissioun, and punished as accords; but prejudice alwayes of vther ecclesiasticall censure, and discipline of the Kirk, statue agains them of befor.

Item, It is ordainit, that every ane of the Ministrie give up the names of such of thair paroch as hes past furth of the countrey, and not found catioun for thair behaviour, and sincere professioun of the religioun, foorth of the samein, conforme to the act of Parliament, to the effect they may be callit, conveinit, and punischit conforme to the said act.

Item, It is ordainit, that the whole names of the persons excommunicat within this realme, quhilk salbe givin vp be the Commissioners, be delyverit to the Bischop of every Dyocie, quho fall delyver a catalogue of the names to every Minister within his Dyocie, ordaining every. Minister to make publick intimatioun thereof, at every ane of thair paroch kirks, vpon Sonday, in tyme of divyne service, that no man pretend ignorance of the same; chargeing and inhibiteing every ane of thair paroch, that they neither receipt the said excommunicants, nor intercommune with them: certifieing them and they doe in the contrair, they salbe callit and conveinit as receipters of traffiqueing Papists and excommunicat persons, and be punischit for the same.

Item, The Assemblie recommends to the care of Bischops within thair Dyocies, and Ministers within thair congregatiouns, to travell with noblemen, gentlemen, and burgesses, that ther be ordinar exercise of reiding and prayer within thair houses, as also ane prayer for the Kings Majestie and his children, after every meale: [And that the Minister of every parish haunt the houses to see the same observed.]

Sessio 3a. 15 Augusti 1616

Item, Because ther are some pamphletts and bookes full of calumnies, quyetlie sett foorth, and spred within this countrey be the Papists, and enemies of the true religioun: Therfor the Assemblie hes ordainit, that Mr William Scott, Minister at Couper, and Mr William Struthers, Minister at Edinburugh, [the Laird of Corse, and the Bishop of Galloway,] sall make ansuers to the saids bookes and pamphletts, to the effect that therby the peiple may be instrucit how to beware of the samein, and the said errours and calumnies may be refutit.

Item, Because it is certainely informed, that certaine wemen taks vpon them to bring vp the ȝouth in reiding, sewing, and vther exercises in schooles; vnder pretext and collour quherof, traffiqueing Papists, Jesuites, and Seminarie Preists hes thair appointit tymes of meeting: at quhilk tymes they catechise and pervert the ȝouth in their ȝoung and tender age, in such sort that hardlie therafter, by great paines and travells, can they be brocht fra their errours to the acknowledging of the trueth presentlie professit within this realme: It is therfor statute and ordainit, that it sall not be leisum to quhatsumevir person or persons to hold any schooles for teaching of the ȝouth, or to teach them therin, except they first have the approbation of the Bishop of the Diocie, and be first tryit be the Ministers of the Presbytrie, quher they dwell, and have thair approbation to the effect for said.

Item, Because ther is a great abuse in peiple passing to pilgrimages to wells, to trees, and auld chappells; as likewayes in putting vp of banesyres: Therfor it is ordainit, that the brethren of the Ministrie be diligent in teaching of the peiple, and preaching against such abuses and superstitioun, to the effect they may be recallit from the saids errours: as lykewayes that the Ministrie take diligent tryall of the names of those quho haunts these pilgrimages, and to delate the same to the Archbischops of Sanct Androes and Glasgow, every ane within thair awin provinces, to the effect they may be callit befor the Hie Commissioun, and punischit for the same. It is lykways ordainit, that thair names be delyverit to the Justices of Peace, with the places of thair pilgrimages, and dayes of thair meetings; and that they may be requistit and desyrit to attend vpon the saids dayes of thair meetings, and to disturb and divert them therfrom, be apprehending and punishing of them.

Item, It is ordainit, that every Minister give vp the names of ydle songsters within thair parishes to the Justices of Peace, that they may be callit and conveinit befor them, and punischit as ydle vagabounds, conform to the Acts of Parliament, and power given to the saids Justices of Peace theranent.

Item, Because it is found, that diverse of the said Jesuites, traffiqueing Papists, and Seminarie Preists goes about, vnder the colour and pretext of Doctours of Physick and Apothecaries, deceiving and perverting the peiple from the true religioun prosest within this countrie: Therfor ane supplicatioun wald be direct to his Majestie, that it wald please his Hienes to statute and ordaine, that none heirafter be sufferit to vse and exercise the office of ane Doctour of Physick or Apothecar, quhill first he have ane approbatioun from the Bishop of the Dyocies, quher he makes his residence, of his conformitie in religioun; as lykewayes from the Vniversities, quher he learnit and studied, of his qualification and sufficiencie in the said art.

