Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.
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A. D. M.D.LXXII.
The Generall Assemblie begun and haldin in the Tolbuith of Perth, the saxt day of August 1572: In the quhilk were present the Erles, Lords, Barronis, Superintendents, Commissioners to plant Kirks, Commissioners of Provinces, Universities, and Ministers. Johne Erskine of Dunne, Knyght, Superintendent of Angus and Mernes, was chosen Moderatour be the haill voyce of the Assemblie.
To the effect that obedience be given to the Moderator presentlie and in all tymes heirafter, the haill brethren assemblit in ane voyce statutes and ordaines, That na person, of quhat estate that ever he be, take in hand to speake without licence askit and given be the Moderatour, and after licence obtainit, that the person speake and keip moderatioun in reasoning and ansuering, and els keip silence quhen he sall be commandit be the Moderatour, under the paine of removeing out of the Assemblie, and not to reenter therin dureing that conveining: and this to be a perpetuall act for all Assemblies heirafter.
[The Assembly findeth and declareth the Diocie of Sanct Andrews, wheresoever it lyeth, to pertain to the Bishop of Sanct Andrews, and to no other Superintendent to visite and plant kirks: Therefore the said Bishop answered, Because the bounds are great, and he not able to doe his office in his own person, desired some of the Godliest and best learned to concurr with him in taking order, how the whole Diocie may be served: And, for that purpose, he desired to have the counsell of the brethren underwritten, to wit, John Areskine of Dun, Knight, Superintendent of Angus and Merns, Mr John Spotswood, Superintendent of Lothian, Mr Robert Pont, Mr Andrew Hay, Commissioner of Cliddisdaill, Mr John Craig, Minister; whereunto the whole Assembly agreed.
Mrs John Craig, William Christeson, Andrew Simpson, Robert Hammilton, John Duncanson and James Dalrympell were appointed to visite the books of the Bishop of Sanct Andrews, the Superintendents and Commissioners visitation.
Touching the revising of the heads and articles concluded at Leith in the moneth of January last, betwixt my Lord Regents Grace, Secret Counsell and Commissioners of the Kirk, the whole Assembly appointed the Superintendents of Angus and Fyfe, Mrs John Craig, John Row, William Christeson, David Ferguson, David Spence, John Rutherford, Patrick Kinninmouth, together with Mr Robert Pont, David Lindsay, Andrew Hay, and Mr William Lundie of that ilk, that they conveen upon Friday nixt to come at six hours in the morning in the Counsell house, and oversee and consider the saids conclusions, and what they find therein, either to be retained or altered, to report the samine again to the Assembly; ordaining all and sundry brethren that have any reason to alledge against the said conclusions, that they conveen with the forsaids brethren the said day or before, and shew their opinion; with certification, that thereafter they shall not be heard thereanent.
Anent my Lord Regents Graces supplication for placing of Mr Robert Montgomerie in the town of Stirling, the Assembly willing to satisfy my Lord Regents Grace and town of Stirling in that behalf, consented that Mr Robert be placed there; alwise providing the act anent the removing of Ministers made the penult of July 1569, be observed. Alwise because it is supponed that the congregation of Dumblane hath no knowledge of the transporting of their Minister, The Assembly ordaineth the Superintendent of Stratherne to warn the said congregation before him, betwixt and the last day of this instant, and hear their alledgance, wherefore the said Mr Robert should not be removed from them and placed in the said town of Stirling. Moreover, the Assembly ordaineth, that if the said Mr Robert be placed in Stirling, that the Collector of the West pay to him two hundreth merks, and the Collector of Stratherne ane hundreth merks for a year, till farder order be taken.
Anent the supplication of the town of Edinburgh touching the support of Ministers for their congregation presently destitute of preaching: The Assembly gave commission to the Superintendent of Lothian with so many Ministers of the province as he should choose, with advice also of Mr Knox and the Session of the Kirk of Edinburgh, to nominat and choose any qualified Minister, as they shall think expedient to be joined with Mr Knox, Minister of the said town; and whomsoever they shall happen to choose, that the said Superintendent charge him to enter in the Ministry of the said town with all diligence, under the pain of disobedience to the Assembly.
