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 19, 1842.
I. Sess. 1, May 19, 1842.—The Queen's Commission to the Marquis of Bute produced, and ordered to be recorded.
Victoria, Dei gratiâ, Britanniarum Regina, Fidei Defensor; Omnibus probis hominibus, and quos præsentes literæ nostræ pervenerint, salutem. Quandoquidem Nos considerantes, quod Generalis Ecclesiæ Scotiæ Conventus in diem decimam nonam mensis Maii proximi convenire ordinatus fuit; Nosque cupidæ, et necessarium esse judicantes, in commodum dictæ Ecclesiæ, ut idem Generalis Conventus die statuto et praæscripto conveniret; atque rebus magni momenti Nos alio vocantibus, dicto Conventui personaliter interesse nequimus: Nosque abundè satisfactæ de sufficientia et fidelitate præfidelis Nostri et prædilecti Joannis Marchionis de Bute, quod and summum munus Nostri supremi Commissionarii ad dictum Generalem Conventum riteè exercendum et obediundum usquequaque sit instructus: Noveritis igitur nominávisse, constituisse et ordinavisse, tenoreque præsentium nominare, constituere et ordinare, dictum præfidelem nostrum et prædiliectum Joannem Marchionem de Bute, supremum Nostrum Commissionarium dictæ Ecclesiæ Scotiae Generali Conventui; dando illi et concedendo plenam potestatem, commissionem et warrantum, sacram Nostram Personam et Auctoritatem regalem repræsentandi, et præsentiam Nostram supplendi, et locum Nostrum in dicto subsequenti Generali Conventu, tanquam Commissionario Nostro pro eo proposito specialiter constituto, tenendi; omniaque ad imperium et munus Commissionarii Generali Conventui attinentia peragendi, tam plené, adeoque liberè in omni respectu quam quilibet alius in eodem summo munere fecerat seu quovis tempore præterito facere potuerat, et ac si Nos ipsæ personaliter præsentes facere potuerimus. Quæque omnia et singula, quæ dictus Joannes Marchio de Bute, in hac Nostra commissione prosequenda legitimè fecerit, seu fieri ordinaverit, Nos firmiter ratificamus et approbamus. Insuper omnibus dicti Conventus et Ecclesiæ Pastoribus et Presbyteris cæterisque quibuscunque, intra dictam partem Regni Nostri Uniti Magnæ Britanniæ et Hiberniæ Scotiam vocatam, subditis Nostris cujuscunque gradus seu qualitatis, ut dictum Joannem Marchionem de Bute, tanquam supremum Commissionarium Nostrum, quoad effectum et modum supra memoratos, agnoscant, revereantur, venerentur et audiant, mandamus et præcipimus: Et hanc Nostram commissionem à decimo nono die Maii proximi incipere, et deinceps durante subsequente sessione dicti Generalis Conventûs in vigore continuare declaramus, vel usquedum a Nobis revocabitur et exonerabitur. In cujus rei testimonium, Sigillum Nostrum per Unionis Tractatum custodiendum, et in Scotia vice et loco Magni Sigilli ejusdem utendum ordinatum, præsentibus appendi mandavimus, apud Aulam Nostram apud Saint James's, vigesimo quinto die mensis Aprilis, anno Domini millesimo octingentesimo et quadragesimo secundo Regnique Nostri anno quinto.
Per signaturam manu S.D.N. Reginæ suprascriptam.
II. Sess. 1, May 19, 1842.—Her Majesty's Letter to the General Assembly.
Right Reverend and Well-beloved, we greet you well.—The security and welfare of the Church of Scotland, so intimately connected with the peace and eternal interest of a large portion of our people, demand our constant care, and are regarded by us with affectionate anxiety.
On our accession to our throne, we gladly renewed the solemn obligation which binds us to maintain the Presbyterian Church of Scotland inviolate in all its rights and privileges as by law established.
We rely on your loyalty, and we contemplate with satisfaction the approach of your meeting, in the confident expectation that your deliberations will be directed to the advancement of piety and virtue; and that in all your proceedings you will be guided by the love of religious peace, and by the temper of Christian charity and forbearance.
We would earnestly remind you, that the happiness of our people in Scotland will be promoted by your concord; and we pray that Almighty God may so knit your hearts and rule your decisions, that unity in the Church may be preserved, and that the harmony indispensable in councils adapted for the furtherance of religion may prevail among you.
It grieves us to know, that in some districts of Scotland many of the workingclasses have suffered, and still continue to suffer, severe distress.
We affectionately commend the poor and the destitute to your pastoral care; and we exhort you to inculcate on your respective flocks the duty of freely contributing charitable aid to the relief of the necessities of their brethren.
We have thought fit to appoint our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin, John Marquis of Bute, to be the representative of our royal person in this Assembly. We are well assured of his tried ability and sincere wish faithfully to discharge the high and important duties with which he is entrusted. His prudence and attachment to the Church of Scotland are well known, and we are persuaded that our choice will be acceptable to you. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
Given at our Court at St. James's, the 11th day of May 1842, in the fifth year of our reign.