The quhilk day compeirit in presence of the haill Assemblie John Gordoun of Buckie, in name, and at the direction of ane noble and potent Lord, George Marqueis of Huntlie, and presentit a petitioun, direct be the said George Marqueis of Huntlie, to the said Assemblie, subscrivit with his hand, craving to be absolved orderly from the sentence of excommunication, and desying ane answer of the same to be given be the Assemblie; quherof the tenour followes, as is to be found in the end of this Assembly. (fn. 1)

The Bishop of Sanct Androes presented ane letter direct from the Archbishop of Canterburie, together with ane vther letter from the Kings Majestie, concerning the absolutioun of the said Lord Marqueis from the sentence of excommunication made be the said Archbischop of Canterburie, quhilk were both red in preference of the said Assemblie, and ordainit to be registrat in the Acts of the Generall Assembly and perpetuam rei memoriam, quherof the tenour followis:

Heir to insert the two letters quhilk is to be found afterward. (fn. 1)

With the quhilk the Assemblie being rypelie advisit, hes thoght it most expedient, that the said Marquese compeir in the presence of the haill As semblie, ther to testisie his conformitie in the points of religioun, and resolution to abide therat; and swa to be absolvit from the sentence of excommunicatioun pronuncit against him: And, therfor, ordains the said John Gordoun of Buckie to advertise the said Lord Marqueis, that he compeir befor the Assemblie, on Wednesday nixt to come, the xxj day of August instant, to the effect forsaid: And for the better furtherance heirof, the Assemblie hes desyrit the Lord Commissioner, and Lord Archbischop Moderator, to wryte thir letters to the said Lord Marqueis for the causes forsaids: and the whole Assembly was charged to stay while that time.

[The Bishop of Canterburie excuses Huntlies absolution in England. The reasons moving the Bishop of Canterburie. 1. His Majesties sute, assuring him that he was fully resolved. 2. The Bishop of Sanct Andrewes had requeisted him divers times to further that mans conversion, whensoever occastion was offered. 3. He was resolved by the best learned in England, that he might absolve him. 4. That he did it of brotherly affection, and not as claiming any superiority over the Kirk of Scotland. 5. He was informed be the Bishop of Cathness then present at Court, that it would be acceptable service to the Kirk of Scotland. C.]

Decimo Sexto Augusti, 1616.

The said day, the Lord Commissioner for his Majestie produceit certaine instructiouns, direct by his Majestie to the said Lord Commissioner, to be proponit to this present Assemblie, anent the provisioun of the remedie for the defectioun and falling away of many from the trueth: quherof the tenour followeth:

Instructions to our right trustie and welbelovit Cusigne and Counsellour the Erle of Montrois.

[1. That order be taken with the delapidatiuon of benefices, and the progress thereof stayed, and some means devysed to recover that which is lost.

The Assembly thought good, that the determination of this matter should be referred to some of the most wife and discreet of the Ministry to consult and advise thereupon. And, in the meantime, it is statuate, that no Bishop, Minister, or beneficed person, sett or ratifie any tack under the paine of deposition, till order be taken be the said Commissioners thereanent.

2. That the chief burrow touns be planted with sufficient, wife, learned, and peaceable men; especially such places as are now vacant, as Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh and Bamse, &c.

3. That the most learned, discreet Ministers be appointed and transported to places where Noblemen has their residence, specialy suspect of Papistry; and if the means of the provision be small where they are transported, to take the rents and stipend which they had before with them, till better order be taken: and to this effect the Assembly ordaines, that ilk Bishop within his Diocy, with advice of the Synod, shall transport Ministers as they shall think expedient.

4. That special canon be made, that all Archbishops and Bishops in their visitation, either be themselves, or if they may not overtake the samen, the Ministers of the parish make all young children of six years old be presented to them, to give consession of their Faith, that they may appear in what religion they are brought up. After which every two or three years they shall be examined, till they come to 14 years of age. After sufficient growth of knowledge they may be admitted to the Communion: and that punishment be appointed for them that presents them not, or are negligent in their instruction.

5. That a true and simple Confession of Faith be set doun, to the which all shall sweare before they be admitted to any office in Kirk or Commonweale; and all students in Colledges.

6. That a short and compendious Catechism be made, which every kirk and familie shall have for the instruction of their children and servants, whereof they shall give account before the Communion, and every one be examined conforme thereto.

7. That all children and schools shall have and learn be heart the Catechism, instituled God and the King; which already, be Act of Consell, is ordained to be read and taught in all schooles.

8. That a Liturgie be made, and form of divine service, which shall be read in every church, in common prayer, and before preaching every Sabbath, be the Reader where there is one; and where there is none be the Minister befor he conceive his oun prayer, that the common people may learn it, and by custom serve God rightly.

9. That the Communion be celebrat four times ilk year in the burrow touns, and twice in landwart; and one of the times to be at Easter yearly. And if any communicat not once in the year, the act of Parliament is to strike upon them with all severity.

10. That there be an uniformity of discipline; and to that effect the Canons of the former Counsils and Assemblies to be extracted; and where the same are defective, to be supplied be former Canons and Ecclesiastical meetings. For setting doun whereof, the Commissioners following are ordained to conveen with the Bishops, in Edinburgh, the first day of December next to come, viz. the Laird of Corse, Mr John Reid, Mr George Hay, Doctor Philip, Mr David Lindsay in Dundie, Mr William Scott, Doctor Howit, Mr John Mitchelson, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr John Hall, Mr Edward Hephburn, Doctor Abernethy, Mr Robert Scott, Mr William Birnie, Mr William Areskine, or the most part of them.

11. For the help of the posterity, and furtherance of religion, that a special care be taken of the Divinity Colledge in Sanct Andrews; and to that effect, that every Diocie shall furnish two Students, or so many as may make the number to extend to twenty six; and the half thereof to be children of poor Ministers, to be preferred be the Bishop of the Diocie: provyding always, that these who are furnished within the Province of Glafgow, that is to say, the Diocies of Glasgow, Galloway, Argile, and the Isles, shall be brought up in the College of Glasgow; and not be astricted to Sanct Andrews, but when they pass Doctours only.

