Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842. Originally published by Edinburgh Printing & Publishing Co, Edinburgh, 1843.
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In this section
- The principal acts of the generall assembly, holden at Edinburgh, 1639.
- Sess. 8, August 17, 1639.—Master George Grahame his renouncing and abjuring of Episcopacie.
- Sess. 8, Aug. 17, 1639.—Act containing the Causes and Remedie of the bygone Evils of this Kirk.
- Sess. 18, Aug. 26, 1639.— Act approving an old Register of the Generall Assembly.
- Act Sess. 19, August 27, 1639.— Act approving the Deposition of the Ministers by the Committees.
- Act Sess. 20, August 28, 1639.—Act anent receiving of deposed Ministers.
- Act Sess. 21, August 29, 1639.—Act anent the keeping of the Lord's Day.
- Act Sess. 22, August 29, 1639, à meridie.—Articles and Overtures approved by the Assembly.
- Sess. 23, Aug. 30, 1639.—The Supplication of the Generall Assembly to the King's Majestie's Commissioner, concerning the Book called "The Large Declaration."
- The Supplication of the Assembly to his Majestie's High Commissioner, and the Lords of Secret Councell.
- The Act of the Lords of Councell at Edinburgh, Aug. 30, 1639, containing the Answer of the preceding Supplication.
- Act ordaining the Subscription of the Confession of Faith and Covenant, with the Assemblie's Declaration.
- August 30, 1639.— Act anent Appellations.
- Sess. 24, Aug. 30, à meridie.—The Assemblie's Supplication to the King's Majestie.
The principal acts of the generall assembly, holden at Edinburgh, 1639.
Sess. 8, August 17, 1639.—Master George Grahame his renouncing and abjuring of Episcopacie.
The which day there was given in to the Assembly, direct from Mr George Grahame, sometimes pretended Bishop of Orknay, an abjuration of Episcopacie, subscribed with his hand, which was publickly read in audience of the Assembly; and thereafter they ordained the same to be registrat in the Assembly Books, ad perpetuam rei memoriam, wherof the tenor follows:—
To all and sundry whom it effeirs, to whose knowledge these presents shall come, specially to the reverend and honourable members of the future Assembly to be holden at Edinburgh, the twelfth day of August 1639 years, Me, Master George Graham, some time pretended Bishop of Orknay, being sorry and grieved at my heart that I should ever for any worldly respect have embraced the order of Episcopacie, the same having no warrant from the Word of God, and being such an order as hath had sensibly many fearfull and evill consequences in many parts of Christendome, and particularly within the Kirk of Scotland, as by dolefull and deplorable experience this day is manifest, to have disclaimed, like as I, by the tenor hereof, doe altogether disclaime and abjure all episcopall power and jurisdiction, with the whole corruptions thereof, condemned by lawfull Assemblies within the said Kirk of Scotland, in regard the same is such an order as is also abjured within the said Kirk, by vertue of that Nationall Oath which was made in the years 1580 and 1581, promising and swearing by the great name of the Lord our God, that I shall never whiles I live, directly or indirectly, exerce any such power within the Kirk, neither yet shall I ever approve or allow the same, not so much as in my private or publicke discourse; but, on the contrary, shall stand and adhere to all the acts and constitutions of the late Assembly holden at Glasgow, the 21 of November 1638 last bypast, and shall concurre to the uttermost of my power, sincerely and faithfully, as occasion shall offer, in executing the said acts, and in advancing the work of reformation within this land, to the glory of God, the peace of the country, and the comfort and contentment of all good Christians, as God shall be my help. In testimony of the which premisses, I have subscribed thir presents with my hand at Breeknes in Stronnes, the eleventh day of February, the year of God 1639 years, before thir witnesses, Master Walter Stuart, Minister at Southronnaldsay, Master James Heynd, Minister at Kirkwall, Master Robert Peirson, Minister at Firth, and Master Patrick Grahame, Minister at Holme, my son.
Sess. 8, Aug. 17, 1639.—Act containing the Causes and Remedie of the bygone Evils of this Kirk.
