Act 19
Regarding the ratification of the acts of the assembly

The estates of parliament, presently convened by his majesty's special authority, ratify, approve and perpetually confirm the act of the general assembly held at Edinburgh in the month of August last, made upon 17 of the said month and in the 8th session of the said assembly, entitled, 'Regarding the six causes of our bygone evils', whereof the tenor follows: The king's majesty, having graciously declared that it is his royal will and pleasure that all questions about religion and matters ecclesiastical be determined by assemblies of the kirk, having also by public proclamation indicted this free national assembly for settling the present distractions of this kirk and for establishing of a perfect peace against such divisions and disorders as have been sore displeasing to his majesty and grievous to all his good subjects, and now his majesty's commissioner John [Stewart], earl of Traquair, instructed and authorised with a full commission, being present and sitting in this assembly now fully convened and orderly constituted in all the members thereof, according to the order of this kirk, having at large declared his majesty's zeal to the reformed religion and his royal care and tender affection to this kirk, where his majesty had both his birth and baptism, his great displeasure at the manifold distractions and divisions of this kirk and kingdom, and his desires to have all our wounds perfectly cured with a fair and fatherly hand; and, although in the way approved by this kirk trial has 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 solemnly convened, concerning the real and true causes of so many and great evils at this time past had so sore troubled the peace of this kirk and kingdom, it was represented to his majesty's commissioner by this assembly that, beside many others, the main and most material causes were first the pressing of this kirk by the prelates with a service book or book of common prayer, without warrant or direction from the kirk, and containing beside the popish frame thereof diverse popish errors and ceremonies and the seeds of manifold and gross superstitions and idolatry, with a book of canons, without warrant or direction from the general assembly, establishing a tyrannical power over the kirk in the persons of the bishops, and overthrowing the whole discipline and government of the kirk by assemblies with a book of consecration and ordination, without warrant of authority, civil or ecclesiastical, 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 this kirk, subverting the jurisdiction and ordinary judicators of this kirk, and giving to persons merely ecclesiastical the power of both swords and to persons merely civil the power of the keys and kirk censures. A second cause was the articles of Perth, namely: the observation of festival days, kneeling at the communion, confirmation, administration of the sacraments in private places, which were brought in by a null assembly and are contrary to the Confession of Faith as it was meant and subscribed in 1580 and diverse times since, and to the order and constitution of this kirk. Thirdly, the change of the government of the kirk from the assemblies of the kirk to the persons of some kirkmen, usurping priority and power over their brethren by the way and under the name of episcopal government, against the Confession of Faith of 1580, against the order set down in the book of policy and against the intention and constitution of this kirk from the beginning. Fourthly, civil places and power of kirkmen, their sitting in session, council 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 function, lift them up in worldly pomp above their brethren and do tend to the hindrance of the ministry. Fifthly, the keeping and authorising of corrupt assemblies at Linlithgow in 1606 and 1608, at Glasgow in 1610, at Aberdeen in 1616, at St Andrews in 1617 and at Perth in 1618, which are null and unlawful as being called and constituted quite contrary to the order and constitutions of this kirk received and practised ever since the reformation of religion, and with all labouring to introduce novations into this kirk against the order and religion established. A sixth cause is the want of lawful free general assemblies, rightly constituted of pastors, doctors and elders yearly or more often for matters arising, according to the liberty of this kirk expressed in the book of policy and acknowledged in the act of parliament in 1592. After the which, the whole assembly in one heart and voice did declare that these and such others proceeding from the neglect and breach of the National Covenant of this kirk and kingdom made in 1580 have been the true and main causes of all our evils and distractions, and therefore ordain, according to the constitutions of the general assemblies of this kirk and upon the grounds respectively above-specified, that the foresaid service book, books of canons and ordination and the high commission be still rejected, that the articles of Perth be no more practised, that episcopal government, the civil places and power of kirkmen be held still as unlawful in this kirk, that the above-named pretended assemblies at Linlithgow in 1606 and 1608, at Glasgow in 1610, at Aberdeen in 1616, at St Andrews in 1617 and at Perth in 1618, be hereafter accounted as null and of no effect, and that for preservation of religion and preventing all such evils in time coming general assemblies rightly constituted as the proper and competent judge of all matters ecclesiastical hereafter be kept yearly and more often for matters arising, as occasion and necessity shall require (the necessity of these occasional assemblies being first remonstrated to his majesty by humble supplication); as also that kirk sessions, presbyteries and synodal assemblies be constituted and observed according to the order of this kirk. Which act, with all and sundry the particular heads, clauses and articles contained therein, the estates now convened by his majesty's indiction, warrant and authority foresaid ratify, approve and confirm in all points, in manner as the same purports, and give thereto the strength of a law and act of parliament, and ordain execution to pass there upon as appropriate; and rescind, make void and annul all acts and decrees of parliament and council formerly made contrary and in prejudice of the said act or any part thereof.