The Assembly ordained Mr Patrick Adamson to enter in the Ministry at Pasley at what time the Commissioner of Cliddisdaill shall charge him thereto; which the Assembly desireth to be done with all diligence, according to the said Mr Patricks own promise.
The Assembly, for certain causes, continueth all Commissioners already appointed still in their offices while the nixt Assembly, at the which ordaineth them to be present, and bring with them their diligence in execution of their Commission.
Anent answering and concluding upon questions and complaints: The Assembly appointed the brethren under written, to wit, Mrs Alexander Arbuthnet, James Melvill, James Carmichaell, George Scot, Alexander Jerdan, Andrew Simpson, to meet at three hours after noon and give their answers, and report the samine to the Assembly.
The brethren appointed for revising the heads and articles concluded in Leith, in January last, with the Regents Grace and Secret Counsell, presented to the Assembly a protestation with their opinion, anent some of the heads and conclusions, requiring the whole Assembly to adhere to the same: The tenor whereof followeth. C.]
For sameikle as in the Assemblie of the Kirk haldin in Leith in January last, ther was certaine Commissioners appointed to travell with the Nobilitie and their Commissioners, to reason and conclude upon diverse articles then thoght good to be conferritt upon: According to the quhilk commission they have proceidit to divers dyatts and conventions, and finallie concludit for that tyme upon the saids heids and articles, as the same produceit in this Assembly proportis. In the quhilks beand considderit, and red are found certaine names, sick as Archbischop, Deane, Archdeane, Chancellour, Chapter, quhilks names were found slanderous and offensive to the ears of many of the brethren, appeirand to sound to papistrie: Therfor the haill Assemblie in ane voyce, asweill they that were in Commission at Leith as uthers, solemlie protests, that they intend not be useing sick names to ratifie, consent and aggrie to any kynd of Papistrie or superstition, and wishes rather the saids names to be changeit into uthers that are not slanderous or offensive. And in lyke manner protests, that the saids heids and articles aggriet upon be only receivit as ane interim, untill farder and more perfyte ordour be obtainit at the hands of the Kings Majesties Regent and Nobilitie; for the quhilk they will prease as occasion sall serve: Unto the quhilk protestation the haill Assemblie presently conveened in ane voyce adheres.
[Anent the names and titles of Archbishops, we think good that they that had the names of Archbishops heretofore, That hereafter in these things concerning the function of the Kirk, they shall use the name of Bishop and not Archbishop. Toward the names of Chapter, Dean and Archdean and Chancellarie, we think it good, that because thir names sound to bring in superstition with them, and so offensive to the ears of a great number of the Kirk; therefore desire they may be changed in other names tending to the same purpose; such as the Chapter be called the Bishops assembly; the Dean, Moderator of the said Assembly. As to function of the Deans, Archdeacons and Chancellers, we think good, that some be appointed be this present Assembly, to try and give in their Judgment concerning the said functions, how far they shall extend in particular; and also toward the function of the Abbots and Priors, and toward the interchanging of all their names in other names more agreeable to Gods word, and the policies of the best reformed Kirks; and they to report the same to the nixt Assembly, or else to the next Parliament, if any happen to be betwixt this and the nixt Assembly. And we think good, that Commissioners be appointed be this present Assembly to await upon the Parliament, if it shall happen to be, or otherwise pass to the Regents Grace and Secret Counsell for such things as shall be given to those in commission: farther viseing of the saids conclusions the said brethren continued till farther opportunity, alwise adhering to the former protastation.
Mr Knox sent the letter following to the Assembly.
Fight and faint not, for the battle is short, and the victory with Jesus Christ is rich and without end.
