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, haldin at Dundie the 7 day of Marche 1597. In the quhilk were conveinit the Kings Majestie and Commissioners from all Shyres and Townes of the countrey.
Sessio 1a. 7 Martij. Post meridiem.
Exhortatioun beeand made be Mr Robert Rollock, Moderatour of the last Assemblie, ther was appointit vpon the leits, Mrs Patrick Simsone, David Fergusone, Peter Blackburne, James Robertstone, and Robert Wilkie; and [be the Kings authority,] and be the pluralitie of votes, [specialy of Northland Ministers, and Barons,] Mr Peter Blackburne was electit Moderatour hac vice.
[Mr Andrew Melvill was challenged be the King, after the calling of the roll of the Commissioners, for coming to the Assembly, seeing by his authority he was discharged from all Assemblies. Mr Andrew answered, he had a calling from the Kirk; the Kings discharge being civil, touched the constitutions and rents of the Colledge, but not his doctoral charge, which was ecclesiastical, he would not betray the Kirk for his part. The King replyed, There was none there that sought the betraying of the Kirk. Mr John Davidson said, Sir, ye are to remember, that you fit not here as Imperator, but as a Christian, ades ut intersis, non ut presis. The King started at these words, yet taking up himself he distinguished, but in effect granted that which Mr John had said; but chaffed notwithstanding within himself. Sir, we are affraid, said Mr John, to speak, except ye be equal and indifferent; therefore we crave that liberty which is due to this Assembly. The King seemed to yield; but would suffer nothing to be done till Mr Andrew was removed. So Mr Andrew was commanded be the King to keep his lodging.
Sessio 2a. 8 Martij.
Anent the Commission given to certaine brethren of the North, for the absolving of the Erles of Angus, Huntlie, and Erroll, from the sentence of excommunication: The Assemblie ordaines Mr Peter Blackburne, in name of the rest, to give in in wryte, the haill forme of thair absolutioun, and satisfactioun to the articles injoyed to them in the last Assemblie, to the effect the same may be registrat in the Bookes of the Assemblie.
Sessio 3a. Eodem die.
Because ther is no accompt tane of the acts of every Provinciall Assemblie; therfor it is statute and ordainit, that, in all tymes coming, every Provinciall Assembly within this realme send the acts of thair Synod made sen the Generall Assemblie immediatlie preceiding, with thair Commissioners direct be them to the next Generall Assemblie, to the effect the brethren of the Generall Assemblie may take tryall and cognitioun, that the proceidings of every Synod be done decenter et ordine, and so allow or dissallow of them as they [sall] think meitt; and this ordour to begin at the nixt Generall Assemblie.
Item, Because it was meinit be some of the brethren, and sound fault with, that such as vses to be appointit Commissioners from the Synodalls to the General Assemblie, but any reasonable cause, resuse to obey and accept thair commissioun, quherthrow it falls out oftentymes, that at the Generall Assemblie ther inlakes Commissioners from some Synods: Heirfor it is statute and ordainit, that every Synod sall choose out them that salbe thoght most meit to come as Commissioners to the Generall Assemblie, who sall remaine to the last day of the Assemblie inclusivé: and to the effect they may pretend no reasonable cause in the contrair, and speciallie of povertie, therefor it is statute and ordainit, that in cace the Commissioners that are chosen may not commodiouslie awaite vpon the Assemblie vpon thair awin expenssis, then and in that cace, the rest of the quhilk number he is chosin sall contribute to his expenssis, according to the abilitie of thair livings, vnder the paine of the tinsell of the tenth part of thair stipends; quhilk Commissioners beand sa furnischit be ane commoun contributioun, as said is, he sall repaire to the Generall Assemblie, and remaine vnto the finall end therof, vnder the paine of the tinsell of the tenth part of his awin stipend: And in cace either the Commissioner or the brethren of his Synodall, through not obeying every ane thair processe of the premisses respectivé, incurreing the danger of the penalties above rehearsit, and ȝet resusing to make payment of the saids penalties, viz. of the tenth part of thair stipends, then and in that cace, they salbe suspendit from thair calling and functioun, ay and quhill they satisfie the same.
Anent the summounds raisit at the instance of the Synodall of Fysse against Andro Arnot, Minister of Scotlandwell, craveand the said Andro, conforme to his promise, to mak provisioun for the kirk of Auchtermoonsie, ane of the kirks of the said Ministrie: The said Andro being callit, compeirit and declarit, that he promised to make sufficient provisioun for the said kirk, provyding alwayes he were resolvit of the payment of his thrid, quhilk he payes presentlie to Mr Robert Inchaw; quhilk promise he presentlie ratified, and band himselfe to make provisioun for the said kirk of Auchtermoonsie immediatly after the dissolving of the Assemblie, he being releivit of the payment of the thrid, as said is.
[Upon Thursday the 9th, Mr Andrew Melvill and John Johnstoun were charged to depart off the town, under the pain of horning.
Sessio 4a. 9 Martij.
When the Assembly conveened, Mr John Davidsone said, Sir, there is wrong done to the Assembly, in discharging Mr Andrew Melvill and John Johnstoun. Wold ye have plies, said the King: No, Sir, said Mr John, but that ye wold give them licence to come in. I will not hear one word of that, said the King twise or thrice. Wee must then crave help, said Mr John, of him that will hear us.
The Synod of Lothian gave in their grieves against the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly, whereupon was made this ordinance following. C.]
