Acts: 1840

Pages 1098-1103

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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In this section

The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 21, 1840.

I. Sess. 1, May 21, 1840.—The Queen's Commission to Lord Belhaven.

Victoria, &c.

II. Sess. 1, May 21, 1840.— Her Majesty's Letter to the General Assembly.

Victoria, R., &c.

III. Sess. 4, May 25, 1840.—The General Assembly's Answer to the Queen's most gracious Letter.

May it please your Majesty, &c.

IV. Sess. 4, May 25, 1840.—The General Assembly's Congratulatory Address to the Queen on her Majesty's Marriage.

May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland met in this General Assembly, gladly avail ourselves of this first opportunity of congratulating your Majesty on the auspicious occasion of your nuptials with a Prince adorned by eminent personal qualities, and recommended to the confidence of this Protestant nation, by his descent from a family signalized in the history of Europe by early and stedfast attachment to the cause of the Reformation.

We humbly and heartily assure your Majesty of the affectionate interest with which we and the people of whom we have the spiritual oversight, contemplate an event, which is calculated to lighten the multiplied cares of royalty by the soothing influence of domestic kindness, and which, at the same time, affords us the pleasing prospect of the blessings which, through the favour of Divine Providence, we hope will continue to be enjoyed by this nation, in living under the mild sway of a race of princes descended from your Majesty, who, inheriting all the excellencies which have endeared their illustrious ancestors to our fathers and to us, will find their own happiness and honour identified with the wisdom and worth, the peace and safety of their subjects.

That it may please the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to guide and to guard your Majesty—to prolong and to increase the felicities of the conjugal relation—to establish your throne in righteousness, and to uphold it by mercy—to satisfy your heart with the treasures of his grace, and the joy of his salvation—to confer on you the high privilege of being indeed the minister of God for good to the Church, and at last to make you and your Royal Consort partakers of a crown of life in the heavens, is the earnest prayer of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most loyal, and most obedient subjects, the Ministers and Elders of this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
Angus Makellar, Moderator.

V. Sess. 4, May 25, 1840.—The General Assembly's Address to his Royal Highness Prince Albert of Suxe Cobourg and Gotha.

May it please your Royal Highness,
We, her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland met in this General Assembly, approving of the conduct of the Commission of the last Assembly, in the early and cordial welcome which they offered to your Royal Highness, avail ourselves gladly of this opportunity of adding our heartfelt expressions of respectful attachment to a Prince descended from a family signalized by zeal for truth and liberty, personally distinguished by high endowments, and most honourable character, and now peculiarly endeared to us as the husband of the august and gracious Queen who wears the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom.

We devoutly pray to the Supreme Governor among the nations that the conjugal alliance which, to the universal joy of the nation, has been so felicitously formed, may continue to yield pure and permanent comfort to her Majesty and your Royal Highness;—that from this happy union may spring a line of princes trained up in the fear of God, in the love of righteousness, peace, and truth, and in every excellence which can give lustre to greatness, so that, through the favour of God, they may enjoy the distinguished happiness of transmitting the blessings of our unrivalled constitution to many future generatious; and, finally, that you may, at the close of this temporal life, be admitted to immortal felicity and glory in the world to come.

Given at Edinburgh, this 25th day of May 1840, by your Royal Highness's most faithful, obedient, and devoted servants, the Ministers and Elders met in this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
Angue Makellar, Moderator.

VI. Sess. 4, May 25, 1840.—The General Assembly's Address to her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent.

May it please your Royal Highness,
We, her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders met in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, approving of the sentiments expressed by the Commission of the last General Assembly, in addressing your Royal Highness on her Majesty's nuptials, beg leave to add our warm congratulations on the same happy occasion, so interesting to your maternal heart, and so universally gratifying to the people throughout the whole extent of the British Empire.

We feel grateful to your Royal Highness for the assiduity and fidelity with which you devoted your attention to the tuition of our youthful Sovereign during the years of her minority, and it is our earnest hope that you will long live to enjoy the abundant fulfilment of your heart's desire and prayers, while you have the satisfaction of witnessing the growing graces, and the domestic felicity of a beloved daughter, sustaining the high functions of government with such dignity and wisdom as to advance the national honour, and to conciliate and secure the devoted allegiance of a confiding people.

That Almighty God, the Father of mercies, may communicate to your Royal Highness the choicest gifts of Providence and grace;—that you may long observe the happy results of your tender and skilful guardianship of our gracious Queen, in the not less wise and affectionate care extended by her to the offspring which we hope will be granted to her, as the heritage of the Lord;—and that, through the merits of the Redeemer, you, and those who are dearest to you, may at last be gathered at the right hand of the throne of the great Judge of heaven and earth, is the earnest prayer of,
Your Royal Highness's most obedient, faithful, and devoted servants, the Ministers and Elders of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
Angus Makellar, Moderator.