12. That none teach in pulpit publictly before the people, but these that have received imposition of hands; and whosoever does otherways be incapable of the Ministry.

13. That every Minister shall minister the Sacrament of Baptism quhensoever it shall be required, under the pain of deposition; the godfather promising to instruct the infant in the faith.

14. That every Minister have a Register of baptisms, mariages, and defuncts, within the parish, to be presented to ilk Synod: For doing whereof, it is statute, the Ministers, their wives, and executors shall have the quotts and confirmation of their testaments free. C.]

Quhilk being red in audience of the haill Assemblie, they give most humble thanks to his Majestie for the great care and solicitude his Majestie alwayes tooke for the advancement of the glorie of God, and professioun of the true religioun within this realme, and holding downe and suppressing of Papistrie and superstitioun within the same: And as to the saids instructiouns, the brethren was ordainit to advyse therwith quhill the morne.

Decimo septimo Augusti, ante meridiem.

Anent the saids instructiouns directit from the Kings Majestie to this Assemblie, the said Assemblie being rypelie advysit therwith, hes statute and ordainit, as followeth.

In the first, Concerning the causes of the defectioun and falling away of many from the true religioun in this kingdome, and the remedies therof, the Assemblie hes sett them downe in the articles made befor in this present Conventioun: And therfor most humblie desyres his Majestie to confirm and allow them, and make them receive execution.

Item, Because the laik of competent maintainance to Ministers is the cheefe cause of the evill, quhilk lay vpon this Kirk, quhilk for the most part proceids from dilapidation of benefices: to the effect therfor, that the progresse of that mischeise may be stayit, and some meanes devysit to recover that quhilk by iniquitie of tyme hes bein losit, the Assemblie remitts the tryall, cognitioun, and whole dispositioun of this matter to the Commissioners appointit from this Assemblie, for the causes underwrytin: And in the meantyme inhibites and discharges all Ministers quho are beneficit persons, and vthers quho are members of any Chapter, to sett in tack or assedatioun any part of thair benefices, either in long or short tackis, to quhatsumevir person or persons; or as members of Chapter to give thair consents to any tack or assedatioun sett be vthers, quhill the saids Commissioners have conveinit and takin ordour anent delapidatioun of benefices, and forme and maner of setting of tacks, vnder the paine of excommunicatioun of the persons setters of the saids tacks and consenters therto; and deprivatioun of them from thair benefices.

Item, Because the provisioun of learnit, wife and peaceable men to be Ministers at cheife Burrowstounes in vacant places, sick as Edinburugh, Perth, Aberdein, Bamsse, and vther places vacant, is ane most effectuall meane to roote out Poperie, and perpetuat the prosessioun of the true religioun: It is therfor ordainit, that the Burrowtounes be provydit with the most learnit, wife and peaceable men that may be had. And because the Commissioners for the Towne of Edinburgh hes no commissioun from the said towne, anent the provisioun of Ministers to the vacant places in the said Kirk: Therfor the care thereof is remittit to the saids Commissioners, to quhom it salbe injoynit in thair commissioun, that they sie the same performit. And as to Perth, the Assemblie ordaines my Lord Bishop of Galloway to deale with the Commissioners of the Towne of Perth, for provisioun of that vacant place. And sicklyke ordaines the Provest of Aberdein to advyse with the Counsell, anent the planting of the said Kirk; to the effect susficient and qualified men may be nominat and provided to the said places, befor the dissolving of this Assemblie.

Item, Because a special care should be had of Noblemen thair residence, cheissie of such as were thoght to inclyne towards Poperie: Therfor the Assemblie statutes and ordaines, that the Lords Archbischops and Bischops, with the advyce of thair Synods, take care that most learnit and discreit persons of the Ministrie be appointit to attend the saids places, and be transportit therto, sick as to the Kirks of Dumbenen, Bellie, Northberwick, Cockburnespath, Peislay, and such vther places quher Noblemen makes residence, cheifly those quho are thought to inclyne towards Poperie; and that they have a care of thair manteinance and sussicient provisioun: And if the same be small, that these that are appointit to attend at the saids Kirks, carrie thair livings and rents with them, quhill farder order be takin.

Item, Forsameikle as one of the most speciall meanes for staying of the increase of Poperie, and settling of the true religioun in the hearts of the peiple, is, that a speciall care may be takin in the tryall of ȝoung children, thair educatioun, and how they are catechisit; quhilk, in the tyme of the primitive Church, was most carefullie attendit, as one of the most effectuall meanes, to cause ȝoung childrein in thair verie tender ȝeirs drink in the true knowledge of God and his religioun; bot is now altogether neglectit, in respect of the great abuse and errours quhilk creip in in the Popish Church, vpon the said good ground, be bigging thervpon ane Sacrament of Confirmatioun: Therfore to the intent that all errours and superstitioun quhilk hes bein biggit vpon the said ground, may be rescindit and takin away, and that the matter itselfe being most necessar for educatioun of youth, may be reduceit to its awin integritie, It is statute and ordainit, that the Archbischops and Bischops, in the visitatioun of the Kirks, either be themselves, or quher they cannot overtake the bussines, the Minister of the paroch, make all ȝoung childrein of six ȝeirs of age be presentit befor them, and to give the Confessioun of Faith, that so it may appeare in quhat religioun they have bein brocht vp; and that they be commendit to God by solemne prayer at the tyme, for the increase of thair knowledge, and continuance of his grace with them. After that tryall, that the Minister of the paroch, every two or thrie ȝeir, ance at the least, reexamine them, that after sufficient growth in knowledge they may be admittit to the holie Communioun. And it is desyrit, that ane supplicatioun be directit to the Kings Majestie, humblie craveing that it wald please his Hienes to injoyne ane punischment vpon such parties, as either doe not present thair childrein, or salbe found negligent in thair right instructioun; and that they be callit and conveint therfor befor the High Commissioun.

