The principall acts of the generall assembly, met at edinburgh, junii 3, 1646.
Sess. 2, Edinburgh, Junii 4, 1646.—The King's Letter to the Assembly, presented by
Mr Robert Douglas, Minister at Edinburgh.
Right trusty and wel-beloved, we greet you well. Having lately written to our
Houses of Parliament at Westminster, and the Commissioners from our kingdom of
Scotland at London, and likewise to the Committees of Estates of that our kingdom,
shewing our great sense and grief for the sad effects which have flowed from the unhappy differences betwixt us and our subjects, with our reall resolutions to comply
with the desires of our Parliaments of both kingdoms, and those entrusted by them
for settling of truth and peace in all our dominions: And now being informed of
your meeting, we have thought fit hereby (since we could not conveniently send a
Commissioner) to give you the same assurances; and withal, that it shall be our constant endeavour to maintain religion there as it is established in doctrine, worship,
and church government, and leave no good means unassayed for settling an universall peace in that our native and ancient kingdom, with the reformation of religion,
and settling peace in England and Ireland: And after the return of an answer to our
late message to our Houses of Parliament here, we shall more particularly acquaint
you or your Commissioners with our further resolutions. In the mean time, we seriously recommend our selves and the distracted condition of our kingdoms, to your
most earnest prayers to God in our behalf, expecting from you faithfulnesse in your
severall charges and callings, with that loyaltie and obedience which becometh the
ministers of the Gospel. We bid you very heartily farewell. From Newcastle, the
28th of May, 1646.
Direct.—For our right trustie and wel-beloved, the Moderatour and other Members of the Generall Assembly of the Kirk of our Kingdom of Scotland.
Sess. 4, Junii 6, 1646, ante meridiem.—Act concerning the Registers and Acts of
The Assembly recommends to Provinciall Assemblies that hereafter they cause
read all their acts before the dissolving of every Assembly; and that their registers
be written formally, and in a good hand-writing, with the severall leafes or pages
thereof marked by ciphers, according to their number.
Sess. 7, Junii 11, 1646, ante meridiem.—Act concerning the Publike Satisfaction of
Married Persons for Fornication committed before Marriage.
The Generall Assembly, understanding that in many places the publike scandals
of fornication committed before marriage are not taken notice of and removed by
publike confession, according to the order of this Kirk; therefore, for remedie thereof, do ordain, that all married persons under publike scandall of fornication committed before their marriage, (although the scandal thereof hath not appeared before
the marriage,) shall satisfie publikely for that sin committed before their marriage,
their being in the estate of marriage notwithstanding, and that in the same manner
as they should have done if they were not married.
Sess. 10, Junii 13, 1646, ante meridiem.—Ordinance for Excommunication of the
Earle of Seafort.
The Generall Assembly, having taken to their serious consideration that perfidious band made and contrived lately in the North, under the name of An humble
Remonstrance against our Nationall Covenant, and the League and Covenant of the
Three Kingdoms; which tendeth to the making of division and fomenting of jealousies
within this and between both kingdoms, to the prolonging of these unnaturall warrs,
to the impeding of the intended uniformitie in religion, and to the subversion of all
the happie ends of our Covenants. And finding that George Earle of Seafort hes
not only most perfidiously himself subscribed the said wicked band, contrary to his
solemne oaths in the Covenants aforesaid, and most arrogantly owned the same,
under his owne hand-writing, in his letters to the Committee of Estates, and to the
Commissioners of the preceding Assemblie; but also hes seduced and threatned others
to subscribe that divisive band, and to joyne with him in prosecution of his treacherous and wicked designes, therein masked with the pretences of religion and libertie,
boasting also the pursuance of that his remonstrance against all deadly the opposers
thereof, whether King or Parliament. And having also considered another wicked
and treacherous band of union which the said Earle formerly entred into with that
excommunicate rebell James Grahame, after the sentence of forfalture and the dreadfull sentence of excommunication were pronounced against him, obligeing himself
therein, under solemne oaths, to joyne with that forfaulted rebell against this kirk
and kingdome, and to oppose all their publike resolutions for pursuance of the happie
ends of our said Covenants. All which, with his vile reproachfull aspersions, and
most false calumnies against this Kirk and State, and their publike and lawfull endeavours and resolutions, with his other wicked and perfidious practices, at length
discovered in the proclamation of the Committee of Estates, and the declaration of
the Commission of the Assembly against the said perfidious band and remonstrance,
being gravely pondered and considered; together with his base treachery to the
Estates, being intrusted by them with ample commission, and encouraged and enabled for discharging thereof, with mony, ammunition, and arms, in a good measure;
notwithstanding whereof, contrary to that great trust reposed in him, it is notor that
not only he did not joyne with the forces raised for the defence of this kingdome,
but rather, on the contrary, actually joyning himself and his forces with that excommunicate rebel, James Grahame, and these unnatural bloody rebels, his followers, did
beleager Innernesse, a towne garrisoned by the Estates for the defence of that part
of the country. And the Assembly having also found that fair means have been
used for reclaiming of the said Earle from that wicked and perfidious course, by
publike declarations and proclamations, and particular letters sent to himself from
those that had power in that behalf; and that notwithstanding thereof, and of summonds direct against him, to answer to the premisses, often called, he doth not appear, but still remains obstinate in his wicked courses; and, after mature deliberation, having found his frequent fearfull and grosse perjuries, his perfidious and wicked
conspiracies, by band and oath, with the publike enemies of this kirk and kingdom,
and his other treacherous and wicked practises, so contemptuously and pertinaciously
persisted into, to be haynous offences against God, and high contempt of all ecclesiastical and civil authority: Therefore, the Assembly, moved with the zeal of God,
do, without a contrary voice, decerne and ordain the said George Earle of Seafort to
be summarly excommunicate, and declared to be one whom Christ commandeth to
be holden by all and every one of the faithfull as an ethnik and publicane, and appoints the sentence of excommunication to be pronounced by Mr Robert Blair,
Moderator, in the East Kirk of this citie, upon the next Lord's day, being the 14th of
this moneth; and that thereafter publike intimation be made thereof upon a Sabbath
day, before noone, in all the kirks of this kingdom, so soon as advertisement shall
come unto them.