VII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1840.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.

The General Assembly, &c.

(The instructions given by the General Assembly, 1717, to their Commission, and annually renewed since that time, are added.)

VIII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1840.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for the Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for Managing her Majesty's Royal Bounty.

The General Assembly, &c.

IX. Sess. 2, May 22, 1840.—Act on the Conversion of the Jews.

The General Assembly, having heard the Report of the Committee for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, approve of the same; and having also heard two members of the deputation with reference to their Report, the Assembly unanimously express their gratitude to all the members of the deputation, through the Moderator, and their sympathy in the present circumstances of Dr Black. The General Assembly appoint the following ministers and elders, viz., the ministers of the Presbyteries of Edinburgh and Glasgow, &c.; to be a committee for the above mentioned object, of which Dr Macgill shall be convener, with former powers, and especially with power to adopt such measurers as to them may seem necessary; and, particularly, with power to take steps for preparing and sending missionaries to the stations most promising; and the General Assembly recommend that collections be made throughout the Church for this object, in the same way as for the other Schemes of the Church; and renew their recommendation to ministers to remember the cause of God's ancient people in the services of the sanctuary.

X. Sess. 4, May 25, 1840.—Act in favour of India Missions.

After hearing the Report, the General Assembly did, and hereby do, nominate and appoint the ministers of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, and of the Presbytery of Glasgow, and the following members of Assembly, viz.:—Dr Mackay, &c.; to be a committee for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and for raising and managing the funds contributed for that purpose; with power to appoint sub-committees for furthering the objects in view. The general committee shall hold stated monthly meetings for dispatch of business, with power to meet on all necessary occasions. And the committee are enjoined to attend to the instructions approved of by former Assemblies, with power to adopt and carry into effect such farther measures as to them may seem beneficial. The General Assembly, deeply anxious that the funds placed at the disposal of the committee should be increased in amount, to meet the increasing expenditure, earnestly recommend the formation of parochial and district associations, for the raising of funds and the dissemination of missionary intelligence. And the Assembly renew their recommendation, that in every parish there may be made an yearly public collection in the parish church on behalf of this cause, on the day to be fixed by the Assembly in its arrangement regarding collections for the different Schemes of the Church. And the General Assembly earnestly recommend that each minister, in his public prayers, implore the blessing of God on the exertions of the committee, on the labours of the missionaries, and also on those who, through their instrumentality, may be brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.

XI. Sess. ult., June 1, 1840.—Act Recommending Collections for the Five Schemes of the General Assembly.

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, considering the obligation which lies on this Church to promote, to the utmost extent of the means with which God hath entrusted them, the progress of the Gospel of Christ among their own people, their brethren in the Colonies, and the heathen throughout the world; and considering farther, how greatly their efforts have been impeded from a want of due arrangements for properly collecting the contributions of their several congregations, and confiding in their liberality and Christian zeal, were fit occasions regularly presented to them for contributing to the advancement of the five great Schemes now prosecuted by the Church, earnestly recommend to all the ministers of this Church to make collections every year on behalf of each of these objects, viz.—(1.) Foreign Missions; (2.) Church Extension; (3.) Colonial Churches; (4.) Conversion of the Jews; (5.) Education; upon the following Sabbaths, viz.—upon the second Sabbath of July, the second Sabbath of October, the second Sabbath of January, the second Sabbath of March, and the second Sabbath of May, commencing this present year with the collection for Foreign Missions on the second Sabbath of July; the collections for the other Schemes following in the order above written, viz.—for Church Extension on the second Sabbath of October; for Colonial Churches, on the second Sabbath of January; for Conversion of the Jews, on the second Sabbath of March; and for Education, on the second Sabbath of May; and in future years in the same order, but commencing on the second Sabbath of July in each year, with the Scheme next in order to that for which the collection had been made in the year preceding; as, for instance, in the year 1841, with Church Extension, and so on through the year, and from year to year; provided always, that whenever the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper happens to fall on any of the said Sabbaths, the collection shall be made on the Sabbath immediately preceding: And the Assembly direct that the committees of Assembly for the several Schemes shall make up a joint state, &c. (The Act then proceeds in similar terms to that of last year.)

XII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1840.—Act appointing a Special Commission to co-operate with the Presbytery of Strathbogie in providing for the Preaching of the Gospel, and the Administration of the Ordinances of Religion, and the Exercise of Discipline in the Parishes of the Seven Suspended Ministers of that Presbytery.