Item, It is statute, that the simple Consessioun of Faith vnderwrytin be vniversallie receivit throughout this whole kingdome, to the quhilk all heirafter salbe bound to sweare and sett thair hands; and in speciall all persons that beare office in the Church, at thair acceptatioun of any of the saids offices; and lykewayes Students and Schollers in Colledges: Of the quhilk Consession the tenour followes.

Heir to insert the Consessioun of Faith. (fn. 2)

Item, It is statute and ordainit, that a Catechisme be made, easie, short, and compendious, for instructing the commoun sort in the articles of religioun, quhilk all families salbe subject to have, for the better informatioun of thair childrein and servants, quho salbe holdin to give accompt therof in thair examinatiouns befor the Communioun. And for the better effectuating heirof, the Assemblie hes ordainit Mr Patrick Galloway and Mr John Hall, Ministers at Edinburgh, and Mr John Adamsone, Minister at Libbertoun, to forme the said Catechisme, and to have the same in readines, befor the first day of October nixt to come, to the effect the same may be allowit, and printit with the Kings Majesties licence: The quhilk Catechisme being so printed, it is statute and ordainit, that no vther heirafter be printed within this realme, nor vsed in families for instructioun and examinatioun of thair bairnes, servants, nor the peiple in all tyme coming.

Item, It is statute and ordainit, that ane vniforme ordour of Liturgie or Divyne Service be sett down to be red in all kirks, on the ordinarie dayes of prayer, and every Sabbath day befor the sermoun, to the end the commoun peiple may be acquaintit therwith, and by custome may learn to serve God rightlie. And to this intent, the Assemblie hes appointit the saids Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr Peter Ewat, Mr John Adamsone, and Mr William Erskine, Minister at . . . . . . . to revise the Booke of Commoun Prayers containit in the Psalme Booke, and to sett downe ane commoun forme of ordinarie service, to be vsed in all tyme heirafter; quhilk salbe vsed in all tyme of commoun prayers [in all kirks quher there is exercise of commoun prayers;] as lykewayes be the Minister before the sermoun, quher ther is no Reidar.

Item, It is statute and ordainit, that in all tyme heirafter, the holie Communioun be celebrate in all kirks within this realme, at the tymes following, viz. in Burrowstounes, the Communioun salbe celebrate soure tymes in the ȝeir, and twyse in the ȝeir in landwart Kirks; swa that ane of the tymes, as weill to Burgh as to Landwart, salbe at the terme of Easter ȝeirlie: and if any person sall not communicat ȝeirlie ance in the ȝeir, at one of the forsaid tymes, that it be humblie requyrit of his Majestie, that the penaltie of the act of Parliament may be exactit of such persons with all rigour.

Item, It is thoght most necessar and expedient, that ther be ane vniforme ordour of Church Discipline throughout all the Kirks of this kingdome; and to that effect it is statute and ordainit, that a Booke of Canons be made, publised in wryte, drawin foorth of the bookis of former Assemblies; and quher the same is defective, that it be supplied be the Canons of Counsells and Ecclesiasticall Conventiouns, in former tyme: The care quherof the Assemblie be thir presents committs to the Right Reverend James Archbischop of Glasgow, and Mr William Struthers, Minister at Edinburgh, quho sall put in forme the said Ecclesiasticall Canons, and present them in wryte to the Commissioners appointit be this Assemblie, to quhom power is givin to try, examine [and allow the same;] and after thair allowance and approbatioun thereof, to supplicat to his Majestie, that the same may be ratified and approved by his Royal authoritie, with priviledge to put the same in print.

Item, It is statute and ordainit, that for the help of posteritie, and to continue the light of the Gospell with ages to come, the Divinitie Colledge foundit at Sanct Androes, quhilk sould be the seminarie of the Kirk within this realme, be maintainit and vpholdin, and ane speciall care takin therof. And because the rent therof is meane for the present, it is ordainit, that for the provisioun of some students in Divinitie, every Dyocie sall intertaine two; or according to the quantitie of the Dyocie so many, as the number may arise to twentie sixe in haill, respect being had to the meannes of some Dyocies, and greatness and power of vthers; so that the least Dyocies in thair contributioun salbe helped and easit be the greater: In the quhilk number it is ordainit, that the halfe at leift be the sonnes of pure Ministers, and be presentit be the Bishops of the Dyocies to the place.

Item, The Assemblie ratisies and approves the former Act made in the Assemblie haldin at Halierudehous, the tent day of November 1602, anent the sacrament of baptisme, that the same be not resuseit, if the parent crave the same, he giving a Christian consessioun of his faith, vpon any vther particular pretence of delay to tyme of preaching; with this extension and additioun, that baptisme sall no wayes be denyed to any insant, quhen either the parents of the infant, or any faithfull Christian in place of the parents, sall requyre the same to the infant; and that the same be granted any time of day, but any respect or delay till the houre of preaching.

