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.LXXVIII.
The General Assemblie conveinit at Edinburgh, the 24 day of October 1578, in the Nether Counsell house: Quher ther was present the Commissioners of Countreys, Provinces, Townes, and Vniversities.
Exhortation made be Mr John Row. Leits, Mrs Andro Hay, Thomas Smeitoun, David Fergusone: The said David was chosen Moderatour be pluralitie of votes.
[For the better expedition of matters in the Assembly, it was thought meet, that the Moderator conveen with Mr James Lowsone, Mr Andro Melvill, Mr Johne Row, Mr Andro Hay, Mr Thomas Smeitoun, Mr Johne Craig, Mr Robert Pont, every day at 7 hours in the morning, and two afternoon, in Mr James Lowson his gallery, to conferr and advise upon such things as shall be thought meet to be proponed to the Assembly.
Becaus that divers noble personages were present within the toun, whose presence was necessar to the Assembly; the Assembly desired their brethren, John Durie, John Brand, Andrew Kerr of Foudonside and the Laird of Braid, to goe to their Honours and require their presence. C. & B.]
In respect that at the desyre of the Assemblie, certaine of the Nobilitie were convenient, viz. my Lord Chancellour, the Erle of Montrois, my Lord Seatoun, my Lord Lindsay, it was exponit and shawin [unto them] be the Moderatour of this Assemblie, in name of the Kirk, quhat care and studie the Kirk of God had tane to intertaine and keip the puritie of the sincere word of God vnmixt with the invention of their awin heids, quhilk thair speciall care was to preserve to the posteritie heirafter: And seeing that the true religioun is not able to continue nor indure long without a good discipline and policie; in that part have they also imployit thair witt and studie, and drawin foorth of the pure fontaines of Gods word, sick a discipline [and policie] as is meitt to remaine within the Kirk, quhilk they presentit to the Kings Majestie, with thair supplicatioun; at whose directioun certaine Commissioners were appointit to reason with sick as were deput be the Kirk; quher the haill matter beeand dispute, was resolvit and aggreit to a few heids, and therafter againe presentit to the Lords of the Articles, that the said discipline might take place and be establishit be the actis and lawis of the realme; quherin, nottheles, thair travell hes not succeidit; prayand therfor the Nobilitie present, alsweill oppinly to make professioun to the Kirk, if they will allow, affirme and mantaine the religioun presentile establischit within this realme, as also the Policie and Discipline already spokin of; and labour at the King and Counsells hands for ane ansuer to the heids after following, to wit: That his Grace and Counsell will establisch such heids of the Policie as was already resolvit and aggreit vpon be the saids Commissioners, and cause sick vthers as was not finallie aggreit, to be reasonit and put to ane end; and that his Grace and Counsell will restore the Kirk to [the benefit of] the act of Parliament Concerning the thrids; and that none vote in Parliament for the Kirk, except such as sall have commissioun of the Kirk for that effect; and that presentations of benefices be directit to the Commissioners of Countreyis quher benefices lyes: And to the effect that the matter may be the better and sooner exped, that thair Lordships wald appoint sick tyme convenient therto as they may best spare, that sick of the brether as beis namit therto, may awaite vpon thair Honours. Heirvnto the Noblemen ansuerit, That a part of them had made publick professioun of this religioun befor, and alwayes now they declare they confesse the religioun presentlie profest within this realme, and sall mantaine the same to thair power: As to the rest they thinke good the King and his Counsell be suitit, and they sall assist with the Kirk for ansuer therto: the tyme to that effect [they shall notifie] to the Kirk the morne.
The Commissioners of Provinces were called, the absents noted; Mr Patrick Adamson his excuse rejected: The rest who were present, were tryed. Mr John Robertson, Minister of Ross, was delated, That he had remained almost this half year in Edinburgh, so that he neither discharged his commission of Visitation, nor his office of the Ministrie. He answered, That he had some actions depending before the Lords, and other weighty affairs, which stayed him; that beside the supply of certain brethren at his kirk, he had licence of the Bishop of Ross; and that he knew nothing of the commission. The Assembly willed him to return again to his cure with all convenient diligence.
