| busk him us bonnily as ye can, and fetch him in
as fairlie as ye will, we see him weel eneuch, we see the
horns of his mitre. '"
At next meeting of the General Assembly, after Melville had
spoken to the same effect, Davidson also reminded the king
that he was present as a Christian and not as president of
the Assembly. James attempted to reply to this distinction,
but had recourse to the ultimate reason of kings, by declaring
that he would allow no business to be transacted until his
will was complied with.
Melville and his colleague Johnston were charged by order
of the King "to quit Dundee instantly, under the pain
of rebellion. " Davidson complained of this next day
in the Assembly, and another member (John Knox, minister of
Melrose) boldly asserted that the restriction laid on the
University, and the interdiction now given, proceeded from
a dread which the Court had of Melville's learning. "
I will not hear one word on that head, " said His Majesty
twice or thrice. "Then we will crave help of Him that
will hear us, " replied Davidson.
It was ultimately decided by a majority of ten votes "
that it was necessary and expedient for the weal of the Church
that the ministry, as the third estate of this realm, should,
in the name of the Church, have a vote in Parliament. The
measure was carried chiefly by the votes of elders, and it
was urged by the minority that a number of them had no commission.
The demand of a scrutiny was resisted. Davidson protested,
but his protest was refused, and he was prosecuted for it
before his presbytery at the King's instance. "
In 1582 we find the ministers and the Associated Lords at
loggerheads concerning the teinds, the most of which these
proprietors had appropriated to their own use. " The
ministers had sharply rebuked the open profligacy which prevailed
among them, and censured them for their appropriation of the
ecclesiastical revenues. Mr Davidson, then minister of Liber-ton,
who had been sent to confer with them, called on them to begin
the work of reforming the commonwealth with a reformation
in their own lives, and to evince their sincerity by delivering
up the teinds to their rightful owners. "
During an interview between certain French ambassadors on
the one hand, and the King and certain of his nobles and ministers
on the other, occasion was taken to put the King on his guard,
because it was thought he was likely to play into the hands
of the French Court. "This conversation, " says
Calderwood, "in which the venerable committee met with
rather sharp handling from the precocious acuteness of the
young King, was abrubtly terminated by Gowrie, who observed
he thought it best the Ambassadors should be despatched as
soon as possible. " The ministers now retired, but Davidson,
lingering behind the others, craved a word in the King's ear.
" Sir, " he said, " I thought good to advertise
you, but not before the rest, that you swore and took God's
name in vain too often in your speeches. " The King was
not displeased at this, but thanked him, and, placing his
hand upon his shoulder, accompanied him to the door.
Melville was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly which
met at St Andrews in April 1582. Upon their taking up Montgomery's
cause as referred to them by the Presbytery of Stirling, the
Master of Requests presented a letter from His Majesty, desiring
the Assembly not to proceed. Soon after, a messenger-at-arms
entered the house and charged the Moderator and Members of
Assembly, on the pain of rebellion, to desist entirely from
the prosecution. They ultimately ratified the sentence of
the Presbytery of Stirling, suspending him from the exercise
of the ministry; and, having found eight articles of the charge
against him proved, declared that he had incurred the censures
of deposition and excommunication. This was transmitted to
the Presbytery of Edinburgh, who appointed John Davidson,
minister of Liberton, to excommunicate Montgomery. Davidson
pronounced the sentence accordingly. Lennox and Arran were
enraged beyond measure at this resolute behaviour of the Church
Courts. A proclamation was issued by the Privy Council, declaring
the excommunication of Montgomery to be null and void, and
such as refused payment of the episcopal rents were ordered
to be imprisoned in the Castle of Inverness. (Record of Privy
Council, July 20,
When informed that Davidson had preached in his own church
(Liberton) on the Sabbath subsequent to the excommunication,
Lennox exclaimed, " C'est un petit Diable. "
On this occasion, through the tyranny of Arran, Davidson was
compelled a second time to take refuge in England; when it
is said that " Balganqual and he preached several times
in London, but were ordered by the bishop to desist. "
On the downfall of Arran he again returned to Scotland; but
declined returning to Liberton, and was chosen to deliver
a morning lecture in one of the churches of Edinburgh. This
was evidently the second charge at Holyrood, afterwards referred