The Commissioners appointit in the last Generall Assemblie for planting of the townes of Edenburgh, Dundie, and Sanct Androes, and such vther affaires, as at mair lenth is conteinit in the said commissioun, and callit to give ane accompt of sick things as had bein done be them be vertue of thair commissioun forsaid, Mr James Nicolsone, in name of the rest, produceit a booke containing a whole register of thair whole process and proceidings since the acceptatioun of the said commissioun, quhilk was publicklie red in presence and audience of the haill Assemblie: And because ther was some of the brethren that thoght themselves greivit at certaine of thair proceidings, therfor it was thocht expedient that the brethren after following sould cognosce vpon the saids greives and Commissioners ansuers therto, quhilk both sould be givin in in one wryte befor them, and therafter report to the haill Assemblie quhat they fand therin: They are to say, Mrs George Monro, James Dundas, Robert Howie, Duncane Davidsone, William Dowglas, Andro Mylne, Andro Lamb, James Robertsone, William Rynd, Archibald Moncreiff, Alexander Lindsay, David Fergusone, William Cranstoun, David Spence, Robert Wilkie, John Knox, Gawin Hamiltoun, Johne Hall, Johne Spotiswood, Patrick Symsone, Robert Darroch, Harie Levingstoun, David Barcklay, Hew Fullertoun, and Johne Welsch.
[In the mean tyme certain grieves were given in to his Majestie be the Assembly, which here follow, with their answers. C.]
Greives to be proponit to his Majestie.
First, to crave of his Majestie ane releise of this present taxatioun to sick of the Ministrie as possesses small benefices within iijc marks, seing they are not able to be sustainit vpon the same.
2. To crave in generall for the haill Ministrie, that they be not troublit with the taxatioun in no tyme coming; bot that the officiars that ingathers the same, charge the taksmen immediatlie quho are bund to releive the Ministrie of thair taxatioun; because so long as the Ministers charges thair taksmen, not only it averts them from thair calling, but also breids a grudge betuixt them and thair parochiners.
3. To crave a redresse of the abuse of the buriall, that ane act of Parliament may be made, discharging burialls in kirks.
4. To crave ane redresse anent adulterous marriages, quher two persons, both divorcit for adulterie committit either with vther, craves the benefite of the Kirk to be joynit in marriage.
5. To crave his Majestie, quhat ordour salbe tane anent the relaxatioun of such murtherers from excommunicatioun as are alreadie relaxit from the horne, and ȝet hes not satisfied the partie, quhilk is a tokin of no penitencie.
6. To advyce with his Majestie, if the carieing of profest witches from towne to towne, to try witchcraft in vthers, be laufull ordinar tryall of witchcraft, or nocht.
7. Anent the laik patronages: To lament vnto his Majestie the great abuse quhilk the late act of Parliament hes brocht in giving licence to the patrone to possesse the fruits of the benefice, in case he present a qualified man, and the same be not admitted be the Kirk; vnder colour quherof they vse to present ane qualified man to the Presbytrie, and hes him sworne to sett back a tack of the fruites of the benefice to the patrone; quhervpon, albeit the person presentit be qualified, ȝet the Kirk cannot admitt him, in respect of the impediment forsaid, quherthrow both the patrone vplifts [the fruicts of] the benefice, and the Kirk lyes destitute; therfor to crave redresse of the same.
Sessio 5a. Eodem die.
Anent the greives givin in to his Majestie befor noone, his Majestie being present gave his ansueris as follwes:
To the first and second, His Majestie desyrit the Commissioners to be deput from this Assemblie, to give in ane supplicatioun to the Counsell, anent the same, quhervnto his Majestie sould hold hand; and in the mean tyme promised to cause stay all farther executioun against sick of the Ministrie as were at the Assemblie presentlie, quhill the 15 of Apryle nixt to come.
Anent burials: His Majestie thocht good that ane supplicatioun sould be givin in to the nixt Parliament, craveand that, for avoyding of burialls in kirks, every Nobleman sould bigge a sepulture for himselfe and his awin familie.
Anent adulterous marriages: His Majestie thocht good that ane supplicatioun sould be givin in to the nixt Parliament, craveand such marriages to be declairit null in all tyme comeing, and the bairnes gottin therin to be bastards.
Anent murtherers: His Majestie declared, quhen any murtherer is relaxit from the horne, upon cautioun to vnderly the law, that he is not, therfor, simpliciter relaxit, bot to ane day to abyde tryall of his fault; and therfor thinks that the Kirk may continue in thair censures aganis such a person, and deny him any benefite of the Kirk, vntill they sie evident tokins of repentance in him, the partie be satisfied, and thervpon ane full remissioun obtainit.
Anent tryall of witchcraft: His Majestie declared, that, be ane act of the last Parliament, it is remittit to certaine of his Hienes Counsell, certaine Ministers and Advocates, to conclude vpon [a solid order] anent tryall of witches, and to advyce whither the forsaid carieing of witches is permissive, [or not.]
Tuiching the quhilk, the Assemblie ordainit Mr Patrick Galloway and Johne Duncansone to hald his Majestie in remembrance.
Anent the abuse of laik patronages: His Majestie thocht good lykewayes, that ane supplicatioun sould be givin in to the nixt Parliament for redressing of the same.
Because it was reportit in the Assemblie, that alberit sundrie persons were convict of witchcraft, nevertheles, the civill Magistrat not only resusit to punish them, consorme to the lawes of the countrey, bot also, in contempt of the samein, setts the persons at libertie, quhilk were convict of witchcraft: Therfor the Assemblie ordaines that, in all tyme coming, the Presbytrie proceid in all severitie with thair censures aganis [all] such Magistrats as sall set at libertie any person convict of witchcraft heirafter.
