Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.
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The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk of Scotland conveinit at Montrois, the 24 day of Junij 1595 ȝeirs.
Exhortatioun was made be Mr Andro Melvill, Provest of the New Colledge of Sanet Androes, and Moderatour of the last Assemblie. Mrs Robert Pont, Peter Blackburne, James Nicolsone, were on the leits, and the said Mr James, be pluralitie of vottis, was chosin Moderatour hac vice.
Sessio 2a. 24 Junij.
Anent the questioun movit in the Assemblie, If it be proper to them to declare be the Word of God, quhat mariages are laufull, and quhat are vnlawfull, so farre as concernes the spirituall part therof: It was ansuerit affirmative, that it was proper.
Sessio 3a. 25 Junij.
Ordaines the Presbitries in all parts within this countrey to proceid against the Papists within thair bounds, with the sentence of excommuni cation: And because of the weaknes of the Presbitrie of Inuernesse, ordaines them to proceid therin with the advyce of Mrs George Monro, Johne Monro, Johne Mckenȝie, and Andro Crombie.
Forsameikle as diverse Papists and suspect of Papistrie, after thair subscriptioun and aithes, pretending deadly feids, abstaining from the table of the Lord, quherby they vtter themselves in effect and in heart to continue Papists: Therfor the Assemblie ordaines the Presbitries quher sick persons are, to proceid against them with the sentence of excommunication so long as they refuse to communicat, in the samein manner as if they had not subscryvit nor givin aith.
Forsameikle as diverse persons cutt of from the societie of the Kirk be sentence of excommunicatioun pronouncit against them, nottheles they are receivit and intertainit as if they were the true members of Chrysts Kirk, to the great contempt of God, and the evill example of vthers: The Assemblie therfor ordaines the Presbitries quher such persons are, to proceid against them according to the acts of the Kirk, vnder the paine of publick rebuik in face of the whole Assemblie of the brethren of the Presbitrie, if fault be found in them, and making humble consessioun vpon thair knees of thair offence, in cace the samein be found in them as said is, and vnder the paine of the depositioun of the Minister in whose default the said ordinance of the Kirk is not execute; and that the samein penaltie and executioun be vsit and strike vpon them that hes intercomuning, intelligence, or familiaritie with the saids excommunicats, quhilk is vsed aganis the receipters forsaid, vnder the samein paine.
Sessio 4a. Eodem die.
Forsameikle as ther is divers persons professing with vs the veritie of the Gospell, quhilkis nevertheles the space of diverse ȝeiris, vnder pretence of deadlie feids, hes withdrawin and daylie withdrawes them from participatioun of the holy table, declareing therby how little they esteime that great benefite, and in effect, as it were, cutting aff themselves from the communioun [of the faithfull:] Heirfoir ordinance is givin to all Presbitries within thair bounds, to charge all persons abstaining from the communioun be reason of deadlie feids, notwithstanding therof, as it becomes christian members, to participat the said holy table; and in cace they be obstinat and refuse, to proceid with the censures of the Kirk against them; it being alwayes considderit be the Presbitrie, that if ther be any of infirmitie or tendernes of conscience that refuses, in that cace the said Presbitrie sall travell with the saids persons to bring them to thair duetie and participatioun of the said table, granting, with good advyce and discretioun, some reasonable [tyme] as to resolve themselves, within the quhilk if they give not obedience, and refuse to participat as said is, that the said Presbitrie proceid against them with the sentence of excommunicatioun.
Sessio 5a. 26 Junij.
The Kings Majesties Commissioners desyrit of the Assemblie, that he micht have ane choise of such two of the Ministrie his Majestie wald nominat, in place of Mr Johne Craig and Johne Duncansone. The Assemblie hes found meitt [and votit] that a certaine of the most grave, learned, and best disposed brethren of the haill Ministrie be chosin and nominat be them, out of the quhilk it may please his Majestie to nominat two: Vnto that effect Commissioners to be appointit before the end of this Assemblie to advyse his Majestie of the choise to be made of these whose names salbe sett downe befor the Assemblie dissolve; craveing his Hienes Commissioners to make his Majestie foirsein, that they may know on quhom his eyes are sett, and be resolvit befor thair lousing.