Item, It is ordainit, that every Minister have a persyte and formall Register, quherin he sall have registrat the particular of the baptisme of every insant within his paroch, and quho wer witnesses therto; the tyme of the mariages of all persons within the same; and the special tyme of the buriall of every ane deceisand within thair parochin; and that they have the same to be in readines to be presentit be every ane, at thair nixt Synod Assemblie, vnder the paine of suspensioun of the Minister not fulfilling the same, from his Ministrie. And it is desyrit, that the saids Commissioners, in thair supplicatiouns direct to his Majestie, wold crave humblie that his Majestie wald ordaine the extract foorth of the saids Registers to make faith in all tyme comeing: and quho so observes this Act, the Archbischops and Bischops sall let them have thair quots of thair testaments gratis.

Acta Sessione ultima.

The quhilk day, in presence of the whole Assemblie, compeirit ane noble and potent Lord, George Marqueis of Huntlie, and declarit, that he had directit of befor John Gordoun of Buckie to present his supplicatioun to this present Assemblie, quherof the tenour is insert before; lykeas of new he reiterat the said supplicatioun, declaring the sorrow and greife he had conceivit, in that he had lyin so long vnder the searefull sentence of excommunicatioun; and, therfor, most humblie desyrit to be absolvit from the same; lykeas he faithfullie promised, in face of the haill Assemblie, to perform and fulfill the heids and conditiouns vnder specifeit, viz.:

First, The said noble Lord faithfullie promised befor God, his hand holdin vp, to prosesse and abyde be the true religioun presentlie professit within this realme, and allowit be the laws and acts of Parliament of the same.

2. He faithfullie promised to communicat at the first occasioun he should be requyrit, and so to continue, conforme to the ordour of the Kirk.

3. He sould cause his childrein, servants, and haill domesticks be obedient to the Kirk and discipline therof; and sould cause them haunt the kirk at ordinar tymes of preaching.

4. He sall not receive Papists, Jesuites, nor Seminarie Preists in his house, nor nane of his lands; but put them out of his bounds with all diligence.

5. He allows the Consessioun of the Faith presentlie sett downe be the said Assemblie; and in tokin of his constant consessioun and prosessioun therof, he hes subscryvit the same in presence of the haill Assemblie.

Quhilk haill promises above specisiet, the said noble Lord protests and declares that he hes made and subscryvit truelie and with ane honest heart, but any equivocatioun, mentall reservatioun, or subterfuge quhatsumevir, devysit be the Romisch Kirk and thair supposts.

Attour, The said noble Lord faithfullie promises to plant his whole kirks, quherof his Lordship hes the teinds in tack, possessioun, or vtherwayes, at the fight and conclusioun of my Lord Archbischop of Sanct Androes, the Bishop of Murray, and the Laird of Corse, vnto whose modificatioun the said noble Lord submitts himselfe, be the tenour of thir presents, giveand them power to modifie compleit stipends to the saids kirks; and as they salbe modified be them, he oblisches him to make payment of the same to the Ministers provydit or to be provydit to the said kirks.

And in respect of the premisses, the Assemblie ordainit the said noble Lord to be absolvit from the sentence of excommunicatioun led and deduceit aganis him befor:

Conforme quherto, the Right Reverend Father John Archbischop of Sanct Androes, Moderatour, in face of the haill Assemblie, absolvit the said noble Lord, George Marqueis of Huntlie, from the said sentence of excommunicatioun, led and deducit against him, and receivit him againe into the bosome of the Kirk.

The quhilk day, the Generall Assemblie of the Kirk of Scotland presentlie conveinit, having entrit in consideratioun of the causes of the desectioun and falling away of many from the true religioun, and having found the lack of the competent manteinance to Ministers not to be the least cause of the evills, quhilk lyes vpon the Kirk presentlie; the ground and fundament quherof, for the most part, hes proceidit from the dilapidatioun of benefices, with the quhilk if some solid ordour be not takin in tyme, the same is apparent to bring foorth greater evill and desolatioun in this Kirk: And seeing that the Kings Majestie hes requirit, that ordour may be takin with the saids delapidatiouns, Therfor, in respect the same cannot be suddenly done, but will requyre ane lang tyme and mature deliberatioun, the Assemblie hes givin, grantit and committit, lykeas they, be the tenour heirof, gives, grants, and committs thair full power and commissioun to the brethren vnderwrytin; they are to say, the Reverend Fathers in God, John Archbischop of Sanct Androes, James Archischop of Glasgow, Alexander Bischop of Dunkeld, . . . . . . . . Alexander Bischop of Murray, Patrick Bischop of Ross, William Bischop of Galloway, Andro Bischop of Brechin, Andro Bischop of Orknay, Alexander Bischop of Cathness, Adame Bischop of Dumblaine, Andro Bischop of Argyle, Andro Bischop of the Isles, Patrick Forbes of Corse, George Douglas, Minister at Cullen, Mr John Reid, Minister at Logie Buchan, Mr George Hay, Minister at Turreff, Doctour Hendrie Philip, Minister at Arbroth, Mr David Lindsay, Minister at Dundie, Mr William Scott, Minister at Couper, Doctour Robert Howie, Rector of Sanct Androes, Mr John Mitchelsone, Minister at Bruntiland, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr John Hall, Mr William Struthers, Ministers at Edinburgh, Mr Robert Scott, Minister at Glasgow, Mr Edwart Hepburne, Minister at Haughe, Doctour John Abernethie, Minister at Jedburt, Mr William Birnie, Minister at Air, Mr William Erskine, Minister at . . . . Giveand, grantand, and committand to them, or the most part of them, thairfull powerand commissioun to conveine at Edinburgh, the first day of December nixt to come, in this instant ȝeir of God 1616, and ther to take ordour with the dilapidatioun of benefices, and to sett downe solid grounds how the progresse of that mischeife might be stayed, and to devyse vpon some meanes to recover and restore the estate of these benefices, quhilk be iniquitie of tyme hes bein losit; and if neid beis, to call and persew befor them these quho hes made the saids dilapidatiouns, and punisch them therfor; and as they fall conclude, the same to be inactit, and have the force of this present Assemblie: With power lykewayes to the saids Commissioners, or the most part of them, as said is, to take ordour anent the planting of sufficient and qualified Persons in burrowtounes presentlie vacand, and are not plantit at this present Assemblie: With power lykewayes to receive from the right Reverend Father, James Archbischop of Glasgow, and Mr William Struthers, Minister at Edinburgh, the Canons of Church Discipline committit to thair charge, and to revise the samein, allow and dissallow therof; and to direct a supplicatioun to his Majestie, desyreing that it wold please his Hienes to ratifie and approve the samein, and to warrant the printing therof be his authoritie Royall.