Item, Because diverse persons, with ane preposterous haste, hes proceidit to the band of Matrimonie, without any laufull proclamatioun of thair bands, quherthrow the ordinances of the Kirk are hielie contemnit: Therfor it is statute and ordainit, that no persons be couplit together in marriage, without they be thryse lausullie proclaimit at thair awin paroch kirk, according to the consuetude observit within this realme: and in cace of contraveining of the same, that the Minister be depryvit of his office; and the parties ordainit to satisfie the Kirk be public repentance.
Anent burialls: It is ordainit, that no pictures or images be caried about in burialls, vnder the paine of the censures of the Kirk.
Item, Because it was regratit, that because certaine of the Ministrie being beneficit persons, hes sett taks and assedatiouns of the fruits of thair benesice, and therafter hes obtainit licence of transportatioun from thair kirk, so that the same, be reasone of the taks set be them, remaines continuallie vnplantit for lake of provisioun: Therfor it is statute and ordainit, that, in tyme comeing, no Minister get licence of transportatioun from his Kirk, befor it be tryed, that he hes not hurt the benefice, from quhilk he wald be transportit, be setting tacks of the fruits of the same; and if the tacks, that were sett befor his entrie to the said benefice, expyrit in his tyme, that he hes renewit no auld tack, but consent of the Generall Assemblie, and melioratioun of his benefice.
Item, Because for lake of moyen, sundrie of the Ministers hes not as ȝit obteinit the designatioun of thair manses and gleibs, Therfor it is ordainit, that everie Minister, that is not ȝit possest with his manse and gleib, obtaine possessioun of the same, betuixt and the nixt Assemblie: And in cace the person, in whose favours the designatioun is grantit, be not able, throw povertie, to awaite vpon the law for [obtaining] possessioun of the same, that the rest of the brethren of his Presbytrie concurre and help him with expensses for obtaining of the same.
Sessio 6a. 10 Martij.
Anent the proceidings of the Commissioners appointit in the last Generall Assemblie, quhilk they did anent the planting of the Ministrie of Sanct Androes, and anent the examinatioun of the depositioun of Mr Johne Rutherfuird: The Assemblie ratifies, allowis, and approves thair proceidings therin.
And farther ordaines, for reasonable causes moving [them,] Mr Robert Wallace to be relaxit from the sentence of suspensioun from his Ministrie, pronuncit in thair decreit against him, he satissieand my Lord of Menmure, be the advyce of Mrs David Lindsay, Robert Bruce, and Robert Rollock, to the effect he may be placit to serve in sick parts, quher the Kirk sall think his travells to be best imployit.
As concerning Mr Johne Rutherfuirds process, and the rest of the things done in Sanct Androes be the saids Commissioners: Mrs David Black, Johne Carmichaell, Robert Durie, Alexander Forsythe, and the rest of the brethren of the Presbytrie of Sanct Androes that were ther present, after reasoning of such things quherof they had not bein of before resolved, declared themselves satisfied therin.
Because it was reportit be the Commissioners of the Generall Assemblie, that the constant Platt for planting of every particular kirk, was hindred be the taksmen who hes the haill teinds in thair hands, and resuseth to condiscend to any substantiall ordour anent the planting of the Ministrie, without some securitie were made vnto them anent the rest of thair teinds: Therfor the Assembliethocht good to considder quhat be the conditions cravit be thair taksmen, in cace of augmentatioun of the duetie of thair tackis for sustentatioun of the Ministrie: To the quhilk it was ansuerit be the vilitours of Murray and Aberdeine, that the taxmen desyrit and perpetuitie of thair tacks, be renewing therof at thair outruning, without greissom: [Mernes offered presently to augment in victual, upon condition that the tacks be renewed at the outrunning therof, for a liquidat summe, in name of gressom:] The lyke offerit Angus: Clidsdaill, Galloway, Lauthian, and Fyfe, wald make no offer.
Upon consideration quherof, the brethren desyrit his Majestie that ane law might be made anent the augmentatioun of the duetie of the tackis for sustentatioun of the Ministrie: To the quhilk his Majestie offerrit willingly to deale with the taksmen in such sort, that they sould be forcit to augment the duetie of thair tackis to a reasonable and competent living for ane Minister at every kirk, vpon conditioun they had some reasonable ease of thair teinds. And for effectuating therof, the Assemblie ordaines every Minister to give in a particular overture in wryte to the Commissioners quhilk salbe appointit be the Generall Assemblie, [and information,] quhat is the just valour of the teinds of his paroch; to quhom they are sett; for quhat duetie; to quhom the duetie is payit; and quhat better every ane can give for planting his awin kirk; to the effect his Majestie, with advyce of the said Commissioners, may take ane solid ordour anent the sufficient planting of every particular kirk betwixt and the nixt Generall Assemblie.
[There was much alteration about the grieves givin in be the Commissioners from the Presbytries out of diverse quarters against the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly for their proceedings, so that such altercation was not seen, at any time, in any of the Assemblies since the Reformation. The excommunicated Earles, Papists and polititians were brought in to take their pastyme, and gather matters of slander and calumnie. But the King fearing, that his purpose to set up Bishops should not succeed well that way, laboured to have the grieves buried, promised to deal with the tacksmen for augmentation of their duetie of their tacks, and was the more easie to be reconciled to the Ministers of Edinburgh, and to condescend to their plantation in Edinburgh: whereupon a number of Presbytries being removed, and debarred from voting in the tryal of the Commissioners, the grieves were buried, and their proceedings allowed. But many of the Ministers said, They were so evil buried, they would rise again. The drist of this burying was that the Commissioners might proceed without impediment farther in their intended course.
The Act of burying the grieves, and approbation of the Commissioners here followeth. C.]
Sessio 7a. Eodem die.