Anent the planting of Kirks: Because ane speciall impediment hes bein therof, the dilapidatioun of the benefices possest be the brethren of the Ministrie, quho [hes] sett thair benefices with the diminutioun of the rentalls, or be conversioun of victuall in silver, not regarding the acts and ordinances of the Assemblie: Heirfor for remeid, the Generall Assemblie hes givin power and commissioun to the brether vnderwrytin within the bounds particularlie vnder devydit, to call befor them sick persons within the Ministrie, that sen the act of the Assemblie, made in the ȝeir of God 1578, hes sett thair benefices with diminutioun of the rentall therof, or conversioun of the victuall in silver, [and] to proceid against them with the sentence of depositioun, quhilk sall stand in force ay and quhill they restore thair benefice to the awin integritie, quherin the samein was at thair entrie; that is to say, To Mrs Andro Melvill, James Melvill, Robert Wilkie, Thomas Buchannan, Andro Moncreif, to call befor them the saids persons within the bounds following, viz. from Spay to Tay, and all Louthiane, Mers and Teviotdaill, to compeir befor them in Sanct Androes: Nixt Mrs David Lindsay, Robert Bruce, David Fergusone, Robert Pont, James Balfour, or any thrie of them, to fitt in Edenburgh, and call the saids dilapidatours befor them, within the bounds of the haill [north] to Spay and Fyfe, as als beneficit persons that hes made dilapidatioun within the Dyocie of Ros: Thirdlie, Mrs Patrick Simsone, Andro Ʒoung, Harie Levingstoun, James Pont, Johne Davidsone, to fitt in Striveling, and call befor them the said brethren that hes dilapidat thair benefices within the bounds of Strivelingshyre, Stratherne, Cliddisdaill, Dumbartane, Ranfrew, Lennox, Kyle, Carrick, Cunighame, Galloway, Nithesdaill: And for the better executioun to be had of this commissioun, ordaines everie Presbitrie within the bounds forsaids, to send to the judges every ane of them within thair awin bounds, particular informatioun and ansuer to the heids quhilk salbe pennit be thair brother, Mr Robert Pont, betuixt and the 15 of August nixt: And to the effect that the Presbitries be not ignorant heirof, the Assemblie presentlie has nominat the brether after specifiet to give warning to the Presbitries within the bounds respectivé following, according to the divisioun aftir specifeit: That is to say, Mr Andro Crombie for Ros; Mr Alexander Rawsone, Mr Alexander Dowglas, for Murray; Mr Peter Blackburne, Mr Duncane Davidsone, James Reid, for Aberdeine; Mr Andro Mill, Mr Alexander Forbes, for Mernes; John Durie, Mr James Melvill, for Angus; Mr Alexander Lindsay, and William Glasse, for Stratherne; Mrs James Melvill, David Fergusone, for Fyse; Mrs Walter Hay, Andro Blackhall, for Louthiane; James Deis for Mers and Teviotdaill; for Tweddall, Mrs Andro Blackhall and Walter Hay; for Strivelingshyre, Mr Adame Ballantyne; for Cliddesdaill, Ranfrow, Lennox, and Dumbartane, Mr Walter Stewart and Mr Gawin Hamiltoun; for Nithesdaile, Mr James Brysseioun, Hew Fullertoun; for Galloway, Mr Johne Aikman; for Kyle, Carrick, and Cunighame, Mr David Barklay: Quhilks informatiouns being receivit be the saids judges, ordaines them, with all diligence, to proceid against the saids persouns. And for the faithfull executioun of the said commissioun, the said judges was sworne, except Mrs Thomas Buchannan, Robert Bruce, Patrick Simsone, Harie Levingstoun, James Pont, quho were not present.