[These words following were added by the Archbishop:

Item, Power to receive the books of Liturgie or Divine Service, allow and disallow therof, as they shall think expedient; and the same being allowed, to cause publish the famine in print for the service, within the Kirks of all the kingdom: As also to revise the Consession of Faith presented to this Assemblie, and after mature deliberation to take order, that the same may be published: And in all these things to do as they will be answerable to God, and the Kings Majesty, and the Church. C.]

The new Confession of Faith.

We believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths these Articles of Religion following.

That God is a Spirit immutable, eternal, infinit in power, in wisdom, in goodness and glory; from whom, be whom, to whom are all things, in whom we live, in whom we have our being; who is one only God, and three Persons, which are coessential, coeternal, and coequal. The first is the Father, who is of none. The second is the Son, who from all eternity is begotten of the Father. The third is the Holy Ghost, who from all eternity proceedeth from the Father and the Son. This glorious God from all eternity, out of his wisdom and infinit knowledge, decreed all things that were after to be done. This God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to the good pleasure of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace, did predestinat and elect in Christ some men and angels unto eternal felicity; and others he did appoint for eternal condemnation, according to the counsel of his most free, most just and holy will, and that to the praise and glory of his justice.

In the beginning of time, when God created of nothing all things in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, he made them very good; and above all things he made man and angels conform to his own image, in righteousness and true holiness: but some of the angels of their own free motive sinned against God, left their original, forsook their habitation, and abode not in the truth, and thereby became damned devils.

Then Satan abused the crastie serpent for his instrument, seducing our mother Eva; she tempted her husband Adam: So both disobeyed the commandment of God, and thereby made themselves and their whole posteritie the bondmen of Satan, slaves of sin, and heirs of eternal damnation.

By this fall of Adam all his posterity are so corrupted, from their conception and nativity, that not one of them can do, or will any thing truely acceptable to God, till they be renewed by the will and Spirit of God, and by faith ingrasted in Jesus Christ.

This our original and native corruption by regeneration in part is weakened and mortified; yet it is sinne indeed remaining in us, alwayes lusting against the Spirit, and tempting us to sin actually, as long as we live.

Albeit all mankind be fallen in Adam; yet only these who are elected before all time, are in time redeemed, restored, raised, and quickned again, not of themselves, or of their works, left any man should glory: but only of the mercy of God through faith in Jesus Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption; that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

This then is life eternal to know the true God, and whom he hath sent Jesus Christ: whereas vengeance shall be taken on all them that know not God, and do not subject themselves to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the obedience of faith.

We believe, that the rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, yea and of the whole worship of God, and of all christian conversation, is not the wit nor will of man, nor unwritten traditions whatsoever; but the wisdom and the will of God, which is sufficiently revealed in the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which are Genesis, Exodus, &c. exclusis Apocryphis.

We believe, that the authority of the holy Scriptures is divine; for they are all of divine inspiration, and have God for their author; their authority depends upon God, and not upon man; they have power over all flesh, and no creature has power over them. We are absolutely bound to believe them for their own testimony, which is the testimony of God himself speaking in them; and our faith dependeth not upon any external testimony of the Kirk witnessing of them. All things necessary to salvation are contained therein; all the doctrines of the Kirk must be warranted be them; all controversies of the Kirk must be decided be them, as the lively and plain voice of God, who is supreme Judge in matters of faith and worship.

We believe, that all points of faith and worship are so set doun in the Word of God, that what is obscurely proponed in one place, is most clearly exponed in other places; neither receive we any interpretation of any Scriptures in these matters, which is not warranted be other Scriptures.

These holy writts are delivered be God to his Kirk, to make us wife unto salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, whose person, office and benefits they most clearly and fully sett furth unto us.