Enormities and Corruptions observed to be in the Ministery, with the Remedies thereof.
The first and main sin, reaching both to our personall carriage and callings, we
judge to be, not studying how to keep communion and fellowship with God in Christ,
but walking in a naturall way, without imploying of Christ, or drawing vertue from
him, to inable us unto sanctification, and preaching in spirit and power.
IN OUR LIVES.
1. Much fruitlesse conversing in companie, and complying with the sins of all sorts;
not behaving our selves as becomes the men of God.
2. Great worldlinesse is to be found amongst us, minding and speaking most about
things of this life, being busied about many things, but forgetting the main.
3. Slighting of God's worship in their families, and therefore no cordiall urging of
it upon others; yea, altogether a wanting of it in some, if it be credible.
4. Want of gravity in carriage and apparell, dissolutenesse in haire, and shaking
about the knees, lightnesse in the apparrell of their wives and children.
5. Tippling and bearing companie in untimous drinking in tavernes and ale-houses,
or any where else, whereby the ministerie is made vile and contemptible.
6. Discountenancing of the godly, speaking ill of them, because of some that are
unanswerable to their profession.
7. The Sabbath not sanctified after sermons, which maketh people think that the
Sabbath is ended with the sermon.
8. There are also to be found amongst us who use small and minced oaths.
9. Some so great strangers to Scripture, that except in their publike ministerie,
though they read many things, yet they are little conversant in the Scripture, and in
meditation thereof—a dutie incumbent to all the people of God.
IN OUR CALLINGS.
1. Corrupt entry into the ministrie in former times, and following the course of defection, though forsaken, yet never seriously repented; as also present entring into
the ministery as to a way of living in the world, and not as to a spirituall calling.
2. Helping in and holding in of insufficient and suspected men, who favour the
things of this life, and keeping the door straiter on them whom God hath sealed then
upon these who have lesse evidence of the power of grace and holinesse.
3. Partiality in favouring and speaking for the scandalous, whether ministers or
other persons, teaching them how to shift and delay censures.
4. Silence in the publike cause, not labouring to cure the disaffection of people, not
urging them to constancie and patience in bearing of publike burdens, nor to forwardnesse in the publike cause, whereby Malignants are multiplied; yea, some are so grosse
herein, that even in publike fasts little or nothing is to be heard from them sounding
5. Some account it a point of wisdome to speak ambiguously; some incline to
justifie the wicked cause, uttering words which favour of disaffection, and all their
complaining of the times is in such a way as may steal the hearts of people from
liking of good instruments in this work, and consequently from God's cause; yea,
some reading publike orders are ready to speak against them in their private conference.
6. Idlenesse, either in seldome preaching, as once in the Lord's day—or in preparation for publike duties, not being given to reading and meditation; others have but
fits of paines, not like other tradesmen, continually at their work.
7. Want of zeal and love to the conversion of souls, not being weighted with the
want of successe in reclaiming of sinners, nor searching in themselves the cause of not
profiting, preaching ex officio, not ex conscientia officii.
8. Self-seeking in preaching, and a venting rather of their wit and skill then a
shewing foorth of the wisdome and power of God.
9. Lifelesnesse in preaching, not studying to be furnished by Christ with power,
and so the ordinance of God reacheth not to the conscience; and heereto belongeth
the not applying of the doctrine unto the auditory and times.
10. The indiscreet curing of the indiscretion of pious people and ministers, whereby godlinesse hath gotten a deep wound, and profanitie hath lifted up the head, contrary to that wise and gracious order set foorth in the Generall Assemblie holden at
11. Little care to furnish our armie, either abroad or at home, with ministers; one
of our grievous sins, and causes of our calamity.
12. Last, it is to be feared that ministers in secret are negligent to wrestle in prayer
for a blessing to be poured out upon their labours, contenting themselves with their
1. First, That Presbyteries make great conscience to have all vacant places within
their several bounds filled with godly and able men, where ever they be to be found;
and that under pretence of being a helper, or second to another, none be taken in but
such as are able for the same charge.
2. Whereas it is known, that private tryall in Presbyteries are for the most part
perfunctorious, the brethren are hereby exhorted to be more serious and faithfull
heerein, as they will be answerable to Christ, the Chief Shepherd; and, in a way
previous thereto, that brethren be free in loving admonition one of another secretly,
from time to time; and that whosoever keeps not the Presbyterie or Synod, after
grave admonitions, may come under further censures.