Act 20
Act rescissory

The estates of parliament, presently convened by his majesty's special authority, considering that the office of bishops and archbishops and all other prelates, the civil places and power of kirkmen, as their voicing and riding in parliament, are condemned by the assemblies of this kirk, and considering the several acts and complaints of this kirk to parliaments from time to time against any persons, especially of prelates attempting to voice or do anything in name of the kirk without either bearing office in the kirk or having commission from the kirk, with her frequent supplications to the parliament for dissolving of all prelacies; considering also the petition of the commissioners of the late general assembly humbly craving the rescission of all acts of parliament which grant to the kirk or kirkmen of whatsoever sort, allowed or disallowed, as representing her or in her name the privilege of riding and voicing in parliament as prejudicial to her liberties and incompatible with her spiritual nature, declare that the sole and only power and jurisdiction within this kirk stands in the kirk of God as it is now reformed, and in the general, provincial, presbyterial assemblies of the kirk, with the sessions thereof, established by act of parliament in June 1592, chapter 114, which act the said estates, now convened by his majesty's special indiction, warrant and authority, revive and renew in the whole heads, points and articles thereof (with this express declaration: that according to the last clause in the act of the late general assembly of 17 August the necessity of occasional assemblies be first remonstrated to his majesty by humble supplication), to stand in full strength as a perpetual law in all time coming, notwithstanding of whatsoever acts and statutes made in the contrary thereof in whole or in part, which the estates convened as said is make void and annul in all time coming. And declare that it is and shall be lawful to the presbyteries of this kirk to exact and receive from subjects of all qualities their oath of the Confession of Faith and covenant, with the subscription thereof, to examine pedagogues of the sons of noblemen passing out of the country, to give them testimonials according to former acts of parliament, to give and direct admonitions private or public to persons joined in marriage for adherence, to design manses and glebes to ministers, to appoint stent masters for reparation of kirk and kirkyards and for maintenance of the masters of schools, and to stent the parishioners according to the act of parliament, admit ministers upon the presentations from the lawful patrons or by a devolved right which shall happen hereafter or to kirks which fall not under patronages likewise and as freely as they did or might have done of before, and to do all and whatsoever things which before pertained to presbyteries and were usurped by the prelates. And that notwithstanding of whatsoever acts or statutes made in the contrary in favour of bishops, archbishops or other prelates, which the estates authorised in manner foresaid make void and annul, and specially the estates foresaid make void and annul [the 231st act]3 1597 regarding the kirk and special persons and prelates voicing in parliament and representing the third estate; the 2nd act of 1606, regarding the restitution of the state of bishops and their representing the third estate; the 8th act of 1607, regarding the chapter of St Andrews; the 6th act of 1609, regarding the commissariats and jurisdiction given to bishops and archbishops; the first act of 1612, regarding the ratification of the pretended acts of the assembly at Glasgow in 1610; the first and second acts of 1617, regarding the election of bishops and restitution of chapters, without prejudice always to the ministers serving the cure of any emoluments allowed to them in part of their stipend; the first act of 1621, regarding the ratification of the articles of the pretended assembly held at Perth; and finally the estates foresaid convened by authority rescind and annul all and whatsoever acts of parliament, laws and constitutions in so far as they derogate and are prejudicial to the spiritual nature, jurisdiction, discipline and privileges of this kirk or of her general, provincial, presbyterial assemblies and kirk sessions, and so far as they are conceived in favour of archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors and other prelates or kirkmen, whatsoever their dignity, title, power, jurisdiction and estate in this kirk and kingdom, or in favour of the civil places and power of kirkmen of whatsoever sort, allowed or disallowed, for their riding, sitting and voicing in parliament, either as kirkmen or the clergy or in name of the kirk or as representing the kirk either in regard of their ecclesiastical titles, offices, places and dignities, or in regard of the temporality or spirituality of their ecclesiastical benefices or other pretext whatsoever, with all acts and constitutions of convention, council or session or other judicatory whatsoever, and all practices and customs whatsoever introduced in favour of the said offices, titles, benefices or persons provided thereto. And declare all persons civil or ecclesiastical censured, deprived, confined or banished by virtue of whatsoever acts, decreets or sentences given and pronounced by the said archbishops and bishops or others, their colleagues and associates in their ecclesiastical courts held by virtue of the acts foresaid, or by any of them, or by virtue of the pretended high commission and all acts interposed thereto against the persons foresaid for non-obedience of the foresaid acts, or any of them which are now repealed as said is, or for not acknowledging their said courts or for their pretended contumacy and non-compearance to answer before them, to be null and of no value, force nor effect, and the foresaid persons to be restored and reinstated against the same, likewise as if the same had never given nor pronounced.

