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 King offended at the Ministers of Edinburgh for finding fault with the present corruptions, namely, the restoring of Beton, Bishop of Glasgow, the keeping of Christmass, and the idle Munday, sent up Sir Patrick Murrey to Mr Robert Bruce with certain acts of the General Assembly, and to crave his answer in writt, whither he would be judged be them, or not. After advisement, he answered be word, he could not refuse judgement; let the Judge advise be what law he would judge him.
The Commissioners of the General Assembly, with Sir Patrick Murrey, were sent from the King to the four old Ministers of Edinburgh, to crave their subscription to some acts of the General Assembly. Mr James Nicolson shewed them, that his Majestie compted them branglers of his Estate; and that he thought not himself secure, unless they subscribed these acts. Mr John Hall answered, That they had not come within the compass of these acts; that they were content to be tryed, and to be judged be them; but as to the subscriving of them, it was a novelty, and such a preparative as they could not beginne.
The King was not content with this answer, but employed the President and some others of the Counsel to conferre with them; but the conference took no effect, for they said, they never had been in use of injunctions before, and could not beginne them. So they were brought doun upon Munday the eight of January to the King. They desired his Majestie to set doun his proposition in writt, that they might answer it in writt. They took his proposition, and advisied upon it that night.
Mr John Hall was sent with their answer in writt the day following. The King was not satisfied. They were sent for to come doun. They went. The King would have them to subscribe after the affirmative, or the negative. They answered, They were ready to subscribe the negative, if his Majestie would suffer them to add their reason. He would not suffer, but removed them; and moved the Commissioners to certify against them in writt, that they had refused to subscribe either of the parts of the contradiction.
The King accused them before the Secret Counsel. He professed before the Lords, that he dreaded them bodily harme; that they were upon some conspiracy against him, his enemies, men at whose hands he could never look for good, and so desired the Lords to add a certain punishment to the act of the Estates. The Lords voted, that the punishment should be arbitrary, as his Majestie should decerne, according to the quality of the crime. It was ordained, that they should be warned to compear that day 8 days before the Counsel.
They compear. The President and the Lord Fleming were directed from the Counsel to speak with them. They desire them to hear patiently whatsoever his Majestie should speak, and make no answer. They advised among themselves, and made this answer, That if his Majestie touched their Ministrie, it behoved them to stand to the defence of the same; otherways they had the less to speak.
They were called in. The King made a long harrangue; and in end came to this point, that he wold pass from all byganes, so that they would promise there before the Counsel, to obey all his lawes, and lawes of the Assembly; specialy the two acts made at Sanct Johnstoun, one of the Assembly, the other of the Estates; that they should not medle with any of his lawes and proceedings, without privie admonition preceeding, of what sort soever they were: for they had before excepted in their writt matters of religion, wherein Gods honour was impaired, and the estate of the Kirk indangered. They answered with all humility and reverence, It behoved them to be accountable of their actions, and of their Ministry. As to their actions, they were open to the view of the world, so they were well content his Majestie and Counsel should try them, and so deale with them, as they find them merit. And for their affections, how reverent they were toward his Majesties person and high calling, God, who only saw the secrets of hearts, would beart witness one day. As to their Ministry, they were to make accompt to the Lord for it: Always, touching his Majesties desire, they said, they had given their answer already in writt, and with that produced it again. The King said, He would have these two acts obeyed. They answered, They wold be content to be subject to them, that is, to be censured be them accordingly, if they were sound to have transgressed in any sort; but obey the direction of them they could not, but in so far as they agreed with the Word of God. Agree not the acts of the Assembly with the Word of God, sayes the King, that was plain anabaptistry. They answered, Wee speak, Sir, according to our light; and if any man will let us see better out of the Word, we will yield to it. That law shall ye obey, sayes the King. Will ye, Sir, (say they,) save our religion, as we have it already established be our own laws and the Word of God. In other things we shall keep us, be Gods grace, within the compass of the act; but if any thing sall be done (as God sorbid) to the open prejudice of our religion, wherefor serve we, if we sall not shew, that the Word of God plainly damneth it. Will ye suspect me, sayes the King. We suspect an Angel, if an Angel bring an other Gospel, say they. Well, sayes the King, upon your perrill be it: I assure you, ye sall be punished to the example of others; and this he repeated oftner than ten tymes.
After this they desired, that seeing they could not get leave to bruik a good conscience, that it would please his Majestie to give them their dimission, and let them live as subjects in the country. That pertaineth not, said he, to the Counsel; give in your bull to me and my Commissioners.
They desired the interlocutor of the Counsel, what they thought of the matter, and so were removed.
They were called in again. The Chancellor shewed to them, the Counsell would not medle with it. The King began to threaten them in the end, saying, that neither Edinburgh nor Scotland should keep them, if they obeyed not these lawes. They asked the King, what was the paine. The Estates had set doun your paine, sayes the King, according to the fault. If ye speak against me, my Croun or Estate, hanging shall be the pain for the first sault; if otherwise ye speak against fish or flesh, or any inferiour lawes, the paine shall be the sess. In whose hand is this paine, Sir, say they. Whither is it in the Counsels hands, or in your Majesties hands. The King answered, It is in my hands, given to my arbitriment.
After this, in respect they had both the act of the Estates, and the act of the Assembly against them, and in respect the King had intimat to them their punishment, they thought it meet to abstain till they might find a favourable interpretation of the act from the Commissioners, to shew their unity in mind with them.
The Commissioners promised to give them their interpretation, and to avow it before the King. The day was set, and they looked for it; but they disappointed them, and sent them doun to speak with the King, as if the King had been of a good mind toward them.
They went doun, found the King ready to leap on; but got never harder words, and at no tyme ever found him worse minded; never received they so many injunctions at any tyme: and he assured them, goe where they would, they should be forced to keep them, not only in this country, but in the next, if they come there; and sent them to Mr Alexander Hay, to get them from him. They went to Mr Alexander Hay, and conferred with him. He promised to set them doun in writt and send them to them.
Huntlie the Duke and Erroll were come to Edenburgh. This hard dealing with the Ministers of Edinburgh was no doubt to break them before Huntlies coming.
About the tenth of Februar the King bringeth down the Exchecker to his own chamber, and there disponeth a pension, which Mr Robert Bruce had out of the Abbacie of Arbroth, twenty four chalder of victual, or therby; Mr Robert not being cited nor heard, howbeit he had a gift of it for his lyfe tyme, and letters conforme upon his gift. He assisted the Lord Hammiltons tennents against Mr Robert, when they suspended his charge. When that mean served not, he wold medle in the matter of his own interest.
Mr Robert was ready to take up his peeces, (proces ?) if either he would have keeped his pension in his own hand, or bestow it upon kirks, as he pretended: But when the Lords perceived that he gave command to transferr all his right to my Lord Hammilton, to give decreet in his favours, and that there was collusion between them; the Lords advised Mr Robert to proceed in his action.
The King was present when the action was called: and threatned the Lords when he was absent; either he sent for some of them, or sent his ring to others, and all to pervert justice. He was present when it came to voting; and perceiving Mr Robert was like to prevail, he raged, and asked, Who durst be so bold as to vote in that matter in his favours. Four or five of the number rose up, and said, With his Majesties reverence, except he would discharge them be his absolute power, they both durst, and wold doe their office. All voted with Mr Robert, except one, who for fear durst not. After the interlocutor was past in Mr Roberts favours, matters were referred to his probation to please the King.
The probation was delayed till the next Session. His rage continueth. He sends for the Advocats to cause them intend a new action against Mr Robert. When he heard, that the Pryour of Blantyre, Treasurer, sitting among the Lords, had sent out a ticket to Mr Roberts Procurators to come in, and resolve the Lords, whether there was such a clause in his gift, or not, as was alledged: The King cometh to the place of Justice, accuseth the Treasurer. The Lords find no crime in that he did; yet to please the King, they were content, he sould be removed when that action came before them.