3. That accuracie be used at visitation of kirks, and that the elders, one by one, (the
rest being removed,) be called in, and examined, upon oath, upon the minister's behaviour in his calling and conversation.
4. That course be taken to divide congregations in parts, and, by the help not only
of elders in their severall parts, but of neighbors also, the evils and neglects of persons and families may be found out and remedied.
5. That every minister be humbled for his former failings, and make his peace with
God, that the more effectually he may preach repentance, and may stand in the gap,
to turne away the Lord's wrath; runing between the porch and the altar, sighing and
crying for all the abominations of the land.
6. Speciall care would be had that all ministers have their conversation in heaven,
mainly minding the things of God, and exercising faith for drawing life out of
Jesus Christ, the fountain of life, arming themselves thereby with power against the
contagion and wickednesse of the world.
7. Care would be had of godly conference in Presbyteries, even in time of their
refreshment; and the Moderator is to look to it that good matter be furnished
8. It is also very necessary for every minister that would be fruitfull in the work of
the Lord, to bring home the Word of God to his own heart and conscience by prayer
and meditation, both before and after publike ordinance.
9. Use would be made of the roll of the parish, not onely for examination, but also
for considering the several conditions and dispositions of the people, that accordingly
they may be admonished, and particularly prayed for by the ministers in secret.
10. It is very expedient that ministers have more communing among themselves,
for their mutuall stirring up and strengthning of their hands in the Lord's work, and
rectifying of these who are not incorrigible.
11. That ministers in all sorts of companie labour to bee fruitfull, as the salt of the
earth seasoning them they meet with, not only forbearing to drink healths, (Satan's
snare, leading to excesse,) but reproving it in others.
12. All ministers would be carefull to cherish the smoaking flax of weak beginnings in the wayes of God, and ought couragiously to oppose all mockers and revilers
of the godly.
13. As at all times, so specially now, when the Lord is calling us all to an account,
it becomes the ministers of Christ, with all diligence and faithfulnesse, to improve their
ministerie to the utmost, to be instant in season and out of season; yea, even frugally
to imploy their time in private, in reading of and meditating on Scripture, that the
Word of God may dwell plentifullie in them.
14. That the providing the armies with ministers be preferred to any congregation,
and these who are appointed to attend the same and are deficient, be, without delay,
severelie censured, according to the act of the Generall Assembly; and that all ministers, not only in publike pray for our armies, specially these that are to encounter
with the bloody enemie within the land, but also continually bear them up before the
Lord, that their lives being reformed, their hearts and hands may be strengthned, and
their undertaking at last blessed of God with successe.
15. That beside all other scandals, silence or ambiguous speaking in the publike
cause, much more detracting and disaffected speeches be seasonablie censured; and
to this effect, all honest-hearted brethren would firmlie unite themselves in the Lord,
the younger honouring the elder, and the elder not despising the younger.
16. And, finallie, both for the corruption of the ministerie, and remedies thereof,
we refer the brethren to the act of the Generall Assemblie at Edinburgh, 1596, revived in the late Assemblie at Glasgow, 1638, to be found in the printed act concerning the same.
The Generall Assembly ordains the enormities above specified to be tryed and
restrained, and that the remedies thereof for that purpose be seriously observed and practised; recommending, especially to Presbyteries and Provinciall Assemblies, that use be made of the same in visitation of kirks and tryall
Approbation of the Proceedings of the preceding Assembly.
The Generall Assembly, having heard the report of the committee appointed to
consider and examine the proceedings of the commissioners of the late Generall As
sembly, holden at Edinburgh in the yeer 1646; and after serious consideration
thereof, finding that the whole acts, proceedings, and conclusions of the said commissioners, contained in the register subscribed by Mr Andrew Ker, their clerk, and
by Mr Robert Ramsay, Moderator to the said committee, do declare much wisdom,
diligence, vigilancie, and commendable zeal; and that the said commissioners have
orderly and formally proceeded in every thing, according to their commission: Do,
therefore, ratifie and approve the said whole acts, proceedings, and conclusions, of the
commissioners of the said Assembly.
Sess. 11, June 15, 1646, post meridiem.—Act for Joyning of the Presbyteries in Orkney
and Zetland to the Provincial of Cathnes.
The Generall Assembly, considering that the Presbyterie of Kirkwall, in Orkney,
and the Presbyterie of Scalloway, in Zetland, have never met in any Provincial Assembly, wherethrough great abuses and disorders are there committed: Therefore,
the Assembly hereby joyns the said two Presbyteries to the Provinciall of Cathnes and
Sutherland, and appoints all the ministers and elders of the said Presbyteries hereafter to meet at the said Provinciall Assembly, and to have place to reason and vote
therein as members of the said Provinciall. And sicklike, ordains the said two
Presbyteries to be of subordinate jurisdiction to the said Provinciall Assembly; declaring hereby, that the said Provinciall shall consist of the Presbyteries of Cathnes,
Sutherland, Orkney, and Zetland, in all time coming. And appoints them to meet
only once in the yeer, in respect of their great distance and interjection of seas;
and that the first meeting be at Thurso, in Cathnes, upon the third Tuesday of
August next, and thereafter as shall be appointed by the said Provinciall Assembly.