The brethren appointit to try the proceidings of the Commissioners of the last Assemblie, and the greives givin in against the same, with the Commissioners ansuers therto, declarit, that they had considderit the haill grieves givin in be the Synodall of Lawthiane, and the Commissioners ansuers made to the same; and that they thocht it expedient, so that it were the will of the Assemblie, that the saids greives and ansuers sould be buried: Notheles, the Assemblie, for satissactioun of the haill brether, thocht good, that the saidis greives and ansuers sould be red in audience of the haill Assemblie; quhilk being done, after voteing, it was concludit, that the process and proceidings of the saids Commissioners sould be ratified in that pairt; and the saids greives and ansuers buried and obliterat, for continuance of peace and quyetnes in the Kirk.
Sessio 8a. 11 Martij
The brethren, after reviseing of the haill proceedings of the Commissioners of the last Assemblie, ratifies, allowis, and approves [the same;] and ordaines the haill greives givin in, and ansuers made therto, to be buried and put out of memorie.
For better executioun of thair proceidings, the Generall Assemblie ordaines Mrs Robert Rollock, David Lindsay, Robert Pont, Patrick Galloway, Johne Duncansone, James Nicolsone, Thomas Buchannan, George Glaidstanes, or any fyve of them, to conveine with his Majestie, to put the decreit of the saids Commissioners, anent the planting of Edenburgh, to farther executioun, and place the Ministers of Edinburgh at thair particular flocks; ordaining lykewayes the Ministers of Edenburgh to obey the said decreit, be accepting every one of them thair particular flocks, vnder the paine of deprivatioun from thair Ministrie; and in cace of dissobedience on thair parts, and none acceptatioun of thair particular flockis, as said is, that the saids Commissioners depryve them from thair functioun [of the Ministrie:] And therafter ordaines the saids Commissioners to plant the Kirk of Edenburgh with such of the wysest and most discreit of the brethren as they sall think most meit, to the glorie of God and edificatioun of the particular flockis within the towne of Edenburgh; and in the meane tyme, quhill the saids Commissioners conveine for performing of the premisses, the brethren ordaines the Ministers of Edenburgh to continue in the preaching of the Word and ministratioun of the sacraments.
Sessio 10a. 13 Martij.
Because sundrie of the brethren desyrit to be satisfied of his Majesties mynd be his awin mouth toward certaine of the Ministrie, and in speciall toward the Ministrie of Edinburgh, anent quhatsoevir thrawarts or accidents that hes fallen out thir two ȝeirs bygane; his Majestie, for making his mynd more cleirlie to be vnderstood be the haill brethren, declarit himselfe to be content and satisfied with the Ministrie of Edinburgh; and that his Hienes did beare no grudge nor evill will to any of them for any accidents quhilk hes fallin out in any tyme bygane, and that the same sould never be remembrit be his Majestie in any tyme comeing; bot that his Hienes and they, (to the quhilk the Ministrie of Edinburgh willinglie aggreit,) sould never call any of these accidents sallin out in any tyme bygane to remembrance, neither make mentioun of the same in privat speiches or publick sermons, in any tyme heirafter.
The quhilk day, in presence of the haill Assemblie, the Kings Majestie having declarit his advyce anent the necessitie of Commissioners, to be appointed be the Generall Assemblie, to awaite and concurre with his Majestie for bringing to ane finall end, the longsome worke of the constant Platt for the planting of Ministers at the principall burghes within this realme, in cace any of thir places sall happin to vaike betuixt and the nixt Generall Assemblie; for awaiting on the Parliament, if any salbe, and craveing the redresse of sick things quherwith the Ministers sall find themselves greivit; and finallie, for redressing of sick enormities, and awaiting vpon such good occasiouns, as may fall out before the nixt Generall Assemblie; desyreing, therfor, that the brethren wald considder the necessitie forsaid, and according to thair discretioun, whither if it were expedient, that ane commissioun sould be grantit to certaine of the most wife and discreit of the brethren for the causes forsaids: The quhilk his Majesties advyce the Assemblie thinks very necessar and expedient, and therfor hes givin and grantit, and, be the tenour heirof, gives and grants, thair full power and commissioun to Mrs Peter Blackburne, James Nicolsone, Andro Mylne, Alexander Dowglas, Johne Ramsay, Thomas Buchannan, David Fergusone, William Cranstoun, George Glaidstaines, Alexander Lindsay, Harie Livingstoun, Robert Pont, David Lindsay, Robert Rollock, John Hall, Johne Clappertoun, Johne Knox, Gavin Hamiltoun, Andro Knox, his Majesties and the Princes Ministers, or any nyne of them, to conveine with his Majestie, at such tyme and place as salbe found expedient; with power to them, or any nyne of them, to concurre with his Majestie, anent the setting downe and concluding of the solid grounds and fundament of the constant Platt, and quhat securitie salbe made to the taxmen for the remnant of thair teinds: Quhilks grounds being sett downe be them, they sall make every Presbytrie within this realme privie to the same; and in cace the saids Presbytries, be thair Commissioners or be themselves, after visitatioun of the saids grounds and conclusiouns, ratifie and approve the same, with power to the saids Commissioners, or any nyne of them, to conveine therafter with his Majestie and [Lords of] the Privie Counsell, hav ing the power of the Parliament to that effect, and ther to put ane finall end and conclusioun to the constant Platt, and solid planting of every particular kirk within this realme; with power also to the saids Commissioners, or any nyne of them, to plant sufficient Ministers in the principall burghes within this realme, in cace the Ministrie therof sall happin to vaike betuixt and the nixt Generall Assemblie, and in speciall to take care anent the provisioun of Ministers to his Majesties and the Princes houses, the kirks of Newabbay, and Dumfreis; with power also to the saids Commissioners, or any nyne of them, to awaite vpon the Parliament, if any salbe befor the nixt Assemblie, and give in the greives of the samein, desyrand them to be redrest; and to give thair advyce to his Majestie, for avoyding or eschewing of any danger or inconvenient quhilk may be licklie to fall out in prejudice of the Kirk: And lykewayes, in cace his Majestie find himselfe greivit, or crave redresse of any enormitie done to his Hienes be any of the Ministrie, with power to them, or any nyne of them, to sitt and cognosce vpon the same, quherin, for thair better informatioun of the cryme or fact quhilk sall happin to be committit, they sall crave the advyce of the most discreit of the Presbytrie quher the offender dwells, as they sall think expedient, and therafter proceid in taking tryall of the fact be themselves and conclude therin, as salbe most expedient to the glorie of God, and peace and quyetnes of the Kirk within this realme: And, finallie, with expresse power and command to the saids Commissioners, to propone to his Majestie at thair conventiouns, the petitiouns and greives, asweill of this Assemblie in generall, as of every member therof in particular, as salbe meinit vnto them, promittend de rato, &c.
