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.XCVI.
The Generall Assemblie haldin at Perth, the first day of Marche 1596, [the last of Februar: C.] Quher ther conveinit the Commissioners from all Presbytries, according to his Majesties missive.
Exhortatioun ther was none.
Anent the supplicatioun given in be Mr Thomas Nicolsone, Advocat, bearing that in respect he was admittit to be Clerk of the Generall Assemblie, in place of vmquhile Mr James Riche, last Clerk therof, be sevin of the Commissioners deput be the last Generall Assemblie, to intreat and conclude in the affaires of the Kirk, quhilk sould fall out [and intervene] betuixt and the nixt Generall Assembly, that, therfor, the Assemblie now conveinit wald admitt the said Thomas to the said office, and corroborat his admissioun with thair authoritie: The brethren conveinit, all in ane voyce, hes creatit and admittit the said Thomas de novo, and electit him to be Clerk of the Kirk, with power to him to vse and exerce the same, and all priveledges belonging therto, as frielie as any Clerk might have done at any time bygane.
Session 2a. 2 Martij.
Anent the commissioun direct be his Majestie to Sir Johne Cockburne of Ormestoun, Knyght, Justice Clerk, and Mr Edward Bruce, Commendatour of Kinlos, with all expeditioun, to repaire to the Commissioners of the Presbytries of the Kirk presentlie convenit with in the Kirk of Perth, and to inquyre of them if they be ane lawful Generall Assemblie of the Kirk, and hes sufficient power of themselves to give ansuer, treat and conclude vpon such things as are to be proponit and intreattit in this present Conventioun, according to his Majesties warrand and missive direct to them be his Hienes to that effect, and to report thair ansuer, in wryte, theranent. The brethren present, after long reasoning and conserence had anent the premisses, thinks that thair meiting is ane laufull Generall extraordinar Assemblie, be reason of his Majesties letter direct to the Presbitries and Provincialls to that effect, and the Presbitries and Provincialls commissioun given to meitt in the towne of Perth: and therefor are willing to heir quhat his Majestie will propone; and to treat, conclude, and give ansuer theranent, conforme to the commissions with the quhilk they are authorizit be the Presbitries and Synodalls.
Sessio 3a. 2 Martij.
The Commissioners deput be his Majestie proponit certaine heids and articles to the brethren to be resolvit and concludit in the present Assemblie, quherof the tenour followis:
Sen the quyetnes of the Kirk, and frieing of the same of slander, quhilk vpon the contrair effects wald necessarly follow, is the cheife butt and end, quherat his Majestie shoots in the conveining and halding of this present Assemblie: Therfor, for eschewing of saschious and langsome disputatiouns, quhervpon diverse vncomely contraversies and debaits might arise, his Majestie hes thocht good to remitt the decifioun of a great number of the printed questions to a better opportunitie, to be reasonit in the meane tyme be sick as salbe authorizit be commissioun to that effect; and for the present sall content himselfe with the decifioun of thir few articles follow ing, having made choise of nane bot sick as necessitie of tyme could not permitt to be delayit, without great harme and slander to follow.
1. That it be not thocht vnlawfull neither to the Prince nor any vther of the Pastours any tyme heirafter, to move doubts, reason, or crave reformatioun in any points of the externall policie and government or discipline of the Kirk, that are not effectiallie concerning salvatioun, or is not ansuerit affirmativé vel negativé be any expresse part of the Scriptures; provyding that it be done decenter, in rycht tyme and place, [animo] edificandi non tentandi.
2. That sen the civill and politick governement of the country belongs always and allanerlie to the Kings office and his Counsellours, and is no wayes pertinent to the spirituall Ministrie of the Word, that no Minister sall at any tyme heirafter meddle with the matters of the Estate in the pulpit, or with any of his Majesties laws, statutes, or ordinances: Bot if any of the Ministrie sall think any of them hurtfull to the religioun, or contrair to the Word, they sall privately complaine thervpon to the King and his Counsell.
3. That it sall not be laufull to the Pastours to name any particular mens names in the pulpitt, or so viuelie to deseryve them as may be equivalent with thair naming, except vpon the notoritie of a cryme; quhilk notoritie man only be defynit be the guiltie persons being fugitive for the tyme, or being fylit by ane affyse, or excommunicat for the same.
4. That every Minister, in his particular applicatioun, sall have only respect to the edificatioun of his awin flock and present auditour, without expatiating vpon vther discourses no wayes pertinent for that congregatioun.
5. That everie particular Presbitrie salbe commandit to take diligent accompt of thair Pastours doctrine, and that he keip himselfe within the bounds of the premisses.
6. That summar excommunicatioun be allutterlie dischairgeit as inept, and that thrie laufull citatiouns, at least of auct days interuall betuix every ane of them, preceid the sentence.
7. That no Sessioun, Presbitrie, nor Synodall, vse thair censures vpon any bot them that are resident within the bounds committit to them; vtherwayes thair decreits and sentences to be null.
8. That all sumounds containe ane speciall cause and cryme; and nane super inquirendis to be sumound, quod est mere tyrannicum.
9. That no meiting nor conventioun be among the Pastours without his Majesties knowledge and consent; excepting always thair ordinar Sessiouns, Presbitries, and Synods.
10. That in all the principall townes, Ministers be not chosin without the consent of thair awin flock and of his Majestie; and that ordour to be begun presentlie in the planting of Edenburgh.