Mr James Boyd, Commissioner of Kyle, Carict, &c., was desired to submitt himself to the Generall Assemblie, for reformation of the corruption of the state of a Bishop in his person, according to the acts of the Assemblie; farther he was accused of negligence in his visitation; negligence of preaching at the kirk of Oswald, which he had taken to be his particular kirk; slackness of discipline; and that he had given collation to Mr Hector Dowglass of the benefice of Ankrom, with command to the Reader to give him institution thereof, there being another Minister there actually serving the cure at the said kirk. To the first demand, Mr James answered, He understood not the meaning of the said act concerning submission; alwise he was content to offer such reasons to the Moderator and the brethren that consult with him, as either they may be satisfied in the said point, or be their better reasons he may be persuaded to yield. The Assembly appointed him to be present with the said brethren and Moderator, upon Munday at 7 hours in the morning, in Mr James Lowsons galrie. As to his non visitation, he granted, He had not visit Kyle and Cuningham for deadly feeds there, and desired to be disburdened of that charge, and his visitation to be limited to him about Glasgow. As for preaching, He had preached at the kirk of Oswald when he was in the countrey, and other times at Glasgow, and craved of the Assemblie, that he might travell at Glasgow. As to the last, answered, It is the common forme of collations that he keeped.
Mr John Row delated. That he had not put in execution the acts of the Assemblie against Lady Atholl. He answered, That he had taken some travell in that behalfe, yet becaus the Erle himself had adjoyned him to the religion, he wold not be rash till he had farther resolution of the Assembly. Four brethren are directed to the Erle to require his judgement anent the best mean to bring her to the religion; and to demand, what tyme the Commissioners of the Assembly, who are to be direct to the Kings Majestie and his Council, shall await on his Lordship and the rest of the Noblemen that were to pass thither. To the first he answered, That the readiest way was the hearing of the word, and privat conference, wherein he should use diligence. As to the other demand, he thinks it meet, They goe foreward with their purpose, whether he goe to Stirline, or not, because he was uncertain; but if he be present, he shall assist their Commissioners, as he promised.
Anent the complaint made of certain brethren of the Ministry, that had left their own flock, and some simpliciter the function of the Ministrie, viz. Alexander Winchester, Minister in Elgin, left his flock of Elgine, and now preacheth in Stirline; Mr Patrick Auchinleck having a benefice in Murrey, serveth not there; Mr John Colvill, Minister at Kilbryde, had left the Ministrie; Mr Patrick Dowglass, Chantour of Murray, Mr Gilbert Gardin, non residents: All which persons being called, the said Mr Patrick being present, was commanded to enter to his cure in Murrey, as he will be answerable to the Assembly. He promised to obey. Mr John Craig answered for Mr Gilbert Gardin, That his benefice is given up vacant. The rest not compearing, the Assembly give their full power and commission to their brethren directed with commission to the King, to summond the said Mr John Colvill, and the Minister of Elgine, if he be at Stirling, to compear before them at Stirline at such other days as they think good, to answer for the leaving of their flock, and Ministrie respectivé, and to put order to them according to the acts of the Generall Assembly, as they will answer to the Assembly on their duty, and that betwixt and the next Assemblie; and if the said Minister of Elgine be not there, Ordaines the Commissioner who shall be nominat to visit his Countrey, to call the said Minister before him, at such dayes as he thinks good, and to proceed against him for his non residence, according to the acts of the Assembly, and to try the slander given be him, and after just triall thereof, according to the said act, as also the Commissioners of the remanent persons above specified not resident, to take sicklyke order with them according to the acts of the Kirk, as they will answer upon their office. C.]
Anent the act made in the last Assemblie concerning the suspension of Visitors fra giving of collatioun of benefices to any person by the Ministers serving actually at the kirks quher the saids benefices lyis: The Kirk ordaines the said act to stand in full effect and strength quhill the nixt Assemblie, quher the matter beand newlie proponit may be farther resolvit.