The King's Majestie having graciously declared, that it is his royall will and pleasure that all questions about religion and matters ecclesiasticall be determined by Assemblies of the Kirk; having also by publike proclamation indicted this free Nationall Assembly, for settling the present distraction of this Kirk, and for establishing a perfect peace against such divisions and disorders as have been sore displeasing to his Majestie, and grievous to all his good subjects; and now his Majestie's Commissioner, John Earle of Traquair, intrusted and authorized with a full commission, being present, and sitting in this Assembly, now fully conveened and orderly constitute in all the members thereof, according to the order of this Kirk, having at large declared his Majestie's zeal to the reformed religion, and his royall care and tender affection to this Kirk, where his Majestie had both his birth and baptisme, his great displeasure at the manifold distractions and divisions of this Kirk and kingdome, and his desires to have all our wounds perfectly cured with a fair and fatherly hand; and although in the way approven by this Kirk, tryall hath been taken in former Assemblies before from the Kirk registers, to our full satisfaction, yet the Commissioner's Grace making particular inquiry from the members of the Assembly, now solemnely conveened, concerning the reall and true causes of so many and great evills as this time past had so sore troubled the peace of this Kirk and kingdome, it was represented to his Majestie's Commissioner by this Assembly, that beside many other, the maine and most materiall causes were, First, The pressing of this Kirk by the Prelates with a Service Book, or Book of Common Prayer, without warrand or direction from the Kirk, and containing, beside the Popish frame thereof, divers Popish errors and ceremonies, and the seeds of manifold grosse superstitions and idolatry; with a book of canons, without warrand or direction from the Generall Assembly, establishing a tyrannicall power over the Kirk in the person of Bishops, and overthrowing the whole discipline and government of the Kirk by Assemblies; with a book of consecration and ordination, without warrand of authoritie, civill or ecclesiasticall, appointing offices in the house of God, which are not warranted by the Word of God, and repugnant to the discipline and acts of our Kirk; and with the High Commission erected without the consent of the Kirk, subverting the jurisdiction and ordinary judicatories of this Kirk, and giving to persons meerely ecclesiasticall the power of both swords, and to persons meerly civill the power of the keys and Kirk censures. A second cause was the Articles of Perth, viz., the observation of festivall dayes, kneeling at the communion, confirmation, administration of the sacraments in private places, which are brought in by a null Assembly, and are contrary to the Confession of Faith, as it was meant and subscribed anno 1580, and divers times since, and to the order and constitutions of this Kirk. Thirdly, The changing of the government of the Kirk from the Assemblies of the Kirk to the persons of some kirkmen, usurping prioritie and power over their brethren, by the way, and under the name of Episcopall government, against the Confession of Faith, 1580, against the order set downe in the Book of Policy, and against the intention and constitution of this Kirk from the begining. Fourthly, The civill places and power of kirkmen, their sitting in Session, Councell, and Exchequer, their riding, sitting, and voting in Parliament, and their sitting in the Bench as Justices of Peace, which, according to the constitutions of this Kirk, are incompatible with their spiritual sanction, lifting them up above their brethren in worldly pomp, and do tend to the hinderance of the ministrie. Fiftly, The keeping and authorising corrupt Assemblies at Linlithgow, 1606 and 1608, at Glasgow, 1610, at Aberdene, 1616, at St Andrews, 1617, at Perth, 1618, which are null and unlawfull, as being called and constitute quite contrary to the order and constitutions of this Kirk, received and practised ever since the reformation of religion; and withal laboring to introduce novations into this Kirk, against the order and religion established. A sixth cause is the want of lawfull and free Generall Assemblies, rightly constitute, of Pastors, Doctors, and Elders, yearly or oftner, pro re nata, according to the libertie of this Kirk, expressed in the Book of Policy, and acknowledged in the Act of Parliament, 1592. After which the whole Assembly in one heart and voyce did declare, that these and such other, proceeding from the neglect and breach of the Nationall Covenant of this Kirk and kingdome, made in anno 1580, have been indeed the true and maine causes of all our evills and distractions. And therefore ordain, according to the constitutions of the Generall Assemblies of this Kirk, and upon the grounds respective above specified, That the foresaid Service Book, Books of Cannons, and Ordination, and the High Commission, be still rejected; that the Articles of Perth be no more practised; that episcopall government, and the civill places and power of kirkmen, be holden still as unlawfull in this Kirk; that the above named pretended Assemblies, at Linlithgow, 1606 and 1608, at Glasgow, 1610, at Aberdene, 1616, at St Andrews, 1617, at Perth, 1618, be hereafter accounted as null and of none effect. And that for the preservation of religion, and preventing all such evills in time coming, Generall Assemblies rightly constitute, as the proper and competent judge of all matters ecclesiasticall, heereafter be kept yearly and oftner, pro re nata, as occasion and necessity shall require; the necessity of these occasionall Assemblies being first remonstrate to his Majestie by humble supplication, as also that Kirk-Sessions, Presbyteries, and Synodall Assemblies, be constitute and observed according to the order of this Kirk.