Albeit I have tain my leave not only of you, dear brethren, but also of the whole world and all worldly affairs; yet remaining in the flesh I could not nor cannot cease to admonish you of things, which I know to be most prejudiciall to the Kirk of Christ Jesus within this realme. Above all things preserve the Kirk from the bondage of the Universities. Persuade them to rule themselves peaceably, and order the schools in Christ; but subject never the pulpit to their Judgment, neither yet exempt them from your Jurisdiction. Take heed that nothing proceed, under your name, be particular factions. Farther I have communicated my mind with thir two dear brethren. Hear them, and doe as ye will answer before God, who presently worketh potently, how blind that ever the world remaineth. Fight ye in the truth and for the liberty of the same, and be assured to triumph with Jesus Christ: To whose mighty protection I unfainedly commit you. Off Sanct Andrews, the 5 day of August, 1572.
With this letter, which was sent be Mr John Winram, Superintendent of Fife, and Mr Robert Pont, were sent thir articles following.
1. First, Desiring a new act to be made, ratifying all things concerning the King and his obedience that were enacted of before, without any change; and that the ministers who have contraveened the former acts, be corrected as accordeth.
2. That sute be made to the Regents Grace and Nobility maintaining the Kings cause, That whatsoever proceedeth in this treaty of peace, they be mindfull the Kirk be not prejudged thereby in any sort; and they specially of the ministry, that have been robbed of their possessions within the Kirk during the time of the troubles, or otherwise dung and injured, may be restored.
3. To sute at the Regent, That no gift of any Bishoprick or other benefice be given to any person contrar to the tenor of the Acts made in the time of the first Regent of good memory; and they that are given contrar the said Acts, or to any unqualified person, may be revocked and declared null be ane Act of Secret Counsell; and that all Bishopricks vacand may be presented, and qualified persons nominat thereunto, within a year after the vaiking thereof, according to the order taken in Leith be the Commissioners of the Nobility and of the Kirk in the moneth of January last; and, in speciall, to complean upon the giving of the Bishoprick of Rosse to Lord Methven.
4. That no pensions of benefices great or small be given be simple donation of my Lord Regent, without consent of the possessor of the said benefiees having title thereto, and the admission of the Superintendent or Commissioner of the province where this benefice lyeth, or of the Bishops lawfully elected according to the said order taken at Leith; and desire ane act of Counsell to be made thereupon unto the nixt Parliament, wherein the same be specially inacted, with inhibition to the Lords of Session to give any letters or decreets upon such simple gifts of benefices or pensions, not being given in manner above rehearsed; and that the Kirk presently assembled declare all such gifts null, so far as lyeth in their power.
5. That the first form of presentation to benefices, which were in the first and second Regents time, be not changed as now it is commonly; but that this clause be contained in the presentations, That if the persons presented make not residence, or be slanderous, or found unworthy either in life or doctrine be the Judgment of the Kirk, (to the which alwise he shall be subject,) or meet to be transported to another room at the sight of the Kirk, that the said presentation and all that shall fall thereupon, shall be null and of no force nor effect; and this to have place also in the nomination of the Bishops.
6. That ane Act be made in this Assembly, That all things done in prejudice of the Kirks assumptions of the Thrids, either be Papists or others, in giving of fewes, liferents or tacks, or any otherwise disponing the said assumed Thrids, be declared null, with a solemn protestation, The whole Kirk disassenteth thereto.
7. That ane Act be made, decerning and ordaining all Bishops admitted be the order of the Kirk now received, to give account of their whole rents and intromission therewith once in the year, as the Kirk shall appoint for such causes as the Kirk may easily consider the same to be most expedient and necessar.
8. Anent the Jurisdiction of the Kirk, That the same be determined in this Assembly, because this article hath been long postponed.
9. To make sute to the Regent and Counsell for remedy against Messengers and excommunicate persons.
10. Last, That order be taken anent the procurers of the Kirk, who procure against Ministers and Ministry, and for sisting of Justice of the Kirks actions in the session.