By her Majesty's Command,
III. Sess. 3, May 21, 1842.—The General Assembly's Answer to the Queen's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, convened in this General Assembly, have received with deep gratitude the gracious Letter conveying your Majesty's assurance, that the security and welfare of the Church of Scotland, so intimately connected with the peace and eternal interests of a large portion of your Majesty's subjects, engage your Majesty's constant care and affectionate anxiety.
We remember with heartfelt satisfaction that your Majesty, on your accession to the throne, recognised the solemn obligation which binds the Sovereigns of this country to maintain the Church of Scotland inviolate in all its rights and privileges, as by law established.
We feel grateful for your Majesty's confidence in our loyalty, and for the expression of your Majesty's satisfaction in the prospect of our meeting; and we humbly trust that, through Divine grace, our deliberations will be directed to the advancement of piety and virtue, and that in all our proceedings we will be guided by the love of religious peace, and by the spirit of Christian charity.
We assure your Majesty of our being fully aware that the happiness of your Majesty's subjects in Scotland will be promoted by our concord; and we earnestly pray that Almighty God may so guide our hearts, and rule our decisions, that unity in the Church may be preserved, and that the harmony which is so conducive to the furtherance of religion may prevail among us.
We participate most fully in your Majesty's sympathy with the sufferings of many of the working-classes in some districts of Scotland, and we have accordingly appointed collections to be made in all the churches in which your Majesty's benevolent wishes for their relief have not been already anticipated.
As office-bearers of this Church, it will ever be our study to watch over the interests of the poor and destitute; and we shall not fail to inculcate on our respective flocks the duty of freely contributing to the relief of their poor brethren.
We hail with satisfaction the appointment of the Most Noble the Marquis of Bute as the representative of your Majesty's person in this General Assembly, a nobleman who, from his tried ability, prudence, and courtesy, and from his well-known attachment, and large liberality to the Church of Scotland, cannot fail tobe acceptable to us in the execution of the important trust committed to his care.
We acknowledge with the warmest gratitude your Majesty's renewed grant of L.2000 for the reformation of the Highlands and Islands; and it will be the object of our anxiety to apply this liberal donation in such a way as may most effectually promote your Majesty's pious and benevolent intentions.
That the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the
God of all comfort, may ever gladden your Majesty's heart with a sense of his favour;—that He may abundantly bless you with domestic happiness and public honour;—and that, after a long and prosperous reign, you may receive the crown of glory
that fadeth not away, 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 National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
D. Welsh, Moderator.
IV. Sess. 3, May 21, 1842.—The General Assembly's Address of Congratulation to the Queen on the Birth of a Royal Prince.
May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland met in General Assembly, beg leave to offer our most cordial congratulations on the birth of a Royal Prince, who, we trust, has been raised up by Divine Providence to inherit, at a period yet far distant, the throne of his illustrious progenitors. We feel ourselves bound to express our gratitude to the Governor among the nations, who has hitherto watched over your Majesty's health and safety, and we earnestly hope and pray that your life may be long preserved as a blessing to the British empire, and to the other kingdoms of the earth; and that the Prince, whose birth has been the signal for universal rejoicing throughout the land, may be so wisely trained under your Majesty's parental inspection, and so beneficially influenced by your Majesty's example, as to become, in due season, the faithful guardian of the sacred interests and privileges of the people, and the enlightened patron of all the great national institutions, which in times past have contributed so essentially to the power of the British nation.
It is our devout prayer that your Majesty, with your Royal Consort, and the objects of your maternal affection, may long enjoy domestic felicity;—that your reign may be signalised by the advancement of sound learning, by the flourishing of commerce and the arts of peace, and especially by the prevalence of pure religion;—and that your Majesty, and those who are most endeared to you, may be heirs of everlasting blessedness and glory in heaven.
