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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IX. In the General Assembly held at Glasgow, 1638.
Acts. Sess. 12. December fourth.
The Six Late Pretended Assemblies Condemned.
Anent the report of the Committie, for trying the six last pretended Assemblies: They produced in writ sundrie reasons, clearing the unlawfulness and nullitie of these Assemblies: which were confirmed by the registers of the Assembly, the books of Presbyteries, the Kings Majesties own letters, and by the testimonie of divers old reverend Ministers, standing up in the Assembly, and verifying the truth thereof. The Assembly with the universal consent of all, after serious examination of the reasons against every one of these six pretended Assemblies apart, being often urged by the Moderatour, to informe themselves throughly, that without doubting, and with a full perswasion of minde, they might give their voices, declared all these six Assemblies of Linlithgow 1606 and 1608, Glasgow 1610, Aberdeen 1616, St Andrews 1617, Perth 1618. And every one of them to have been from the beginning unfree, unlawfull, and null Assemblies, and never to have had, nor hereafter to have any Ecclesiastical authoritie, and their conclusions to have been, and to bee of no force, vigour, nor efficacie: Prohibited all defence and observance of them, and ordained the reasons of their nullitic to be insert in the books of the Assembly: Whereof the tennour followeth.
Reasons for Annulating the Pretended Assembly, Holden at Linlithgowl 1606.
I. From the indiction of it. It was indicted the third of December, to bee kept the tenth of December. And so there was no time given to the Presbyteries, far distant, neither for election of Commissioners, nor for preparation to those who were to be sent in Commission. The shortnesse of the time of the indiction is proved by the Presbyterie books of Edinburgh, Perth, and Hadingtoun, &c.
II. From the want of a lawfull calling, to these who went to that meeting, seeing they were not at all elected by their Presbyteries, but were injoyned to come by the Kings letters. This also is proved by the forsaids books of the Presbyteries, and by his Majesties letters.
III. From the nature of that meeting, which was only a private meeting, or convention, for consulation to be taken by some persons of sundry estates written for, as the Kings letters and the Presbyterie books do acknowledge.
IIII. From the power of these Ministers who were present Their Presbyteries did limitate them: First, That they should give no suffrages in that meeting as a generall Assembly. Secondly, That they agree to nothing that may any wayes be preju diciall to the acts of the generall Assemblies, or to the established discipline of the Kirk. Thirdly, That they should not agree to resolve or conclude any question, article, or mater whatsoever, the decision whereof is pertinent, and proper to a free generall Assembly. Fourthly, If any thing be concluded contrary thereunto, that they protest against it. These limitations are clear by the Presbyterie books.
V. The acts of this meeting were not insert in the book of Assemblies, as is evident by the registers.
VI. The next pretended Assembly at Linlithgow, 1608, doth acknowledge the Assembly, whereof Master Patrick Galloway was Moderatour, to have been the last immediate Assembly, preceeding itselfe: and that Assembly whereof he was Moderatour, was the Assembly holden at Haly rood-house, 1602. So they did not acknowledge that meeting at Linlithgow, 1606, for any Assembly at all. This is clear by the registers of the Assembly, 1608, in the entrie thereof.
Reasons for Annulling the Pretended Assembly at Linlithgow, 1608.
I. Manie of the voters in that pretended Assembly had no lawfull commission from the Kirk, to wit, 42. Noblemen, officers of state, Counsellours, and Barrons, also the Bishops, contrare to the act of Dundie, 1597. And one of their caveats. The Noble men were as commissioners from the King, the Bishops had no commission at all from the Presbyteries, for every Presbyteries out of which they came, had their full number of Commissioners beside them, as the register of the Assembly beareth
II. In a lawfull Assembly there should be none but Commissioners from Presbyteries, Burghs, and Universities, and but three ministers at most, with one Elder, Commissioners from every Presbyterie, according to the act made at Dundie, 1597. But in that pretended Assembly, there were foure ministers from the severall Presbyteries of Edinburgh, and Cowper, five from the Presbyterie of Arbroth, as the roll of the said pretended Assembly beareth; whereas there were no ruling Elders sent from Presbyteries, according to the book of policie and act of Dundie.
Reasons for Annulling the Pretended Assembly at Glasgow, 1610.
I. The Commission of the pretended Commissioners to that meeting was null. 1. Because the election of them was not free, seeing they were nominate by the Kings Letters, as the Presbyterie books of Edinburgh, Perth, and Hadingtoun declare. And the Bishop of St Andrews in his letter to some Presbyteries, required them to send such Commissioners as the King had nominate: Assuring them, that none other would be accepted. This the Bishops letter registrat in the Presbyterie books of Hadingtoun doth cleare. 2. And whereas there were no ruling Elders sent from the Presbyteries to that pretended Assembly, as the roll of Commissioners sheweth; yet there were more ministers from sundrie severall Presbyteries than three, as five from Brechen, five from Arbroth, five from Kirkcubright, seven from the Presbytery of Argyl, foure from the Presbyterie of Cowper, foure from Linlithgow, four from Pasley, four from Hammiltoun, foure from Durmfries, foure from Dunkell; as the register of that Assembly beareth.
II. There were thirtie voters of Noble men and Barrons, beside the pretended Bishops, who had no commission from any Presbyterie. In the fourth Session of this pretended Assembly it is plainly said, That the Noble men and Barrons came to it by the Kings direction.
III. The voting of the commissioners was not free: for by the Kings letter to the Assembly they were threatened, and it was declared that their consent was not needfull to any act to be made there: The King might do it by his own power, yet they were allured to vote by a promise that their good service in so doing should be remembred and rewarded thereafter.
