Procedure: ratification of acts and conclusions of the general assembly
A ratification of the acts and conclusions set down and agreed upon in the general assembly of the kirk, kept in Glasgow in the month of June 1610, together with an explanation by the estates of some of the articles of the same

Forasmuch as in the parliament held at Edinburgh in the year of God 1597 the estates of this kingdom remitted to his majesty to consult and agree with the general assembly of the kirk upon the authority and power which the archbishops and bishops should have in the policy and discipline of the kirk, whereupon after that his majesty and his commissioners had many times most seriously conferred and advised with the ministry, at last conclusion was taken in the general assembly held at Glasgow in the month of June 1610, discerning all the doubtful and controverted points concerning the jurisdiction, policy and discipline foresaid, with full and uniform consent of a very frequent number of godly ministers, assisted by the council and concurrence of a great many of best affected nobility, barons and commissioners of burghs of this kingdom in manner, substance and effect following, with the explanation made by the estates of parliament presently convened of some of these articles resolved upon in the foresaid assembly of Glasgow.

In the first, the foresaid assembly acknowledges the indiction of the general assembly of the kirk to appertain to his majesty, by the prerogative of his royal crown.

And further ordains that the bishops shall be moderators in every diocesan synod and the synod shall hold twice in the year of the kirks of every diocese, namely: in April and October; and where the diocese are large, that there be two or three synods in convenient places for ease of the ministry; and in case the bishop of the diocese be absent upon any necessary occasion, in that case his place shall be supplied by such a worthy minister bearing charge within the bounds, as the archbishop or bishop shall appoint.

That no sentence of excommunication or absolution thereof be pronounced against or in favour of any person without the knowledge and approbation of the bishop of the diocese, who must be answerable to God and his majesty for all formal and impartial proceeding therein; and the process being found formal, the sentence to be pronounced, at the direction of the bishop, by the minister of the parish where the offender dwells and the process began.

That all presentations to benefices be directed hereafter to the archbishop or bishop of the diocese within the which the benefice, vacant by demission, deprivation, decease or otherwise, lies; with power also to the archbishop or bishop to convey and confer such benefices as fall in his diocese by right of devolution, providing always in case any archbishop or bishop should refuse to admit any qualified minister (accepting the presentation granted to him and who has been once received and admitted to the function of the ministry, being then still undeprived) presented to them by the patron, in the case of any such refusal, it shall be lawful to the patron to retain the whole fruits of the said benefice in his own hands, and either he or the parish wanting a pastor by reason of not planting of the kirk (in case the refusal thereof come by the bishop) may complain thereof to his archbishop; and if either the archbishop be the refuser, or else give not due redress being complained to, in that case the lords of his majesty's privy council upon the parties' complaint of the refusal, and no sufficient reason being given for the same, shall direct letters of horning charging the ordainer to do his duty in the receiving and admitting of such a person as the said patron has presented. It is always declared that if any archbishop or bishop shall discover any such person as is presented to him to have come within compass of a simoniacal agreement with the patron, in so far as he has either already hurt or promised or bound himself to the prejudice and hurt of the state of his benefice, in not reserving a sufficient maintenance for him and his successors, answerable to the estate of his benefice, and that the bishop or archbishop shall understand the same either by the parties' oath, or other clear proof and evidence, in that case they may lawfully refuse any such person presented to them, but if the party who is presented has reserved to himself and his successors a sufficient maintenance, the setting of tacks or promise to do the same, or doing of anything else to his patron (being not prejudicial to that aforesaid maintenance), shall in no way be ascribed to any simoniacal agreement, nor shall not serve for any reason to the archbishop or bishop to refuse him. And in case any such controversy or question shall occur between the patron, the person presented and the archbishop and bishop, it is declared that the lords of council and session shall be judges thereto, to decide upon the said simoniacal agreement and quality of the same if any such thing shall be objected against the party presented.

In deposition of the ministers, the bishop associating to himself the ministry of those bounds where the delinquent served, he is there to take trial of the fact and, upon just cause found, to deprive; and the like order to be observed in suspension of ministers from the exercise of the function.

That every minister in his admission shall swear obedience to his majesty and to his ordainer, according to this form following: I, A. B., now nominated and admitted to the kirk of D., testify and declare in my conscience that the right excellent, right high and mighty prince James VI, by the grace of God, king of Scotland, England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith etc., is the only lawful supreme governor of this realm, as well in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical as in things temporal, and that no foreign prince, state nor potentate has or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm; and therefore I utterly renounce and forsake all foreign jurisdiction, power, superiorities and authorities, and promise that from thenceforth I shall and will bear faith and true allegiance to his highness, his heirs and lawful successors, [and to my power shall assist and defend all jurisdictions, privileges, pre-eminences and authorities granted and belonging to his highness, his heirs and lawful successors] or united and annexed to his royal crown. And further, I acknowledge and confess to have and to hold the said D. and possession of the same under God, of his majesty and his crown royal of this realm; and for the said possessions, I do homage presently to his highness in your presence, and to his majesty, his heirs and lawful successors shall be true, so help me God. And also that every minister in his admission shall swear obedience to his ordainer, according to this form following: I, A. B., now admitted to the kirk of C., promise and swear to E. F., bishop of that diocese, obedience and to his successors in all lawful things, so help me God.

And if the said benefice be at the presentation of a lay patron, the person presented shall give his oath as follows: I, G. H., now admitted to the foresaid benefice, testify and declare in my conscience that the right excellent, right high and mighty prince James VI, by the grace of God, king of Scotland, England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith etc., is the only lawful supreme governor of this realm, as well in matters spiritual and ecclesiastic as in things temporal, and that no foreign prince, state nor potentate has or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm, and therefore I utterly renounce and forsake all foreign jurisdiction, power, superiorities and authorities, and promise that from thenceforth I shall and will bear faith and true allegiance to his highness, his heirs and lawful successors, and to my power shall assist and defend all jurisdictions, privileges, pre-eminences and authorities granted and belonging to his highness, his heirs or lawful successors, or united and annexed to his royal crown; and I do acknowledge and confess to have and hold the said benefice and possessions of the same under God, by his majesty, of E. F., lawful patron of the same.

That the visitation of each diocese be done by the bishop himself, and if the bounds be greater than he can deal with, that then he make special choice of some worthy man of the ministry within the diocese to visit in his place; and whatever minister, without just cause or lawful excuse made, shall absent himself from the visitation or the diocesan assembly, he shall be suspended from his office and benefice, and if he amend not, he shall be deprived.

That the conventions of ministers for exercise shall be moderated by the bishop being present, and in his absence by any other minister whom he shall appoint at the synod.

Which acts, ordinances, declarations and determinations above-written, his majesty finding to be very agreeable to the true religion professed within this kingdom and to the godly and decent government of the kirk, ministry and whole members thereof, therefore his highness, with advice and consent of the estates of parliament, ratifies, approves and confirms all and sundry the premises, and ordains them and every one of them to be obeyed and observed by all his highness's subjects as inviolable laws in all time coming, annulling and rescinding the 114th act of his majesty's parliament held in the year 1592 and all and whatsoever other acts of parliament, laws, ordinances, constitutions, sentences and customs in so far as they, or any of them, or any part of the same, are contrary or derogatory to any of the articles above-written, as essentially and effectually in all respects as if the said acts and customs hereby abrogated were herein expressed.

  1. NAS, PA2/18, f.3v-4r. Back
  2. APS interpolation, taken from the contemporary printed collection of acts, The xxj parliament of our most high and dread soveraine James ... halden at Edinburgh the xxiij day of October, 1612 (Edinburgh, 1612), p.3. Back