Anent the forsaid commissioun grantit for redresse of such things as sall happin his Majestie to be offendit with in the person of any of the Ministrie: His Majestie declarit in presence of the haill Assemblie, that albeit the haill power of cognosceing of such persons, be devolvit in the persons of the Commissioners, quho sould concurre with his Majestie to that effect; nevirtheles, his Majestie mynds no wayes to trouble the Commissioners with any such matters, vnlesse first it be knowin notoriouslie, that the Presbytrie, quher the offender maks residence, both hes gottin knowledge of the fact, and either hes altogether neglectit the tryall therof, or els not satisfied his Majestie with the punishment imponit to the offenders be them.
[After this Commission was past, the question, which was moyand before at all the Synods, was proposed, to wit, concerning the Kirks vote in Parliament, which was the chief end wherefore the Assembly was conveened.
The King made a harangue, wherein he declared, what great care he had to adorne and commodat the Kirk, to remove all controversies, to establish the discipline, and to restore her patrimony: And that he might effectuat this, it was needfull that the Ministers should have their vote in Parliament; without which the Kirk could not be vindicated from poverty and contempt. I mind not, said the King, to bring in Papistical or Anglican Bishoping, but only to have the best and wisest of the Ministrie, appointed be the General Assembly, to have place in Counsel, and Parliament, to fit upon their own matters, and see them done, and not to stand alwise at the door, like poor supplicants, despised and nothing regarded.
This speech he uttered with great protestation, and some of the Commissioners did the like.
Sessio 11a. Eodem die.
There was hote disputation about vot in Parliament. Mr John Davidson complained, that Mr Andrew Melvill was discharged the Assembly. Mr John Knox, Minister at Melross, added, They had discharged him, because they feared his learning, and no doubt the act made at Sanct Andrews be the King and the Commissioners of the General Assembly, touching the discharging the Professors of Theologie from medling in matters of discipline, was made purposely to seclude Mr Andrew Melvill and Mr John Johnstoun from reasoning against the erection of Bishops, which they had then in their heads.
Mrs Robert Bruce, James Melvill, John Carmichael, John Davidson, William Aird, and sundry others maintained, that Ministers should not have vote in Parliament. Mr Thomas Buchannan, Mr George Glaidstanes, Mr Robert Pont reasoned for the other part.
Mr George Glaidstanes alledged, that the whole subject were divided in tres ordines, in respect of their living in the Common weale; and therefore the Kirk must be one estate. Mr John Davidson answered, We hold not our livings of Kings nor Estates. And because Mr George had said, We have vote in rogandis et ferendis legibus: Mr Davidson answered, No otherwise then as it is said among the Romans, presentibus Sacerdoti bus, et divina exponentibus; sed non suffragia habentibus. Where have ye that, said the King. In Titus Livius, said he. Are ye going, said the King, from Scripture to Titus Livius. Nay, said Mr John; but for Roman termes, which Mr George alledged, I have brought a simile out of the Roman practice to express my mind. The place 2 Chron. 19. was much agitat between Mr Thomas Buchanan and Mr John Carmichael. Mr John disputed so acutely, that the King himself was forced to commend him. Mr James Melvill had his large part in reasoning.
Upon the calling of the roll, the affirmative was carried only be ten votes.
The Act, as it lieth in the Register, here followes. C.]
Forsameikle as the Commissioners of the Generall Assemblie, at the Parliament haldin in December last bypast, vpon ane earnest ȝeale quhilk they did alwayes beare to the weill of the Kirk, had givin in certaine articles to the Lords of Parliament, concerning the libertie of the Kirk, and in special had craveit that the Ministrie, as representing the true Kirk of God within this realme, and so being the third Estate in this realme, might have vote in Parliament according to the loveable acts and constitutiouns of befor made in Parliament, in favours of the friedome and libertie of the holie Kirk; quhilks thair travells and indevores, proceiding alwayes vpone ane godly intentioun, they submittit to the censures of this present Assemblie, desyreing the brethren to allow or dissallow the same, as they sould think most expedient for the glorie of God and the establishing of the true religioun within this realme: Quhervpon the brethren being ryplie advyfit, allowit the honest and godlie intentioun of the Commissioners in craveing vote in Parliament [for the Ministrie,] as conforme and aggrieing to sundrie vther acts of the Assemblies preceiding, in the quhilk it hes bein found expedient that the Kirk sould [fute] vote in Parliament.