Sess. 14, June 17, 1646, post meridiem.—Act concerning Expectants Preaching
The Generall Assembly discharges any person to preach in publike under the
name and notion of an expectant, or under any other pretence whatsoever, except
such as shall be tryed and found qualified according to the acts of the Generall Assembly; recommending to Presbyteries and Provincialls to take speciall notice thereof,
and to censure the transgressors accordingly.
Act for Censuring the Complyers with the Publike Enemies of this Kirk and Kingdom.
The Generall Assembly, taking to their serious consideration the great and scandalous provocation and grievous defection from the publike cause, which some have
beene guiltie of, by complying with the rebels, the publike enemies of this Kirk and
kingdom—and judging it a dutie incumbent to them to bring such notorious offenders to publike satisfaction, that the wrath of God may be averted, and the publike
scandall removed; Do, therefore, require, decern, and ordain, that such as after
lawfull tryall shall be found to have been in actuall rebellion, and to have carried
charge with the rebels—to have accepted commissions for raising horse or foot unto
them—to have been seducers of others to joyn in that rebellion—to be the penners
or contrivers of James Grahame's proclamation for indicting a pretended Parliament,
or of any other his proclamations or declarations—to have beene prime instruments
in causing publish the said proclamations and declarations; that all and every one of
such offenders shall humbly acknowledge their offence upon their knees, first before
the Presbyterie, and thereafter before the congregation upon a Sabbath, in some
place before the pulpit; and in the mean time, that they be suspended from the
Lord's Supper; and in case they do not satisfie in manner foresaid, that they be
processed with excommunication. And likewise ordains that such as shall be found
to have procured protections from the rebels—to have execute their orders—to have
invited them to their houses—to have given them intelligence—to have drank James
Grahame's health, or to be guilty of any other such grose degrees of complyance,
shall acknowledge their offences publikely before the congregation, and be suspended
from the communion ay and whill they doe the same. And further, decernes and
ordains, that all persons in any ecclesiastick office, guiltie of any degrees of complyance
before mentioned, shall be suspended from their office and all exercise thereof, for
such time as the quality of the offence and condition of the offenders shall be found
to deserve: And the Assembly hereby declares, that the Presbyteries have a latitude
and libertie to agreadge the censures above specified, according to the degrees and
circumstances of the offences; and gives, in like manner, the same latitude and libertie
to the Commissioners of this Assembly for Publike Affairs, who have also power to
try and censure the offenders in manner above exprest, and to take account of the
diligence of Presbyteries thereintill.
Act concerning James Graham's Proclamation.
The Generall Assembly, having considered a copie of a proclamation, published by
order of that excommunicat traitor James Graham, for indicting of a pretended parliament, and finding the same to be full of blasphemies against the Solemne League
and Covenant of the three kingdoms, and of vile aspersions of treason, rebellion, and
sedition, most falsly and impudently imputed to the Estates, and most faithfull and
loyall subjects of this kingdome; Doe, therefore, declare, that such as have been prime
instruments of the publishing of that or the like proclamation and declaration, deserve the highest censures of the Kirk, unlesse they make humble confession of their
offence publikely, in such manner as is prescribed by this Assembly; and humbly recommends to the Committee of Estates to take some course for their exemplary civill
punishment, and that some publike note of ignominie be put upon that proclamation,
as their Honors shall think meet.
Sess. Ult. Junii 18, 1646, ante meridiem.—Act against loosing of Ships and Barks
upon the Lord's Day.
The Generall Assembly, understanding how much the Lord's day is profaned by
skippers and other seafaring men, do, therefore, discharge and inhibite all skippers and
sailers to begin any voyage on the Lord's day, or to loose any ships, barks, or boats,
out of harbery or road upon that day; and who shall doe in the contrary hereof shall
be censured as profaners of the Sabbath; recommending to Presbyteries, and others
whom it may concerne, to see both the acts of Assembly and Parliament, made for
censuring and punishing profanation of the Lord's day, to be put in execution against
Act anent Children sent without the Kingdom.
Whereas divers children have been sent without the kingdom to be bred abroad,
and have been, or in time coming may be, exposed to the temptations of seducers, and
drawn away from the truth established and professed within this Church, to errour
of Poperie, or other sects and heresies: Therefore, the Assembly ordains, that the
parents or friends of children and minors shall, before they send them without the
kingdom, first acquaint the Presbytery where they reside, that they may have their
testimoniall directed to the Presbytery or classe within the kingdom of France, or
England, or Ireland, and at the time of these children's return from any of the said
kingdoms, to report ane testimoniall from the Presbytery or Synode where they lived
without the kingdom, of their breeding there, and to shew the same to the Presbytery
within the kingdom who gave them a testimoniall at their way-going. Likeas, the
Assembly ordains all Presbyteries to try if any children have been sent to Popish
schooles or colledges without the kingdom; and if any be found, that their names be
given to the Presbytery or commissioners of the Assembly, that the same may be
presented to the Honourable Lords of Secret Councell or Committee of Estates, that
their Lordships may be humbly desired by their authority to recall them, that after
return to this kingdom a course may be taken, according to the former ordinances of
Generall Assemblie for their breeding in the true religion.