The King was not satisfied; but commanded the Treasurer to waird in the Castle of Edinburgh; and after sent some to desire him to give over his office. He refused, unless the King payed him what he was indebted to him. After that he was charged to enter in Inuerness, and could never be at rest till he dimitted his office. These things fell out about the tenth of March.
It was credibly reported to Mr Robert, that the King, among many despitefull speaches uttered to Mr Roberts disgrace, said, Were not for shame, it he had a whinger, he wold cast it at his face. There past not a Saturday for 15 weeks, whereon the King did not send one messenger or other to trouble his meditation.
At last, Mr Robert employed the Queen to procure the Kings favour; and received the Kings answer out of her mouth, in these words, That except he gave him suretie in writt, subscribed with his own hand, that he would at no tyme medle with him, his estate, laws, or proceedings, he could no wayes be content with him: If he would grant his hand writt to that promise, he sould be in als great credit as he ever was, and have all things at command: otherways he could not well suffer him; for he went in between him and his subjects, and stirred their hearts to rebellion against him.
Colonell Murrey made a motion to Mr Robert to goe with him to Flanders, assuring him, that the King would give him letters of recommendation.
Mr David Lindsay, Minister at Leith, advised him to provide for himself: for he saw, it behoved either to be the Kings life, or his, or both; and such other terrifying speeches he had: Mr Robert answered, He was content, providing it were done with consent of the Presbytrie, and his flock. Means were essayed be the Kings instruments to get this done.
When this failed, others were hounded out to terrify him. The Clerk of Register and sundry other Lords of Counsell advertised him, that they were not his friends that stayed him: for say they, Wee have heard the King say, that he hated not Bothwell with a greater hatred, nor he doth you.
Mr John Hall, one of the Ministers of Edinburgh, told him, that the heard some of the Commissioners of the General Assembly say, That he was the only pest and troubler of the whole Kirk of Scotland. The truth is, they would have been rid of him; because, as long as he stood in that place of the Ministry, he wold be a great impediment to their proceedings.
Mr James Robertson and Mr Andrew Lamb, directed from the Synod of Angus about the 29 of Aprile, proponed to King the a motion made in the Synod, to wit, That it would please his Majestie to draw the Ministry together to be reconsiled one with an other; to the end they might be a greater barre against Papists: But the true and secret drift intended was, that, under peace and concord, they might set foreward their own course.
The King answered, He knew none of the Ministrie to be at variance, except one man, who would neither obey God nor man; and if they would suffer him, he sould take order with him, meaning Mr Robert Bruce.
Some of the Commissioners of the General Assembly laboured priviely to draw some of the Ministers of Edinburgh from Mr Robert, as Mr John Hall and Mr James Balfour confessed to him in plain terms before some brethren of the Ministry.
Not long after the King caused lybell a new summonds against Mr Robert, to force him either to suffer the action to goe with him, and so to cutt off his moyand, and disable him to live in Edinburgh; or if he insisted, to put not only himself in danger, but also all his friends that loved him, alse well Advocats, as Lords of the Session.
Upon the 22 of June, the Ministers of Lothian conveened in Edinburgh at the Kings appointment. Mr David Lindsay wold have the Fast indicted be the last Synod, continued till a general Fast, which was to be appointed in July in a Convention of Ministers which was to be held in Sanct Andrews. The Presbytries all agreed to the keeping of the Fast appointed at the last Synod, seeing it was not prejudicial to the other. John Duncanson confessed the King desired not the Fast to be left off, but some causes to be ommitted. Whereupon the causes were read, as they were penned be Mr Robert Pont himself at the Synods command, as followeth.
Finaly, For as much as, after so long offering of the graces of God unto this unthankfull countrey, be the preaching of the Gospel now be the space of 40 years bypast, the Kirk perceives such a coldness and loathing of the truth to be fallen out in all Estates, that none can be excused thereof: The Ministers and Teachers for their parts, for the most part being negligent to discharge their duty, in free rebuking of such enormities as full out in the country; and in so doing, restraining the liberty of the Word, and bringing the blood of souls, that perish through their default, on their own heads: And the people of all Estates from the highest to the lowest, being become loathsome hearers thereof, and not humbling themselves to the obedience and censure of the Word: Whereby it appears, that the Lord our God, in his just judgement, is moved to take away both the liberty of preaching, and to loose the yock of discipline, which, be his great mercy, has been established and continued among us; and to break the hedge thereof, be ap pearand setting up of these things, that plainly have been damned concerning the spiritual government of the Kirk, in times bypast, meaning the Estate of Bishops.
Mr Robert Ponts advice was, that prayer should be made at the Fast for the Convention which was to be holden at Sanct Andrews. Mr John Davidson answered, I pray God disappoint them, that conveen in the name of man, and not in the name of God and his Kirk, but be virtue of that Assembly against which I protested at Dundie.
In their reasoning about the Fast, Mr David Lindsay said, the opposition of Ministers to the King had done much evil. Mr Robert Bruce and Mr Duncanson answered, That not opposition, but yielding had done much evil; neither was opposition a yielding so much to the King, as to some Ministers whom it became to be otherwayes occupyed. Mr John Spotswood, now Bishop of Sanct Andrews, said, Let us not seek worldly ease, with the loss of the liberty of Christs Kingdom. C.]
[In a meeting of the King and Commissioners with sundry brethren, at Sanct Andrews, in the beginning of July, the King and Commissioners obtained a reconciliation and profession of brotherly love; as if the difference had been only in opinion and judgment concerning the acts and conclusions that were already past.
The Conference of Commissioners from Synods was prorogued to November.
At this tyme Montrose was made a Chancellour of the Universitie, Mr George Glaidstanes, Vice Chancellour, and Mr Andro Melvill, Dean of the Facultie of Theologie. C. & Melvills Diary.]
[The King made a new visit of the Universitie, where it was ordained, That there should be yearly, upon the 3 of March, a Dean of Faculty of Theologie elected by the Doctors, the Ministers resident within the City, and the principal Masters of the Colledges; which Dean so chosen, should have the like privilege and jurisdiction upon the Students and Professors of Theologie, that the Deans of Philosophy had by the Foundation over the Professors thereof: with express provision, that he who was elected Dean, should not till after three years space be received again into the office.
Other Conclusions were taken for distributing the Students of Theologie in Classes, and their yearly examination. Spotswood.]
[Mr Robert Bruce and Mr James Balfour seek transportation, but cannot find a sufficient authority at this Convention holden at Sanct Andrews to loose them: Therefore the matter lieth over to the General Assembly. C.]
[The same year did the King publish his Doron Basilicon upon this occasion. Sir James Semple, one of his Majesties servants, (whose hand was used in transcribing that Treatise,) upon an old familiarity with Mr Andrew Melvill, did give it him to read, who offending with some passages that touched the Ministry and present Discipline, took copies thereof, and dispersed the same amongst the Ministers: thereupon a Libel was formed, and cast in before the Synod of Sanct Andrews, wherein the passages at which they excepted being first set down, it was asked, What censure should be inflict upon him that had given such instructions to the Prince, (for that Treatise was directed to Prince Henry,) and if he could be thought well affected to religion, that had delivered such precepts of government. Sir Patrick Murray and Mr James Nicolson being present in the Synod as Commissioners for the King, and apprehending the Libel to concern his Majesty, made diligent enquiry to find out the presenters. The whole number pretending ignorance, the Commissioners commanded the doors to be shut, and the roll of the Ministers names to be called, who being put to their oath one by one did purge themselves; yet was it tried the very next day to be laid on the table by Mr John Dikes, Minister at Anstruther. Spotswood.]
[The Synod judged them treasonable, seditious and wicked; and thinking that such propositions could not be maintained be the King, they sent them to him. The King knowing that none durst exhibit the book itself, sent Mr Francis Bothwell to apprehend Mr John Dykes; but he escaped, and fled as soon as he saw him, and was denounced rebel.
The Conclusions, whereby they got certain knowledge of the Kings determinat mind in matters of the Kirk set doun in that Book as a Testament to his son, were specially these following.