The General Assembly, having taken into consideration the state of the Parishes of the ministers of the Presbytery of Strathbogie, suspended by sentence of this date, and the necessity of providing for the preaching of the Gospel, and the administration of the ordinances of religion, and the exercise of discipline therein, resolve to appoint a Special Commission to co-operate with the Presbytery of Strathbogie in providing the same; and they accordingly did, and hereby do, appoint the Moderator, Dr Dickson, Mr John Paul, Mr James Thomson, Mr Bannerman, Mr Scott, (Dalmeny,) Dr Welsh, Dr Chalmers, Principal Dewar, Mr M'Lagan, Dr Paterson, Dr Henderson, Mr Thorburn, Dr M'Farlan, Mr L. Balfour, Mr Grierson, R. Bruce, Esq. of Kennet, the Procurator, George Buchan, Esq. of Kelloe, A. E. Monteith, Esq., A. Dunlop, Esq., J. G. Wood, Esq., P. Dalmahoy, Esq., W. H. Craufurd, Esq., Mr Duncan M'Farlane,—seven, of whom five shall be ministers, to be a quorum,—commissioners for the purpose aforesaid; and they empower and instruct the Presbytery of Strathbogie, with advice and consent of the said Special Commission, to appoint ministers or probationers to preach and administer the ordinances of religion in the parishes of the said ministers during their suspension, and to give special directions thereanent. And in the event of any circumstances occurring which may appear to the said Special Commission to render it necessary, the General Assembly empower them, of themselves, to do and perform what the Presbytery is hereby authorised to perform, with their advice and consent; Dr Dickson to be convener.

XIII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1840.—Overture and Interim Act, with Regulations for carrying into effect the Act of Assembly, May 29, 1835, on the Calling of Ministers. (fn. 1)


XIV. Sess. ult., June 1, 1840.—Act appointing the Diet of next General Assembly.

The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be holden at Edinburgh, on Thursday, the 20th of May 1841.

Extracted from the Records of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, by
John Lee, Cl. Eccl. Scot.


  • 1. This Overture and Interim Act is the same as that of last year. The following notice respecting its re-transmission appears in the Abridgment of the Proceedings:— "The General Assembly called for the Report of the Committee on the Overtures and Regulations as to Calls, which, in the absence of the Convener, Mr Shaw Stewart, was given in by Mr Dunlop. It was moved and seconded, That the General Assembly re-transmit the Regulations relative to the Act on Calls, again enact them as an Interim Act, and renew the instruction of last year to Presbyteries to report to next Assembly all cases in which an apparent majority of dissents shall be tendered, unless the dissent shall be acquiesced in by the parties; the General Assembly, in thus suspending all disputed cases, being earnestly desirous to avoid, as far as possible, all further collision with the Civil Courts, and to reserve to the Church the power of finally deciding all such cases, in harmony with any law regarding the temporalities which may pass the Legislature during the current year, and which shall, at the same time, be in accordance with the fundamental principles of this Church. Under the above instruction to Presbyteries, the settlement of ministers will continue to be conducted according to the existing Act on Calls, and those cases in which all parties acquiesce in its operation will be carried out to a final conclusion under the same: but the General Assembly find themselves precluded, in present circumstances, from adopting any other permanent rule upon the subject, when there appears no other arrangement consistent with the fundamental principles of the Church, which the Assembly can substitute in its room, that may not be found equally open to challenge by the Civil Courts. It was also moved and seconded, that as the Act anent Calls, called the Veto Act, has been declared illegal by the Supreme Civil Judicatory, the General Assembly declare that the said Act is null and void, with the Regulations accessory to, and dependent upon it, and refuse to re-enact and re-transmit the same. A third motion was made and seconded, That the General Assembly, taking into consideration the difficulties to which not only the Presbyteries of the Church, but the individual members thereof, may be subjected through the attempt to carry into operation the Regulations, and being desirous to remove every impediment in the way of an adjustment of the present difficulties, in accordance with the repeatedly expressed mind of the Church, suspend the Act on Calls till the next General Assembly and, in the mean time, instruct Presbyteries to proceed to the settlement of ministers according to the rules of the Church; it being distinctly enjoined, that the communicants shall, on the day fixed for the moderation of the call, have full opportunity afforded them to express their dissent; that the dissentients be required to assign, for the information and consideration of the Presbytery, the grounds of their objections to the presentee; and that the Presbytery shall, on a review of the whole circumstances of the case, decide on the fitness or unfitness of the presentee for the particular parish. The second and third motions were negatived without a division,—whereupon the General Assembly found in terms of the first motion."—Ed. 1843.