Given at Edinburgh, this 21st day of May 1842, by your Majesty's
most faithful, obedient, and loyal subjects, the Ministers and
Elders of this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland,
V. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly did, and hereby do, nominate and appoint the Rev. Dr David Welsh, Professor of Church History in the University of Edinburgh, their Moderator; and from the Presbytery of Dornoch, Mr Duncan Macgillivray at Lairg, Mr Peter Davidson at Stoer, ministers; Patrick Tennent, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Tongue, Mr Hugh Mackay Mackenzie at Tongue, Mr William Findlater at Durness, ministers; James Bridges, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Caithness, Mr William M'Kenzie at Olrick, Mr Charles Thomson at Wick, Mr Thomas Gun at Keiss, ministers; Robert Johnston, junior, Esq., W.S., residing in Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Kirkwall, Mr Peter Petrie at Kirkwall, Mr Adam Rettie at Evie and Rendall, ministers; James Howden, Esq., jeweller at Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Cairston, Mr Thomas Blyth at Birsay and Harray, Mr Peter Learmonth at Stromness, ministers; Robert Omond, Esq., physician in Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of North Isles, Mr George Ritchie at Rousay and Egilshay, Mr James Brotchie at Westray and Papa Westray, ministers; Charles Cowan, Esq., of Valleyfield, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Lerwick, Mr John Bryden at Sandsting, Mr Alexander Stark at Sandwick, ministers; Charles Hay, Esq., younger of Laxfirth, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Burravoe, Mr John M'Gowan at Nesting, Mr William Stevenson at Northmavine, ministers; Isaac Bayley, Esq., S.S.C., ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Dr Robert Gordon at High Church, Mr James Buchanan at High Church, Mr John Clark at Canongate, Mr David Horne at Corstorphine, Mr William Cunningham at College Church, Mr Thomas Guthrie at St John's Church, Mr Robert Jamieson at Currie, Dr Thomas Chalmers, Professor of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh, Dr Robert Smith Candlish at St George's Church, ministers; James Balfour, Esq., of Pilrig, Alexander Earle Monteith, Esq., Advocate, Mr William Whitehead, hosier, Edinburgh, Mr William Brown, surgeon, Edinburgh, ruling elders. From the City of Edinburgh, Sir James Forrest, Bart., Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Andrew Millar, Esq., merchant, formerly one of the Magistrates of the burgh. From the University of Edinburgh, the Very Rev. John Lee, D.D., Principal. From the Church in India, the Rev. Robert Kerr Hamilton, A.M., one of the ministers of St Andrew's Church, Madras, minister; John Law, Esq., late of Madras, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Linlithgow, Mr James M'Farlan at Muiravonside, Mr Lewis H. Irving at Abercorn, Mr William Learmonth at West Calder, Mr William M. Hetherington at Torphichen, ministers; Henry Salmon, Esq., of Bonnyside, James Hamilton, Esq., of Ninewar, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Queensferry, Donald Horne, Esq., of Langwell, W.S. From the Presbytery of Biggar, Carlyle Bell, Esq., W.S., ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Peebles, Mr John Elliot at Peebles, Mr Walter Paterson at Kirkurd, ministers; Thomas Charles Burns, Esq., ruling elder. From the Burgh of Peebles, Harry Maxwell Inglis, Esq., of Loganbank, W.S. From the Presbytery of Dalkeith, Mr John Crawford at Crichton, Mr William Scott Moncrieff at Pennycuick, Mr John Adamson at Newton, ministers; James Moncreiff, Esq., Advocate, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Haddington, Dr Angus Makellar at Pencaitland, Mr John Abernethy at Bolton, Mr William Bruce Cunninghame at Prestonpans, ministers; Hew Francis Cadell, Esq., merchant in Cockenzie, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Haddington, Mr Thomas Dods, nurseryman, residing in Haddington. From the Burgh of North Berwick, Alexander Goodsir, Esq., Secretary of the British Linen Company's Bank, Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Dunbar, Mr David Logan at Stenton, Mr Robert Burns Thomson at Spott, ministers; Patrick Dalmahoy, Esq., W.S., ruling elder. From the Burgh of Dunbar, Captain James Hay of Belton, R.N. From the Presbytery of Dunse, Mr William Cousin at Boston Church, Dunse, Mr John Baillie at Fogo, ministers; John Cadell, Esq., of Tranent, Advocate, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Chirnside, Mr George Tough at Ayton, Mr John Turnbull at Eyemouth, Mr Thomas Smith Goldie at Coldstream, ministers; David Milne, Esq., Advocate, younger of Milnegraden, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Kelso, Mr James Hope at Roxburgh, Mr John Gifford at Nenthorn, ministers; Frederick Lewis Roy, Esq., ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Jedburgh, Mr John Richmond at Southdean, Mr David Aitken at Minto, Mr John A. Wallace at Hawick, ministers; John Paton, Esq., of Crailing, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Jedburgh, William Oliver Rutherford, Esq., of Edgerston. From the Presbytery of Lauder, Mr Walter Wood at Westruther, Mr David Waddell at Stow, ministers; David Dickson, Esq., of Hartree, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Lauder, Macduff Rhind, Esq., Advocate. From the Presbytery of Selkirk, Mr John Campbell at Selkirk, Mr George Ritchie at St Boswell's, ministers; Robert Boston, Esq., ruling elder. From the Burgh of Selkirk George William Hay, Esq., of Whiterigg. From the Presbytery of Annan, Mr Hugh M'Bryde Broun at Brydekirk, Mr William Nivison at Kirtle, ministers; Sir Patrick Maxwell, Bart., of Springkell, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Langholm, Mr Angus Barton at Castleton, Mr Adam Cunningham