1. The office of a King is a mixed office betwixt the ciuill and ecclesiastik esteat.
2. The rewling of the Kirk weill is na small part of the Kings office.
3. The King sould be Judge if a Minister vag from his text in pulpit.
4. The Ministers sould nocht mell with maters of esteat in pulpit.
5. The Minister, that appealles from the Kings judicator in his deoctrine from pulpit, sould want his head.
6. Na man is mair to be hated of a King nor a proud Puritane.
7. Paritie amangs the Ministers can nocht agrie with a Monarchie.
8. The godlie, lerned, and modest men of the Ministrie, sould be preferred to Bischopries and benefices.
9. Without Bischops, the thrie Esteats in Parliament can nocht be reestablished therefor Bischops mon be, and paritie banished and put away.
10. They that preatches against Bischops, sould be punished with the regour of the law.
11. Puritans ar pests in the Commoun weill and Kirk of Scotland.
12. The Principals of tham ar nocht to be suffered to bruik the land.
13. For a preseruative against ther poisone, ther mon be Bischops.
14. The Ministers sought till establishe a democracie in this land, and to becom Tribuni plebis thamselues, and lead the peiple be the nose, to bear the swy of all the gouernment.
15. The Ministers quarrell was euer against the King, for na vther cause bot because he was a King.
16. Paritie is the mother of confusion, and enemie to vnitie, quhilk is the mother of ordour.
17. The Minister thinks be tyme to draw the policie and ciuill gouernment, be exemple of the eccesiasticall, to the sam paritie.
18. Na conventionnes or meittings of Kirkmen to be suffered bot be the Kings knawlage and permissioun.
In the monethe of November therefter, the King, maid to vnderstand that a Conference amangs the breithring of all sortes wald mak maters to go fordwart peaceablie, and all his purposes to pas easiely at the nixt Generall Assemblie, send his missives athort all the provinces, and convocat the specialles of the Ministerie from all partes to Edinbruche against the 17 of November.
The soum of the quhilk Conference, als faithfullie and neir as Mr James Melvill could collect and remember it immediatlie therefter, he sett down as followes:
The Soum of the Conference keipit at Halirudhouse, the 17 of November 1599.
Because the meittings of the last Generall Assemblie was factius, tumultnus, confuse, haitt, and vnordour lyk; least the lyk sould fall out at the nixt, his Maiestie, withe advys of the Commissioners, thought meit till apoinct this present Conference, and call therevnto of all sortes of the Ministerie, zealus and fyrie, modest and graue, wys and indifferent, wherein maters might be quyetlie and graulie reasonit, and a way prepearit to a decent and peaceable Assemblie, wherein they may be decydit and concludit.
The proposition was: That it was permitted to euerie an ther conveined, friely to reasone and schaw thair mynd bathe vpon things concludit in Assemblies and Conferences before; as also on things to be concludit that war yit in deliberatioun: Provyding alwayes, that na reasone war brought against things concludit in Assemblies, but onlie out of Scripture, quhilk may iustlie be brought and vsed against the constitutionnes of anie Assemblie.
The breithring that stud for the established discipline and disassented from whatsoeuer constitutiones, actes, or ordinances maid in the leat and new form of Assemblies, preiudiciall to sam, answerit, They nather could not wald reasone in these maters, nocht being preparit therfor, nor meining to preiudge the Generall Assemblie following. In the quhilk, efter the instruction of God's Word, and calling for his wisdome, they purposed, be his grace, being called thereto, to speak thair mynd cleirlie and fullie, as God sould furnise abilitie and warrand be his Word and Spreit.
It was answered, That there was na preiudice meinit to the Assemblie, bot onlie a preparatioun for it; and in cais anie having occasioun to speak now, being wryttin for be the King for that effect, and keipe vpe his reasones and mynd to stand in the head of a factioun therewith therefter in the Assemblie, he might be counted a fals knaue.
The breithring being thus vrged, accordit to speak as they could remember presentlie; protesting alwayes the sastie of the cause from hurt, that the Assemblie war nocht preiudgit, and that it might be leisome to tham to help thair present speitches and reasones, and bring out fordar as they might attein vnto, for the weill of the cause at the nixt Assemblie.
Sa the conclusiones of the Assemblie at Dondie was read, bearing, That it was neidfull and expedient that Ministers sould vott in Parliament; and that that office was of a mixed qualitie, partlie ciuill, partlie ecclesiasticall, &c.
In lyk maner, was read the thing done at the Conventioun at Falkland efter the said Assemblie, with the caueattes for keiping of the saids votters in Parliament from all Episcopall corruptioun, &c.
And sa returning to the former conclusion, the cheiff poinct of all, it was proponit to be reasonit vpon first, and the said breithring requyrit what they haid to say against the saming.
The breithring answered: They knew na warrant of the Word of God for sic a conclusioun; desyrit, therfor, they might be instructed of the [same] be Scripture, quhilk giff they could find, they wald willinglie aggrie and stand content; giff nocht, that conclusioun could nocht be maid in fathe, and therfor wrang, and to be reformed in thair iudgment.
Na Scripture was producit, only a reasone buildet vpon this principall: Euangelium non destruit polytiam: Atqui hæc est pars politiæ. Ergo. To the quhilk it was answerit be distinction of polytia in lawfull and vnlawfull; and the lawsulnes therof behouethe to be schawin be the Word of God, els Ethnik, Turkishe, and Jewishe policie might stand withe the Gospell. It was answerit, It was eneuche that the polecie was nocht repugnant to the Word of God, whowbeit the warrand of euerie part of polecie, and Act of Parliament, or ciuill law, war nocht producit; therfor (said they,) schaw yie the affirmatiue, that it is repugnant to the Word, the probatioun whereof now comes vpon yow.
Ther was an vther argument rather meinit nor proponit: Ministers war ciues and libera capita; and therfor, according to polecie, behouethe to giff ther consent to the making of lawes in Parliament.
Answer, Giff a consent be necessar, it is douted: but ceas it be, they consent to the law in Parliament, ather be the Lords or Barones of the schyre whar they war born and remeans, or be the Commissionars of the brouche wherein they war born or dwelles; for, as to their Ministerie, it is na part nor poinct of polecie nor ciuill burgeschipe; or if the mouth of the Lord be to be consulted, the Commissioners, directed from the Generall Assemblie, sould be heard.
It was therfor provin repugnant to the Word of God, and concludit be this syllogisme:
That Ministers sould be inuoluit and intanglit with effears of this lyff, namelie of polecie, ciuill iudicators, effears of commoun weill, is against the express Word of God. But this conclusioun and office therby imposit, will intangle and inuolve tham. Ergo.
The propositioun is proven be the expres Word, 2 Tim. 2. 4. [mideis stratevomenos empleketai tais ton bion pragmaeiasis], what the word [pragmateia] meines properlie effeares of law, iurisdictioun, and rewling of the comoun weill; as I. Cor. 6. [pragma], for a ciuill actioun or cause.
It was answerit, That that place tuk nocht away naturall, oeconomic and polytic dewties, quhilk necessarlie this lyff requyres; and the quhilk man be done, and may be done of euer ilk an, sa that they inuolue nocht thamselues, and intangle therein to the binder of thair calling.
To that it was aggreit, That there was certen dewties and simple actionnes to be dischargit now and then for nature, oeconomie and polecie, be euerie an, and sa be Ministers also for the helpe and nocht binder of thair cheiff and propre callings: Bot ther was a grait difference betwix fie actiones and dewties to be done at certean tymes and occasionnes of vrgent necessities, and the discharging of a sett and ordinar office in a comoun weill, namlie in the twa graittest poincts of the majestie and princelie stat, [nomothetiki] and [dikastiki], that is, the making of lawes in a comoun weill, iudging of the subiects according to the sam in the Parliaments, Counsalls, and Conventionnes of Esteattes of the realme, quhilk could nocht be done without intangling and involuing in effeares, and sa distractioun fra the cheiff charge; as the place itself cleirlie declarit what intangling was, viz. whatsoeuer might hinder the wariour from doing the dewite of a souldart, and pleasing his Captean.