Overtures presented to the Assembly.
I. That correspondence be keeped among Presbyteries constantly by letter, without
prejudice of personall correspondence when need requires, whereby one Presbyterie
may understand what many are doing, and they may be mutually assisting each to
II. That for the better breeding of young men to the ministerie, who are not able
to furnish themselves in charges to attend in the universities, that the Presbyteries
where they reside appoint some to direct their studies.
III. That it be recommended to all the Universities to condescend upon the best
overtures for the most profitable teaching of grammar and phylosophy; and as they
may meet at the commission of the Generall Assembly to make the matter ripe for
the next Assembly.
The Assembly approves these overtures, and recommends accordingly.
IV. That to the intent the knowledge of God in Christ may be spread through the
Highlands and Islands, (for in lack whereof the land hath smarted in the late troubles,)
these courses be taken: 1. Let an order be procured, that all gentlemen who are able,
at least send their eldest sons to be bred in the inland. 2. That a ministerie be planted
amongst them, and for that effect, that ministers and expectants who can speak the
Irish language be sent to imploy their talents in these parts, and that the kirks there
be provided as other kirks in this kingdome. 3. That Scots schools be erected in all
parishes there, according to the Act of Parliament, where conveniently they can be
had. 4. That ministers and ruling elders that have the Irish language be appointed
to visit these parts.
The Assembly approves this overture, and recommends this purpose to further
consideration, that more overtures may be prepared thereanent against the
V. That for keeping the Universitie pure, and provoking the Professors of Divinitie
to greater diligence, each professor in the Universities of this Church and kingdom
bring with him, or send with the commissioner who comes to the General Assembly,
ane perfect and well written copie of his dictates, to be revised by the Generall Assembly, or such as they shall appoint for that work ilk year.
The Assembly continues the determination of a constant and perpetuall order
herein untill the next Assembly; but, in the mean time, desires the Professors
of Divinity to present to the next Assembly their dictates of Divinity, whereof
the Professors present are to give intimation to the Professors absent.
VI. The great burdens intrants undergoes when they enter the ministery, which
holds many of them long at under, would crave the Assemblie's judgement and authority, that ministers' manses and stipends may be all made free to the intrant.
The Assembly refers and recommends to the Commissioners for Publike Affairs
to seek redresse in this matter from the Honourable Estates of Parliament, and
to consider of some fitting overtures to be presented to their Honours for that
Renovation of the Commission for the Publike Affairs of the Kirk.
The Generall Assembly, taking to their consideration that, in respect the great work
of uniformity in religion in all his Majestie's dominions is not yet perfected, (though
by the Lord's blessing there is a good progresse made in the same,) there is a necessity of renewing the commissions granted formerly for prosecuting and perfecting that great work; Doe, therefore, renew the power and commission granted for
the publike affairs of the Kirk by the Generall Assemblies, held in St Andrews in the
year 1642, and in Edinburgh, 1643, 1644, and 1645, unto the persons following, viz.,
Masters Alexander Henderson, Robert Douglas, William Colvil, William Bennet,
George Gillespie, John Oswald, John Adamson, William Dalgleish, David Calderwood, James Fleeming, Robert Ker, John Dalyell, James Wright, John Knox,
Adam Penman, Robert Lichtoun, Alexander Dickeson, Patrick Fleeming, John
Hay, Richard Dickeson, Thomas Vasse, David Drummond, Alexander Somervill,
Robert Eliot, Robert Blair, James Bruce, Robert Traile, Samuel Rutherfurd, Alexander Colvill, Walter Greg, Alexander Balfour, George Thomson, John Moncreiff,
John Smith, Patrick Gillespie, John Duncan, James Sibbald, Alexander Casse,
John Hume, Alexander Kinneir, Walter Swintoun, Robert Knox, William Penman,
James Guthrie, Thomas Donaldson, William Jameson, Thomas Wilkie, John Knox,
Robert Murray, John Freebairn, Robert Wright, David Auchterlonie, William
Maior, Samuel Austein, John Leirmont, Andrew Lawder, James Irving, Alexander
Turnbull, James Bonar, William Adair, John Neve, Patrick Colvill, Matthew Birsbane, John Hamiltoun, Allan Ferguson, Robert Ramsay, George Young, David
Dickson, Robert Baillie, James Nasmith, John Lindsay, John Weir, Evan Cameron,
James Affleck, John Robison, Andrew Eliot, Silvester Lambie, Laurence Skinner,
William Rate, David Campbel, Andrew Cant, William Doughlas, David Lindsay,
Gilbert Anderson, Alexander Garioch, William Jaffray, Thomas Law, William
Campbell, Walter Stewart, ministers; and Archibald Marquesse of Argyle, John
Earle of Crawfurd-Lindsay, William Earle Marshall, William Earle of Glencairn, John
Earle of Cassils, Charles Earle of Dumfermling, James Earle of Tullibardine, Francis
Earle of Bacleugh, John Earle of Lauderdale, William Earle of Lothian, William
Earle of Lanerk, Archibald Lord Angus, John Lord Balmerino, Robert Lord Burleigh, John Master of Yester, Sir Patrick Hepburn of Waughtoun, Sir John Hope
of Craighall, Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston, Sir David Hume of Wedderburn,
Sir Robert Innes of that Ilk, Sir William Baily of Lamington, Sir John Muncreiffe
of that Ilk, James Macdougal of Garthland, Patrick Cockburn of Clarkington, Sir
Hugh Campbel of Cesnock, Sir William Cunningham of Cunninghamhead, John
Hume of Blackader, Sir James Dundas of Arniston, Alexander Forbes, Tutor of
Pitsligo, Mr George Winrham of Libberton, David Weemes of Fingask, Mr Francis
Hay of Balhousie, Alexander Brodie of that Ilk, Mr Alexander Colvil of Blair,
George Dundas of Dudiston, William Moor of Glanderston, Sir James Nicolson of