11. That all matters concerning the rest of his Majesties questiouns be suspendit [unmedled with,] either in pulpitt or any vther judicators, quhill first all his Hienes questiouns be fullie decydit; and in speciall, that all matters importing slander come not in before them in the meane tyme, quherin his Majesties authoritie royall is hielie prejudgeit, bot only in causes that are meere ecclesiastick.
12. That sevin or aucht of discreit wyse Ministers be authorizit be commission, to reason vpon the rest of the questiouns, as appourtunitie of tyme sall serve.
13. That they give commissioun to the Ministrie of the North to be at a point with Huntlie; and if he satisfie them, to absolve him.
And for the better ansuering of the saids articles, the Assemblie ordainit certaine brethren to be chosin out of every shyre presentlie conveinit, quho sould give thair advyce and overture vpon the saids articles proponit be his Majestie, and therafter report the same to the Assemblie: They are to say, Mrs John Monro, Alexander Dowglas, Peter Blackburne, Johne Strathanchin, Alexander Forbes, James Nicolsone, Andro Lamb, Alexander Lindsay, William Cowper, Thomas Buchannan, James Melvill, Johne Spotiswood, Adame Colt, Thomas Storie, Andro Clayhills, Johne Knox, James Bryssoun, Patrick Sharp, Gawin Hamiltoun, Alexander Scrymgeour, David Barklay.
[Answers to the Articles be the brethren appointed on the conference.
The brethren conveened gave their advyce in the first article, That it is not expedient to make a law or act touching this, least a door should be opened to curious and turbulent spirits; otherwise they think it lawsull to the King be himself or his Commissioners, to propound in a Generall Assembly whatsomever points he desires to be resolved in, or to be reformed in specie externi ordinis, seeing substantia externæ administrationis ecclesiasticæ est plenissime tradita in Sacris Literis: And as the Generall Assembly may accept of that from the King, so may the Generall Assembly doe anent any thing that is done be his Hienes in any Convention, meeting, or Assembly conveened be him hereafter.
2. Their advice to second article is, That laws already made, hurtfull to religion, and prejudiciall to the liberty of the Word, be declared to be expired, as the same shall be particularly condescended upon; and no laws be made hereafter touching religioun without advice and consent of the Kirk, who are declared to be the third Estate of the country: and that no act whatsomever be made contrary to the Word, the preaching whereof the Pastours have concredited to them; which if it shall fall out (as God forbid) they think, that every Pastour, be advice of his Presbitire, Synodall or General Assembly, should first complean and seek remedy of the same; which remedy not being gotten, they should direct the force of the Word against the same with all liberty. And as concerning matters of Estate, the brethren desires the explaining of this point of the article.
3. No mans name should be expressed to his rebuke in pulpit, but where the fault is notorious and publick; yet they esteem Notoriety must be defyned otherwayes than by being fugitive, and fyled by Assise, or excommunicated: for contumacy after citation, publick commission of murther, adultery, or the like, as was Bothwels coming to the Abay, the murder at Dunnybrissel, and many other of that fort, makes notoriety. As to the vive description, equivalent to the naming, it is hard to set a law therto, seeing a guilty person will apply to himself, howbeit the Preacher never thought of him.
4. No Pastor should use application, wherein he has not respect to the edification of his own flock, and the present auditors.
5. It is the duty of every Presbytrie to take account of every Pastors doctrine, that he keep himself within the bounds of the Word of God.
6. In the Generall Assembly holden at Montrose, it was ordained, That every Presbytrie should seek out the warrants of summar excommunication pro et contra, and produce the same to be considered in the next General Assembly; and that decision might be takin therein, according to the Word of God. And seeing the Commissioners from Presbytries at this present have not brought with them the saids reasons, it is best to leave this matter to the ordinar General Assembly. In the meantime the act of Montrose to be keeped.
7. The General Assembly has appointed every offender to be censured in the place where he offendeth; which they cannot goe by, nisi in causa communi.
9. This article is against the meeting of Pastors necessar, as visitation of kirks, admission of Ministers, concurrence of brethren on the most lawfull errand, as in taking up of feeds, resolving of questions, and such lyke: Therefore, beside their Sessions, Presbytries, Synods Provincial and General, the brethren think all meetings, for discharge of their office, ought to be allowed.
10. This article is answered be an act of the General Assembly, which statues, that the principal touns sall be planted with Ministers be advice of the General Assembly, at the which his Hienes Commissioners are, and should be present.
11. This article imports a discharge of many points of our Discipline, so as it cannot be presently answered.
They gave their advice be word to 12 and 13 articles. C.]
Sessio 5a. 4 Martij.
The brethren conveinit being desyrit be the Kings Commissioners, sent fra his Majestie to that effect, to repaire to the place quher his Hiences and Estates were presentlie sittand, to conserre anent the forsaids articles, they, at his Majesties desyre, resorted to the Counsell house; and ther, befor any farther reasoning, after his Majestie had discoursit vpon sick things as sould be proponit, protestit in maner as after followis:
Sir, Forsameikle as we are come hither to testisie to ȝour Majestie our obedience, and to heir quhat falbe proponit be ȝour Hienes to vs, with all reverence we protest, that this our meiting be not esteimit as thoch we made ourselves ane Assemblie with the Estates, or ȝet dois submitt any matters ecclesiasticall, either concerning doctrine or discipline, to this Judicatour: But after we had conferrit and reasonit with ȝour Majestie anent the articles proponit to vs, we must returne to the ordinary place of our Assemblie, ther to reason, vote, and resolve in all these points, according to the word of God and a good conscience. And this our protestation we most humblie desyre may be admittit and insert in ȝour Majesties Bookis of Counsell, for eschewing of inconveniences that heirafter may rise.