at Eskdalemuir, ministers; Alexander Harley Maxwell, Esq., ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Lochmaben, Dr Robert Colvin at Johnstone, Mr Thomas Hunter Thomson at Dalton, Mr William Little at Kirkpatrick-Juxta, ministers; John James Hope Johnston, Esq., of Annandale, M.P., ruling elder. From the Burgh of Lochmaben, David Johnston, Esq., of Riggheads, writer in Dumfries. From the Presbytery of Penpont, Mr George Smith at Penpont, Mr Robert Wilson at Tynron, ministers; Andrew Lorimer, Esq., ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Dumfries, Mr George Greig at Tinwald, Mr George John Duncan at Kirkpatrick-Durham, Mr Robert Crawford at Irongray, Mr Robert Gillies, A.M., at Carlaverock, ministers; Mr James Brown, Holywood, Mr James Swan, Torthorwald, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Dumfries, Archibald Hamilton, Esq., writer in Dumfries, a member of Council. From the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright, Mr Samuel Smith at Borgue, Mr John M'Millan at Kirkcudbright, Dr John Whitson at Crossmichael, ministers; Mr William Poole, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Kirkcudbright, Andrew Storie, Esq., Writer to the Signet, residing in Edinburgh. From the Burgh of New Galloway, James Morgan, Esq., S.S.C., Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Wigtown, Mr Peter Young at Wigtown, Mr Alexander Forrester at Sorbie, ministers; George James Laurie, D.D., ruling elder. From the Burgh of Wigtown, Stair H.Stewart, Esq., of Physgill. From the Burgh of Whithorn, William Wingate, Esq., Glasgow. From the Presbytery of Stranraer, Mr Thomas B.Bell, assistant and successor at Leswalt, Mr Robert Donald, at Sheuchan Church, ministers; Mr William Tod, schoolmaster in Kirkmaiden, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Stranraer, Mr William Black, merchant, residing in Stranraer. From the Presbytery of Ayr, Mr Ebenezer B. Wallace at Barr, Mr Robert Paton at Straiton, Mr Thomas Burns at Monkton, Mr James Symington at Muirkirk, Mr Robert Houston at Dalmellington, Mr James Fairlie at Mauchline, ministers; Claud Alexander, Esq., of Ballochmyle, George M'Micken Torrance, Esq., George Square, Edinburgh, John Barclay, Esq., manager of Catrine Cotton Works, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Ayr, Adam Hunter, Esq., merchant in Ayr. From the Presbytery of Irvine, Mr Matthew Dickie at Dunlop, Mr George Colville at Beith, Mr Robert Ferguson at Fenwick, Mr John Hamilton, Gaelic Church, Saltcoats, ministers; William Howieson Crawfurd, Esq., of Crawfurdland, Patrick Boyle Mure Macredie, Esq., of Pierceton, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Irvine, John Allan Rankine, Esq., writer in Irvine. From the Presbytery of Paisley, Mr Robert Stevenson at Middle Parish, Mr James Graham at North Parish, Mr Alexander Salmon at Barrhead, Mr James Falconer at Martyrs' Parish, ministers; Mr John Munro, Mr William Muir, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Renfrew, Matthew Muir, grain-merchant in Paisley. From the Presbytery of Greenock, Mr James Smith at Greenock, Mr James Drummond at Cumbray, Mr John Dow at Largs, ministers; Mr John Gray, merchant in Greenock, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Hamilton, Mr William Buchan at Hamilton, Mr Hugh Dewar at Stonehouse, James Begg, D.D., New Monkland, Mr William Jackson at West Airdrie, Mr David Paton at Chapelton, ministers; William Clark, M.D., of Moffat, William Collins, Esq., Glasgow, ruling elders. From the Presbytery of Lanark, Mr Andrew Borland Parker at Lesmahagow, Mr David Burness at Wiston and Roberton, Mr Thomas Stark at St Leonard's, Lanark, ministers; Thomas Rennie Scott, Esq., Castlemains, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Lanark, Allan Elliot Lockhart of Cleghorn, Esq. From the Presbytery of Glasgow, Dr John Muir at Glasgow, Dr Michael Willis at Glasgow, Dr Matthew Leishman at Govan, Dr Robert Buchanan at Glasgow, Mr John Cochran at East Cumbernauld, Mr Peter M'Morland at Glasgow, Mr John Park at Cadder, Mr David Menzies at Glasgow, Mr John Reid at Glasgow, Mr John Lyon at Banton, ministers; James Buchanan, Esq., merchant in Glasgow, John Geddes, Esq., merchant in Glasgow, Henry Dunlop., merchant in Glasgow, John Gordon, Esq., merchant in Glasgow, John Bain, Esq., merchant in Glasgow, ruling elders. From the City of Glasgow, Andrew Ranken, Esq., merchant in Glasgow. From the University of Glasgow, Rev. Alexander Hill, D.D., Professor of Theology in said College. From the Burgh of Rutherglen, Alexander Drew of Shawfield, Esq. From the Presbytery of Dumbarton, Mr Matthew Barclay at Old Kilpatrick, Mr William B.S. Paterson at Kilmaronock, Mr William Dunn at Cardross, Mr John Pollock at Baldernock, ministers; William Brown, Esq., of Kilmardinny, John Wright, junior, Esq., merchant in Glasgow, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Dumbarton, Robert Duncanson M'Kenzie, Esq., of Calderven. From the Presbytery of Dunoon, Mr John Macdougall at Lochgoilhead and Kilmorich, Mr Alexander Macbride at North Bute, ministers; Mr Duncan Campbell, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Rothsay, Charles Mackinlay. Esq., heritor in Rothsay, and residing there. From the Presbytery of Kintyre, Mr Duncan M'Nab at Campbeltown, Mr Hector M'Neill at Campbeltown, ministers; John Grant, Esq., merchant in Campbeltown, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Campbeltown, Nathaniel Harvey, Esq., bank agent in Campbeltown. From the Presbytery of Isla and Jura, Mr Alexander Cameron at Kilchoman, Mr Colin Hunter at Portnahaven, ministers; James Crawford, junior, Esq., Writer to the Signet, Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Inverary, Mr Duncan Campbell at Inverary, Mr Dugald Campbell at Glassary, ministers; James Hunter, Esq., residing at