After the voycing of the act, (anent the causes of our bygone evills,) his Majestie's Commissioner consented verbally to the said act, and promised to give into the clerk in writ the declaration of his consent, and that he should ratifie this act in the ensuing parliament.
Sess. 18, Aug. 26, 1639.— Act approving an old Register of the Generall Assembly.
The whole Assembly, (upon the report made to them anent the old Register of the Assembly gotten from Mr John Rig,) all in one voice approved the said Register, and ordained the same to make faith in judgement and outwith, in all time coming, as a true and authentick Register of the Kirk of Scotland, conforme to the testimonie subscribed by the Committee, to be insert in the Books of Assembly, whereof the tenor followeth:—
We, under-subscribers, forsameikle as the late Generall Assembly, holden at Glasgow, gave power and commission to us to peruse, examine, and cognosce, upon the validity, faith, and strength of the Books and Registers of the Assembly, particularly set down in the commission given to us thereanent; according whereunto we did carefully view, peruse, and consider the saids Registers, and gave our testimony thereof under our hands, of the validity and sufficiency of the samine to the said Generall Assembly. And now, having a new commission given to us from the Generall Assembly now presently conveened and sitting at Edinburgh, to peruse, examine, and cognosce upon the validity, faith, and strength of another Register of the As sembly, which was not set down and recommended to us by the said former commission, which Register beginneth at the Assembly holden at Edinburgh the sixth day of March 1572, and endeath at the Assembly likewise holden at Edinburgh 1573, we have carefully viewed, perused, and considered the said Register; and being deeply and maturely advised, as in a matter of greatest weight and consequence, do attest before God, and upon our consciences declare to the world, and this present Assembly, that the said Register above exprest is a famous, authentick, and good Register, which ought to be so reputed, and have publike faith in judgement and outwith, as a valid and true record in all things; and finds the same to be of the same hand-writ, and subscribed by the same clerk of the Generall Assembly, as divers of the said other Registers (formerly perused by us) are. And in testimonie of our solemne affirmation, we have subscribed these presents with our hands, at Edinburgh, the day of August 1639.
Act Sess. 19, August 27, 1639.— Act approving the Deposition of the Ministers by the Committees.
The Assembly, after the receiving of the whole reports from the committees appointed for revising of the processes and sentences, let, deduced, and pronounced before, and by the severall commissions granted by the Assembly at Glasgow, all in one voice approved the saids whole processes as orderly proceeded, and the whole sentences pronounced thereintill as just and lawful decrees, without prejudice of any favour that can be showne to any person or persons, against whom the said sentences are pronounced upon their supplications, or of justice to such as complain of their processe, and offers to reduce the same, upon whatsoever reason competent, by the constitution of this Kirk and kingdome, before the Generall Assembly, and the commissioners thereof, they being appointed for that effect.
Act Sess. 20, August 28, 1639.—Act anent receiving of deposed Ministers.
The which day the Generall Assembly, upon the report of the committees anent these who are deposed by Synods, Doe make this generall act, recommending to the Synods all these who are deposed before them for subscribing of the declinator, and reading of the Service-Book, and for no other grosse cause, That upon their true repentance and submission to the constitutions of this Kirk, and upon their purgation and clearnesse from any grosse faults laid to their charge in any new processe against them, they may be found by the Synods capable of the ministrie, when God grants them an ordinary and lawfull calling, by admission from the Presbyterie, either in the church they served in before, or in any other church.
Act Sess. 21, August 29, 1639.—Act anent the keeping of the Lord's Day.
The Generall Assembly recommendeth to the severall Presbyteries the execution of the old Acts of Assembly against the breach of the Sabbath-day, by going of Mylnes, Salt-Pannes, Salmond-fishing, or any such like labour; and to this end revives and renues the Acts of the Assembly holden at Halyrudehouse, 1602, Sess. 5, whereof the tenor follows:—
The Assembly, considering that the conventions of the people, specially on the Sabbath-day, are very rare in many places, by distraction of labour, not only in harvest and seed-time, but also every Sabbath, by fishing both of white fish and salmond-fishing, and in going of mylnes: Therefore, the Assembly dischargeth and inhibiteth all such labour of fishing, as well white fish as salmond fish, and going of mylnes of all sorts upon the Sabbath, under the pain of incurring the censures of the Kirk; and ordaines the Commissioners of this Assembly to mean the same to his Majestie, and to desire that a pecuniall paine may be injoyned upon the contraveeners of this present act.