The quhilk protestatioun was ratified and reiterat and confirmit be his Majestie; and after lang reasoning vpon the saids articles, the brethren was dimittit.
[The answers as they were altered, and are extant registred in the 6th Session, here follow. C.]
Sessio 6a. 4 Martij.
Anent the Articles proponit be his Majestie to be resolvit and ansuerit be the Generall Assemblie, the brethren, after long conference and mature deliberatioun, concludes and ansuers to the same, in maner and forme as after followeth:
1. That it is laufull to his Majestie, be himselfe, or his Hienes Commissioners, or to the Pastours, to propone in a Generall Assemblie, quhatsoevir [poynt] his Majestie or they desyres to be resolvit or to be reformit in matters of externall government, alterable according to circumstances; provyding it be done in right tyme and place, animo edificandi, non tentandi.
2. The Assemblie ordaines that no Minister sall reprove his Majesties laws, statutes, acts, and ordinances, vnto the tyme that first he be advyce of his Presbitrie, Synodall or Generall Assemblies, complaine and seik remedy of the same from his Majestie, and report his Majesties ansuer, befor any farther proceiding.
3. No mans name sould be exprest to his rebuik in pulpitt, except the fault be notorious and publick; quhilk notoritie is defynit, If the person be fugitive, convict be ane assyse, excommunicat, contumax after citation or laufull admonition; nor ȝet sould any man be descryvit vivelie be any other circumstances except publick vyces alwayes damnable.
4. The brethren finds that no person sould vse applicatioun, quherin he has not a cheise respect to the edifieing of his awin flock and present auditours.
5. The Assemblie ordaines every Presbitrie to take diligent accompt of the Pastours doctrine, and that he keip himselfe within the bounds of the Word.
6. The Assemblie superseids to ansuer to the 6 article to the nixt Assemblie; and, in the meane tyme, suspends all summar excommunicatioun quhill the said Assemblie.
7. The 7 lykewayes is referrit to the next Assemblie.
8. Ordaines all summonds to containe a special cause and cryme, and that nane be summound super inquirendis.
9. No Conventiouns sould be among the Pastours without his Majesties knowledge and consent, except alwayes thair Sessiouns, Presbitries, and Synods, thair meitings in visitatioun of kirks, admissioun and deprivatioun of Ministers, taking vp of feids, and sick vthers as hes not being found fault be his Majestie.
10. In all principall townes, Ministers sould not be chosin without the consent of thair awin flock and his Majestie.
11. All matters concerning his Majesties questiouns remanent salbe suspendit, not damned or rebuiked either in pulpitt or vthers thair Judicatours, quhill first all his Hienes questions be decydit in the nixt Generall Assemblie; and in speciall [no] matters importing slander sall come in before them in the mean tyme, quherin his Majesties authorite royall is [highly] prejudgeit, excepting only ecclesiasticall causes.
12. The Assemblie hes chosin and appointit certaine brethren with commissioun to intreat vpon the saids questiouns, and to report thair advyce and opinioun to the nixt Generall Assemblie; referring the tyme and place of conveining to his Majestie. The brethren appointit to that effect, as followis: Mrs James Nicolsoun, Johne Caldcleugh, Andro Clayhills, David Lindsay, Thomas Buchannan, James Melvill, Robert Wilkie, William Couper, Johne Couper, Thomas Bryssoun, Robert Rollock, Patrick Galloway, Johne Duncansone, Robert Hewie.
13. The Assemblie gives commissioun to the Ministrie of the Presbytries of Murray and Aberdein to insist in conference with the Erle of Huntlie; and to that effect appoints Mrs Andro Milne, Andro Leich, Andro Lamb, George Gladstanes and Johne Ramsay, to concurre and assist with them, and [ordaines them to] report thair ansuers to the conditiouns and articles given to them in commissioun for tryall of the said Erle.
Sessio 7a. 5 Martii.
The Articles for the trial of the Erle of Huntlie.
First, That the said Erle, from the day of his compeirance befor the saids Commissioners, sall make his constant and ordinarie residence in Aberdein, that he may be instructit be hearing of the Word, and ordinary conference, indureing the tyme appointit for the same.
2. That he be weill informit with knowledge to condiscend on the principall grounds of religioun affirmativé, and the vntrueth of the errours contrair to the same; and that he be able to give a reason of his knowledge in some measure.
3. That he be brocht to a plaine acknowledging of the Kirk within this countrey, and prosesse himselfe adjoynit to the same, as ane obedient member therof, and be content to heare the Word, participat the sacraments, and obey the discipline of the Kirk, as the same is presentlie allowit be the Kings Majestie and Estates.
4. That he solemnlie promise, be word and wrytin band, to remove out of his house, companie, and haill bounds vnder his power, Jesuits, Preists, and excommunicat persons.
5. That he aggrie to sweare and subscryve the Confessioun of Faith in presence of the haill Commissioners.
6. That he aggrie to satisfie the Kirk of Aberdeine, in most humble manner, for his apostasie, and ther renew the forsaids, promises and bands in most solemne manner.
7. Anent the slaughter of the Erle of Murray, That he declare his greife and repentance for the same, and promise to make ane assythment to the pairtie, quhen the same, may be convenientlie acceptit of, and vtter his forsaid repentance and greise therin, at the tyme of his publick satisfactioun forsaid.