Thir questions were also presented at this Assembly.
If a Bishop, being elected to a great Diocie, may be admitted beside that to the office of Rectory of ane University or Provest of a Colledge, or any other like charge, or to bruike any inferior benefice.
If controversy rise upon Doctrine, before whom shall it be treated, where the Bishops are placed according to the order of the Kirk: Whether shall the Superintendents Jurisdiction expire or not.
If any Abbot may sett his whole Abbacie in prejudice of his successors and of the Ministry, for the half of the thing it payed before, or otherwise far within the availl.
Thir articles were read in the Assembly with the former letter. The Assembly wrote again one answer to Mr Knox thus.
We have received your writting, (dear brother in the Lord Jesus,) together with certain articles and questions, the which we have read and diligently considered, and find the same both reasonable and Godly; and therefore we have taine like order as we could for the furtherance thereof, as thir our brethren bearers of this present will declare unto you, beseeking you to comfort yourself in the mercies of God through Jesus Christ. We think it not meet to trouble you presently with long letter, seing our minds are all bent (as we believe) to sett fordward the self same cause, which our God hath putt into our hands, to the advancement of his glory and comfort of his Kirk through Jesus Christ; to whose protection we committ you. Of Perth the 10th of August 1572.
Your brethren and fellow members in Jesus Christ,
Bishop of Cathnes.
John Spotswood. C.]
[Apud Edinburgh tertio die mensis Octobris, anno Domini Im vc lxxij.
Forsamekle as be supplicatioun it is humblie menit and exponit to my Lord Regentis Grace and Lordis of the Kingis Maiesties Privie Counsall, be the Baronnis, Gentilmen and vtheris professouris of Christis Evangell, presentlie convenit in Edinburgh, That in respect of the grit murtheris, and mair then beistlie crewelteis, vsit and put in executioun in diuerse partis of Europe agains the trew Christianis within the same, proceidit no doubt out of that vnhappy, devillishe and terrible Counsall of Trent, and intendit not only to be execute in foreyn cuntreis quhair ayther thair power or tressoun may avale, but alsua intendit to be prosequute and followit furth with the like or greatar creweltie (gif it war possible) agains the trew Christianis heir in this realme of Scotland, and ower all quhair ellis quhair ever Christis Evangell is sincerlie professit, maist humblie requyring the apparent danger to be foirsene and providit for, willinglie offering thame selffis and all that thay haif to the furtherance of the same; quhairthrow the wickit interpryses and diuises of the malicious and bludy papistis and childrene of this warld (quhilkis in thair kynde ar mair busy and subtill nor the childrene of God) may with Godis help be preventit and resistit: My Lord Regentis Grace and Lordis foirsaidis, considering the equitie and necessitie of the said supplicatioun, ordanis letters to be direct, chargeing all and sindrie oure Souerane Lordis subiectis, professouris of Christis Evangell, of all the reformit kirkis within this realme, be oppin proclamatioun at the mercat croces of the heid burrowis of the same, in the paroche kirkis and vtheris places neidfull, That thay, and every particular kirk be thame selff, send and direct thair Commissioneris sufficientlie authorizit ane or ma, according to the qualitie and quantitie of the personis and rowme, to the Burgh of Edinburgh, or quhair my Lord Regentis Grace salbe for the tyme, the twentie day of October instant, to consult, aduise and deliberat vpoun sic materis and overtures as may be proponit to my Lord Regentis Grace, and oure Souerane Lordis Privie Counsall foirsaid, tending to the preventing, resisting and mutuall defence of the professouris of Christis Evangell within this realme, fra the furious rage and lawlis creweltie of the bludy and tressonable papiftis, executouris of the decreis of the said devillishe and terrible Counsall of Trent; and in sic thingis further as may advance Godis glorie and trew religioun foirsaid, as everie reformit kirk will thairby declair thair ernist and christiane affectioun to the same, in sa present perrell and commoun danger: grantand alsua full libertie, licence, protectioun and assurance to all Commissioneris of kirkis, quhair evir thay dwell in ony partis of this realme, howsoeuir, in tyme bygane, thay haue bene inobedient to his Hienes authoritie, That thay may saulflie and frelie hant and resort and cum to the day and place appointit, and thair remane during the tyme of the Conventioun to be kepit for this purpose; quhair alsua thay salbe admittit to haue frie speche and vote, and to returne at thair plesoure to thair dwelling places, without stop, trouble, arreist, searche or impediment to be maid to thame in bodyis or gudis, for the space of fyvetene dayis eftir the said twentie day of October, including alsua the tyme of thair travell preceding the said twentie day: Certifeing all fic as sall require particular licences and assurances for this effect, that, vpoun thair desyre, the same salbe grantit to thame; commanding all our Souerane Lordis officiaris, liegis and subdittis, That nane of thame tak vpoun hand to violat this present licence, protectioun and assurance, under all hiest pane, charge and offence, that thay and euery ane of thame may commit and inrin aganis his Maiestie in that part. Reg. Sec. Conc.]