[Anent the Commission given to the Ministers of Edinburg, Mr David Lindsay, Mr Robert Pont, David Fergusone and John Brand, to Summone Mr Patrick Adamsone, Commissioner of a part of Fife, and Mr Robert Hammilton Minister at Sanct Andrews, to have compeared before them in Edinburgh, and to try the abuses of the Fast in Sanct Andrews, committed be their negligence; and other complaints to be given in against the said Mr Robert; and sicklike to try if the said Mr Robert hath obeyed the ordinance and decreit of the Kirk concerning the leaving of the Provostrie of the New Colledge, and to receive his answer therein; wherein if they find no reason to stay the execution of the said sentence, to proceed, and put the same in execution, according to the tenor thereof, as the said commission beareth. The said Commissioners being present, and required what they had done touching the premisses, granted the same was not executed, pretending some excuse: Therefore the Assemblie gives and committs of new the said matter to their said brethren, requiring them with possible diligence to put the same into due execution, as they will answer upon their duty to the Kirk: And farther of new gives commission to their said brethren, to accuse the said Mr Patrick of the transgressions committed be him against the tenor of his submission, and to receive answer theranent; as also charge him to remove the corruptions of the state of a Bischop in his person, particularly to be given in to him; and if he refuse, after admonitions, to be excommunicat be the persons, who shall be appointed be them to that effect. C.]
Anent the submissioun of Mr James Boyd, Commissioner of Kyle, Carreck &c., to the Generall Assemblie, conforme to the act made in the last Assemblie, and the reasoning had be him with the Moderator and brether appointit therto: The forsaid brether being present thoght best he sould publisch his awin ansuer to the haill brether for satisfactioun of them, quho gave in his ansuer in wryte as followeth.
First, I vnderstand the name, office, and modest reverence borne to a Bischop, to be lawful and allowable be the Scriptures of God; and beand electit be the Kirk and King to be Bischop of Glasgow, I esteime my calling and office lawful. And as anent my executioun of that charge committit to me, I am content to endevore at my vttermost abilitie to performe the same and every point therof, and to abyde the honorabill judgements of the Kirk from time to time, of my offending by my dewtie; craveing alwayes a brotherlie desyre at thair hands, seeing the charge is weghtie, and in the laying [any thing] to be laid to my charge, to be examinat be the Canon left be the Apostle to Timothie, I epistle and 3 cap., seing that place was appointit to me at my receipt, to vnderstand thersra the dueties of a Bischop.
As toward my living, and rents, and vthers things granted be the Prince to me, and my successors, for the serving of that charge: I reckon the same lawful.
As to my dewtie to the Supreme Magistrate: In assisting his Grace in Counsell or Parliament, beand cravit therto, I esteime my subjectioun compells me to obey the same; and [that it is] no hurt but a weill to the Kirk, that some of our number be at the making of good lawes and ordinances: In the doing quherof, I protest befor God, I intend never to doe any thing but that I believe sall stand with the puritie of the Scripture, and a weill reformit countrey; as also a good part of the living I bruik hes been given for that cause.
Quhilk being red in oppin Assemblie and considerit, after voting of the haill brether, was adjudgeit to be no ansuer to the Act, nor to satisfie the desyre therof; alwayes he was requyrit that he sould returne at afternoone with better advyce as the Kirk wisched at God he sould doe.
[Mr Hector Douglass, to whom he had given collation of the benefice of Ankrum, being tryed be Mr John Craig and Mr Thomas Smeton at the command of the Assembly, they reported, He was yet rude in the principles of religion: He was ordained the morn at 7 hours, to give a proof of his gift in teaching before the said brethren and some others. C.]