8. Forsameikle as be occassioun of service done to his Majestie in persewing the said Erle be force and vtherwayes, sundrie in these parts hes incurrit his displeasure and deadlie feid, that he be content to remove all these occasiouns with such convenient diligence as the saids Commissioners sall think expedient.
9. For declaratioun of his affald adjoyning with vs, that he be content at thair sichts, and advyce of his best disposed freinds, to provyde sussicient stipends for his kirks.
10. That he sall acknowledge his faults, quherfor he was [justly] excommunicat, and especially the burning of Dunibirslie, and [his] apostasie.
11. That he sall have ane ordinar Minister resident in his awin house continually:—
With power to them to conveine the 22 day of March instant, or sooner if they can possiblie, and to conferre with the Erle of Huntlie, and resolve him of the Articles forsaids, and to report his mynd and resolutioun anent the same at the nixt Generall Assemblie, to be haldin at Dundie the 10 day of May nixt to come.
Anent the supplicatioun giving in be Dame Elizabeth Oliphant, Countes of Angus, making mentioun, That quher diverse and frequent sutes hes being made be herselse and the remanent freinds of William, sometymes Erle of Angus, desyrand conference with certaine of the Ministrie, for his farther resolutioun in the heids of Christian Religioun, quhilk hes not tane so good ane effect as was lookit for, be reason of certaine impediments quhilk hes fallin out in the meanetyme; requeisting, therfor, most earnestly to appoint certaine of the wisest brethren quher he maks his residence, to conserre and resolve him of the doubts that stayes [him] from imbraceing of the true and Christian Religioun publictlie prosest within this realme: The Assemblie ordaines the Ministrie of Angus and Mernes to conferre with the Erle of Angus anent sick doubts as he wald be resolvit vpon; and speciallie to conferre with him anent the Articles preceiding, quhervpon the Erle of Huntlie is ordainit to be tryed, exceptand only sick as concernes the Erle of Murrayes slaughter; and to report his resolutioun in the premisses to the nixt Generall Assemblie.
Anent the offers givin in be Francis, sometymes Erle of Erroll, to the Generall Assemblie presentlie conveinit at Perth, beirand as followes:
First, I offer to abyde any just tryall of the alledgit traffiqueing against the religioun presentlie prosest within this countrey, indureing my absence off the countrey, and to make all sussicient purgatioun to ȝour Wisdomes for the same.
Farther, I offer all possible securitie and catioun, in all tymes coming, nevir to traffique againis the said religioun, and that neither the said religioun nor discipline therof fall anywayes be hindred be me, bot have the ordinar course in my bounds, as in vther parts of the countrey.
And to declare my willingnes to be resolvit in the said religioun, I am content to accept conference therin, and requyres the same at ȝour Wisdomes, quho hes the power, that ȝe will appoint ane or mae of ȝour number indifferentlie, as they salbe requyrit of me in the parts quher I presentlie dwell, and hes the leasure or occasioun to refort quher I sall happin to be, to conferre with me vpon the haill contravertit heids, [that I may have instruction;] and if I salbe thereby movit, that the haill number of that Synod quher my residence is, will take the paines to conveine and meit me at some competent place, to hear and testifie of me. Indureing the quhilk tyme of conference, I sall no wayes respect any Jesuit, Seminarie Priest, or excommunicat person.
And if it sall happin that I be resolvit in the heids of contraversie, I sall vnfainedlie from my heart imbrace the said religioun, and make publick confessioun therof in tyme comeing, and sall make satisfactioun for my defectioun from the same, as salbe injoynit.
Lastlie, Desyris to be absolvit, or at least suspendit, from the sentence of excommunicatioun indureing the tyme of my conference; so that none of my friends that resorts to me, and may be stedable to me be thair counsell, either in the said conference or vthers my leisum affairs, be troublit be ȝour censure therfor, bot may have ȝour licence to have accesse to me, and I to them, in quhatsoevir part of the countrey I sall resort; lykeas I have obtainit his Majesties licence and charge to ȝour Wisdomes to give me conference; quhilk it may please ȝou receive, and doe accordingly as ȝe wold give me argument of ȝour good intentioun towards my conversion; quherof I doubt not: and for the performing of the premisses sall find catioun and sovertie.
The Assemblie ordaines the Ministrie of Murray and Aberdeine, with the syve Ministers adjoynit to them, for conference with the Erle of Huntlie, to treat lykewayes with the [Erle of] Erroll anent the premisses, and to report to the nixt Generall Assemblie quhat resolutioun they find in him concerning the Articles conteinit in thair commissioun direct for the tryall of the Erle of Huntlie; exceptand alwayes sick articles as concerns the slaughter of the Erle of Murray.
Farther, The Assemblie ordaines these Commissioners grantit for conference with the saids Erles of Angus, Huntlie, and Erroll, to be extendit to the Lairds of Newtoun and Bonytoune, in cace they offer themselves to satisfie the Kirk.
Attour, If it sall happin the said excommunicat persons, or any of them, to resort or repare to any vther part within this realme, the Generall Assemblie gives full power and commissioun to the Ministrie of the Presbitries quher they sall chance to resort, to treat and conserre with them anent the heids and articles above wrytin.
Anent the supplicatioun givin in be Mr Johne Rutherfuird, desyreing the proces of his deprivatioun led be the Presbitrie of Sanct Androes to be produceit, sein, and considderit be the Assemblie: The Assemblie ordaines the said Presbitrie to produce the said process at the nixt Generall Assemblie, and ther to ansuer to the said Mr Johne his complaint givin in against them.