For the quhilk purpose also, the weghtines of the charge of the Ministerie, and graitnes of the cure of saulles, was insisted into; and planlie affirmed they knew neuer, nor felt neuer the weght therof, that thought a ciuill office of government in the comoun weill, might be vndertakin and ioyned therwith. What mirrelie was cast in the speitche of the Quein of Eingland, when sche makes a Bischope: Alas ! for pitie, (says sche,) for we haue marred a guid pretchour to day. And the King exhorted nocht to mar his pretchours sa.
For corroborating and strynthing of the reply, this syllogisme was subioynit:
That Ministers sould be distracted from preatching the Word, is against the Word of God.
But this will distract them. Ergo.
The expres word, Luc. 9. ver. 59, 60, 61, 62, Chryst sayes to an, Follow me; wha answerit, Let me first go burie my father. Chryst answers, Let the dead go burie the dead, and go thow and preatche the Gospell of the Kingdome of God. Another sayes, I will follow thie, but let me first go and tak ordour with my hous. Chryst answers, Na man putting his hand to the pleuche, and luikes bak, is meit for the kingdome of God. Heir ar maist neidfull naturall dewties and oeconomic, quhilk Chryst expreslie forbiddes for steying of the pretching of the Gospell, and attending vpon his ministrie: Whow mikle mair then incompetent offices, quæ sunt Cæsaris et Reipublicæ, as we will schaw heirefter.
The express word is the saxt of the Actes. The twoll Apostles sayes to the rest of the disciples, It is nocht equitable, or to be approued, that we sould leaue the Word of God and serue the tables; therfor, let deacones be chosine and appointed. Giff the Apostles wald nocht leaue the preatching of the Word of God for an ecclesiastic office, because of distractioun; mikle les wald they that Ministers sould leaue thair ministerie of the Word for ciuill and impertinent.
Thirdlie, The Scripture calls the Ministers [aphorismenous], Rom. I. separat and sett apart: And wharfra, Questionles fra the occupationes of this lyff, to saue the peiple and thamselues, and draw tham be the Gospell to the lyff euerlasting, to fishe tham out of the sie of this warld to God and his kingdom of heavin. Sa the haill nature of ther calling is separat and sett apart from the warld, to the quhilk they sould nocht be callit bak again, mikleles therin involued and drownit.
Fourtlie, The Lords ministerie vnder the Law is callit a warfear, Num. 4., and his Ministers wariours; and fa in the place alleagit in the New Testament, the sacrament and aithe wharof is maist streat, and na wayes suffers distractioun. For tham was allotted na inheritance, but haid the Lord for thair inheritance, Deut. 18. 1.; Josu. 13. 14. They say to thair father, I respect him nocht; they ken nocht thair breithring, they acknawlage nocht thair sonnes, but keipes the Lords words, and obserues his covenant; teatches Jacob his iudgments and his law to Israell, settes incense before his face, and burnt offerings on his altar, Deut. 33. Then mikle mair the Ministers of the New Testament, because of a graitter and cleirar grace, spirituall and frie from beggerlie cerimonies and elements of this warld.
And last, To conclud this poinct with that maist wechtie and graue attestatioun of the Apostle to Timothy, 2. 4: I attest thie befor God, and the Lord Jesus Chryst, who sall iudge the quick and the dead at his appeirance and kingdome; Pretche the Word; be instant in tyme, and out of tyme; convict, reproue, exhort with all lang suffring and doctrine. And in the fourt of the first, Tak cear of thir things, be about thir things. And ar thir things spoken to Timothy onlie, and nocht to all Ministers and Pastors. And gif they be spoken to all, what tyme, I pray yow, is left to be imployed at Parliament, and in the effeares of the comoun weill. The deuill is a biffie Bischope, and goes about lyk a roaring lyon; and wha sall giff a compt of the torn schiepe, or stollen in the Pastors absence. And, finalie, that thrifauld demand to Piter, Amas me, and charge, Pasce agnos, &c. perteines it nocht to all.
It was obiected, that we fell in the sam absurditie with the Papists, that gatherit thair Celibatum out of the words of the Apostle, I. C. 7. Coniugatus curat quæ funt mundi, quomodo placeat uxori. And gif ane with a ecclesiastic or pastorall charge may haue the charge of wyff and familie, wharfor nocht of the comoun weill. And the Apostle sayes, That he that ceares nocht for his familie, is wars nor an infidell.
It was answerit, That the Papists argument was friuolous from the abbus of mariage to the taking away of the benefit therof, being apointed be God, and rightlie serving for the helpe of man in his calling; and na thing lyk vnto this, wherin an euident intangling and distractioun may be sein. And to answer for the caring for the hous and tham that ar therin, that is meined for instructioun and rewling therof be Christian discipline, as is euident out of the 3 Chap. ver. 4. be the word [prastinai], he that can nocht rewall and govern his awin hous, whow sall he haue cair epimelisetai of the Kirk of God. For the Apostle is cleir in that poinct, I. Cor. 9. That the flocks sould prouyde for thair Pastors, tham and thair families, the things that ar neidfull for this lyff, as the Captan or Prince for his souldarts, and they maid frie till attend on thair seruice.
It was insisted, that ther was als mikle distractioun and tyme spent in our commissions and visitationnes, in avatting on plattes and pleying of stipends, attending on Parliaments and Conventionnes, &c.
Answerit: That these war the wantes, imperfectiones and corruptiones of our Kirk, as yit nocht weill constitut, wharof the fault is in the Magistrat and flockes, schawin, compleanit vpon, and rebuked at all occasionnes be the Word of God, quhilk hes na place to proue anie thing in this mater, ubi quæritur, Quid fieri debeat, non quid fiat. And as for Commissionars for visitatioun, we ar occupied therin in our awin subiect, in pretching the Word, exerceising discipline, and vsing of censures; and that nocht ordinarlie or be sett office, but ex necessitate ecclesiæ et pro re nata.
It was fordar insisted, that we granted till obey and com to the Kings Maiestie when soever he called for ws, quhilk was all an with that in question.
Answerit: His Maiestie now and then calling for ws, we might repear to his Hienes, and giff our advys in all things de iure diuino, or vtherwayes as ciues, sa that the benefit redounding to the Kirk or Comoun weill therby, preponderat and weyed down the hurt of our particular charge: Bot it was longe aliud to haue an ordinar office to discharge in the Kings Counsall and Parliament; for, as was twitched befor, ther is a grait difference betwix a certean actioun to be done now and then, as necessitie and occasioun craueth, and a sett office to be ordinarlie discharged.
It was obiected, that the Generall Assemblie haid alwayes, from tyme to tyme, cravit this votting in Parliament; and now when the King offers it, it was euill thought of and refusit.
Answerit: The Assemblies haid oftentymes cravit that nan sould vott in Parliament in nam of the Kirk, bot sic as buir office within the sam, and haid commissioun therfra: bot that anie Generall Assemblie, befor the last in Dondie, haid determined that Ministers sould vott in Parliament, it was flatlie denyed. And it was schawin that often tymes that question haid bein agitat in Assemblies and amangs breithring, bot could neuer be fund whow it could stand with the office of a Minister to be a Lord in Parliament, nor was able to be schawin be the Word of God.
It was then demandit, Wha could vott for the Kirk, giff nocht Ministers.
Answerit: It might stand better with the office of an Eldar and Deacon, nor of a Minister, they having commissioun fra the Kirk, and subiect to rander a compt of thair doing at the Generall Assemblies. And that indeid we wald als fean haue the Kirk inioying hir awin priuilages as anie vther, and haue his Maiestie satisfeit, and the effeares of the Comoun weill helped; bot nocht with the hinder, wrak and corruptioun of the spiritual ministerie of Gods worschiping and saluatioun of his peiple.
It was replyit, That it war better for the Ministers to be thair awin caruers, and fie to the weill of the Kirk, bathe in the ordering and prouision therof thamselues, rather nor commit it to vthers, wha wald cear bot sklanderlie for it.