Colbrandspaith, John Edgar of Wedderlie, William Hume of Lenthill, James Ruchhead, Laurence Henderson, and James Stuart, Bailies of Edinburgh, George Porterfield, Provest of Glasgow, William Hume there, Robert Arnot, Provest of Perth,
John Semple, Provest of Dumbarton, John Kennedy, Provest of Air, Mr David
Weemes, George Gardine, John Johnstoun, Thomas Paterson, Thomas White, John
Sleigh, elders. Giving unto them full power and commission to do all and every
thing for prosecuting, advancing, perfecting, and bringing the said work of uniformity in religion in all his Majestie's dominions to a happy conclusion, conform
to the former commissions granted by preceding Assemblies thereanent: And to
that effect, appoints them, or any seventeen of them, whereof thirteen shall be ministers, to meet at Edinburgh the 19th of this moneth, and thereafter upon the second
Wednesdays of August, November, February, and May, next to come, and upon any
other day and in any other place they shall think meet. And, further, renews to
the persons before named the power contained in the act of the said Assembly, 1643,
intituled, "A Reference to the Commission anent the Persons designed to repair to
the Kingdom of England;" as also the power contained in two severall acts of the
said Assembly, 1644, Sess. 6, made "Against secret Disaffecters of the Covenant,"
and "For sending Ministers to the Armie;" with full power to them to treat and determine in the matters aforesaid, and in all other matters referred unto them by this
Assembly, as fully and freely as if the same were here particularly expressed, and with
as ample power as any commission of former Generall Assemblies hath had or been
in use of before; they being alwayes for their whole proceedings comptable to and
censurable by the next Generall Assembly.
Renovation of the Commission for prosecuting the Treaty for Uniformity in England.
The Generall Assembly, taking to their consideration that the treatie of uniformity
in religion in all his Majestie's dominions is not yet perfected; therefore, renews the
power and commission granted by preceding Assemblies for prosecuting that treatie,
unto these persons after named, viz., Mr Alexander Henderson, Mr Robert Douglas,
Mr Samuel Rutherfurd, Mr Robert Baillie, Mr George Gillespie, Ministers; and John
Earle of Lauderdale, John Lord Balmerino, and Sir Archibald Johnston of Wariston,
elders; authorizing them with full power to prosecute the said treatie of uniformity
with the Honourable Houses of the Parliament of England, and the Reverend Assembly of Divines there, or any committees appointed by them; and to do all and every
thing which may advance, perfect, and bring that treatie to an happy conclusion, conform to the former commission given thereanent.
The Assemblie's Answer to the King's Majestie.
May it please your Majestie,
Having received your Majestie's letter with thankfulnesse, we thought it our dutie
to send some of our number to wait upon your Majestie, and present our humble desires more particularly then at this time could be expressed by writ; and we are confident your Majestie will interprete our freedome and plain dealing by them to be a
reall testimonie of our unfained affection, who have constantly laboured to approve
our selves in all fidelity to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, and in all loyaltie to
your Majestie; and are resolved to walk still after the same rule, in our severall stations and vocations, continuing our prayers for you, that God may multiply all sorts
of mercies upon your royall person and posterity, and more and more incline your
heart to the speedie following of the counsels of truth and peace, and grant unto
your Majestie a long and happy reign, that we may live under you a peaceable and
quiet life, in all godlinesse and honesty.
Subscribed, in name of the Nationall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, by
Edinburgh, Junii 18, 1646.
The Assemblie's Letter to the Right Honourable the Lords and Commons in the
Parliament of England, assembled at Westminster.
The report of the great things which the Lord hath done for your Honours hath
gone forth into many lands, and it becometh us least of any, either to smother or extenuate the same. We desire to be enlarged in the admiration of the power and mercie
of God the author, and to diminish nothing of that praise that is due unto you as instruments. When the Lord set your Honours upon the bench of judgment, both the
Kirk and Commonwealth of England were afflicted with intestine and bosome evills,
the cure whereof could not but be very difficult, because they were not only many,
but, for the most part, universal and deeply rooted, sheltred under the shadow of custome and law, and supported with all the wisdom and strength of the Malignant and
Prelaticall partie, who rather chose to involve the land in an unnaturall and bloody
warre, then to fail of their ambitious and treacherous designes against religion, the
priviledges of Parliament, and the lawes and liberties of the kingdom; neither hath
that miserable crew been wanting to their owne ends, but for many years together
hath desperatly pursued their resolutions in arms, and was likely to have prevailed,
if the Lord had not put himself in the breach, and furnished you with much patience,
wisdom, courage, and constancy, in the midst of many difficulties and distresses, and
at last, with so glorious and triumphing a successe, that the enemy hath fallen every
where before you, and there is none left to appear against you. These things, as they
be the matter of our refreshment and of your glory, so doe they lay a strong obligation upon your Honours to walk humbly with your God, and to improve the power
he hath put into your hands, for the advancement of the Kingdom of his Son, and
bringing forth of the head-stone of his house. The slow progresse of the work of
God hath alwayes been the matter of our sorrow, which is now increased by the
multiplication of the spirits of errour and delusion, that drowne many souls into per
dition, and so strengthen themselves, that they shall afterward be laboured against
with more pains then successe, if a speedy and effectuall remedie be not provided.