Certaine Petitiouns given in be the Ministrie presentlie conveinit, [to be presented] to the Kings Majestie.
It is humblie craveit be this present Assemblie, that ȝour Majestie, with advyce of the Estates presentlie conveinit, considdering how it hes pleased God to give a good successe to this present Conventioun, and that all things concludit herein tends to the peace and quyetnes of the haill Estate of this countrey, and the dissappointing of the expectatioun of the adversaries, will, with advyce forsaids, publish be opin proclamatioun the good successe of this present Conventioun, together with a declaratioun of ȝour Majesties intentioun, vtterit be ȝourselse at this tyme in presence of ȝour Estates, declaring ȝour good will to mantaine the true religioun presentlie profest within ȝour countrey, the discipline adjoynit therto, and the Ministers to quhom the charge of the same is comittit; and to declare that ȝour Majesties will is, that quhatsoevir law, act, or proclamatioun hes bein made, prejudiciall to the same, salbe esteimit contrair to ȝour Majesties meaning, and to have no force nor effect in no tyme heiraster; and that name of ȝour subiects pretend, be any colour therof, to trouble any of the saids Ministers, but that they wilbe vnder ȝour Majesties protectioun; and that he will esteime the contraveiners, troublers of ȝour estate, and punish them accordinglie.
2. That all Papists, Jesuits, and excommunicats remaining within this countrey, be chargeit to passe aff the same, betuixt and the first of May nixt to come, or els to satissie the Kirk: and if they doe not the same befor the day appointit, that Sheriffis in shyres, Provests and Bailȝies in townes, be commandit to apprehend and present them before his Majestie and Counsell, to be punischit according to the law; and if they be negligent in apprehending them, that commissioun be givin to certaine most zealous and willing persons to doe the same.
3. That it may please ȝour Majestie, according to ȝour accustomit clemencie, to relaxe presentlie the Ministers of Edinburgh from the horne, and suffer them [peaceablie] to returne and remaine within this realme; as also to releive and sett at friedome sick gentlemen and professours of religioun as now are vnder challenge, seeing ȝour Majestie knowis that the love to religioun movit them to these things quherwith they are now burdenit.
4. That seeing that Edenburgh has that honour to be cheife burgh in this countrey, and that place quherin religioun, since the beginning, hes bein most flourishing, and now are both destitute of thair awin Ministers, and sicklyke callit, from tyme to tyme, before ȝour Majestie, quhilk is no small greife to thair hearts, in respect that ȝour Majestie knowes the greatest part of the haill towne are most willing to give ȝour Majestie all obedience, and to hazard lyfe and substance for ȝour Majesties standing, That it may please ȝour Majestie favourablie to deale with them according to ȝour accustomit gentlenes, that it may appeir that ȝour Majestie is more inclynit to shew favour to men that meanes [uprightlie] to ȝour Hienes then to Papists. We are movit to crave the same, that all ȝour subiects may sie a generall aggriement.
5. That it may please ȝour Majestie, seeing Mr David Black hes obeyit sick things as was injoynit to him, to give him libertie to returne to his flock; and sicklyk to Mr John Welch and to Mr John Hewisone.
6. Because diverse complaints of hurting and mutilating of Ministers are givin in before vs, namely
We most humblie crave that ȝour Majestie wald take some substantiall ordour for punishing the offenders in example of all vthers heirafter.
7. That provision be made for planting of kirks, and that the augmentatiouns and planting of new kirks, made in anno 1595, be allowit.
Follows his Majesties Answers to the said [Petitions and] Articles.
The first article is grantit in substance.
The second is also grantit.
As to the third, [and first part thereof,] concerning the Ministers of Edenburgh, They are ordained to be relaxit vpon cautioun to be found be them to the Justice Clerk, that they sall vnderly the law. As to the gentlemen for quhom the Assemblie makes requeist, His Majestie thinks good that they, be the mediation of thair freinds, be suters for themselves.
And as to the fourth, touching the towne of Edenburgh, His Majestie mynds no wayes to trouble innocent men, bot sick only as are guiltie, and mynds shortlie to be at point with them.
Twitching the invasioun of the Ministers, a Commissioun is [ordainit to be] directit for calling and punishing the offenders.
Concerning the last article, his Majestie ordaines the Treasurer, Mr James Elphingstoun, the Clerk Register, Mr Johne Prestoun, and Mr Edward Bruce, to take ordour, asweill for the planting of kirks, as with the augmentatiouns quhilk were grantit anno 1595.
[The Kings Preface to the reader before the printed Questions, declaring what was his intention in moving of so many questions anent the Discipline. The tenor whereof followeth.
To the Reader.