Lochgilphead, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Inverary, James Blackadder, Esq., upholsterer in Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Lorn, Mr Donald M'Naughton at Duror, Mr Duncan M'Lean at Glenorchy, ministers; John George Wood, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Mull, Mr Neil M'Lean at Tyrie, Mr Neil M'Lean at Ulva, Mr Donald Stewart at Tobermory, ministers; Dr George Gray, Professor of Oriental Languages, University of Glasgow, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Dunkeld, Mr John Waddell at Burrelton, Mr Andrew Kessen at Lethendy, Mr John M'Kenzie at Dunkeld, ministers; John Murray, Esq., 24, Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Weem, Mr Alexander Campbell at Weem, Mr Alexander Robertson Irvine at Foss, ministers; James Stewart Robertson, Esq., ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Perth, Mr John Thomson at Monedie, Mr William Ritchie at St Martins, Mr James Noble at St Madoes, Mr Andrew Bonar, assistant and successor to Mr John Rogers, minister at Collace, Mr Andrew Gray at Perth, ministers; James Mellis Nairn, Esq., of Dunsinnane, Laurence Craigie, Esq., of Glendoick, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Perth, William Henderson, Esq., physician in Perth, and residing in Rose Terrace there. From the Presbytery of Stirling, Mr Andrew Brown at Alva, Mr John Harper at Bannockburn, Mr Ebenezer Johnstone at Plean, ministers; Robert Bruce, Esq., of Kennet, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Stirling, John Aikman, Esq., Treasurer of the said Burgh. From the Presbytery of Auchterarder, Mr James Thomson at Muckhart, Mr Finlay Macalister at West Church, Crieff, Mr Samuel Grant at Ardoch, ministers; Adam M'Cheyne, Esq., W.S., ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Dunblane, Mr William M'Kenzie at Dunblane, Mr James Duncan at East Kincardine, Mr George Hope Monilaws at Tulliallan, ministers; Henry Paul, Esq. of Woodside, banker in Glasgow, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Dunfermline, Mr Thomas Doig at Torryburn, Mr Andrew Bethune Duncan at Culross, Mr William Gilston at Carnock, ministers; Robert Douglas, Esq., banker, Dunfermline, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Culross, John Tait, Esq., Advocate. From the Burgh of Inverkeithing, Alexander Stevenson, Esq., W.S., residing in Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Mr David Bell at Kennoway, Mr Alexander O. Laird at Abbotshall, Mr David Couper at Burntisland, Mr John Alexander at Kirkealdy, ministers; Charles Maitland Christie, Esq., of Durie, Patrick Don Swan, Esq., Provost of Kirkcaldy, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Kirkcaldy, Major Hugh Lyon Playfair, residing in the city of St Andrews. From the Burgh of Burntisland, Alexander Hutchison, Esq., writer in Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Cupar, Dr Alexander Kidd at Moonzie, Mr John Thomson at Balmerino, Mr Robert Johnston at Auchtermuchty, Mr Angus M'Gillivray at Dairsie, ministers; David Maitland Makgill Crichton, Esq., of Rankeillour, David Reid, Esq., Cruvie, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Cupar, Duncan M'Intyre, Esq., manufacturer in Cupar. From the Presbytery of St Andrews, Mr James Roger at Denino, Dr Robert Haldane at St Andrews, Mr Charles Nairn at Forgan, Mr William Ferrie at Anstruther Easter, ministers; Robert Bayne Dalgleish, Esq., of Dura, Colonel William Playfair, residing at St Andrews, ruling elders. From the Burgh of St Andrews, Sir David Brewster, Principal of the United College of St Salvator and St Leonards, St Andrews, and residing in St Andrews. From the University of St Andrews, Mr Andrew Alexander, Professor of Greek in the United College. From the Burgh of Pittenweem, John Wood, Esq., banker in Colinsburgh. From the Burgh of Crail, Peter Walker, Esq., of Muirhead. From the Burgh of Anstruther Easter, Mr George Darsie, junior, residenter in Anstruther Easter. From the Burgh of Anstruther Wester, Walter Malcolm, Esq., writer in Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Meigle, Mr James Flowerdew at Essie and Nevay, Mr William Ramsay at Alyth, Mr Patrick Barty, Ruthven, ministers; Robert Smythe, Esq., of Methven, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Forfar, Mr Daniel Cormick of the South Parish, Kirriemuir, Mr William Clugston at Forfar, Mr George Loudon at Inverarity, ministers; James Bonar, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Dundee, Mr James Thomson at St Clement's, Mr John Roxburgh at St John's, Mr George Lewis at St David's, Mr Samuel Miller at Monifieth, Mr Patrick Leslie Miller at Wallacetown, Dundee, ministers; John Thain, Esq., merchant, Mr Alexander Hean, builder, Dundee, ruling elders. From the Burgh of Dundee, Alexander Balfour, Esq., merchant in Dundee. From the Presbytery of Aberbrothock, Mr John Kirk at Arbirlot, Mr John Laird at Inverkeillor, Mr James Lumsden at Barry, ministers; Captain John H. Montgomerie of Broomfield, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Aberbrothock, Mr George Kyd, manufacturer at Mary-well Village, in the parish of St Vigean's within the Presbytery of Aberbrothock. From the Presbytery of Brechin, Dr Joseph Paterson at Montrose, Dr Robert Smith at Montrose, Mr John Eadie at Dun, ministers; Captain Thomas Ramsay, Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Brechin, Patrick Guthrie, Esq., merchant in Brechin. From the Burgh of Montrose, Mr Francis Japp, Treasurer of the Burgh of Montrose. From the Presbytery of Fordoun, Mr John Glegg at Bervie, Mr John Cook at Lawrencekirk, Mr Samuel Trail, assistant and successor at Arbuthnott, ministers; Walter Cook, Esq., W.S., ruling elder. From the Burgh of Bervie, Alexander Johnston, Esq., W.S., residing at Tullos House. From the Presbytery of Aberdeen, Dr Alexander John Forsyth