Act 21
Act regarding the choosing of committees out of every estate

The estates of parliament, presently convened by virtue of his majesty's special authority, considering that there are diverse questions arisen in this present parliament regarding the freedom of the parliament either to choose or not to choose committees for articles, and when they resolve to choose, regarding the manner of election of them and their use and power by reason the same is not yet determined nor set down by any acts of former parliaments, for removing whereof and avoiding the great prejudice which by experience they find will hereby redound to this kingdom and to the liberty, freedom and dignity of the supreme courts of parliament, they have thought it necessary that a solid order be set down, as well declaring the liberty of the parliament in the manner of their proceedings by themselves alone or by committees for articles as prescribing the form and manner of the election of these committees for articles and designing their use, power and manner of their proceedings to be observed in all time coming; and therefore have statute and declared that, according to the liberty of all free judicatories regarding their own preparatory committees, all subsequent parliaments may, according to the importance of affairs for the time, either choose or not choose several committees for articles as they shall think expedient, and that any subsequent parliaments making election of committees for articles to prepare matters for them shall proceed in manner following, namely: that those of the noblemen shall be named and chosen by the noblemen themselves out of their number, and by the barons, commissioners of shires, by themselves out of their number, and the burgesses, commissioners of burghs, by themselves out of their number, the names of the which persons so named and chosen out of every estate (not exceeding for every committee the number prescribed by the act of parliament of 1587) being openly read and made known to the whole estates sitting in plain parliament, the said estates having received any propositions (which are ever first to be represented to themselves) by an act shall authorise the said persons with power to treat, reason or consult upon the expediency or inexpediency of such articles only as shall be committed and recommended to them by the estates and to set down such reasons and motives as they can devise whereby to enforce either the passing or rejecting of the same in parliament, to be reported with the said articles to the remainder of the said estates assembled in parliament, that they may deliberate and advise thereupon; and that after discussing of the reasons given in either for or against the same, the said estates may ordain such of the said articles as they find to deserve consideration to be formed and passed as articles to be voted in plain parliament. And in case it shall happen them to omit or forget to make report to the estates as said is of any of the said articles, with their reasons for or against the same, it shall be lawful in that case to the presenters of the said articles to propose the same again in plain parliament that they may there be determined and decided. And further, to the effect that the said estates may be in readiness to receive all articles which shall be given in and presented to the parliament and either to give answer thereto themselves if they shall think it expedient or otherwise recommend the same to the said committee to be digested by them and reported as said is, it is thought fit and declared that the rest of the estates by and beside those of the several committees of the articles shall be held continually to sit for receiving, advising and discussing of all articles, propositions and overtures, and matters shall be presented to them from the beginning of the parliament to the closure thereof, and likewise after all the said articles are passed and discussed by the said estates in manner foresaid, that they shall take such a competent time as they shall think requisite, according to the number and importance of the affairs in hand, to revise and consider the same again before the day of voting, that they may be well and ripely advised relating thereto.

  1. NAS, PA2/22, f.30r-31v.
  2. NAS, PA2/22, f.31v-32v.
  3. APS interpolation. However, the printed act states 'the 23 act', The Acts made in the Second Parliament of our most high and dread sovereign Charles, by the grace of God, King of Scotland, England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. Holden at Edinburgh in the severall Sessions thereof, according to the dates therein mentioned (Edinburgh, 1641), p.21.
  4. NAS, PA2/22, f.32v-33v.