[The Heads and Articles which are to be proponed in the name of the Ministers, Barons, and Commissioners of kirks, to the Regents Grace, Nobility and Counsell.
The Assemblie of the Kirk convenit at Edinburgh, the 20 of October 1572, according to the Proclamatioun, First, hes thocht expedient in sa far as this present Conventioun is institute to provyd remeid aganis the tressonable crweltie of the papistis, and to resist the samyne, to mitigat the wrath and indignatioun of God, quhairby thaj ar steirit vp aganis ws for our sinnis, Thair salbe ane publict humiliatioun of all thame that feiris God and professis his trew religioun, with publict prayer and fasting throchout this haill realme, to begin the xxiij day of Nouember nixt to cum, and to end the last day of the said moneth: And to the effect, that thaj quha ar notorious offendaris and publick slanderers of the Kirk may be brocht to amendment of lyff, or els be excludit furth of the Societie of the faithfull, It is thocht expedient, that betuixt this and the xxiij day of Nouember, in all provincis and paroche kirks quhair the ordour of discipline is, the Superintendants, Commissionars of cuntries, Ministaris and Eldaris, sall call befoir thame at appointit dayes all notorious offendaris within thair jurisdictionis, sic as murthoreris and assistaris of murthoreris, adulteraris, furnicatouris, roberis of the patrimonie of the Kirk, or vther menis possessiouns, and siclyk vtheris criminal personis in all estaitts, beginand at the Ministerie and Nobilitie, and sa proceiding to all vtheris, that wickitnes and such hynous crymes that offendis the majestie of God, may be purgit furth of this cuntrie. And speciallie, that it may be knowin that Ministaris quha aucht be good exempel, alsueill be doctrine as lyff, to provok vtheris to godlie conversatioun, be not exemit, bot rather first tryit, it is thocht necessar, that all Superintendants and Commissionaris of cuntries tak diligent inquisitioun of the lyfe of all Ministaris, Exhortaris and Reidaris, and quhat faltis salbe fund, seveir correctione to follow thairvpone, according to the nature of the cryme. And in caice Ministar is sould appear to conceall thair awin imperfectionis, that all men be requyrit to declair to the Superintendantis and the Commissionaris the vyces that thaj knaw to be in thame: And in lykwayes, becaus in the reformatioun of the Nobilitie consistis the chieff exampill of the haill cuntrie, we crave nocht onlie a general reformatioun of such imperfectiouns as ar in thame, but als that such vycis as in particular salbe gevin in to thame be amendit; sic as that thaj be reformit in the wrangous vsing of the patrimonie of the Kirk, applying the same to their particular vse, to the great hurt of the Ministerie, the Scullis and Poore: And that the Commonis may be eased be thame, baith in paying of their teinds and vtheris dewties, in respect of thair great pouertie; and that thaj may amend thair great negligence in tymes past in puneissing of vyces, throchout this haill realme, siclyk as incest, adulterie, bloodscheding, and sorcerie, &c.; and that thair may be notabill personis deput with commissions for that effect to execute the same; and that sic as haue ressauit commission alreadie, to be chargit to proceid thairin: And that the actis of Parliament and Counsaillis maid aganis the brekaris of the Sabbath day may be likewise execute. Onto the quhilk heids contenit in this article we desyre my Lord Regents Grace and Counsell to aggrie, and to authorise the same.