The Lord Jesus Christ is declared in Scripture to be the eternal Son of God, begotten from all eternity of the Father, by whom he created the world, by whom also he does sustain and govern all things that he has made: And this Eternal Son of God, when the fulness of time came, was made man of the woman, of the tribe of Judah, and of the seed of David and Abraham, even of the blessed virgin Mary, by the Holy Ghost coming upon her, and the power of the most High overshadowing her, by whose marvellous and divine operation, the Son of God was made man of a human body and soul, and in all things like unto us, sin only excepted; and yet so he was made man, that he ceased not to be God; and so is God that he is also man, having both the natures, divine and humane, united together in a personal union; so that in ane admirable Person the two natures are distinct, and not consounded in respect of their essence, their essential properties, and proper operations.

And because of the union of the nature of man in one person with the Son of God, Christ, God and Man, is to be adored and worshipped of us: for to Christ, God and Man, all power in heaven and earth is given, and he hath gotten a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.

The purity of the human nature of Christ is to be ascribed to the supernatural operation of the Holy Ghost, who separated the seed of the woman from the natural corruption, and not to the purity of the virgin Mary his Mother: for she doubtless was conceived and born in sin, and had need of her Son to be her Saviour, as well as other women.

The Lord Jesus Christ, as God and Man, is the Saviour of his Kirk, which is his body; and the sulness of him filleth all things; neither is there salvation in any other thing.

This blessed Lord has fulfilled the whole law for us, to our behove, and in our place, both doing all that the Law requireth of us, and suffering the punishment due to our dissobedience, even the curse of the Law, and death of the cross, whereby the fullfilling of the Law, our redemption was sealed and consummated.

We believe, that as he died for our sin, and rose for our righteousness, so he ascended to heaven, to prepare a place for us, and sitteth at the right hand of God, to make intercession for us, and is able perfectly to save them that come to God by him; who albeit in his manhood he be so in the heaven, that he is no more in the earth; for the heavens must contain him, till he come to judge the quick and the dead; yet in his Godhead he is so present every where, be his power sustaining all things, and be his gracious Spirit directing and governing his Kirk militant upon earth.

We believe, that the Lord Jesus Christ was appointed and anointed of the Father to be the King, and High Priest, and supreme Teacher of his Kirk.

We believe concerning his Prophetical Office, that he is the only master and teacher of his Kirk, whom God be his own voice from heaven commanded us to hear; who has revealed the whole will of the Father touching our salvation; and what he has heard of the Father, he hath made known to us, speaking nothing to his Kirk, which he did not before hear of his Father, that his Kirk might learn to receive nothing in faith and worship, which she has not heard of him.

As concerning his Priestly Office, we believe, that he is our only mediator both of redemption and intercession; and that, by the sacrifice of himself once offered on the cross, he has made a full satisfaction for all our sins, and doth continually make intercession for us to God: And, therefore, we abhorr that supposed reiterating of the sacrifice of Christ in the Masse; and we renunce all kind of intercession of Saints and Angels.

As concerning the Kingdom of Christ, beside his absolute impire, whereby he ruleth all things, we believe him to be our eternal King, and only Head of his Kirk Universal: Neither he nor his Kirk hath any need of a Lievtenant Deput in his place; seeing he is present in his Kirk alwayes be his Spirit, powerfully working therein, calling, collecting, quickning and graciously ruling in her, be the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments, to the consummation of the world.

We believe, that our communion with Christ our Head is spiritual, by the Holy Spirit, which dwelleth powerfully both in the body, and in the Head, making the members conform to the Head; and it is no ways corporal, or by any fleshly receiving of his body.

We believe, that, be vertue of this communion, Christ is ours, and we are Christs, and his suffering is our satisfaction; and by it we have right, title and interest in all the benefits, which he did promerit and purchase to us by his suffering.

We believe, that God justifies sinners by remitting of their sins, and by imputing to them the righteousness and obedience of Christ, whereby he fulfilled the whole Law in our place, both in doing the commandments thereof, and in suffering the curse thereof, which was due to us because of our dissobedience.

We believe, that that righteousness, whereby we are justified before God, is not inherent in us, but in Jesus Christ; and that it is freely given to us of Gods free grace, through our faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe, that we are justified by faith, as it is an instrument apprehending and applying the righteousness of Christ to us, and not as it is a quality and vertue inherent in us; so that the meritorious cause of our justification is not in the faith which apprehendeth, but in the righteousness of Christ be faith apprehended.

We believe, that albeit we be not justified by good works before God, and can merit nothing at Gods hand; yet they are the way to the Kingdom of God, and are of necessity to be done for obedience to God, for glorifying of his name, for confirming ourselves anent our election, and for good example to others: and constantly we affirm, that faith, which bringeth not furth good works, is dead, and availeth nothing to justification or salvation.

We believe, that the elect being renewed, are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, in such sort, that albeit they bear about in their flesh the remnants of that original corruption, and albeit they offend through infirmity, and through the intisements thereof fin grievously to the great offence of God: yet they cannot altogether fall from grace, but are raised again through the mercy of God, and keeped to salvation.

Concerning the certainty of our salvation, we believe, that every one of us in particular ought to be fully persuaded thereof, giving credit both to the external promise of the Word, and internal witness of the Spirit. And as for the doubtings thereof, which we often find in ourselves, we doe not allow; but contrariwise damne them, as the fruits of the flesh fighting against our faith.