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[It was ordained as followeth: Forsameikle as there are divers persons within the Ministrie, that being deposed from their functions of the Ministrie be the Generall Assemblie of the Kirk, and sicklyke be the Commissioners of the Countries for offences committed be them, bruiks still the benefices and ecclesiastical livings wherupon others should be sustained, that may travell in the Ministrie of the word: Therefore C.] The Assemblie hes vottit and concludit, That all sick persons as are already, or heirafter salbe deposit for thair offences from the function of the Ministrie, salbe chargit be the Commissioners of the Countreys to dimitt the said benefices and livings possessit be them, to the effect vthers may be provydit therto that may travell in the said functioun, vnder the paine of excommunication to be execute agains them; quherin if they failȝie, after admonitioun, to proceid to the sentence of excommunication agains them, vnder the pain of suspension of them from the functioun of the Ministrie dureing the will of the Kirk: and that this act be execute agains the Bischop of Dunkeld, and the Minister of Saline, be the Commissioners of the Countrey quher they dwell, betuixt and the nixt Assemblie, under the paine forsaid.
Forsameikle as the Bischops are to be chargeit to remove the corruptiouns in that estate, the Kirk nominat the speciall corruptions quhilk they desyre sick as will submitt themselfe to the said Assemblie to correct, with promise, that if the Generall Kirk heirafter sall find farther corruptions in the said estate nor heirto is exprest, that they be content to be reformit be the said Assemblie according to the word of God, quhen they salbe requyrit therto:
1. That they be content to be pastors and ministers of ane flock.
2. That they usurp no criminal jurisdictioun.
3. That they vote not in Parliament in name of the Kirk, without commission from the Kirk.
4. That they take not up, for the manteinance of thair ambitioun and ryotousnes, the emoluments of the Kirk quhilk may sustaine many pastors, the schooles, and the poore, but be content with reasonable living according to thair office.
5. That they claime not to themselves the titles of Lords temporall, neither vsurp temporall jurisdiction; quherby they are abstractit from thair office.
6. That they impyre not above the particular Elderschips, but be subject to the same.
7. That they vsurp not the power of the Presbytries.
8. That they take no farder bounds of Visitation nor the Kirk committeth to them.
The Assemblie [in respect that Mr Hector Dowglass was admitted be the Bischop of Glasgow, who had no jurisdiction in these bounds, being otherwise also untryed be him; and therafter the trial of his doctrine being committed to certaine brethren having commission thereto in Stirline, and refused be him; and being after examined be certain of the brethren upon the rudiments of religion, and being found rude therein; as also in respect of his continuance in not compearing this day, as was appointed be the Generall Assembly, to give specimen of his doctrine; hath depryvit, and] deprives Mr Hector Dowglass from his office and functioun of the ministry as voundit and vnabill therfor, and ordains him to be chargeit be the Commissioner of the Countrey to dimitt his benefice; and if he refuses, after admonitions, to proceid to excommunicatioun agains him, vnder the paine of suspensioun of the said Commissioner fra his office of the Ministrie dureing the will of the Kirk.
Forsameikle as there is diverse persons within this realme that sends thair children beand within age, furth of the countrey over sea to places quher superstitioun and papistrie is maintained, vnder pretence of seiking farther instruction and learning; as also vthers beand of perfyte age, transports themselves out of the realme vpon the same pretence, quherthrow, for the most part, they become corrupt in religioun, as be evident experience is daylie sein: For remeid heirof, the Generall Assemblie has advysit and concludit, That the parents of sick children as within thair minoritie sends them to the saids places, or heirafter sall send them quher the said papistrie is teachit and mantainit, salbe chargit be thair awin Ministers respectiué, to call back thair children from the saids places with all convenient expeditioun, vnder the paine of excommunicatioun; and if they dissobey, to proceid with the excommunicatioun agains them: and that sick as are of perfyte age, that already are past out of the countrey to the saids places, or, in tyme coming, sall pass therto, sall in lyke manner be chargit to remove themselves therfra, vnder the semblable paine to be execute agains them; and if they dissobey, to be excommunicat be the Minister of the place quher they remainit befor thair departing out of the countrie.