Forsameikle as his Majestie is willing to vtter his good intentioun that he hes alwayes borne to the establisching of the true Kirk of God within this realme, declairit, that for the better performance thereof, his Hienes had assisted the Commissioners of the last Assemblie in craveing vote in Parliament in name of the Kirk; quhilk thair sute, albeit it was in some pairt, and [as it were] in a certaine manner, grantit be the Lords of Parliament; ȝet the acceptatioun therof, the forme, and haill circumstances of the persons, were referritt to this Generall Assemblie, to be acceptit or refuisit as the Kirk sould think expedient. And seing his Majestie had anticipat the appointit tyme of the Assemblie, and desyred the brethren to conveine at this present tyme, especially for the cause forsaid; therfor his Majestie desyrit that the brethren wald enter in a particular consideratioun of the haill points of the said act in every particular point thereof; and first to reason, in publick audience of the haill Assemblie, whither it were lawsull and expedient, that the Ministrie, [as] representing vndoubtedlie the Kirk within this realme, sould have vote in Parliament, or not.
The said questioun being at verie great lenth reasonit and debaittit in vtramque partem, in presence of the haill brethren, and therafter vottit, the Generall Assemblie votis, [finds,] and concludis, that it is necessar and expedient for the weill of the Kirk, that the Ministrie, as the third Estate of this realme, in name of the Kirk, have vote in Parliament.
[The Assemblie proceed to other points, How many should vote for the Kirk, and who should have the election. Mr John Davidson desired the Assembly not to be suddan in concluding such weighty matters; and commended the custom of the Romans, who, in rogandis et ferendis legibus, gave trinundinum spatium to examine them. No answer was made to him. Mention being made of Bishops, Mr Robert Rollocks judgement was craved. He said, that Lordship could not be denyed to them, that were to sit in Parliament, and allowance of rent to maintain their dignities. See ye not, brethren, said Mr Davidson, how bonnilie yonder Bishop beginnes to creep out, novus palliatus Episcopus. Have wee not done much to it, that so long have striven against this corruption, to bring furth such a birth now. The party laboured to extenuate the matter. I would learn, said he, of Mr Robert Pont there, who seemeth to know best, what kin there is betwixt this kind of Bishoprie which is now urged, and that kind which was condemned in our Acts, and Bookes of our Assemblie. Wee shall shew that afterward, said Mr Robert, when we come to that point. It will never be shewed, said Mr Davidson, saving that this last hath such a consent and approbation. Then Mr Black desired Mr Davidson to give in the Protestation, which he had in readiness three or four dayes since. Sundrie of the Brethren that had seen it, thought it dangerous at that time, and not expedient that any should subscribe it, but himself. So his vote being asked, he refused to vote, in respect he saw no freedom in that Assembly. He protested in his own name, and name of other brethren that would adhere to his Protestation, that they dissented from all their proceedings; which here, said he, I present in writt, that it may be insert in the bookes of the Assembly. It sall not be granted, said the King, seeing ye have voted and reasoned before. Never, Sir, said Mr John, but without prejudice to my protestation made, and to be made; which words I used sundrie tymes before I spake. He delivered the Protestation in write.
The tenor of the Protestation here followeth:
This is to deplore by writt, Right Reverend in Christ, according to your appointment, when otherwayes I was interrupted the other day to speak in the Assembly viva voce, (as ye know,) the great corruption, confusion and disorder in our General Assemblies, and the great inconveniences that have followed thereupon in the Kirk, since the injurious discharge of the lawfull Commissioners thereof, by publick Proclamation at the Cross of Edinburgh, in November bygane a year; namely at Perth, Dundie, at the last General Assembly; and now at this most of all, wherein that freedom, due unto a free Assembly, is utterly denyed to us, as at more length shall be qualified in tyme and place, if need sall require: As also to declare, that I adhere to my former Protestation made be word before his Majestie, at the last General Assembly holden at Edinburgh, and by writt, ordained to be insert in the Books of the General Assembly, at the last General Assembly in this town, that it may be lawfull to me, and such other brethren of the Ministry, as wold adhere to the said Protestation, to use our wonted freedom in our Ministry, according to the Word of God, and good lawes, and practicks of this realme; notwithstanding any law or act made, or to be made in the contrair. And, finally, to protest of new in my own name, and name of all such brethren as shall think good to hold hand to this common cause, that we diffent from all the proceedings in this, and the other two foresaid Assemblies, as not having the priviledge of free Assemblies permitted unto them, till the next better constituted and advised Assembly: Which Protestation I desire to be insert presently in the bookes of this Assembly. C.]
Sessio 12a. 14 Martij.
Concerning the number of the Ministrie that sould have vote in Parliament in name of the Kirk, it was lykewayes concludit and thocht expedient, that als many of them sould be chosin for the vote [in Parliament] as was wont of auld, in tyme of the Papisticall Kirk, to be Bischops, Abbots, and Pryours, that had the lyke libertie, viz. to the number of fiftie and ane, or therby.
Item, After reasoning, it was vottit and concludit, that the electioun of sick of the Ministrie as sould have vote in Parliament, aucht to be of ane mixt qualitie, and appertaine partlie to his Majestie, and partlie to the Kirk. And because, through shortness of tyme, the brethren could not be perfytelie resolvit in the remanent heids and circumstances concerning the office of him that sould have vote in Parliament, viz. de modo eligendi; of his rent; of the continuance of his office, whither he sould be chosin ad poenam, or not; of his name; of the cautions for preservatioun of him from corruptiouns, and sick vther circumstances: Therfor the Assemblie ordaines every Presbytrie to be rypelie and throughlie advysit with the particular heids above wrytin; and therafter to convocat thair Synoball Assemblies through the haill countrey vpone ane day, quhilk salbe the first Tuesday of Junij nixt to come, and ther, after new reasoning and advysement of the particular heids above wrytin, that every Synodall choose out thrie of the wysest of thair number, quho salbe readie vpon his Majesties advertisement, qubilk salbe vpon ane moneths warning at the least, to conveine with his Majestie, together with Doctours of the Vniversitie, viz. Mrs Andro Melvill, Johne Johnstoun, Robert Rollock, Patrick Sharpe, Robert Howie, Robert Wilkie, and James Mertin, sick day and place as his Majestie sall think expedient, with power to them to treat, reason and conserre vpon the saids heids, and vthers pertaining thereto; and in cace of aggriement and vniformitie of opiniouns, to vote and conclude the haill questioun concerning vote in Parliament: vtherwayes, in cace of discrepance and variance, to referre the conclusioun therof to the nixt Generall Assemblie.