Answerit: That the King and his Nobles gaue the Ministerie credit and onlie place in spirituall maters, so that they wald nocht tak the sacraments, nor vther benefites of the Kirk at thair awin hands, nor of the hands of na vther. They wald nocht think thair bernes weill bapteised, nor the Supper weill ministrat, nor thair mariages blessed bot be sum Minister. And gif his Maiestie gaue ws sic credit, authoritie and place, in things perteining to the faull, and proper to our office, why sould we nocht giff him and his Lords the lyk in things perteining to the body, and this lyff, as proper to tham and thair office; and think it als grait absurditie to mell therwith ourselues, &c.
It was obiected, That the Kirk was in possessioun of voting in Parliament be Bischopes, viz. Mr Johne Dowglas, Patrick Adamsone, Dauid Cuningham, and vthers.
Answer: Sen the Generall Assemblie haldin at Dondie, ann. 1580, whar that office of a Bischope was declarit vnlawfull be the Word of God, the Kirk cryed out continualie against tham, and excepted against all thair doings in Parliament or els whar, as hauing na lawfull office in the Kirk, nor na commissioun fra the saming.
Therefter place being given, ther was producit ane vther argument to schaw the conclusion repugnant to the Word of God.
That Ministers sould bear supremacie, dominioun, and be called Lords, is against the Word of God.
But the conclusioun imports that. Ergo.
The propositioun is cleir out of the thrie Evangelists, Math. 20, Marc 10, Luc. 22, and 1. Peter, 5, 3.; and, Nolite vocari Rabbi, etc. This reasone was nocht insisted into, nor answerit for want of tyme. Sykas also ane vther in the sam maner:
The confounding and mingling of Jurisdictions distinguist in the Word of God, is repugnant thervnto.
But the conclusioun imports that. Ergo.
The propositioun is euident of the 2 Chron. 19.; and, Quis constituit me Judicem; and, Date quae funt Caefaris Caefari, et quae Dei Deo. etc. Chryst refused to deuyd the inheritance amangs brethring, to iudge the adulteres, John 8. He refused to be maid a King, and professed that his kingdome was nocht of this warld.
Heir was declarit at lainthe and verie weghtelie be Mr Andro Melvill, be what meanes and degries the Pape was hoised vpe into that chaire of pestilence, wherout of he tyrannises over all Kirks and Comoun weills, tramping Kings vnder his feit, and transferring thair crownes and dominiones at his pleasur; and all from this vsurping of bathe the powars and swords, the ciuill and ecclesiastic.
In end a siccer caveat was given to the King, to be war he sett nocht vpe sic as sould cast him or his down.
And this mikle anent the conclusioun of the last Generall Assemblie, as memorie might serue.
Therefter was proponit the twa poincts left be said Assemblie to the meitting at Falkland, and ther also left vndecydit or determined vpon.
1. Gif these votters in Parliament, being annes chosin be his Maiestie and the Kirk, sould bear that office ad vitam or culpam, and fa be perpetuall; or gif they sould be alterable fra tyme to tyme at the Assemblies pleasour.
2. Gif they sould bear the nam of Bischopes or nocht.
Against the perpetuitie, The distractioun fra thair spirituall office of the ministerie was mikle vrgit againe, schawing cleirlie that sic a continuall charge and burding lying on a few, could nocht bot debaush and distract tham alluterlie from the pastorall attending and feidding of thair flockes; the quhilks they behoued to commit to sum Vicares and sum suffraganes.
For the perpetuitie, Thir arguments war vsit:
First, That ther wald na man tak the peanes and mak the expenses vpon the tytle of the benefice, to giff it over the nixt yeir to an vther.
It was answerit, That we war nocht vpon mans particular commoditie, bot seing what might be for the helpe and guid of the Kirk and Comoun weill; to the quhilk sic wald neuer do guid, wha war seiking thair awin honour and welthe.
Nixt it was reasonit, That the hinder of all comoun turnes was be twa inleakes chiefflie; ane of skill and vnderstanding of maters, and right way of proceiding therin; ane vther of continuance and attendance constantlie on tham being annes begoun, till they war brought to sum guid poinct and effect: Bot sa it was, that gif these comoun men sould be changable, they could nather lern skill, nor prosecut things. Ergo.
Answer. They might gett mair skill of the wit and lawes of men, and les of the wesdome and buik of God; mak mair attendance on Court and the Warld, bot les on Chryst and his Kingdome. And it was hard to perswad ws, that a few wald sie sa mikle for the weill of the Kirk as a haill Generall Assemblie conveinit for that effect, or follow out a guid comoun cause better and mair constantlie; seing experience alwayes teatched, that they wha wilbe ritche and honourable, are mikle about the saming, and verie litle for Chryst.
At last, Thir reasones and inconvenients war brought out, dilated, and insisted into, against perpetuitie:
First, It wald brak the barres of all thair caveattes, and, but dout, establishe lordschipe over the breithring, tyme strynthning opinioun, and custome confirming conceat. And gif the best deuyce hes be tyme turned to corruptioun, mikle mair this, of the lawfulnes wharof we iustlie dout.
To this was answerit, That partie amangs Ministers was nocht to be lyk, and wald nocht be. And put the cais, it behoued to stand, because of our constitutiones and ordour; they sould be pares and alyk as Ministers, whowbeit, in respect of thair ciuill office and Lordschipe, they war abon the rest.
Nixt, Perpetuitie wald bereaue and defraud the Kirk of the benefit and libertie of electioun and choise of the meittest for the turn pro rei natæ commodo; for it is sure that all men ar nocht meittest for all turnes, etc.
Answerit: The meittest sould be chosin at the beginning, who wald grow ay meittar and meittar: also that it was frie to the Kirk till adioyne sic as they pleasit to tham for counsall and assistance.
It was replyit, That sic as was adioyned wald nocht be hard to reasone nor vott in Parliament, Conventiones and Counsall.
Thirdlie, Manie alterationnes befalls to mortall men: They may be seik in body, fall in offences, quhilks albeit nocht mak them worthie to be deposit, (nam difficilius ejicitur quam non admittitur hospes,) yit may disgrace them sa, that they becom vnable and vnmeit to do anie guid in comoun turnes; they may tyne the gifts of mynd and vtterance, etc. In sic ceasses this perpetuitie will defraude the Kirk of an in that roum; for sic a man, an or ma, can nocht, nor will nocht, be deposit, and a Commissionar in his place will nocht be admitted.
It was answerit, The number of Ministers admitted and ordeined to vott, viz. fistie, was sa greitt, that, whowbeit an, twa, thrie, four, or ten, or twoll, war away, ther might be a new behind.
Replayed: It wald be lang or sic a number war weill sett down and prouydit with guid Lords leivings in Scotland; and when they war, ther might be a new, and mair nor a new, behind of the guidnes they wald be of; bot an guid man might be mair stedable to the Kirk nor an and fistie of that sort.
Fourtlie, Gif these men serue for the Prince and Steat, whowbeit against the weill of the Kirk, the Prince will meantein than, ather be his authoritie and moyen amangs the breithring in Assemblies, having thair lyff and gear in his powar, sa that they will nocht fear depositioun; or whowbeit the Assemblie wald depose tham of the Ministerie, yit wald the King cause tham keipe thair Lordschipe and leiving: and sa sould they sett thamselues to be advengit on the Kirk to hir wark.
Answerit: Ther was na thing sa guid bot might be bathe ill suspected and abusit, and sa we sould be content with na thing.
Replayed: That we doutted of the guidnes, and had over iust cause to suspect the euill of it.
Duplyit: That ther was na sault bot we war all trew aneuche to the craft: Bot God mak ws all trew aneuche to Chryst, say we.
Fystlie and last, This perpetuitie will overthrew the power and libertie of the Assemblies of the Kirk, and altar the Christian government of the Kirk to Antichristian hierarchie, placing perpetuall Commissionars or Bischopes aboue Ministers and thair Assemblies; and syne sum Ministeriall head mon be abon tham, the hie way to Paprie. At least the haill powar of the Kirk and Generall Assemblie salbe in the hands of these twoll or threttein, wha, I warrand yow, will tak na limitat Commissioun from the Generall Kirk, bot to reasone and vott as they think best for the weill of the Kirk forsuthe; sa this Epitome will abolishe the grait wark, and the Generall Assemblie will becom to be bot a Chaptour of these Bischopes, and skarslie that.