Act Sess. 22, August 29, 1639, à meridie.—Articles and Overtures approved by the Assembly.
That some Commissioners be appointed to visit and peruse the whole Acts of Generall Assemblies, and to marke such Acts as are for the use of the Kirk in generall, to extract the same out of the registers, to the effect that after they be tryed, they may be printed according to the old acts of the Assembly at Edinburgh, March 7, 1574, Session 9.
The Assembly appoints the Presbyterie of Edinburgh to have a care of this article, and to report their diligence to the next Assembly.
That course may be taken for restraining of people from passing to England to marry, which is the occasion of great inconveniencies.
The Assembly alloweth this article, and recommends to the Parliament that they would appoint a pecuniall summe to be payed by the contraveeners.
That the acts furnishing expences to commissioners sent by the Presbyteries to the Generall Assembly, and sent in commission by Generall Assemblies, may be explained; and it be declared that all such commissioners whatsoever, by their stipends may be furnished by the kirks of the Presbyterie, according to the order set down in the act of the last Assembly, since the errand is common, and the benefit concerneth all; and that order may be taken, how that an expedient voluntarie course, thought fit by the Assembly, shall, by advise of Parliament, have the force of a law, for compelling these to pay who are stented, both for the last and this Assembly, and in time to come.
The Assembly allowes this article, and referres the same to the Parliament.
That the Session-books of every Paroche be presented once a year to the Presbyteries, that they may be tryed by them.
The Assembly alloweth this article.
That the Act of the 38th Assembly at Edinburgh, October 24, 1578, Sess. 8, ordaining Ministers who are deposed to be charged, under the pain of excommunication, to dimit their places, that they may be unquestionably vacand, may now be renewed.
The Assembly alloweth this article, and remits the same to the Parliament.
The Assembly would revive or renew all former Acts of Assembly against Papists, and excommunicate persons, against haunters with them, and receivers of them.
The Assembly alloweth this article.
That an uniforme Catechisme may be appointed to be used throughout this whole Kingdome, in the examinations before the communion.
The Assembly alloweth this article.
That all ministers or intrants presented to kirks be tryed before their admission, if they be qualified for the places to which they are presented, besides the ordinary tryalls of expectants before their entrie to the ministrie.
The Assembly alloweth this article.
Sess. 23, Aug. 30, 1639.—The Supplication of the Generall Assembly to the King's Majestie's Commissioner, concerning the Book called "The Large Declaration."
Wee, the members of this present Assembly, for our selves, and in name of the severall Presbyteries, Burghs, and Universities, for which we are commissioners, resenting the great dishonour done to God, our King, this Kirk, and whole kingdome, by the book called "A Large Declaration," have here represented the same to your Grace, and have collected some amongst many of false, grosse, and absurd passages, that, from the consideration thereof, your Grace perceiving the intolerable evills foresaids contained therein, may be pleased to represent the same to our gracious Soveraigne, and in our behalfs humbly to beseech his Majestie, so much wronged by the many foul and false relations, suggested and perswaded to him as trueths, and by stealing the protection of his royall name and authoritie to the patrocinie of such a book, to be pleased first to call in the said book, and thereby to shew his dislike thereof; next, to give commission and warrant to cite all such parties as are either knowne or suspect to have hand in it, and to appoint such as his Majestie knowes to be either authors, informers, or any wayes accessarie, being natives of this kingdome, to be sent hither to abyde their tryall and censure before the Judge Ordinary, and in speciall, Master Walter Balcanquell, now Deane of Durham, who is known, and hath professed to be the author, at least avower and maintainer of a great part thereof; that by their examplar punishment, others may be deterred from such dangerous courses, as in such a way to raise sedition betwixt the King and his subjects, God's honour may be vindicate from so high contempt, his Majestie's justice may appear, not only in cutting away such malefactors, but in discouraging all such under-miners of his throne, his loyall and loving subjects shall be infinitly contented to be cleared before the world of so false and unjust imputations, and will live hereafter in the greater securitie, when so dangerous a course of sedition is prevented, and so will have the greater and greater cause to pray for his Majestie's long and prosperous reigne.