Forsameikle as a great occassioun of the none planting of the kirks stands in laike of provisioun of the Ministrie, and that thair stipends from ȝeir to yeir, being changeable, they are drawin from thair kirks, to the neglecting of thair flockis, and to the disgraceing of thair callings: With commoun advyce it is heirfor concludit and resolvit, that ane constant platt salbe sett downe be the brethren following, appointit out of everie province, quho sall sitt and conveine the first day of September nixt in Edenburgh; and befor their conventioun and fitting, every Presbitrie sall, betuixt and the 15 day of August nixt to come, delyver to thair saids brethren appointit of their provinces, ane resolvit informatioun, wrytin in forme of a booke in mundo, of the estate of thair kirks, in the heids following; viz. of the names of the benefices within thair bounds, whither the samein be severall benefices, or annexit; quho is patrone therof, quho is possessour; be quhat rycht the samein is bruikit; the auld rent, the present rent, and the just availe therof; and quhat kirks may be unite or divydit: quhilks informatiouns being receivit and collectit together, the saids Commissioners conveining together as said is, sall appoint every Presbitrie severall dayes, to direct a speciall brother fullie instructit be them with a constant platt of the kirks within thair Presbitries; and the said brether swa directed, with the Commissioners forsaids, to conclude and put in forme a constant platt of thair Presbitrie, and so furth to proceid, quhill the worke be wholie made vp and compleit: and after compleiting therof, the saids Commissioners sall make warning to every Presbitrie to direct a brother from them to considder the haill wark; and the samein being allowit be the saids Commissioners and brethren from every Presbitrie, quhilks are considderit to be fiftie in number, the ratificatioun therof to be socht of his Majestie and Counsell: Of the quhilks Commissioners, chosin out be this Assemblie from the provinces, the names followes, viz. from Ʒetland, Orknay, Cathnes, and Sutherland, Mr Robert Pont; for Ros, Mr Andro Crombie; for Murray, Mr Alexander Dowglas; for Aberdeine, Mr Alexander Cunighame, Mr Peter Blackburne; for Mernes and Angus, Mr James Nicolsone, Mr Andro Milne; for Stratherne, Dunkeld, Dumblane, and Striveling shyre, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr Alexander Lindsay; for Fyfe, Mr Thomas Buchannan; for Louthiane and Tweddall, Mr David Lindsy; for the Merse, Johne Clappertoun; for Teviotdaill, Mr Johne Knox; for Clidsdaill, Ransrow, Lennox, and Dumbartane, Mr Gawin Hamiltoun, Mr Johne Hewisone; for Nithesdaill, Mr James Bryson, and, in cace of his seiknes, Mr Hew Fullertoun; for Galloway, Mr Johne Aikman; for Kyle, Carrick, and Cunighame, Mr Johne Mcquherne: Quhilks brethren and Commissioners in number 18, sall also have power to make ane platt for ane interim, quhilk being concludit be the saids Commissioners and a brother direct from every Presbitrie, quhilk will make fiftie mair, no reclamatioun salbe therfra, but [quhat] salbe concludit concerning the constant platt or interim, sall stand in constant force and full effect, as if the samein had bein concludit be the Generall Assemblie, without any reclamatioun therfra, as said is; and becuase the worke will requyre waiting on, and the saids aughtein Commissioners wilbe put to charges and expences, it is ordainit that thair expenssis salbe borne be thair provinces: And for the faithfull executioun [heirof,] they are all sworne, except Mrs Alexander Dowglas, Johne Knox, Patrick Galloway, Johne Clappertoun, and Johne Hewisone, quho were not present.
Sessio 8a. 27 Julij.
Compeirit Sir James Chisholme in presence of the haill brethren, and consessit with humilitie his offencis, namelie his apostasie from the religioun, for the quhilk he craveit Gods mercie; and farther he declairit that he prosesses with vs the [haill] true religioun, renunceand the Antichryft and all his errours, craveing from his heart to be receivit in the bosome of the Kirk; with the quhilk the brethren being movit, concludit he sould be relaxit be the Generall Assemblie, at thair first meiting the morne, from the sentence of excommunicatioun led against him; and therafter the forme of his satisfactioun to be appointit and sett downe be the Assemblie.
The heids of Inquisitioun to be made in everie Presbitrie anent Dilapidatioun.
Imprimis, To take [up] from every beneficit Minister the present rentall of his benefice, and quhat ȝeirlie duetie, be his awin confessioun, he getts presentlie of the samein.
2. If he hes sett taks therof, [and] to quhom, privatlie or publicklie, and, if neid beis, to take his aith theron.
3. To inquyre quhat was the estate of his benefice quhen he entred with it, and whither he was hurt [or vitiated] be his predecessour.
4. To take diligent inquisitioun not only be report of the beneficit person himselfe, but be vthers that knowes quhat the just valour of the benefice was worth, or payit of old in the best estate.
5. What the samein wald extend to in ȝeirlie rent of teynds, or vtherwayes, if it were frie of tackis, and in a Ministers awin hand; and, if neid beis, that the Presbitrie or Commissioner call ane inqueist of men of best knowledge in the countrey about, to declare the veritie heirin, and send the samein to the judges appointit in due tyme, with the haill circumstances befor rehearsit.
His Hienes Commissioners presentit Articles from his Majestie, craveing the same to be red and ansuerit. [The tenor whereof and answers made thereto follow:
The tenor of the Kings Articles. C.]
His Majestie craves that ther be ane act made, ordaining that quhosoevir sall at any tyme practise any tresonabill interpryse or conspiracie against his Majesties person or estate, beand found and declairit culpable [therof] be law, sall lykewayes incurre the sentence of excommunication therfor, that therby ane inseparable vnioun may be betuixt the two swords.