Answer: These Caveattes hes prouydit for all these inconvenients weill aneuche.
Reply: These commentares will be tedius to reid, and ill to rember; and the text taken to be schort and cleir aneuche in the selff.
In end, Ther was alleadgit a number of inconvenients that sould fall out, giff these vottars war nocht perpetuall:
1. That his Maiestie and Esteattes wald nocht admit tham in Parliament vtherwayes, and sa we sould lose the grait benefit.
Answer: Facilis iactura.
2. That the Ministers sould ly in contempt and povertie.
Answer: It was thair Masters cais befor tham; it may serue tham weill aneuche to be as he was; and better povertie with sinceritie, nor promotioun withe corruptioun.
3. That vthers wald be promouit to that roum in Parliament, (for his Maiestie could nocht want his thrie Esteattes,) wha wald oppres and wrak the Kirk.
Answer: Let Chryst, the King and advengar of the wrangs done to his Kirk, and tham dell togidder, as he hes done befor; let sie wha getts the warst.
4. That it could nather stand for the weilfear of King, nor Kirk, nor comoun weill.
Answer: It was best that God thought best.
5. That it wald be fashius and confuse ilka yeir to chuse Commissionars.
Answer: Na profit nor pleasure without pean taken; and experience haid proven it maist easie and ordourlie.
6. That it wald breid variance and contentioun, whill a end wald preas to haue sic, and another fic, and sa forthe.
Answer: Tak away profit and honour, and contentioun will ceas.
7. Men wald be that way disgraced, now sett vpe, and now sett by and cast down, and sa discuragit from doing guid.
Answer: He that thinks it disgrace to be employed as Gods Kirk thinks guid, hes lytle grace in him; for grace is given to the lawlie.
Thus after a thrie or four houres dealling in the formar heades, it was thought insisted lang aneuche theron; and therfor the poinct remeaning concerning the nam that these vottars in Parliament sould bear, was proponit to be reasoned vpon.
It was reasoned for the affirmative: That aggreing vpon the mater and substance, it maid nocht what nam war giffen it. And seing the Parliament at last haid granted to the mater, vnder conditioun the Ministers votting in Parliament sould bear the name and office of Bischopes, quhilk was also a name of Scripture, we sould nocht stand till agrie therto, left the refusing of the name sould mak the benefit to be refused, quhilk his Majestie haid gottin past in favours of the Kirk with grait peanes and difficultie.
It was answerit: That the nam [episkopos] being a Scripture nam, might be giffen tham, prouyding, that because ther was sum thing mair put to the mater of a Bischopes office then the Word of God could permit, it sould haue a lytle eik put to the nam, quhilk the Word of God ioyned to it, and sa it war best to baptise tham with the nam that Piter, I. Chap. 4, giffes to sic lyk officers, calling tham allotrioepiskopous war nocht they wald think scham to be merschallit with sic as Piter speakes of ther, viz. murderars, theiffs and malfactors. And verelie that gossope [Mr Andro Melvill] at the baptisme (giff sa I dar play with that word) was na litle vokie for getting of the berns name.
But in ernest it was reasonit on the contrar, That the nam of Bischope could nocht be giffen tham for these reasones, the quhilk war nocht fullie handlit, nor replyed vnto, partlie for want of tyme, and partlie for want of patience, because of litle speid in the purpose.
1. Giff they sould gett the nam of Bischope, they behoued to haue it, ather as it was taken properlie in the Word, or as it was comounlie conceauit be the peiple. Bot nather of the twa could thay: Nocht as in the Word, because it sould be applyed to signifie that quhilk could nocht stand with the Word, as hes bein declarit, except it war Judas Episcopatus: And nocht as it is comounlie taken, because then it sould import the corruptioun of Antichristian and Anglican Bischopes, contrar to the caueats.
2. That quhilk offendes the Kirk of God sould be eschewit, altho a thing indifferent, for sa it becomes euill. Bot this nam of Bischope offendes the Kirk of God in this land. Ergo.
3. That quhilk instlie may sklander the Ministers and bring tham in disgrace, sould be avoidit; bot giffing to tham of that name will instlie sklander tham, because these twentie yeirs thair doctrin from the pulpit hes soundit against Bischopes, till they war vtterlie overthrawin: And now sa soone to turn our toung for hope of ritches and promotioun, and change our note, with the clok on the vther schoulder, will it nocht offer iust occasioun of sklander.
4. That quhilk may and will bring in tyranie and corruptioun in the
Kirk, is nocht to be admitted within the sam. Bot this will do it; for
bearing that nam, that caries with it the significatioun of Bischopes corruptiones amangs the peiple, all the Caveattes will nocht keip it therfra, namlie from inequalitie, preeminence, and lordschipe over the breithring. For
they wilbe sa esteimed and saluted amangs the rest of the Lords in Parliament and Court; and I warrand yow thair maners and faciones will easlie fram thervnto, bringing from Court to Kirk sic behaviour as they drink
in ther; for being callit Lord at ilk a word, and brucking principall roumes
in Court and Parliament, they will luik verie soure gif they want the sam
in Kirk and amangs the breithring and peiple; yea and be siccar in thair
evin at plat, Court, and vtherwayes, whom they think to contemne tham,
and nocht giff tham thair stylles and honors.
And sa for that night leat we war dimissit.
Vpon the xix of Nouember, the breithring wryttin for being assemblet again with his Maiestie, the Moderator reported schortlie the things conferrit vpon the last day, requyring yit, that gif ther was anie man wha was nocht satisfeit anent the heads conferrit vpon, that they wald yit insist; and gif all war satisfeit, they sould proceid to the poinct remeaning anent the nam.
It was answerit planlie be the brethring that stud against this new forging of Bischopries, that they haid hard to and fra reasoning vpon the poincts proponit; they war throuche and satisfeit in thair awin iudgments for the treuthe, and rather confirmed fordar therinto nor anie wayes moued to the contra, for ought that haid bein spokan; wherin they haid hard na thing out of the Word of God, quhilk might warrand that conclusion of the last Assemblie to thair conscience, or anie thing yit buildit, or to be buildet thervpon. And in speciall Mr Andro Melvill appealit the Moderator, Mr Dauid Lindsay, maist weghtelie and vehementlie on his conscience, that seing he was an of the antient fathers of the Kirk, wha was present at sa manie godlie and graue Assemblies, hauldin sa manie tymes anent these matters, and wharin they war cleirlie decydit be the Word of God, whow could he now mak sic a propositioun, or think that anie sattlit man in the treuthe, could, be a light conference, (inference ?) wherin the Word of God had bein rather profaned then holelie, reuerentlie and grauely vsit, be moued to alter his iudgment, and be satisfeit in the contrair.
The word of the profaning of the Scriptures was takin in verie euill part be the King, and answerit courteouslie with, A lie; whowbeit the speaker condemnit himselff for vndewtifull handling of the Word, als weill as anie vther. Sa the King in end brak af the conference thus in effect: That he haid bein mouit be the Commissionars to appoinct this conference, for satisfactioun of sic as war nocht resoluit, that maters might proceid mair paceablie and vniformalie; bot seing he perceavit men to be sa full of thair awin conceattes, and preoccupied in iudgment, that they plased thamselues mair and mair, and war rather confirmed in thair opiniones, nor moued to giff place to reasone, he wald leaue the mater to the Assemblie. Giff the Assembly wald receaue the benefit quhilk he offered, and conclud in the mater accordinglie, he wald ratefie thair conclusioun with a sanctioun ciuill of his law, that nan following thair particular and privat conceatt and opinioun, sould be permitted to speak against the publict ordinance of the Assemblie. Gif the Assemblie wald nocht embrace the benefit, let them wyt themselues, giff graitter povertie and contempt cam vpon the Kirk. As for him, he could nocht want an of his Esteates; he wald put in that roum, and these offices, sic as he thought guid, wha wold accept therof, and do thair dewtie to him and his countrey. C. & Melvill's Diary.]