Secundlie, As concernyng the papistis that be in this cuntrie ȝit remanyng, That thaj without all exceptionis of personis, grit or small, salbe chargit alsueill be the Counsall as Ministerie, to compeir at certane dayes, as salbe appoyntit, before such as the Kirk and Counsell shall appoint to giue confessioun of thair faith, according to the acts of Parliament; and such as have nocht recantit, to mak thair publict recantationis; and thaj that are excommunicat for that caus, to vnderly sic injunctiouns as salbe laid to thair charge; and gif any of thame failzies heirin, their haill guids and geir to be confiscat, and thame selffis banist off the cuntrie; and thaj that ar beneficed personis, thair benefices to vaik, and to be disponit to qualifeit personis; and if thaj (being decernit to be banist) be fundin heirefter in the cuntrie, it salbe lesum to all the subjectis in this realme to invaid thame and euerie ane of thame to the deith, as enemies to God, the King, the Kirk, and the commoun weill of the realme; and that sic as be convict be the law alreadie, or may be convict, be execute with all rigour; and all vtheris that be excommunicat for ony vther cryme or offence, salbe callit lykwayes to particular dyatis, to satisfie the Kirk, or els to incure the lyk panis and punisment as is befoir specifeit; and that thaj that resetts and mantenis thame, if after due admonition they desist not from their company, salbe haldin partakaris with thame, and be comptit in the rank of papistis, to be punist in femblable maner.
And forder, we desyre that the Act of Parliament be put to execu tioun, That nane be admittit to publict offices of Counsall, Sessioun, or vtherwayis, that ar knawin to be papistis, or mantenearis or fauoraris of papistis: Also, becaus thair is Mess said in certane places of this cuntrie, as in auld Abirdene, Dunkeld, Paslay, Eglingtoune, That thair be a speciall day assignit to assemble all the professouris of the religione in places nixt adjacent to the boundis quhair the said Messis ar vsit, for apprehending of the Mess sayaris; and also the heiraris to vnderly the law: Lykwayes, incaiss this present diuisioune tak sum aggrement and concord, That nane be comprehendit thairin bot sic as salbe obleist for the mantenance of the religioun aganis the enemies thairof: Attour, That all such personis, as haue (sen the Reformatioun began) socht from the Paip billis or benefices, salbe haldin as papistis, and pvnist thairfoir, conforme to the act of Parliament; and that all professouris of the religioun having benefices, and able to preitch, may be chargit to do thair office, seing that it is not ressonable that thaj tak vp the leiving, and remayne ydill.
Thirdly, For resisting of the papistis of forane cuntries, alsweill within as without, that my Lord Regents Grace and Nobilitie sall caus such ordour, That ane League and Confederacie be maid with our nychtbouris of Ingland, and vther cuntries reformit and professing the trew religioun, that we and thaj be joynit togidder in mutuall amitie and societie, to support euerie ane vther, quhensoeuer tyme or occasioun sall serue for mantenance of religioun, and resisting of the enemies thairof: Lykas, That ane solempnit band and aith may be maid be all thame that be professouris of the Evangell within this realme, to joine thameselffis togidder, and be reddie at all occasiouns for resisting the enemies foirsaids: And gif any beis fund negligent thairin, he salbe haldin for and false broder, and excommunicatioun to proceid aganis him. Pollock M.S. & C.]