For as much as it is one of the principal points of the office of a Christian King to see God rightly honoured in his land; for effectuating whereof it is necessar, that the Spiritual office bearers in the Kirk not only teach sound doctrine, concerning the points of salvation; but lykways observe a comely order in the Spiritual Policy agreeing with the Word of God, the loveable custome of the primitive Kirk, and with the lawes of the countrey, and nature of the people, for repressing the vices, whereto they are chiefly inclined, as best may serve to establish and maintain the purity of religion: Therefore it becomes every Christian King, as fathers, nourishers of the Kirk within their dominions, and revengers of the breaches of both the tables, to strengthen and assist, be the concurrence of their civil sword, the said Spiritual office bearers in the due execution of their calling: and, on the other part, to compell them to exercise faithfully their office, according to the rule prescribed to them be the Word of God; not suffering them to transgress the limits thereof in any sort: Wee, therefore, having had due consideration hereof, and perceiving not only a great liberty used in application of the doctrine within our countrey, without any clear warrant of the Scripture as yet alledged, for proving of the same; as also a great obscurity in divers points of Discipline and Policy of the Kirk; novelties daily creeping in; the lawful authorities and warrants thereof not being as yet made manifest; have thought, comely following the loveable exemple of Christian Emperours of the primitive Kirk, to conveen and assemble a National Council, as well of the Ministry, as of our Estates, and of all sorts of men of deepest learning and greatest sincerity in religion; to be holden and to beginne to sit in our burgh of Perth the last of Februar next to come; gravely to treat, reason, consult, and determine, (according to the Word of God, as the only rule,) upon the clearing and distinguishing of the Spiritual Jurisdiction, as well in the application of doctrine, as in the whole Policie and Government of the House of God. And to the effect that all men may come the better prepared to the said Convention, being duely forewarned, and advised with the matters that then are to be traited on, Wee have thought good to set doun certain Articles thereof, in form of Questions, as hereafter followeth; taking God, the searcher of all hearts, to record, that our intention in this, is no wayes to trouble the rest and peace of the Kirk by thorny questions, or to claim any tyrannical and unlawful government over the same, but only to see all such troublesome questions solved at this tyme; which, if they still remained in doubt, might, either in our time, or in the time of our successors, bread slanderous debates: and that the Policy of the Kirk be so cleared, as all corruptions may be weeded out of the same, and none suffered hereafter to creep in; that thereby the glory of God may be advanced, all grounds of farther Questions betwixt us and the Ministry may be removed, and a pleasant harmony and mutual concurrence between us may be established, to the great comfort of all good men, and terrour of the wicked. C.]
[The Questiouns proponed be the King, to be resolved at the Conventioun of the Estaits and General Assemblie, appointed to be at brouche of Perthe, the last of Februar.
Q. 1. May nocht the maters of the externall gubernation of the Kirk be disputed, salua fide et religione.
Q. 2. Is it the King seueralie, or the pastorseueralie, or bathe coniunctlie, that sould establishe the Actes anent the externall gouernment of the Kirk, or what is the form of thair coniunction to mak lawes.
Q. 3. Is nocht the consent of the maist part of the flock, and also of the Patron, necessar in the electioun of the Pastors.
Q. 4. Is it laufull for the Pastor to leaue his flock against thair willes, albeit he haue the consent of the Presbyterie; and for what cause sould the Presbyterie consent therto.
Q. 5. Is it lawfull for a Minister to vse farder applicatioun nor that quhilk may edifie his awin flock; or is the haill warld the flock of euerie particular Pastor.
Q. 6. Is he a laufull Pastor, who wants impositionem manuum.
Q. 7. Is it laufull to Pastors to express particular mens names, Counsallis, or Magistrats in pulpit, or so viulie to descryue tham, that the peiple may vnderstand whom be they mein, without notorius declarit vices and priuat admonitions preceiding.
Q. 8. For quhilk vyces sould admonitiones and reprouing of Magistrats pas publictlie from pulpits in their absence or presence, respectiué.
Q. 9. Is the application of doctrine in pulpits lauchfull quhilk is foundit vpon informatiouns, bruits, and rumors, suspitions, conditions gif this be and that be, probabilities, liklines or vnliklines in things to come in ciuill maters, quhilk all may be fals, and consequentlie the doctrine following thervpon; or sould all applicatioun be vpon the veritie of knawin and notorius vyces.
Q. 10. Is the text, quhilk is read in the pulpits, the ground wherupon all the doctrine sould be buildit, or may all things be spokin vpon all texts, so that the reiding therof is bot a ceremonie.
Q. 11. May a simple Pastor exerceise anie iurisdictioun but consent of the maist part of his particular sessioun.
Q. 12. Is nocht his sessioun iudge to his doctrine.
Q. 13. Sould nocht the Moderator of the Session be chosin yierlie of anie who has vot therin.
Q. 14. May the Sessioun be laufullie elected by Ministers onlie, but the consent of the haill congregatioun.
Q. 15. Why sould nocht Eldars and Deacones of ilk particular Sessioun be elected ad vitam.
Q. 16. How manie Presbyteries is meit to be in the haill countrie, in what places, and whow manie Pastors of Kirk in ilk Presbyterie.
Q. 17. Sould nocht the Eldars and Deacons of ilk particular Sessioun, haue vot in the Presbyteries, or the Pastors only.
Q. 18. What is the maters of the iurisdiction of the Presbyterie, quhilk may nocht be intreated in particular Sessions.
Q. 19. What form of process in libelling and citation, termes and dyattes, probation and pronuncing of the sentence, sould be vsit befor the particular Sessiouns and Presbyteries respectiué.
Q. 20. What maters sould the Synod intreat vpon, quhilk may nocht be decydit in the Presbyteries.
Q. 21. Sould nocht all wha hes vot in the Presbyteries, and als in the particular Sessions, have vot in the Synodall Assemblies.
Q. 22. Sould ilk Vniuersitie or ilk Collage, or ilk Master or Regent within ilk Collage, haue vot in the Presbyteries or Synodals in the towns or countries whar they ar; and sic lyk, what form of vot sould they haue in the Generall Assemblies.
Q. 23. Is it lesum to conuocat the Generall Assemblie by his Maiesties licence, he being pius et Christianus Magistratus.
Q. 24. Is it necessar that the Generall Assemblie be ordinar, or onlie extraordinarlie conuened for waightie causses concerning the Kirk.