[The opinion of [a brother,] a faithfull wellwiller to the Kirk of Scotland, touching their demand of having vote in Parliament, and the Kings assent thereunto, upon these conditions: 1. That such as are to have vote, shall be nominat be his Majestie. 2. That they should be esteemed as Lord Bishops. 3. That they should continue during life.
1. Concerning the demand, I marvell, that the Kirk should be earnest for such a thing, seeing the Common weale or Parliament requires not the like in the Generall Assembly, so far as I understand: if then the Church has governed hitherto, without prejudice to the Common wealth, why may they not hope, that the same God, who has defended the Kirk so long, and in so troublous tymes, can still defend the same without such votes in Parliament.
2. If Christ our Lord and Master did so earnestly refuse to be a Judge betwixt two brethren, are not we to take heed how we seem over earnest to be made Judges contrair to his example.
3. Wherein it is to be considered, that the petitioner urged Christ to judge, as it were ex officio: and therefore it may be thought, that Christ was so much the more zealous in denying the same. Doe not the Kings conditions argue the same. And should not the Church do well to consider Christs example.
4. I grant, that the King, upon extraordinary occasions, (such as the Parliaments,) may have (as Kings of Judah before him) certain of the Clergie to joyn with him in Councill: but to avoid the danger of erecting of a new office in the Kirk of God, without warrant from God, I could wish, that the same men should not be at every Parliament.
5. But truely I utterly mislyke, that any professing sincerity sould, for policies sake, and for pretended good to the Kirk, accept of votes in Parliament, (not properly pertaining to their function,) upon conditions that would be given to that calling, which heretofore they have banished as Antichristian.
6. In which their policie (in so far as I can discerne) they are twice deceived: for neither will it prove so beneficial to the Kirk, as they imagine; neither (if it so prove for a tyme) ought they to take such a course.
7. Concerning the former, it is to be remembred, that Christ faith, Every plant, that my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted out. If God hath not planted Lord Bishops, and if that sentence stand true, what fruit can the Church of God expect from such roots as vpon due consideration they have formerly supplanted.
8. Can the ketle and the earthen pot, the Ark and Dagon, Christ and Belial, Discipline and a Lordlie Ministrie, continue long together without ruine to the one. Suith, The strength of Israel (from whom all stablility proceedes) cannot abide an ox and an ass to plewgh together.
9. Howsoever Dagon received hurt, and not the ark, which the Philistins brought into his temple, to be, as it were, disgraced be their Dagon: yet if the Israelites should, in the vanity of their minds, set Dagon with religious respect by the ark of God, I doubt not, but that the Holy One of Israel, not allowing the altar of Damascus to stand by the altar of God, would so punish the tempting of his Majestie, that not Dagon, but the glory of Israel should have been diminished, if not utterly taken from them.
10. In ancient tymes, the Church imagining that their Ministers were more contemptible, because they were not lyke to the Flamines, and Archflamines among the Gentiles, did advance, first, Lord Bishops; then, Archbishops; and, at last, (for all the inventions of men have their curse in the end,) Antichrist got him up upon their shoulders.
11. It is to be remembred, and applyed, that God, in his wrath, gave Saul, that hypocrite and tyrant, to Israel, who would needs have a King, after the manner of other nations; notwithstanding civil callings (not ecclesiastical) be arbitrable; and they were occasioned to desire a change, be reason of the bad government of Samuels children.
12. Gregory the first permitted images in Churches only, to be laick mens books; notwithstanding there were living teachers beside: But in tyme these images were adored; whereas sincere teaching was utterly abandoned.
13. Lastly, I have heard it to be the saying of that worthy and godly man, Mr Knox, that except the tree be cutt doun bough and branch, the crow will have a nest again.
14. But let it be supposed, that this Babyl, or confounding of a Lordly Ministry with discipline, may prove beneficial to the Kirk; yet if this rule be insallible, we must not doe evil, that good may come of it. I conclude with this question, Will ye make a lye for God, as one lieth for a man.
15. That a Lordly Ministry is a lye, being a mere invention of a man, who is a lier, I need not to prove; seeing hitherto it has been so reputed: and that it is evil to erect such a Ministry so long abhorred in Scotland; since it may be partly gathered from that which is a fore said.
16. I, at this tyme, only touch thir few things to be considered: 1. Formalists in England shall have matter of rejoycing. 2. Affliction shall be added to the bands of them that suffer for sincerity. 3. The weak shall be offended in their judgement as touching discipline. 4. Scotland shall be traduced, as unconstant even in Church government. And 5. The Ministers shall be subject to this cenesure, Are ye so foolish, that after ye have begun in the Spirit, ye would be made perfect be the flesh. If therefore ye build again the things that ye have destroyed, ye make yourselves trespassers.
17. In consideration of the Premisses, I beseek yow, brethren, to mark them diligently, that cause division, and offences contrair to the doctrine, which they have learned: for they that are such serve not the Lord Jesus, but their oun bellies; and, with fair speeches and flatterie, deceive the hearts of the simple.
Some English Comedians came to this countrey in the month of October. After they had acted sundry Comedies in presence of the King, they pur chased at last a warrant or precept of the Bailies of Edinburgh, to get them an house within the Toun.
Upon Munday the 12 of November, they gave warning be trumpets and drums, through the streets of Edinburgh, to all that pleased to come to Blackfriers Wynd to see the acting of their Comedies.
The Ministers of Edinburgh fearing the prosanity that was to ensue, specially the prosanation of the Sabbath day, convocated their four Sessions of the Kirk. An act was made be common consent, that none should resort to there prosane Comedies, for eschewing offence of God, and for evil example to others: and an ordinance was made, that every Minister should intimat this act in their own several pulpits. They had indeed committed several abuses, specialy upon the Sabbath at night before.
The King taketh the act in ill part, as if made purposely to cross his warrant, and caused summon the Ministers and four Sessions super inquirendis before the Secret Counsell.
They sent doun some in Commission to the King, and desired the matter might be tryed privatly, and offered, if they had offended, to repair the offence at his own fight; and alledged, they had the warrant of the Synod presently sitting in the Town.
The King would have the matter to come in publick. When they went doun, none was called on, but Mr Peter Hewat and Mr Henrie Nosbet. After that they were heard, the sentence was given out against all the rest unheard; and charge given to the Ministers and four Sessions to conveen within three hours after, and to rescind their former ordinance; and to the Ministers to intimate the contrair of that which they had intimated before. They craved to be heard. Loath was the King, yet the Council moved him to hear them.
Mr John Hall was appointed to be their mouth. Wee are summoned, Sir, said Mr John, and craue to understand, to what end. Its true, said the King, ye ar summoned, and I have decerned already. Mr John made no reply. Mr Robert Bruce said, If it might stand with your pleasure, wee would know, wherefore this hard sentence is past against us. For contraveening of my warrant, said the King. Wee haue fulfilled your warrant, said Mr Robert, for your warrant craved no more but an house to them, which they have gotten. To what end, I pray you, sought I an house, said the King, but only that the people might resort to their Comedies. Your warrant bears not that end, said Mr Robert, and we have good reason to stay them from their playes evin be your own acts of Parliament. The King answered, Ye are not the interpreters of my lawes. And farther, the warrant was intimat but to one or two, said Mr Robert, and therefore desired the King to retract the sentence. The King wold answer nothing. At the least then, said Mr Robert, let the paine strike upon us, and exeem our people. The King bade him make away. So in departing, Mr Robert turned and said, Sir, please you, nixt the regard wee owe to God, wee had a reverent respect to your Majesties royal person, and person of your Queen; for wee heard, that the Comedians in their playes, checked your royal person with secret and indirect taunts and checks; and there is not a man of honour in England wold give such sellows so much as their countenance. So they departed.
They were charged at two hours, be found of trumpet, the next day following, at the publick Cross, about ten hours to conveen themselves, and rescind the act, or else of pass to the horn immediately after.
