Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842. Originally published by Edinburgh Printing & Publishing Co, Edinburgh, 1843.
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The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 21, 1829.
I. Sess. 1, May 21, 1829.—The King's Commission to James Ochoncar Lord Forbes Produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 21, 1829.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
III. Sess. 3, May 23, 1829.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 9, May 30, 1829.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
V. Sess. 9, May 30, 1829.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for the Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty to that end.
VI. Sess. 9, May 30, 1829.—Report and Injunction concerning Schools.
The General Assembly called for the Report of the Committee appointed to Class the Returns upon the subject of the Examinations of Schools, which was produced and read. The Assembly approved of the Report, and directed the Clerk to have it inserted in the Printed Acts, and also to write letters to all the Clerks of Presbyteries, requiring them peremptorily to send up by their Commissioners to the next General Assembly, returns of the Examination of the Schools in their several bounds, in the form of the printed Schedules, containing the names not only of all the Schools examined, but of every School which has not been examined in the course of the year, with the cause of such omission; which Schedules must be delivered to the Clerks not later than the first week of the sitting of the General Assembly.
In last year's Report it was stated, by mistake, that the Episcopal teachers in Montrose had, some years ago, refused to allow the Presbytery of Brechin to examine their schools; whereas it was from the magistrates of that place that the opposition arose. While your committee deem it right, in consequence of the information they have received, to bear their testimony to the submission, the diligence, and success of those teachers, they are, at the same time, bound to state, on authentic intelligence, that the magistrates of that burgh are now in the regular practice of cordially giving their countenance to the Presbytery in the examination of the different schools of that place.
By a letter just received from the clerk of the Presbytery of Cupar, it appears that an arrangement has happily been at length completed, by which a schoolmaster is about to be appointed at Balmerino, and the youth of that parish, it is to be hoped, in future to enjoy the benefit arising from an active teacher.
With regard to this year, returns have been received from the following Presbyteries, viz.:—
By comparing these returns with those of last and some former years, it will be observed, that while about the half of the Presbyteries of the Church have been in the practice of complying with the injunction of the Assembly, by the other half the order so frequently issued by the Assembly is totally disregarded.
Many of the returns received are both drawn up with great accuracy, and give evidence of strict attention paid by the different members of these Presbyteries to the moral and religious instruction of the youth under their care. Still, in some of the returns, it appears that several members of Presbyteries either neglect to examine the schools in their parishes, or, if that be done, to make a return to that effect.
One instance has been stated of a teacher, more anxious to disseminate opinions hostile to the Established Church, than to instruct the youth under his care; and in another Presbytery, two teachers, it appears, who have not qualified, would not say, when asked, whether they were or not willing to do so. But as there is no doubt that what is here pointed out will speedily be corrected, it is not deemed to be necessary to direct the attention of the Assembly more particularly to this subject.
Your committee are of opinion, that attention to the instruction of the rising generation is one of the first objects to which the attention of the Church can be turned; and though it cannot be doubted that the Presbyteries who persist in declining to make returns are nevertheless mindful of this most essential part of their duty, yet, as no evidence to this effect is laid before the Assembly, your committee would humbly suggest that some step ought to be taken by which this might be ascertained. Perhaps this might be, to direct the Clerk of Assembly to address, without delay, a letter to the Clerk of each Presbytery, ordering him peremptorily to send up a return to next Assembly, on one of the printed schedules, of the schools examined within the respective Presbyteries during the twelve months, and to state where any school has not been examined, the name of that school, and the cause of the delay.
Were such an order issued, and compliance yielded to it, a pleasing view would
then be exhibited of the diligence and zeal with which ministers in Scotland attend
to the useful, but especially to the pious, interests of the rising generation, spread
over the various parts of the Church.
Geo. Whitson, Convener.