at Belhelvie, Mr William Primrose at Melville Parish, Mr William Mitchell at Holborn, Mr William Leslie, assistant and successor at Fintray, Mr John Stephen at John Knox's Parish, Mr Robert Thomson at Peterculter, ministers; Dr Daniel Dewar, Principal of Marischal College and University, Captain Thomas Shepherd, residing at Straloch, Dr William Henderson, physician, Aberdeen, ruling elders. From the City of Aberdeen, David Chalmers, Esq., of Westburn, one of the members of Council of the said Burgh. From Marischal College, Dr Robert James Brown, Professor of Greek in said University. From the Presbytery of Kincardine-O'Neil, Mr Robert Milne Miller at Aboyne, Mr William Ingram at Echt, Mr James Watson, assistant and successor at Tarland, ministers; James Hope, junior, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Alford, Mr James Paull at Tullynessle and Forbes, Mr Robert Meiklejohn at Strathdon, Mr Alexander Low at Keig, ministers; Dr George Cook, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of St Andrews, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Ellon, Mr Francis Knox at Tarves, minister; Mr Hercules Scott, Professor of Moral Philosophy in King's College and University, Aberdeen, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Garioch, Mr James Bisset at Bourtie, Mr Thomas Burnett at Daviot, Mr John Wilson at Premnay, ministers; Captain James Elphinstone Dalrymple at Westhall, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Kintore, William Macdonald, Esq., of Ormiston. From the Presbytery of Deer, Mr James Welsh at New Deer, Mr John Morrison at Old Deer, Mr James Yuill at East Parish Church of Peterhead, ministers; Mr John Anderson, residing in Mormond village, Strichen, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Turriff, Mr George Ramsay Davidson at Drumblade, Mr Joseph Thorburn at Forglen, ministers; Neil Smith, junior, Esq., merchant in Aberdeen, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Fordyce, Mr John Innes at Fordyce, Mr Robert Shanks at Buckie, ministers; Dr James Russell, Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Cullen, John Fraser, Esq., Provost of the said Burgh of Cullen. From the Presbytery of Strathbogie, Mr David Dewar at Bellie, Mr Harry Leith at Rothiemay, ministers; Major Ludovick Stewart, residing at Pittyvaich, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Aberlour, Mr Lewis William Forbes at Boharm, Mr William Asher at Inveraven, ministers; James M'Innes, Esq., S.S.C., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Abernethy, Mr William Grant at Duthill, Mr James Grant at Cromdale, ministers; the Right Hon. Francis William Earl of Seafield, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Elgin, Mr Alexander Brander at Duffus, Mr Francis Wylie at Elgin, ministers; Adam Longmore, Esq., residing in Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Elgin, Archibald Bonar, Esq., banker in Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Forres, Mr Mark Aitken at Dyke, Mr Peter Farries at Edinkillie, ministers; Henry Tod, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Forres, George Cumming, Esq., W.S. in Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Nairn, Mr William Barclay at Auldearn, Mr Simon Fraser M'Lauchlan at Cawdor, ministers; John Clerk Brodie, Esq., W.S. at Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Nairn, James Campbell Brodie, Esq., of Lethen. From the Presbytery of Inverness, Dr Alexander Rose at Inverness, Mr Simon Mackintosh at Inverness, ministers; William Stothert, Esq., of Cargen, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Inverness, Mr Alexander Mackenzie, residing at Douglas Row of Inverness. From the Presbytery of Chanonry, Mr Simon Fraser at Fortrose, Mr Donald Kennedy at Killearnan, ministers; George Buchan, Esq., of Kelloe, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Fortrose, Maurice Lothian, Esq., S.S.C., Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Tain, Mr David Carment at Rosskeen, Mr Hugh M'Leod at Logie Easter, ministers; Donald Williamson, Esq., writer at Tain, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Tain, Dr George Smyttan, H.E.I.C.S., residing in Edinburgh. From the Presbytery of Dingwall, Mr Duncan Campbell at Kiltearn, Mr George M'Leod at Maryburgh, ministers; Dr James Begbie, physician in Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Burgh of Dingwall, Hugh Innes Cameron, Esq., Provost of the Burgh of Dingwall. From the Presbytery of Abertarff, Mr Donald Cameron at Laggan, Mr Donald Chisholm at Boleskine and Abertarff, ministers; Robert Bell, Esq., Advocate, Procurator for the Church of Scotland, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Skye, Mr John M'Kinnon at Strath, Mr Coll M'Donald at Portree, ministers; George Tweedie Stodart, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Lewis, Mr Alexander M'Leod at Uig, Mr Duncan Matheson at Knock, ministers. From the Presbytery of Uist, Mr John Bethune at Berneray, Mr Norman M'Leod at Trumisgarry, ministers; Hugh Bruce, Esq., Advocate, edinburgh, ruling elder. From the Presbytery of Lochearron, Mr John M'Rae at Glencig, Mr James Morrison at Kintail, ministers; Alexander Dunlop, Esq., Advocate in Edinburgh, ruling elder; and the Assembly added thereto the name of the Rev. Dr Brunton, Professor of Hebrew in the University of Edinburgh, named by the Moderator; to be commissioners of this General Assembly, to the effect after mentioned; with power to the said commissioners, or their quorum, which is hereby declared to be any thirtyone of the said commissioners, whereof twenty-one are always to be ministers, to meet and convene within the Assembly House at Edinburgh, the first day after the dissolution of this Assembly, at twelve of the clock noon, and thereafter the second Wednesday of August, the third Wednesday