The four Sessions conveen in the East Kirk. They asked the Ministers advice. The Ministeres willed them to advise with some Advocats, seeing the matter touched their estate so near. Mr William Oliphant and Mr John Sharp, Advocats, came to the four Sessions. The charge was read. The Advocats gave them counsel to rescind the act, be reasone the Kings charge did not allow slanderous and undecent Comedies; and further shewed them, that the Sessions could do nothing without their Ministers, seeing they were charged as well as the Sessions, and the matter could not pass in voting, but the Moderator and they being present. They were called in, and after reasoning they come to voting. Mr Robert Bruce being first asked at, answered, His Majestie is not minded to allow any slanderous and offensive Comedies; but so it is, that their Comedies are slanderous and offensive: Therefore the King in effect ratifieth our acts. The rest of the Ministers voted after the same manner. The Elders, partly for fear of their estates, partly upon information of the Advocats, voted to the rescinding of the act. It was voted next, Whither the Ministers should intimat the rescinding of the act. The most part voted, They should. The Ministers assured them, they would not.
Henrie Nisbet, Archibald Johnstoun, Alexander Lindsay and some others, took upon them to purchase an exemption to the Ministers. They returned with this answer, That his Majestie was content that the matter sould be past over lightly; but he would have some mention made of the annulling of the act. They refuse.
Their Commissioners went the second tyme to the King, and returned with this answer, Let them neither speak good nor evil in that matter, but leave it as dead.
The Ministers conveened apart to consult. Mr Robert Bruce said, It behoved them either to justify the thing they had done, or else they could not goe to a pulpit. Some others said the lyke. Others said, Leave it to God to doe as God sall direct their hearts. So theyd eparted.
Mr Robert and others that were of his mind justified it the day following in some smal measure, and yet were not quarrelled.
Mr Arthur Futhie, Mr Andrew Lamb now Bishop of Galloway, Mr Patrick Lindsay now Bishop of Rosse, and some others, made a new motion to the King to put at Mr Robert for his pension, and are instant with the King to cause call the action, while Mr Robert was absent at his mothers buriall. Some courteours directed from the King to the Lords of the Session threatned, the King would change them, if they voted as they did before. The lyke they said to Mr Roberts Advocats.
As soon as Mr Robert returned, he goes doun to the King, and asketh how this matter was wakned again, seeing he had obtained his Majesties favour, and was under so good termes with his Majestie. The King answered, I made a promise to these men the last year, when ye oppugned my lawes. But your Majestie has been well satisfied with me sincesyne, said Mr Robert. I have your Majesties anterior promise; I have your Majesties grant written with your own hand, that I deserved it, suppose it had been the quarter of your kingdome; which writers I shall keep as monuments to posterity, as your Majestie also bade me. The King becomes more calme, and sayes, Save my honour, Mr Robert, and I sall not hurt you. What way, said Mr Robert, sall I save your Majesties honour. Ye sall come up the morne, said the King, and submitt that matter to my will, and say, looke how freely I give that gift, ye will render it as freely. Pardon me, Sir, said Mr Robert, I will not benefit my enemy, nor give over my right in the favour of any subject; but if your Majestie will have it to your own use, and think it meet, that I, in presence of the Lords, deliver it freely to your Majesties own hands, I will doe it most heartily, provyding your Majestie gratifie not my competitors, and bereave me not of my right for the pleasure of any other subject. The King promised in presence of Sir George Elphinston, it should be so.
The day following, the King comes up to the Tolbook, and causes call the action before Mr Robert was aware. As soon as he understood of it, he went up, and spake in audience of the Lords, as after followeth. If his Majesties officer would be contradictorie to me in this cause, I would willingly yield to his Majestie; I had my gift of his Majesties free liberality; if his Majestie think that gift meet for his own use, look how freely his Majestie gave it me, I will also freely render it again. But as for my Lord Hamilton, or any other neighbour man of the Ministrie, I am no wise oblidged to them; so I look his Majestie will suffer me to enjoy my right against them. The King willed him to referre to his courtesie. Mr Robert referred that much to his courtesy, either to take it to himself, or suffer him to enjoy. The King appeared to be well pleased and satisfied.
Mr Arthur Futhie sent the Reader, Mr John Young, to quarrell Mr Robert for some speeches uttered against him, (as he alledged) before the Lords; and he sent again, and quarrelled him for the speeches uttered to the first messenger Mr John Young: but finding vantage in neither, he sought conference of Mr Robert, which was granted. He and Mr Andrew Lamb laid some things to Mr Roberts charge, which he refuted clearly, and told them plainly, that they, and their complices the Commissioners of the General Assembly, had sought his Ministrie directly, and his life indirectly; that now they had hounded out and debushed men to seek his stipend be calumnies; that he took them only to be organs, and the Commissioners to be players on them: Therefore he could not agree with them till he saw them commend their Ministry be a good life, and take up a better course. If they do so, they shall find he should soon forget his particular. Mr Andrew Lamb was wonderfully dashed with these speaches.
Within fourteen days after, that is about the end of December, Mr Robert complaineth to the Presbytrie of the injuries done to him, namely, that notwithstanding he had as good a right, and as sure to his gift, as to proper heritage, two decreets upon his right, and given in his bill sundry tymes to the Chancellour for justice, he could not get the benefit of the law. The Chancellour assured him, that the King had given him express countermand out of his own mouth.
Next, That he could not get the acts of the Assembly keeped to him, for the Assembly holden at Montross anno 1595, appointed every Minister to submitt their stipends to the modification of certain Commissioners, named by the Assembly; at which tyme the whole Assembly was deeply sworn, by holding up of their hands, to stand to their decision. He submitted himself. They took off his stipend what they pleased, and assigned the rest to him for his life tyme, subscribed his assignation, and promised to cause the fifty Presbyteries, and every particular Minister to ratifie the same: yet notwithstanding of their own ordinance, some of them sitting in the platt suffered it to be assigned to the Minister of Arbrothe, looking through their own fingers.
Thirdly, Notwithstanding to pleasure his Majestie, he had submitted his right upon many fair promisses, which his Majesty had made him; yet when it came to the giving out of the submission, his Majestie would not suffer the Clerk, Mr Alexander Gibson, to give it out, as it was conceived in deed; but sent up Mr John Young his Reader and Sir Patrick Murrey to threaten him with hanging, if he gave it not out, as his Majestie directed him. He gives out an extract to Mr Arthur Futhie simpliciter in as large a forme as he could 14 days before it came to Mr Roberts knowledge, alledging no other cause, but that the King had threatened him out of his oun mouth.
Fourthly, That notwithstanding of all this distress, none of the Presbyterie tooke notice of it, except only Mr Walter, who was found fault with by the King, for accompanying him doun to the Abbay, but had now gotten two chalders of victual and eight bolls more than he had, in hope that he would desert him.
Fifty, That the Commissioners refused reconsiliation with him, when it was urged be one of their own number, Mr Alexander Lindsay, when he was last at Sanct Andrews, that Mr Patrick Galloway alledged that Mr Robert said, he regarded neither his good nor his ill; but he should let him know, what his good and his evil might doe him. Mr Patrick being present answered not a word.
And last, He complained, that neither Mr Patrick, nor any of the Commissioners haunted the Presbytrie, but did what they lyked.
Mention has been made of Mr Robert Bruce his submission to the King touching his pension out of the Abbacy of Arbrothe. The King breaketh the gift beside his promise, annulles the decreets Mr Robert had gotten, passeth by the assignation of the General Assembly, alters the quality of the victual, diminisheth the quantity, gives him only eight chalders victual, whereof three were meale, and gives him no suretie, but during his pleasure. Whereupon Mr Robert, upon the 18 of Januar, went doun to the Palace to restore to the King his gift in his own hand, but could get no access. The King desired, that the Laird of Kincavell his brother might be sent to him, to whom he should declare his will. Mr Robert discharged his brother to take that burthen upon him.
The ordinary General Assembly was appointed at the last Assembly to be held at Aberdeen the first Tuesday of July 1599. But by the Kings Proclamations both the tyme and place was changed, and now appointed to be holden at Montrosse in March. C.]