His Majestie's Commissioner in Councell having received the said supplication, promised to impart the same to his Majesty, and to report his diligence therein.
The Supplication of the Assembly to his Majestie's High Commissioner, and the Lords of Secret Councell.
Wee, the Generall Assembly, considering, with all humble and thankfull acknowledgement, the many recent favours bestowed upon us by his Majestie, and that there resteth nothing for crowning of his Majestie's incomparable goodnesse towards us, but that all the members of this Kirk and kingdome be joyned in one and the same Confession and Covenant with God, with the King's Majestie, and amongst our selves: And conceiving the main lett and impediment to this so good a work, and so much wished by all, to have been the informations made to his Majestie of our intentions to shake off civill and dutifull obedience due to soveraignity, and to diminish the King's greatnesse and authoritie, and being most willing and desirous to remove this and all such impediments which may hinder and impede so full and perfect an union, and for clearing of our loyaltie, Wee, in our own names, and in name of all the rest of the subjects and congregations whom we represent, do now, in all humility, represent to your Grace, his Majestie's Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majestie's most Honourable Privie Councell, and declares before God and the world, that we never had nor have any thought of withdrawing ourselves from that humble and dutifull obedience to his Majestie, and to his government, which by the descent and under the reign of 107 kings is most chearfully acknowledged by us and our predecessors; and that we never had nor have any intention nor desire to attempt any thing that may tend to the dishonour of God, or the diminution of the King's greatnesse and authoritie: But, on the contrary, acknowledgeing our quietnesse, stabilitie, and happinesse to depend upon the safety of the King's Majestie's person, and maintenance of his greatnesse and royall authority, who is God's vicegerent set over us, for the maintenance of religion and ministration of justice, wee have solemnly sworn, and do sweare, not only our mutuall concurrence and assistance for the cause of religion, and to the uttermost of our power, with our means and lives, to stand to the defence of our dread Soveraigne, his person and authority, in preservation and defence of the true religion, liberties, and lawes of this Kirk and kingdome, but also in every cause which may concerne his Majestie's honour, shall, according to the lawes of this kingdome, and the dueties of good subjects, concurre with our friends and followers in quiet manner, or in armes, as we shall be required of his Majestie, his Councell, or any having his authority. And, therefore, being most desirous to cleare ourselves of all imputation of this kinde, and following the laudable example of our predecessors, 1589, do most humbly supplicate your Grace, his Majestie's Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majestie's most Honourable Privie Councell, to enjoyn by act of Councell, that this Confession and Covenant, which, as a testimony of our fidelity to God, and loyaltie to our King, we have subscribed, be subscribed by all his Majestie's subjects, of what rank and quality soever.
The Act of the Lords of Councell at Edinburgh, Aug. 30, 1639, containing the Answer of the preceding Supplication.
The which day, in presence of the Lord Commissioner and the Lords of Privie Councell, compeired personally John Earle of Rothes, James Earle of Montrose, John Lord Lowdoun, Sir George Stirling of Keir, Knight, Sir William Douglas of Cavers, Knight, Sir Henry Wood of Bonytoun, Knight, John Smyth, Burgesse of Edinburgh, Mr Robert Barclay, Provest of Irwing, Mr Alexander Henderson, Minister at Edinburgh, and Mr Archbald Johnstoun, Clerk to the Generall Assembly, and in the name of the present sitting Generall Assembly, gave in to the Lord Commissioner and Lords of Privie Councell the petition above written; which being read, heard, and considered by the saids Lords, they have ordained, and ordain the same to be insert and registrate in the books of Privie Councell, and according to the desire thereof, ordaines the said Confession and Covenant to be subscribed in time coming by all his Majestie's subjects of this kingdome, of what ranke and quality soever.
The King's Majestie's Commissioner's Declarations.