Q. 25. Hes nocht all men of guid lerning and religion vot in the Generall Assembly.
Q. 26. Is ilk particular Pastor oblesit to repear to the Generall Assemblie, or is it sufficient that onlie Commissioners com fra ilk particular Sessioun, Presbyterie, or Synodall.
Q. 27. Wha sould chuse the Commissionars to cum fra ilk schyre to vot in the Generall Assemblie.
Q. 28. Quhat is the number of votters necessar to the lawfulnes of the Generall Assemblie, and whow manie of the haill number sould be Pastors, and how manie vther men.
Q. 29. May anie thing be acted in the Assemblie to the quhilk his Maiestie consents nocht.
Q. 30. Is it nocht expedient that the twa part of them, wha has ius susfragii, sould consent to anie thing decernit in ecclessiasticall iudgment, that matters pas nocht be a vot ma or les.
Q. 31. Hes nocht ilk Iudgment inferior to the Generall Assemblie an territor limitat, outwith the quhilk they haue no powar of citation or iurisdiction.
Q. 32. What is the ordinar ecclesiasticall Iudgment to the discipline of his Maiesties houshold and Counsall, remouable with his Maiestie to anie part of the realme.
Q. 33. Sould thair be libellit precepts conteining the cause of the citation and certificatioun of the censures befor all ecclesiasticall Iudgements, or onlie till answer super inquirendis.
Q. 34. Hes the inferior Iudgment powar to summond to compeir befor anie superior Judgment, or sould men be summoned onlie be the authoritie of that Iudgment befor quhilk they sould compeir.
Q. 35. Is it nocht necessar that priuat admonitionnes, with reasonable interualles of tym, pas befor all maner of citationnes.
Q. 36. What interualles of tym is necessar betwix priuat admonitioun, and betwix the last admonition and the first citation, and betwix the citation and the day of compeirance befor ilk an of the said judgments.
Q. 37. Whow manie citatiounes sould infer contumacie.
Q. 38. Is simple contumacie, but probation of a cryme, or is anie cryme but contumacie, sufficient cause of excommunication.
Q. 39. Is ther nocht diuers kynds of censures, sic as prohibitio priuati convictus, interdictio a cœna, nocht published to the peiple; and last of all, publica traditio Satanae.
Q. 40. Sould the Presbyteries by iudges of all things that imports sklander; and gif sa be, wharof are they nocht iudges.
Q. 41. Can excommunication be vsed against theiffis, murderars, vsurars, or nocht peyars of thair dettes; and if sa it may be, why ar nocht all Bordour and Hieland theissis cursed; as als all the manswering merchants and occurrars amongs the burrowes.
Q. 42. Is ther any appellation fra the inferiour to the superior iudgment; and is nocht the sentence suspendit during the appellation.
Q. 43. Sould nocht all process and actes be extracted to parties hauand interest.
Q. 44. Is summar excommunication lauchfull in anie cace, but admonistiounes and citationnes preceiding.
Q. 45. Hes anie vther nor the Pastors of the Kirk vott in excommunication.
Q. 46. Hes ilk ecclesiasticall Iudgment a lik power to excommunicat.
Q. 47. Is it lawfull till excommunicat sik Papists as professit neuer our religion.
Q. 48. A woman being excommunicat, hauing a faithfull housband therefter, sould he abstein from hir companie.
Q. 49. Is it nocht reasonable, that before anie letters of horning be granted be the Session vpon the process of excommunication, that the partie sould be summoned to heir tham granted.
Q. 50. Hes nocht a Christian King powar to annull an notorius iniust sentence of excommunication.
Q. 51. May anie Counsall or Vniuersitie be excommunicat, for what cause, whom be, and maner therof.
Q. 52. When the Pastors does nocht thair dewtie, or when a iurisdiction vsurpes aboue an vther, or anie vther schisme falles out, sould nocht a Christian King mend sic disorders.
Q. 53. May fastes, for generall causes, be proclamed be a Christian Prince command.
Q. 54. May onie ecclesiasticall Iudgment compell a man to swear in suam turpitudinem.
Q. 55. Sould ther onie thing be intreated in the ecclesiasticall Iudgment, preiudiciall to the ciuill iurisdiction or priuat mens rights; and may nocht the ciuill Magistrat lauchfullie stay all sic procedings. [C. & Melvill's Diary.]
[Instructions givin be the Synod of the Prouince of Fyff to the Commissionars, to be chosine by euerie Presbyterie within the said Synod, to go to the Conventioun appointed be his Maiestie at Perth: The quhilk the said Synod ordeanit tham and euerie an of tham preceislie to keipe.
First, Yie sall schaw that yie are com for obedience to his Maiestie, and nocht for that yie acknawlage that to be a lawfull Generall Assemblie, be reasone it was nocht appointed be the last Generall, nor convocat be the advys of the Commissionars of the last Generall Assemblie, as hes bein the practise of the Kirk at all tymes befor within this realme, warranted be the Word of God and lawes of the countery.
Item, Yie sall schaw that yie may nocht condisend in anie wayes to the reasoning or putting in questioun the maters of the Polecie of the Kirk; because the Generall Kirk of this realme, to quhilk yie ar subiect, hes alreadie determined the saming; quhilk determinatioun yie haue also subscryvit vnto, and nan may call the sam in dout, and put tham in reasoning, but a Generall Assemblie: Therfor yie sall desyre his Maiestie, in all humilitie, for continuation of the reassoning to the ordinar assigned Generall Assemblie, to be haldin at Sanct Androus the xxvj of Apryll nixtocome.