For better observing of the Presbytries, It is statute or ordainit, that every Presbytrie sall assemble themselves once ordourly, ilk weike in thair full number, at the least so many of them as hes thair residence within aucht myles to the place of the ordinar conventioun of the Presbytrie.
That every member of the Presbytrie studie the text quhervpon the exercise is to be made.
That a commoun heid of religioun be intreattit every moneth in ilk Presbytrie, both be way of discourse and dispitation.
That every Pastour have ane ouklie exercise of instructioun and examinatioun of ane part of his congregatioun in the Catechisme.
Quhilks haill heids are ordainit to be observit vnder the paine of incurring the censures of the Kirk.
[After the dissolving of this Session, Mr John Davidson departed off the Toun. Much adoe there was after noon about his Protestation. The King demanded, Who would stand to it. The brethren thought good to keep silence. Some would have it remitted to the Presbytrie. Mr Thomas Buchanan would have him presently censured and condemned. It was agreed, that it should not be insert, as followeth. C.]
Sessio ultima. Eodem die.
Anent the Protestatioun given in be Mr John Davidsone, for himselfe and in name of certaine brethren, as he alledgit, protesting, that this present Assemblie was not ane frie Assemblie; quhilk his Protestatioun he desyrit to be insert in the bookes of the Assemblie.
It being inquirit be the Moderatour, if any man wald adhere to the said Protestatioun: There was none found that wald adhere to the same, nor was of the said Mr John his opinioun thereanent; and therfor the brethren dischargeit the Clerk to insert the same in the books of the Assemblie.
The brethren having red and considerit the paines and travells takin be Mr Patrick Sharp, Principall of the Colledge of Glasgow, and his Lessouns vpon the Catechisine and grounds of religioun, allowis of the same, and thinks them very necessar and profitable; and therfor ordaines them to be printit.
Because the questioun anent summar excommunicatioun, for lake of tyme, cannot be commodiously intreatit at this present, therefor the brethren continewis the same quhill the nixt Assemblie: in the meane tyme suspends all summar excommunicatioun.
Because ther hes bein no ordour sett downe hitherto anent the number of Commissioners [to be] direct from every Presbitrie to be sent to the Generall Assemblie, Therfor it is statute and ordanit, that, in all tyme comeing, thrie of the wysest and the gravest of the brethren salbe direct from every Presbytrie at the most, as Commissioners to every Assemblie; and that none presume to come but commissioun, except they have a speciall complaint; and that the Clark of the Assemblie take heid to receive no more in commissioun bot thrie allanerlie, as said is; and lykewayes that ane be direct from every Presbytrie in name of Barrones, and ane out of every burgh except Edinburgh, quhilk sall have power to direct two Commissioners to the Generall Assemblie.
Anent the supplicatioun given in be the Towne of Dundie, craveing ane vther Minister to be appointit to them in place of William Chrystesone, quho through age is not able to discharge his calling: The brethren thocht their desyre reasonabill; and having appointit on the leits Mrs Johne Hall, Minister at Leith, and Robert Howie, Principall of the New Colledge of Aberdein, be pluralitie of vottis, Mr Robert Howie was chosin to be Minister at Dundie, and ordainit to be transportit with all possible diligence.
Because it was reportit that the Ministrie of Orknay had dilapidat thair benefices be setting of tackis of the rent of the same, to the great hurt and prejudice of the kirks, Therfor it is statute and ordainit, that none of the Ministers of Orknay or Zetland sett any tacks of any part of the fruites of thair benefices, nor ȝet give thair consent to the tackis that salbe sett be vthers, in any tyme comeing, vnder the paine of deprivatioun.
Because it was reportit be certaine of the brethren, that notwithstanding of the actis of the Assemblies proceiding against saillors and traffiquers with Spaine, the said traffique was not intermittit, Therfor the Assemblie ordaines the acts made anent the saids traffickers to be put to farther executioun in all points, but any respect of persons.
The Assemblie hes ordainit the Presbitries of Dundie and Arbroth to summound befor them the Countessis of Huntlie, Sudderland, and Cathnes, to subscryve the Confessioun of Faith, vnder the paine of excommunicatioun; quhilk summounds salbe execute be Mr William Paip, quho sall summound the Ladie Cathnes; Alexander Dowglas, the Ladie Huntlie; and George Monro, [the Ladie] Sudderland.
The brethren ordaines the nixt Generall Assemblie to be haldin at Aberdein, the first Tuesday of July 1599 ȝeirs.
[The following Articles penned, to be advised upon by this Assembly, for timely preventing of abuses and corruptions, [were probably given in to the Assembly in Sessio 2a.,] howbeit they were not much regarded, or taken notice of. They are here inserted as they were found written be Mr John Davidson his own hand.
Certain Articles to be advised upon in this Generall Assembly, given in be a brother, for the timely preventing of abuses and great corruptions that in tyme use to slyde in upon the Kirk, where negligence hes place.