The which day his Majestie's Commissioner and Lords of Councell, after the receiving of the supplication of the Generall Assembly, anent the subscribing of the Covenant, having returned to the Assembly, his Majestie's Commissioner, in name of the Councell, declared, that he had received the supplication of the Assembly, desiring that the Covenant might receive the force of an act of Councell, to be subscribed by all his Majestie's subjects, that they had found the desire so fair and reasonable that they conceived themselves bound in duety to grant the same; and thereupon have made an act of Councell to that effect; and that there rested now the Act of Assembly. And that he himself was so fully satisfied, that he came now, as his Majestie's Commissioner, to consent fully unto it; and that he was most willing that it should be enacted here in this Assembly, to oblige all his Majestie's subjects to subscribe the said Covenant, with the Assemblie's explanation. And because there was a third thing desired, his subscription, as the King's Commissioner, unto the Covenant, which he behooved to do, with a declaration in writ; and he declared as a subject he should subscribe the Covenant as strictly as any with the Assemblie's Declaration; but as his Majestie's Commissioner, in his name, behooved to prefix to his subscription the declaration following, which no Scots subjects should subscribe or have the benefit of, no not himself as Earle of Traquair; the tenor whereof follows:—
"Seeing this Assembly, according to the laudable form and custome heretofore kept in the like cases, have in an humble and dutifull way supplicate to us, his Majestie's Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majestie's most honourable Privie Councell, that the Covenant, with the explanation of this Assembly, might be subscribed; and to that effect, that all the subjects of this kingdome by act of Councell be required to doe the same; and that therein, for vindicating themselves from all suspitions of disloyaltie, or derogating from the greatnesse and authoritie of our dread soveraigne, have therewith added a clause, whereby this Covenant is declared one in substance with that which was subscribed by his Majestie's father, of blessed memory, 1580, 1581, 1590, and oftner since renewed: Therefore, I, as his Majestie's Commissioner, for the full satisfaction of the subjects, and for settling a perfect peace in church and kingdome, doe, according to my foresaids declaration and subscription, subjoyned to the act of this Assembly of the date the 17th of this instant, allow and consent that the Covenant be subscribed throughout all this kingdome. In witnes whereof, I have subscribed the premisses."
Likeas his Majestie's Commissioner read and gave in the Declaration following, of his consent to the act of the Assembly, August 17, anent the causes of our bygone evils:—
I, John Earle of Traquair, his Majestie's Commissioner in this present Assembly, doe in his Majestie's name declare, that notwithstanding of his Majestie's own inclination, and many other grave and weightie considerations, yet such is his Majestie's incomparable goodnesse, that for settling the present distractions, and giving full satisfaction to the subject, He doth allow, likeas I, his Majestie's Commissioner, do consent to the foresaid act, and have subscribed the premisses.
Likeas his Majestie's Commissioner read and gave in the Declaration following:—
It is alwayes hereby declared by me, his Majestie's Commissioner, That the practise of the premisses, prohibited within this Kirk and kingdome, outwith the kingdome of Scotland, shall never bind nor inferre censure against the practises outwith the kingdome. Which, when the Commissioner required to be insert in the register of the Kirk, and the Moderator in name of the Assembly refused to give warrant for such practise, as not agreeable with a good conscience, his Grace urged, that it should be recorded at least that he made such a declaration, whatsoever was the Assemblie's judgement in the contrair. And so it is to be understood to be insert here onely recitative.
Act ordaining the Subscription of the Confession of Faith and Covenant, with the Assemblie's Declaration.
The Generall Assembly, considering the great happinesse which may flow from a full and perfect union of this Kirk and kingdome, by joyning of all in one and the same Covenant with God, with the King's Majestie, and amongst ourselves, having by our great oath declared the uprightnesse and loyaltie of our intentions in all our proceedings, and having withall supplicated his Majestie's High Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majestie's honorable Privie Councell, to injoyn by act of councell all the lieges in time coming to subscribe the Confession of Faith and Covenant, which, as a testimony of our fidelity to God and loyaltie to our King, we have subscribed: And, seeing his Majestie's High Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majestie's honourable Privie Councell, have granted the desire of our supplication, ordaining by civill authority all his Majestie's lieges in time coming to subscribe the foresaid Covenant, that our union may bee the more full and perfect, We, by our act and constitution ecclesiasticall, do approove the foresaid Covenant in all the heads and clauses thereof, and ordains of new, under all ecclesiastical censure, that all the masters of universities, colledges, and schooles, all schollers at the passing of their degrees, all persons suspect of Papistry or any other errour, and, finally, all the members of this Kirk and kingdome, subscribe the same with these words prefixed to their subscription:—"The article of this Covenant, which was at the first subscription referred to the determination of the Generall Assembly, being determined, and thereby the Five Articles of Perth, the government of the Kirk by Bishops, the civill places and power of kirkmen, upon the reasons and grounds contained in the acts of the Generall Assembly, declared to be unlawfull within this Kirk, we subscribe according to the determination foresaid." And ordains the Covenant, with this declaration, to be insert in the registers of the Assemblies of this Kirk, Generall, Provinciall, and Presbyteriall, ad perpetuam rei memoriam; and in all humility supplicates his Majestie's High Commissioner, and the honourable Estates of Parliament, by their authority to ratifie and injoyne the same, under all civill paines, which will tend to the glory of God, preservation of religion, the King's Majestie's honour, and perfect peace of this Kirk and kingdome.