Item, Gif na continuatioun can be obteined, and yie ar vrged to proceide, yie sall protest for the liberties of the Kirk, and planlie disassenting, keipe yourselffs frie of euerie thing that salbe done theranent.
Item, Because the Conventioun is appointed be his Maiestie onlie for the questionnes, yie sall nocht mell in anie maner of way withe the receaving of Hountlie or vther excommunicats, or anie vther thing remitted from Synodall, or Presbyteries, or properlie belanging to a Generall Assemblie.
Item, In cais the brethring amang thamselues, or his Maiestie, or anie of his Counsall, enter in reasoning with yow, or anie of yow in privat, that ye hauld fast be thir generall grounds.
1. That the haill externall government of the Kirk mon be tean out of the Word of God.
2. That the ordinar Pastors and Doctors of the Kirk mon schaw the will of God out of his Word; and that onlie to be followed.
3. That the Pastors and Doctors of the Kirk of Scotland hes, with lang and graue deliberatioun, sett down and constitut the haill externall discipline and government of the Kirk; according to the quhilk it hes bein thir manie yeirs sa happelie governit and rewlit, that na heresie, schisme, or dissentioun hes haid place therin vnto this houre; and that ther is nan beiring office in the Kirk, who calles the sam in dout. It wald, therfor, pleis his Maiestie nocht to suffer the rair and maist peaceable and decent constitutioun therof to be disturbit be exagitating of fruictles questionnes, namlie at this tyme, quhen Papists preasses, be that mean of disputatioun namlie, to brangle and pervert all.
Item, Yie sall trauell with the Ministers, Barronnes, and Noblemen, that sall happin thair to be conveinit, that an vniform supplicatioun may be maid and giffen in for restoring of the Ministers of Edinburche, and Mr Dauid Blak again to thair flockes; and behave yourselves heirin, in the feir of God and loue of Chryst and his kingdom, faithfullie and providentlie, with all dewtifull reuerence to the Kings Maiestie. [C. & Melvill's Diary.]
[The Presbytrie of Edinburgh being in jealousy lykways of the Kings proceedings, limited their Commissioners in forme, as followeth.
The form of Commission givin to the Commissioners of the Presbytrie of Edinburgh.
For as much as his Majestie has appointed a Generall Assembly of the Ministry to conveen at Perth, the last of Februar instant; and to that effect, his Hienes has directed letters missives to divers Presbytries within this realme; and among others to the brethren of the Presbytrie of Edinburgh, willing and desiring them to address two or three of the wisest and most discreet brethren of their number to the said Assembly, against the said day and place, instructed with commission, and their best advyce and opinion in matters touching the Policy of the Kirk, as the same bears: The brethren, therefore, of the said Presbytrie, to witness their humble obedience to his Majestie as to their Soveraign, have directed, lykeas be these presents direct, their well beloved Mr David Lindsay, Mr Patrick Galloway, John Duncanson, Ministers, with power to them to conveen and assemble themselves with the Commissioners of other Presbyteries, that shall happen there to be conveened, to hear and see what sall be proponed anent the treating of the difference of the Civil and Ecclesiastical Judgements, and matters concerning the Policy of the Kirk, and external government thereof, and to report to them; but no wise to proceed in reasoning, voting, or concluding any thing, which may be prejudicial to the Constitutions of the General Kirk, anent the said matters; and to deal therein according to the instructions given in write, and no otherwise. To all which wee give the brethren foresaid our power and commission, promising to hold firm and stable &c.
Subscribed be the Clerk of the Prsbytrie.
Instructions to the Brethren.
1. Ye shall shew, that ye are come for obedience to his Majestie, and not for that ye acknowledge this to be a lawfull Assembly, be reason it is not appointed be the last General, nor conveened be the Commissioners of the last General Assembly, as has been the practise of the Kirk, at all tymes before, in this country.
2. Ye shall shew, that ye may not condescend any way to the reasoning of the matters of the Policy, because the General Assembly, to which ye are subject, has already determined the same; which determinations ye have also subscribed unto; and none may call the same in doubt, or put them in reasoning, but the General itself: Therefore ye shall desire his Majestie, in all humility, for a continuation of the reasoning till the ordinary Assembly, which is to be in Sanct Andrews, in the month of Aprile next to come.
3. If no continuation can be had, and ye be urged to proceed, ye shall protest for the liberties of the Kirk, and keep yourselves always free of every thing, that shall be done thereanent.
4. Because this Assembly is conveened be his Majestie, only for thir differences, ye shall not medle in any manner with Huntlies receiving, or any other thing properly pertaining to the General.
5. Last, Ye shall travel with the Ministrie, Barons, and Noblemen, that shall happen there to be conveened, that an uniforme supplication may be made for restoring the Ministers of Edinburgh to their flocks; and to behave yourselves herein prudently, as accords. C.]
[Upon the 27 of Aprile, Mr Robert Pont, Moderator of the last Generall Assembly ordinar, went to Sanct Andrews of purpose to keep the dyet appointed be the last Generall. Few or none conveened, but some sew Commissioners out of Lothian, Perth, Stirline, and out of the Synod of Fife. They conveened in the New College School, the place appointed for the said Assembly. After in calling on the name of God, and humble confession of the sins which had procured that desolation, craved mercy, and fenced the Assembly. Notes and documents of protestation were taken for the liberty of the Kirk. All summonds, references, appellations were continued till the Assembly following. The exhortation of the Moderator was lykeways continued to that day. C.]