Imprimis, That a common care be had be all the brethren, that the liberty due to all Commissioners in the Generall Assembly, freely to speak, propone and vote, (provyding it be done with order and modesty,) be no wife prejudged by the authority or presence of any brethren, moe or fewer, of what quality soever, but that remain to our posterity sarta tecta (as they say) as from the beginning the custome has been; and if the appearance of the contrary beginne to break out in any, it be gravely and soundly tane up in tyme; and also that things of weight advised upon be the Moderator and his Assessors, be so clearly propounded again in the Assembly, with such indifference, and without all precipitation, in urging of the brethrens voices, before they thoroughly understand the matter, that they may have due tyme to consider of the thing in hand, and to be also well acquainted with the same, before they vote, as the Assessors themselves; yea, and that the Moderator and Assessors be sworne or bound to hide nothing of importance from the knowledge of the Assembly, that by word or writt is proponed to them, concerning the common weale of the Kirk and Ministrie; left otherwise that which was ordained for the ease and benefit of the Assembly, turne to the prejudice and hurt of the liberty thereof, and lay the fundation of an oligarchie.
Next, That the ordinance of the universal visitation of the Presbytries and kirks in all the quarters of this realme, be wakened up again, and put in practise primo quoque tempore, with a supply of such wants as shall be found in the former ordinance, either in places to be visited, or tyme, or persons, visiters, for the need was never greater.
Thirdly, That the chief subject of the tryal be touching the study, faithfulness, gravity and zeal of the Ministers of every Presbytrie ab initio towards the work of the Lord, in edifying Gods people be life and doctrine, and of their increase or decay of the same sincesyne; and that they be censured accordingly.
4ly, That, in the tryal of the life of every Minister, the government of his own person, and of his familie, touching the use of their speach, companie, meat, drink, and apparell, be narrowlie marked; because, in these and the like, they should be examples to the flock; and that the names of the slanderous offenders in these premisses, without exception of persons, be given up to the General Assembly.
5ly, That concerning doctrine, for of readers only, and men unable to teach in some reasonable measure, there is an act made in the General Assembly, holden in the same Town of Dundie 1580, discharging them, as having no lawfull nor ordinary office in the Ministrie, which would be tryed also, how it is keeped: Concerning doctrine then in teaching Ministers, that diligent inquisition be made, what days and hours they preach, how reverently and familiarly they break the Word to the capacity of their people for their true edification, and what account they take of the peoples profiting in knowledge and practice: and for this purpose, that a well conceived act be sett doun be the General Assembly, touching the brydling and leaving this curious kind of preaching, yea rather a certain unprofitable and profane [kenofonia], without the right cutting of the Word, which of a long tyme has been unprofitably used be many, and, be their example, beginneth now to be more excessively used of moe, to the great hinderance of true edification; wherethrough the people universally for the most part within this realme, under a shadow of religion, are intertained in atheism, without all true knowledge and feeling, as woefull experience does plainly prove: For remedy whereof, so far as in us lyeth, let us labour with the Apostle, that making more conscience of preaching, our preaching may stand rather in the evidence of the Spirit, and that the faith of our flockes be not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. And here is not to be ommitted the trial of the execution of the act made in the same Town of Dundie, in July 1580, touching the discharging of Readers, as having no ordinary office in the Kirk: as also, that the forme of catechising commonly used, be more plain and samiliar, according to the manner of that kind of doctrine, as the Word itself doth import.
Sixthly, That this may be the better brought to pass, that it be enjoyned to the Ministry, be an ordinance of this Assembly, publickly and privatly to urge division of great parishes in competent congregations, and that with such orderly and comely manner as may stand with the quietness and goodwill of the people, weighty reasons of their motion being gravely adduced.
7ly, That timely regard be taken in every Presbytrie, of the insolent behaviour of such, as under pretence would go about to deface or diminish the joint authority of the Presbytrie, in matters belonging thereunto, be drawing the sway of matters, after the convoy or authority of some few persons: quhilk corruption, as it is no new thing in the Kirk, so it has been the original of all the antichristian tyrannie that has wracked the liberty of the Kirk from tyme to tyme; and so is the more sharply to be watched on, and snibed in tyme, whersoever, or in whatsomever persons, it beginneth to break out.
8ly, When any publick fasts are appointed, (as presently great need there is, that one be,) that the true cause of our miseries be truely tane up from the ground without respect of persons; and that all preachers being made well acquainted therewith, may labour to feel the weight of them in their own hearts, that they may speak of knowledge and feeling, and not be bare information, considering that the saying is true, si vis me flere, dolendum est primum ipsi tibi: and therefore we read in the 2d of Joel, that the Priests were commanded, in tyme of publick fast, to weep between the porch and the altar, and to say, Spare they people, O Lord &c.; for it appears the Lord will have us in all estates, and specialy of the Ministrie, to come nearer the grounds of our calamity, than we have done yet; that seing the sword, we may blow the trumpet, as becometh for the tymely warning of Gods people, and discharging our own souls in these most perrillous dayes.
Ninthly and last, That as the matter of our stipends and [ta biotika] be not ommitted, but have their place to be treated either first or last in the Assembly, as need shall require; so the care how to warne our Prince and people of the present approaching destruction to him, this Kirk, and coun trie, and how wee may hereafter have better occasion to discharge (every man in his calling) a faithfull duty to Gods people, perishing in this land for lack of true knowledge, may have once the chief roume and place amongst us in our Assemblies, (left wee get other reformers ere it be long;) for haec oportet facere, et illa non ommittere; and seeking the kingdom of God, his righteousness, these things shall be cast unto us.
In love, and submission to be made fruit of, as God shall direct your Wisdoms. Grandis prudentiae eft aurum in luto quærere, quod bonum fuerit retinere. C.]