August 30, 1639.— Act anent Appellations.
The Assembly appointed, That in all time hereafter no appellations should be leaping over either Presbyterie or Synod, but to ascend by degrees as from the KirkSession to the Presbytry, or from the Presbyterie to the Synod, and from the Synod to the Generall Assembly, except it be after the Synod be past, and immediatly before the Generall Assembly, or in the time thereof; and renews all former acts made to this effect.
Act anent advising with Synods and Presbyteries before determination in Novations.
The Generall Assembly, desiring that the intended reformation being recovered, may be established, ordains, That no novation which may disturbe the peace of the Church and make division be suddenly proponed and enacted; but so as the motion be first communicate to the severall Synods, Presbyteries, and Kirks, that the matter may be approved by all at home, and commissioners may come well prepared, unanimously to conclude a solide deliberation upon these points in the Generall Assembly.
Act anent Ministers Catechising, and Family Exercises.
The Assembly, considering that the long-waited-for fruits of the Gospel, so mercifully planted and preserved in this land, and the reformation of ourselves and families, so solemnly vowed to God of late in our Covenant, cannot take effect except the knowledge and worship of God be caried from the pulpit to every family within each parish, hath, therefore, appointed that every minister, besides his paines on the Lord's day, shall have weekly catechising of some part of the paroch, and not altogether cast over the examination of the people till a little before the communion. Also, that in every familie the worship of God be erected where it is not both morning and evening, and that the children and servants be catechised at home by the masters of the families, whereof account shall be taken by the minister and elders assisting him in the visitation of every family; and, lest they fail, that visitation of the severall kirks be seriously followed by every Presbyterie, for this end among others. The execution and successe whereof, being tried by the Synods, let it be represented to the next Generall Assembly.
Sess. 24, Aug. 30, à meridie.—The Assemblie's Supplication to the King's Majestie.
Most Gracious Soveraigne,
Wee, your Majestie's most humble and loyall subjects, the commissioners from all the parts of this your Majestie's ancient and native kingdome, and members of the Nationall Assembly conveened at Edinburgh by your Majestie's speciall indiction, and honoured with the presence of your Majestie's High Commissioner, have been waiting for a day of rejoycing and of solemne thanksgiving to be rendred to God by this whole Kirk and kingdome, for giving us a King so just and religious, that it is not only lawfull for us to be Christians under your Majestie's government, which sometime hath been the greatest praise of great princes, but also that it hath pleased your gracious Majestie to make known that it is your royall will and pleasure that all matters ecclesiasticall be determined in free Nationall Assemblies, and matters civill in Parliaments, which is a most noble and ample expression of your Majestie's justice, and we trust shall be a powerfull mean of our common happinesse under your Majestie's most blessed reign. In the mean while, we do most humbly, upon the knees of our hearts, blesse your Majesty for that happinesse already begun in the late Assembly at Edinburgh, in the proceedings whereof, next under God, we have laboured to approve ourselves unto your Majestie's vicegerent, as if your Majestie's eyes had been upon us, which was the desire of our souls, and would have beene the matter of our full rejoycing, and doe still continue your Majestie's most humble supplicants for your Majestie's civill sanction and ratification of the constitutions of the Assembly in Parliament; that your Majestie's princely power, and the ecclesiasticall authority joyning in one, the mutuall embracements of religion and justice, of truth and peace, may be seen in this land, which shall be to us as a resurrection from the dead, and shall make us, being not only so farre recovered, but also revived, to fill heaven and earth with our praises, and to pray that King Charles may be more and more blessed, and his throne established before the Lord for ever.
The Assembly appoints the next Generall Assembly to sit at Aberdene the last Tuesday of July next, 1640 years; and warneth all Presbyteries, Universities, and Burrows, to send their commissioners for keeping the samine; and thereafter the Assembly was concluded by giving of thanks by the Moderator, and singing of a psalme, according to the custome.