And, therefore, as the servants of the living God, who not onely send up our supplications daily for you, but have hazard our selves in your defence, we do earnestly beseech your Honours, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, to give unto him the glory that
is due unto his name, by a timous establishing all his ordinances in the full integritie
and power thereof, according to the League and Covenant. As long as the Assembly
of Divines was in debate, and an enemy in the fields, we conceived that these might
be probable grounds of delay, which being now removed out of the way, we do
promise to our selves, from your wisdom, faithfulnesse, and zeale, the perfecting of that
which was the main ground of our engagement, and a chief matter of consolation
unto us, in all our sad and heavy sufferings from the hand of a most cruell enemy.
We know that there is a generation of men who retard the work of uniformity, and
foment jealousies betwixt the nations, studying, if it were possible, to break our bands
asunder; but we trust, that he that sits in the heavens will laugh, and that the Lord
shall have them in derision, that he shall speak to them in his wrath, and vex them in
his sore displeasure, and notwithstanding of all that they can do, set his King upon
his holy hill of Sion, and make these nations happy in the sweet fruits of unity in
truth and peace. The Searcher of hearts knows that we desire to hold fast the band
of our Covenant as sacred and inviolable; being perswaded that the breach of so
solemne a tye could not but hasten down upon our heads a curse and vengeance
from the righteous Judge of the world, and involve these kingdoms in sader calamities then they have yet seen; and we abhor to entertain any other thought of you;
nay, we are confident that your Honours will seriously indeavour the prosecution of
all these ends designed in the Covenant, and the bringing these nations unto the
neerest conjunction, both in judgement and affection, especially in these things that
concern religion, which, without all contraversie, is the readiest and surest way of attaining and securing the peace and prosperity of both kingdoms.
Subscribed, in name of the Generall Assembly, by the Moderator.
Edinburgh, Junii 18, 1646.
The Assemblie's Letter to the Right Honorable the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and
Common Councell of the City of London.
Your late and seasonable testimony given to the truth of the Gospel, and your
affection to the peace of the kingdoms, manifested in your humble Remonstrance and
Petition to the Honorable Houses of Parliament, hath so revived the remembrance of
your former faith and zeal, and proclaimed you the worthy seed of so noble ancestors
in that famous city, as we cannot but acknowledge, with all thankfulnesse, the grace
of God bestowed on you, and stirre you up to take notice how, since you were
precious in the Lord's sight, you have been ever honourable; the Lord hath loved
you, given men for you, and people for your life. What an honour was it in the dayes
of old. when the fire of the Lord was in Zion, and his furnace in your Jerusalem,
(even in Queen Marie's dayes,) that there were found in you men that loved not their
lives unto the death? What a glory in after times, when Satan had his throne, and
Antichrist his scat in the midst of you, that there were still found not a few that
kept their garments clean? But the greatest praise of the good hand of God upon
you hath been in this, that amidst the many mists of errour and heresie which have
risen from the bottomlesse pit, to bespot the face and darken the glory of the Church,
(while the Bride is a making ready for the Lamb,) you have held the truth, and
most piously endeavoured the setling of Christ upon his throne. We need not remember how zealous you have been in the cause of God, nor how you have laid
out your selves and estates in the maintenance thereof, nor how many acknowledgements of the same you have had from the Honourable Houses, nor how precious a
remembrance will be had of you in after ages, for your selling of all to buy the pearl
of price. We only at this time do admire, and in the inward of our hearts do blesse
the Lord for your right and deep apprehensions of the great and important matters
of Christ in his royall crown, and of the kingdoms in their union, while the Lord
maketh offers to bring our ship (so much afflicted and tossed with tempest) to the
safe harbour of trueth and peace. Right memorable is your zeal against sects and
sectaries; your care of reformation, according to the Word of God, and the example
of the best reformed Churches; your earnest endeavours and noble adventures for
preserving of the rights and priviledges of Parliament, and liberties of the kingdomes, together with his Majestie's just power and greatnesse; and your high profession, that it is not in the power of any humane authority to discharge or absolve
you from adhearing unto that our (so solemnely sworn) League and Covenant, or
to enforce upon you any sense contrary to the letter of the same; besides your other
good services done unto the Lord and to us, in the strengthening of the hands of the
Reverend Assembly of Divines, and of our Commissioners, in their asserting of the
government of Christ, (which, the more it be tried, will be ever found the more precious truth,) and vindicating of the same from the usurpation of man, and contempt
of the wicked. These all, as they are so many testimonies of your pietie, loyaltie,
and undaunted resolution to stand for Christ, so are they, and shall ever be, so
many obligations upon us, your brethren, to esteem highly of you in the Lord, to
bear you on our brests before him night and day, and to contribute our best endeavours, and to improve all opportunities for your encouragement. And now, we
beseech you in the Lord, Honorable and wel-beloved, go on in this your strength,
and in the power of his might who hath honoured you to be faithfull: "Stand fast in
that liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free;" and in the pursuance of this
truth, we are confident, as you have, so you will never cease to study the peace and
neerer conjunction of the kingdoms, knowing that a three-fold cord is not easily
broken. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which
hath loved and honoured you, and given you everlasting consolation and good help
through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Subscribed, in name of the Generall Assembly, by the Moderator.