2. That ane ordour be takin concerning excommunication in thrie points, especiallie, first, That it be not at the appetite of two or thrie particulars, and that it be not proceidit in quhill first ane convenient number of the Kirk be gravelie conveinit. 2. That it be not for civill causes, or small crymes, and specially any Ministers particular, leist it be thocht that they imitate the Popes cursing, and so incurre the lyke contempt. 3. The forme of summar excommunication, without any citatioun, be alluterlie abolischit in tyme comeing.
Item, In respect Mr Johne Craig is awaiting on quhat houre it sall please God to call him, and is altogether vnable to serve any longer, and his Majestie mynds to place John Duncansone with the Prince, and therfor hes no Ministers bot Mr Patrick Galloway: Therfor his Hienes desyres ane ordinance to be made, granting him any two Ministers that he sall choose.
[Humble Ansuers of the Generall Assembly, conveened at Montrose, to the Articles presented be his Hienes Commissioners. C. & B.]
First, Quher ane ordinance is craveit to be made against practisers of any treasonabill interpryses or conspriacie against his Hienes person and estate, beand found and declairit culpable therof be law, that they therfor sall incurre the sentence of excommunicatioun, The Generall Assemblie aggrieth therto, legitima cognitione [ecclesiastica] preeunte.
As to the ordour craveit to be tane concerning excommunicatioun, especially in 3 points containit in the second article, The first part is condiscendit to: And as to the second, That no excommunicatioun salbe vsed in causes meere civill, or in small matters, and the abolisching, in tyme comeing, of the former summar excommunicatioun without citatioun: These points importing great weght, and craveing mature deliberatioun, the Assemblie hes thoght meit to superceid all concluding therin quhill the nixt Conventioun, quher, by Gods grace, they mynd to resolve thervpon; and that, in the meanetyme, none of the Ministrie proceid to excommunicatioun without citatioun preceiding, nisi periclitetur ecclesia et respublica.
Anent his Majesties [sute] concerning his Ministers: It is aggreit that his Majestie sall have choise of the most grave, learned and godlie brether of the Ministrie, with advyce of the Commissioners following, to be direct to his Majestie, viz. Mrs Robert Bruce, Andro Melvill, James Melvill, David Lindsay, David Fergusone, James Balfour, Thomas Buchannan, James Nicolsone, Andro Lamb, George Glaidstanes, or any sixe of the said brethren, quho are appointit to meit the 22 Julij nixt.
Sessio 9a. 28 Junij.
After humiliatioun of Sir James Chisholme on his knies, and acknowledging of his offence to the satisfactioun of the brethren, be the voyce of the Moderatour, the sentence of absolutioun was pronouncit in his favours, and he relaxit from the proces of excommunicatioun led against him.
Anent the act made in favours of the executours of Ministers: The Assemblie and brethren present, for cleiring therof, declares, If the Minister die after Michaelmes, quia fruges separatæ sunt a solo, that his executours sall fall that ȝeirs rent, and the half of the nixt; and that the provisioun of this act be extendit to the relicts of vmquhile Mr James Hamilton, and the Lords requeistit to that effect.
Forsameikle as ther is great cause of humiliatioun of vs befor God, whose visible anger appears on the heids of this land, ȝet be the most pairt litle regairdit: The Kirk hes ordainit a generall fast and humiliatioun to be vniversallie observit in all the kirks within this realme, vpon the twa first Sondayis of August nixt to come: The causes therof to be led out gravelie be the Pastours, according to the grounds they sie and perceive.
[1. The great aboundance and increase of fin, and transgression of all the commandements of God, be all the Estates, fostered be impunity, and laike of justice, produceing in speciall all kind of murder and oppression.
2. The great apostacy, defection, and decay of zeal and godliness of every Estate.
3. The great and present danger, that the Church, Common well, and King standeth in, through the wrath of God, not only kindled against us, but also justlie burning and devouring us up already by sundrie fearfull plagues and punishments, as by unseasonable weather, dearth and samine, and the appearance of greater; the deep conspiracys and daily consederacys of the faction of the known adversarys to religion, King, and countrie, threatning to root us out from being any more a nation, and the breaking and removeing of our two states of Church and Common Wealth.
4. The compassion it becometh us to have of our brethren of other Churches, under no less danger than we, through all Europe, not only be the Consederats of the Counsell of Trent, but also be the barbarous crueltie and great bondage exercised and brought upon our dear and worthie brethren by such as it becometh not, specially in Poland, England, Saxonie, and diverse parts of Germanie. C.]