of November, and the first Wednesday of March next to come, and oftener, when and where they shall think fit and convenient, with power to the said commissioners to choose their own moderator; and with authority, in the event of any application being made by any of the ministers deposed or suspended in consequence of the occurrences connected with the Presbytery of Strathbogie, to take the same into their consideration, and, if they shall see cause, to remove the censure; and, likewise, the General Assembly fully empower their said Commissioners, or their quorum above mentioned, to cognosce and finally determine as they shall see cause, in every matter referred to, or which shall be referred to them, by any act or order of the Assembly; and to do every thing contained in and conform to the instructions given, or to be given, by the Assembly; and to advert to the interest of the Church on every occasion, that the Church and the present establishment thereof do not suffer or sustain any prejudice which they can prevent, as they will be answerable; provided always, that this general clause be not extended to particular affairs or processes before Synods or Presbyteries, that are not of universal concern to, or influence upon, the whole Church. And it is hereby appointed that no private processes be determined, except at the four stated diets; and what shall be determined at one diet of the commission, with relation to private causes, shall be unalterable by any other diet thereof, and shall stand and continue in force till disapproved of by the General Assembly. And the Assembly renews the instructions given by the General Assembly in the year 1717 to their commission, and appoints the same to stand in full force, as instructions to the commissioners before named, and to be observed by them in all points, as if the same were specially here inserted; and that they inquire into the publishing and spreading of books and pamphlets tending towards the promoting of opinions of whatever kind, inconsistent with our Confession of Faith; and that the recommenders of such books and pamphlets, or of the errors therein contained, whether by word, writ, or print, be called before the said Commission to answer for the same; and, further, the said Commission is hereby empowered to receive any references and appeals that shall be made to them from Synods in matters of doctrine, and ripen such affairs for next General Assembly; and to contribute what they can to the suppression of vice and immorality, and to give all needful advice and assistance to Synods and Presbyteries, upon application to them for that end: Likewise, to take care that the impressions of the Holy Scriptures, the Confession of Faith, and Catechisms, and such books as are authorised by this Church, relating to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, be correct; and to give directions about printing the same. And the commissioners are appointed and empowered to keep a correspondence with the Committee for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands, for suppressing Popery and Superstition, and for promoting the knowledge of true religion, and carrying on a reformation in those parts, and to give assistance and concurrence therein; and, if need be, to apply to the government for a proper remedy and speedy redress. And the said commissioners are hereby strictly prohibited and discharged to meddle in any other matters than what are committed and referred to them as above mentioned: And, in all their actings, they are to proceed according to the acts and constitution of this Church, and to do nothing contrary thereto, or to the prejudice of the same; declaring, that in and for all their actings they shall be accountable to, and censurable by, next General Assembly, as they shall see cause. And the General Assembly appoints the said commissioners particularly to observe the Acts of the General Assembly 1712 and 1719, respecting the Application of the Public Money; which two Acts are printed among the Acts of the Assembly, 1761. And this Commission is to continue and endure until another Commission be appointed; and members are required to attend the diets of the said Commission; and absentees therefrom are ordered to be noticed, according to the 17th Act of the General Assembly, held in the year 1706: And for the better securing a quorum and attendance of members on the Commission, the General Assembly prohibits the Presbytery of Edinburgh, or any other Presbytery within twelve miles thereof, to meet on any of the days or weeks appointed for the meeting of this Commission; and such of the members of these Presbyteries as are on the Commission are required, all of them, to give attendance on the diets thereof; and the Presbyteries, at a greater distance, who have four or more members on the Commission, are to take care that at least two of them attend each diet of the same; and the General Assembly appoint their Commission, at the first meeting, to discuss as many of the causes and questions relative to the settlement of vacant churches, which are or shall be referred to them by the Assembly, as they can overtake; and it is further provided, that when any Presbytery or Synod of this Church shall decline to comply with the sentence of the Commission, or to give the same a full execution, in that case, the Commission is hereby prohibited to execute the same, by appointing any such correspondent meeting, as has been sometimes the practice, but shall allow the same to lie over to the ensuing Assembly, to which such Presbyteries or Synods shall be answerable for such their conduct, and are hereby appointed to send up with their commissioners their reasons for the same. And that in passing their sentences, and in ordering the execution of the same, they strictly observe the 12th Act of the Assembly, 1736.