Edinburgh, Junii 18, 1646.
The Assemblie's Letter to the Right Reverend the Assembly of Divines in the Kirk of
England, assembled at Westminster.
Much Honoured and Right Reverend,
Amongst other fruits of this our precious liberty, after such dissipation by sword
and pestilence, to meet again, we account it not the least to have the opportunity of
making a publike declaration of our earnest affection to all our brethren of that nation, and especially your selves of the Reverend Assembly at Westminster. When
we were lately in a very low condition, we may say that our own sufferings and fears,
although imbittered with the sense of the Lord's displeasure against our lukewarmnesse and unfaithfulnesse, yet they did not so take up our heart but that room was
left to congratulate with the Lord's people there in all their successes, and to condole with them in all their dangers; and if at any time any here seemed to be more
jealous then godly jealousie would allow, we know not how it can be imputed to any
thing else, but to the vehemencie of ardent affection, and impatient desire to have
our brethren there and us joyned neerer to Christ, and neerer to one another in all
his ordinances, and especially in Presbyteriall government, so well warranted by
the Word, and approven by experience of our owne and other reformed Churches,
wherein your long and unwearied endeavours have been blessed with a large increase,
which hath yet proved still a seed unto a further and more glorious expected harvest.
There could not be wished by mortall men a fairer opportunity then is cast in your
laps, being invited and charged by so high an authority, to give so free and publike
a testimony to those truths, which formerly many of the Lord's precious ones, by
tongue and pen, by tears and blood, have more privately asserted. The smallest of
Christ's truths (if it be lawfull to call any of them small) is of greater moment then all
the other businesses that ever have been debated since the beginning of the world to
this day; but the highest of honours and heaviest of burdens is put upon you, to
declare out of the sacred records of divine truth what is the prerogative of the
crown and extent of the scepter of Jesus Christ—what bounds are to be set between
him ruling in his house, and powers established by God on earth—how and by
whom his house is to be governed—and by what wayes a restraint is to be put on
these who would pervert his truth, and subvert the faith of many. No doubt,
mountains of oppositions arise, and goolfs of difficulties open up themselves in this
your way; but you have found it is God that girdeth you with strength, and maketh
your way perfect and plain before you, who hath delivered, and doth deliver, and
will yet deliver. We need not put you in minde that as there lyeth at this time a
strict tye on all, so in a speciall manner both you and we are engaged to interpose
our selves between God and these kingdomes, between the two nations, between the
king and the people, for averting of deserved wrath, for continuing and increasing of
a well-grounded union, for procuring as far as in us lyeth a right settling of religion
and church government; that when we shall sleep with our fathers, the posterity
here and abroad may be reaping the fruits of our labours.
We are fully assured of your constant and sedulous promoving of this blessed
work, and of the Lord's assisting and carrying you on therein; and are confident
that your late experience and present sense of the great danger and fearfull confusion flowing from the rise and grouth of sects and sectaries not suppressed, hath
stirred up in your hearts most fervent desires and carefull endeavours for remedying
the same, wherein we exhort you to continue and abound, knowing that your labours
shall not be in vain in the Lord, to whose rich grace we commend you and the work
in your hands.
Subscribed, in name of the Generall Assembly, by the Moderator.
Edinburgh, Junii 18, 1646.
Recommendation to Presbyteries and Provinciall Assemblies.
I. The Assembly recommends to severall Presbyteries and Provinciall Assemblies
to consider the interests of particular congregations, in the calling and admission of
ministers, with all these questions that usually fall out upon that occasion; and to
report their opinions to the next Assembly, with some fit overtures for preventing all
contests in that matter.
II. The Assembly recommends to Presbyteries and Provinciall Assemblies to consider all the matters referred by preceding Assemblies to the consideration of Presbyteries, and to report their opinions therein to the next Assembly.
Act for a Publike Fast before the next Assembly.
The Assembly, having considered an Act of the Assembly, 1644, Sess. Ult., enjoyning a publike fast to be keeped in all the kirks of the city where the General Assembly holds, upon the first day of the meeting of the Assembly; and finding some inconveniences therein, therefore, at this time, untill the matter be further considered,
appoints a publike fast and humiliation for the Lord's blessing to the meeting of the
next Assembly, to be universally observed in all the congregations of this Kirk, upon
the Sabbath next except one preceding the said next Assembly; the exercises for
the members of the Assembly at their first meeting being still observed, according to
the ancient and laudable practise of this Kirk, this appointment notwithstanding.
The Assembly appoints the meeting of the next Generall Assembly to be at Edinburgh upon the first Wednesday of August, 1647.