Forsameikle as ther is ane abuse necessar to be remeidit, especially in Cathnes and some vther parts, quher they that possesses the benefices, dilapidat the haill rents therof, as the late Bischop of Cathnes did in speciall, except a very small quantitie, in pensiouns most prodigallie to all that socht the same, quherby he hes dilapidat the haill patrimonie of the said Bischoprick: For remeid quherof, the Assemblie ordaines Mr David Lindsay and Mr James Balfour to admonisch Mr Thomas Craig and the Solistar of the Kirk, to persew the saids pensioners for reductioun of thair pensiouns, quhilk cannot stand be the law, of the haill, or of the most part of the fruites of any benefice, and to insist dilignetlie therin.
Anent mariages: The Assemblie declarit thir two forts to be vnlawfull; first, when ane person marieth another quhom they have pollutit by adulterie; nixt, quhen the innocent person is content to remaine with the [nocent and] guiltie, and the guiltie will have another, or takis another.
As concerning mariages made be excommunicat Preifts, or vthers that hes served in the Kirk, and [are] deposit from thair office, or be privat persons: The Assemblie declares such mariages to be null; ordaining the brethren of Edenburgh to travell with the Commissars of Edenburgh, that they decyd according to the saids conclusions.
Anent the contraversie betuixt the Ministrie of Sanct Androes and William Balfour: The brethren appointit to conferre theranent reportit thair judgement following, That the said William sall declare that he knew no vther but that Mr David Black, Minister of the towne forsaid, had left the process of the manss contravertit, and that he hes no wayes proceidit therin, in contempt of the Kirk, or any particular person within the same; and thir things he does protest in conscience, and confesses that he hes done vnduetifullie; that is to say, that he hes ovirfein himselfe in his duetie towards the Kirk, in midling, not forwarning them with the title of the house quherin he dwells, in respect of the Kirks designatioun therof past of befor, for the quhilk he is penitent befor God and his Kirk: provyding alwayes, that the said consessioun be no wayes prejudiciall to the said William in the right and title of the said house, and that the samein be no wayes objected against him, in judgement or out of judgement; and that the said William fall make the said confessioun befor the brethren of the Conference of this Assemblie, the brethren of the Presbitrie that are heir being present: The quhilk being done, that this present Generall Assemblie fall discharge the said Presbitrie of Sanct Androes from all proceidings be censures aganis the said William for that matter, and in lyke maner, the said Mr David from all publict invectiouns aganis the said William in his sermouns for that cause; and the said Mr David and William, in token of forgivenes of all mutuall offences bygane, and professioun of christian amitie in tyme to come, fall joyne hands together before the said brether of the conference, and keip the samein amitie in tyme comeing; remittand the contraversie of thair titles to the discretioun of the Judges ordinar: and this to be ordainit be the General Assembly, to be declarit in the paroch kirk of Sanct An droes, be Mr William Scott, Minister at Kennoquhy. The brethren appointit to conferre be the Generall Assemblie were thir, Mrs Robert Bruce, Peter Blackburne, William Scot, Thomas Buchannan, Andro Lamb, Johne Caldcleugh: Quhilk judgement of the said brethren the Generall Assemblie approvit in all points.
Anent Gramer Schooles in Townes: Every Presbitrie, within thair awin bounds, is ordainit to take ordour for visitatioun and reformatioun therof, and to deale with the Magistrats for augmentatioun of thair stipends and provisioun of Maisters; as also appointing of some persons most meitt of thair Counsell, to attend caresullie on the Schooles, and to assist the Maisters in discipline.
Anent the actis of the Assemblie: The brether hes ordainit that the samein be fichtit, and speciall acts for practise of the Kirk be extractit and joynit with the Booke of Discipline, to be publischit either in wryte or print, that none pretend ignorance therof; and to this effect to concurre with the Clerk, Mrs Robert Pont, Thomas Buchannan, James Melvill, Johne Johnstoun, and James Carmichael.
Anent Colledges: In respect that it is thoght necessar that ane visitatioun be had of the samein, the present Assemblie hes givin commissioun to thair brether, Mrs James Melvill, Thomas Buchannan, James Balfour, Robert Rollock, Walter Balcanquell, Nicoll Dalgleisch, James Nicolsone, and Alexander Forbes, to conveine together the first day of January nixt to come, to the visitatioun of the saids colledgis, to try, examine, and consider the doctrine, lyfe, and diligence of the Mainsters; the discipline and ordour vsit be them; the estate of thair rents and livings; and quher they find abuse, to reforme so farre as they [may:] remittand to the Assemblie such things as they cannot take ordour with; and quhat they effectuat heirin, to report to the nixt Assemblie.