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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/98

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penned by Knox (Calderwood, ii. 424); and by that of 1569 he was named one of a committee to proceed against the Earl of Huntly for his adherence to popery. By the latter of these assemblies a petition was presented to the regent and council that Pont might be appointed where his labours might ‘be more fruitful than they can be at present in Moray’ (ib. ii. 485); and in July 1570 he also craved the assembly to be disburdened of his commission, but was requested to continue until the next assembly. At the assembly of July 1570 he acted as moderator. On 27 June 1571 he was appointed provost of Trinity College, near Edinburgh. He attended the convention which met at Leith in January 1571–2, and by this convention he was permitted to accept the office of lord of session bestowed on him by the regent Mar on account of his great knowledge of the laws. The license was, however, granted only on condition that he left ‘not the office of the ministry,’ and it was moreover declared that the license was not to be regarded as a precedent (ib. iii. 169; Book of the Universal Kirk, p. 54). When, therefore, in March 1572–3 the regent Morton proposed that several other ministers should be appointed lords of session, the assembly prohibited any minister from accepting such an office, Pont alone being excepted from the inhibition (ib. p. 56). Pont was, along with John Wynram, commissioned by Knox to communicate his last wishes to the general assembly which met at Perth in 1572 (Knox, Works, vi. 620).

In 1573 Pont received a pension out of the thirds of the diocese of Moray. At the assembly which met in August of this year he was ‘delated for non-residence in Moray, for not visiting kirks for two years—except Inverness, Elgin, and Forres—and for not assigning manses and glebes according to act of parliament;’ and at the assembly held in March 1574 he demitted his office ‘in respect that George Douglas, bishop of Moray, was admitted to the bishopric’ (Calderwood, iii. 304). The same year he was translated to the second charge of St. Cuthbert's (or the West Church), Edinburgh; and in 1578 to the first charge of the same parish. He was chosen moderator of the general assembly which met in August 1575; and from this time he occupied a position of great prominence in the assembly's deliberations, his name appearing as a member of nearly all its principal committees and commissions.

Pont was one of those who, after the fall of Morton in 1578, accompanied the English ambassador to Stirling to arrange an agreement between the faction of Morton and the faction of Atholl and Argyll; and he was also one of those who, nominally at the request of the king, ‘convened’ in the castle of Stirling, on 22 Dec. 1578, for the preparation of articles of a ‘Book of Policy,’ afterwards known as the ‘Second Book of Discipline.’ He again acted as moderator at the assembly of 1581. After October of the same year he, on invitation, became minister at St. Andrews; but for want of an adequate stipend he was in 1583 relieved of this charge, and returned to that of St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh. He took a prominent part in the proceedings in 1582 against Robert Montgomerie (d. 1609) [q. v.] in regard to his appointment to the bishopric of Glasgow, and at a meeting of the privy council on 12 April he protested in the name of the presbyteries of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dalkeith that, ‘the cause being ecclesiastical,’ it ‘properly appertained to the judgement and jurisdiction of the kirk’ (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 477; Calderwood, iii. 596–8). In 1583 he was appointed one of a commission for collecting the acts of the assembly (ib. p. 712); and the same year was directed, along with David Lindsay and John Davidson, to admonish the king to beware of innovations in religion (ib. p. 717). At the general assembly held at Edinburgh in October of the same year he again acted as moderator. When the acts of parliament regarding the jurisdiction of the kirk were proclaimed at the market cross of Edinburgh on 25 May 1584, Pont, along with Walter Balcanqual, appeared ‘at the appointment of their brethren,’ and ‘took public documents in the name of the kirk of Scotland that they protested against them’ (ib. iv. 65). For this he was on the 27th deprived of his seat on the bench, and immediately thereafter he took refuge in England. On 7 Nov. he was summoned by the privy council to appear before it on 7 Dec., and give reasons for not subscribing the ‘obligation of ecclesiastical conformity’ (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 703). Shortly before this he had returned to Scotland, and had been put in ward, but not long afterwards he received his liberty. He penned the ‘Animadversions of Offences conceaved upon the Acts of Parliament made in the Yeare 1584 in the Moneth of May, presented by the Commissioners of the Kirk to the King's Majesty at the Parliament of Linlithgow in December 1585.’ In May 1586 he again acted as moderator of the general assembly. In 1587 he was appointed by the king to the bishopric of Caithness; but, on his referring the matter to the general assembly, it refused to ratify the appointment, on the ground that the office was ‘not agreeable to the word of God.’ The