IV. The principall acts which were made, were set down verbatim in the privie conference, which chiefly consisted of the Kings Commissioners and pretended Bishops, and only read to be ratified in the Assembly.
V. Sundrie ministers then present, do now declare, that they knew the ministers who voted the wrong way, to have received their present reward, and that money was largely dealt unto them.
Reasons for Annulling the Pretended Assembly at Aberdene, 1616.
I. There was no election of a Moderatour: but that place usurped by the pretended Bishop of Saint Andrews, as the Register beareth.
II. The indiction of that pretended Assembly was but twentie dayes before the holding of it: so that the Presbyteries and burghes could not be prepared for sending their commissioners: which caused the absence of many Presbyteries and fourtie foure Burghes.
III. There were twentie five noble-men and gentle-men, voters without commission from the Kirk. Mr William Struthers voted for the Presbyterie of Edinburgh, yet had no commission therefrom: The commission being given by that Presbyterie to other three, as the said commission registrat in the books of the Presbytery beareth. And whereas there should be but one Commissioner from every burgh, except Edinburgh, to the Assembly; at this pretended Assembly, there were two Commissioners from Glasgow, two from Cowper, two from St Andrews: whereas there were no ruling Elders having commission from their Presbyteries at that Assembly.
IIII. When the acts of that pretended Assembly were written, the Bishop of St Andrews with his own hand did interline, adde, change, vitiate, direct to be extracted or not extracted, as he pleased, as the scrolls themselves seen doe show; wherefore the clerk did not registrat the acts of that Assembly in the books of Assemblies, as may be easily seen by the blank in the register left for them remaining unfilled.
The Nullitie Of The Pretended Assembly At Saint Andrews, 1617.
I. There is no mention of it in the register of the Assemblies, and so no warrand for their commissions, their Moderatour or Clerk.
II. The indiction of it was so informall, that as the scroll declareth, a great part of the Commissioners from Synods, Burrows, and gentlemen, would not be present.
III. The Kings Majestie in his letter to Perths Assembly, acknowledgeth it was but a meeting, wherein disgrace was offered to his Majestie.
IIII. The former corruptions of the foure preceeding Assemblies had their confluence in this and the subsequent Assembly.
Reasons For Annulling The Pretended Assembly, Holden At Perth, 1618.
I. The Assembly was indicted but twentie dayes before the holding of it: and all parties requisit received not advertisement, as appeareth by their absence. The untimeous indicting of it, is cleared by the Presbytrie books.
II. There was no election of the Moderatour, as was accustomed to be in lawfull Assemblies; The register cleareth this.
III. No formal election of their new Clerk.
IIII. There were five whole Dyocies absent, viz. Orkney, Cathnes, Rosse, Argyll, and Isles: and many Presbyteries had no Commissioners there, as the register of that pretended Assembly beareth.
V. There were nineteen Noblemen and Barons, eleven Bishops, that had no commission from the Kirk. Whereas the act for constitution of Assemblies, ordaineth every Burgh to have but one Commissioner, except Edinburgh, which may have two, (Act at Dundie, 1597) yet in that pretended Assembly, Perth had three Commissioners, Dundie had two, Glasgow had two, and St Andrews had two: Of the Burghes there were thirtie six absent: And for ruling Elders, there were none at all with commission from their Presbyteries. All these things are cleared by the records of that pretended Assemblie.
VI. The Commissioners from some Presbyteries exceeded their number, prescribed in the act at Dundie, 1597, for the Presbyterie of Arbroath were foure Commissioners, and foure for the Presbyterie of Aughter-ardour: Beside these that were heard to vot, having no commission at all, and some who had commission were rejected, and were not enrolled, but others put in their place without commission.
VII. The pretended Bishops did practise some of the articles to be concluded there, before the pretended Assembly, in Edinburgh, St Andrews, and other cathedrall Churches, by keeping festivall dayes, kneeling at the Communion. Thus their voices were prejudged by the practise of these articles before condemned by the Kirk, and therefore they should have been secluded from voicing.
VIII. In all lawfull Assemblies, the voicing should be free: But in this pretended Assembly there were no free voicing; for the voicers were threatended to voice affirmativé, under no lesse pain nor the wrath of authoritie, imprisonment, banishment, deprivation of ministers, and utter subversion of the state: Yea, it was plainly professed, that neither reasoning, nor the number of voices should carie the matter away: Which is qualified by the declaration of many honest old reverend brethren of the ministry now present.
IX. In all lawfull Assemblies, the grounds of proceeding were, and used to be, the word of God, the confession of Faith, and acts of former generall Assemblies. But in this pretended Assembly, the ground of their proceeding in voicing, was the Kings commandment only: For so the question was stated: Whether the five articles, in respect of his Majesties commandment, should passe in act, or not: as the records of that pretended Assembly beareth. Where it is declared, that for the reverence and respect which they bear unto his Majesties royall commandments, they did agree to the foresaids articles.
X. Many other reasons verifying the nullitie of all these Assemblies, were showen and proven before the Assembly, which needeth not here to be insert.
At Edinburgh x of Julij 1568. In the Generall Assemblie and saxt Session thairof.
The haill Kirk assembled, for eschewing of pleyis among brethren, maist hartilie
requestis my Lordis President of Session, Secretare, Advocat, Clerk of Registre,
Justice Clerk, Lord Provand and Mr Henry Balnavis, or any three of them, to deeyde
the Controversie that apperandlie may be movit betwix the Maisteris of the New
College of Sanctandrois, and Mr Alexander Spens, Minister of Couper, anent thair
pretendit right of the parsonage of Tarvat; and this to be done betwix this day and
xvi of August next, to the effect that my Lord Regents G. may give his Gs presentation to the partye having best right.
J. GRAY, Ser.