We believe, that God has appointed his Word and Sacraments, as instruments of the Holy Ghost to work and confirm faith in man.

We believe, that the Word of God ought to be preached and the Sacraments administred, and all divine service, as praying and praising, in all languages known and understood by the people.

We believe, that the Sacraments are certain visible seals of Gods eternal covenant, ordained be God to represent unto us Christ crucified, and to seal up our spiritual communion with him.

We believe, that the Sacraments are to be ministred only be them, who are lawfully called thereto be the Kirk of God.

We believe, that the Sacraments have power to confirm faith, and conserr grace, not of themselves, or ex opere operato, or force of the external action; but only by the powerfull operation of the Holy Ghost.

We believe, that there be only two Sacraments, appointed by Christ under the New Testament, Baptisme, and the Lords Supper.

We believe, that Baptism is necessary to salvation, if it can be orderly had: and that, therefor, not the want of it, but the contempt of it doth damne.

We believe, that Baptism sealeth up unto us the remission of all our sins, whereof we are guilty, either before or after our baptism.

We believe, that Baptism is to be ministred simply in the element of water, with the rite of dipping, washing, or sprinkling, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to Christs institution, without other elements or sacramental rites devised be men.

We believe, that the Lords Supper is to be given to all communicants, under the elements of bread and wine, according to Christs institution.

We believe, that the elements of bread and wine in the Lords Supper, are not transubstantiated, or changed in the substance of the body and blood of Christ; but that they are sacraments of his body and blood, thus changing their use, but not their substance.

We believe, that the body and blood of Jesus Christ are truely present in the holy Supper, that they are truely exhibit unto us; and that we in very truth doe participat of them, albeit only spiritually and by faith, not carnally or corporally.

We believe, that the Lords Supper is a commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ, which once offered did fully expiat our fins. With his one sacrifice, once offered, we are all fully content, neither doe we seek any other expiatory or propitiatory sacrifice. But as for sacrifices of praise and thanksgivings, the sacrifice of a contrite heart, almes and charitable deeds, these we ought daily to offer, as acceptable to God in Christ Jesus.

We believe, that the sacrifice and merit of Christ is not applyed to us, by the work of a sacrificing Masse Priest; but by that faith, which is wrought in our souls by the Holy Ghost, whereby the sacrifice and merit of Christ is applyed to us; and being applyed to us becometh our satisfaction, attonement and merit.

We believe, that souls of Gods children, which depart out of this life in the faith of Jesus Christ, after the separating from their bodies, immediately pass into heaven, and there rest from their labours untill the day of judgement, at which time they shall be reunited with their bodies, and enjoy life everlasting with Christ: Likeas the souls of the wicked immediately pass to hell, there to remain till the day of judgment, which day, being conjoined with their bodies, they shall sustain the judgement of everlasting fire: and besides these two, a third place for souls we doe not acknowledge.

We believe, that there is an holy catholick or universal Kirk, which is the holy company of all these, who, according to the purpose of Gods eternal election, since the beginning of the world, were called, and, to the end of the world, shall be called to the Kingdom of Christ, and to the communion of eternal life in him.

We believe, that the true members of his Kirk are only the faithfull, who are chosen to life everlasting.

This Kirk we believe to be but one, and that out of it there is no remission of sins to salvation.

We believe, that this Kirk is partly triumphant in heaven, partly militant on earth. The whole militant Kirk on earth is divided in many and diverse and particular Kirks, which are visible and conspicuous to the eyes of men.

We believe not, that all these particular Kirks on earth are pure, but these only which continue in the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles, according to the holy canonical Scripture, worshipping God purely, and ministring the Sacraments according to the same. And these be the true marks, whereby a true visible Kirk on earth may be discerned and known.

As concerning the worship of God, we consess and affirm, that all religious worship and service is only to be given to God, as his proper due and glory, which he will communicat to no other; believing firmly, that God is to be worshipped only according to his own will, revealed in his Word.

And, therfor, we abhorre all will worship, all invocation of Saints or Angels, all worshipping of images, crucifixes, relicts, and all other things which are beside the true God.

We believe and consess, that God hath ordained Kings, Princes, and Magistrats, for the good of Commonwealth, for the better governing in the Kirk, and to be nurse fathers of the same: And, therfor, that all their subjects are bound in duty to obey them in all things they command lawfully, not repugnant to the will of God; and that they are oblidged to pray for them daily, that under them they may lead a godly and peaceable life.

We believe and constantly affirm, that the Kirk of Scotland, through the abundant grace of our Lord, is one of the most pure Kirks under heaven this day, both in respect of truth in doctrine, and purity in worship: and, therfor, with all our hearts we adjoyn ourselves thereto, and to the religion publickly professed therein by the Kings Majesty, and all his true subjects, and authorized by his Majesties laws; promising be the grace of God to continue therein to the end of our life, according to all the articles which are here sett doun: Which as we believe with our hearts, so we confesse with our mouthes, and subscribe with our hands; understanding them plainly as they are here conceived, without equivocation or mental reservation whatsomever. So may God help us in the great day of Judgment.


  • 1. The documents referred to are not contained in the two MS. copies of B. U. K. Advocates Library, nor in the MS. or printed copies of C. to which we have had access.
  • 2. Printed at the end of this Assembly.