VI. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—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 did, and hereby do, nominate and appoint the Rev. Dr David Welsh, Professor of Church History in the University of Edinburgh, Moderator, all the ministers who are members of the Presbytery of Edinburgh; Mr Peter Davidson, &c.; to be a committee of this Assembly for the Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, for promoting the knowledge of true religion, suppressing Popery and profaneness, and for managing the Royal Bounty for these ends, according to, and in terms of, her Majesty's grant to this Assembly. In prosecution of which purposes, the committee are to appint preachers and catechists to go to such places as they shall find, upon due information, to be the most proper, according to her Majesty's design, expressed in her warrant; and in so doing, that they have particular regard to such parishes in South Uist, Small Isles, Glencoe, Harris, the countries of Moidart, Glengarry, and Lochaber, and the other parishes of the Synods of Glenelg and Argyle, which the committee shall find, by reason of their vast extent, by the prevalence of Popery and ignorance, and other unhappy circumstances, to be in the greatest distress: And they shall take care that the persons they employ be certified, and found, upon due trial, to be properly qualified for their respective offices; of good abilities for the same; of a pious life and conversation; prudent, of undoubted loyalty to her Majesty, and of competent skill in the principles of divinity, and particularly in Popish controversies; such preachers and catechists being hereby appointed to be subject to, and under the inspection of, the Presbyteries of the bounds to which they are sent, who are to take care that the orders of the committee be duly observed by them. And the preachers are also appointed to catechise, and both they and the catechists to instruct the people from house to house, and to visit the sick; and, in all their labours among the people to be careful to teach them the principles and duties of the true Christian Protestant religion, and the obligations they are under to duty and loyalty to our Sovereign Queen Victoria, and obedience to the laws: And the committee are empowered to give them such instructions as to their work and behaviour, as they shall judge meet; which instructions the preachers and catechists are hereby ordered to obey. The General Assembly do farther appoint the said committee to have a particular regard in their proceedings to the regulations agreed upon by the committee of the Assembly for managing the Royal Bounty on the 30th September 1730, approved by frequent Assemblies; and to take care that Presbyteries, and others concerned, observe the same, which they are hereby ordered to do; particularly, the Assembly ordains the several Presbyteries to insert in their registers the committee's appointments of the designations, salaries, and stations of the several missionaries, and to have an exact regard thereto, in all the letters they shall write about the said missionaries, and in giving of certificates to them; and to direct all their letters concerning missionaries in their bounds only to the moderator of the committee; which letters shall be signed at the appointment of the Presbytery by the moderator or clerk thereof: And the Assembly does discharge any payment to be made of the salaries of the missionaries, except upon receipts from the missionaries themselves, and upon certificates from the Presbyteries, bearing that they have served for the time mentioned in the receipts; and that every catechist who receives a salary from the Royal Bounty, on condition that the parishioners or gentlemen of the district shall pay a certain sum in aid of such salary, shall insert in the body of his receipt to the cashier a declaration that he has received the particular sum specified; and that the attestation of the Presbytery shall, in like manner, bear that the catechist has received the stipulated sum which the committee make the condition of his appointment; that a journal of the itinerant's labours in the ministry of the mission committed to him be written on the back of the Presbytery's certificate, and signed by him, as the ground on which the Presbytery have granted him said certificate. The General Assembly do also empower the said committee to apply, for the purposes above mentioned, what may remain of the last year's Royal Bounty, not disposed of by reason of any of the missionaries not fulfilling the appointments laid upon them; and that they are to keep a register of their proceedings, and likewise distinct books of accounts, how the foresaid money is bestowed, which shall be patent to any concerned, or who may be pleased to inspect the same. Of the persons above named as members of this committee, five are declared to be a quorum, whereof three are to be ministers. But it is hereby appointed, That at the quarterly meeting of the committee in which the scheme or establishment of missionaries for the ensuing year is to be approved and determined, not less than fourteen shall be a quorum, whereof nine shall be ministers: And the said committee are appointed to have their first general meeting at Edinburgh the first lawful day after the adjournment of the first stated diets of the Commission of the General Assembly; their second meeting (which is for fixing the annual scheme) upon the first Thursday of July, with power to those members who shall then be present to adjourn; and their other two general meetings the first lawful days after the stated meetings of the Commission of the General Assembly in November and March, within the Assembly Aisle, at twelve o'clock noon, except that day shall fall to be Saturday, and then the meeting shall be upon Monday next thereafter, at the said hour; with power to the said committee to adjourn themselves to such times and places as they shall find most needful and convenient. And they are to keep a correspondence with the Commission of the General Assembly, and the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and their committee, and to take their advice and assistance; and also to correspond with the Synods and Presbyteries concerned. They are likewise instructed and empowered, as they shall see cause, to apply to the government, or any magistrate, for assistance and support in carrying on the design of the commission now given to them. And the General Assembly do grant full power to the said committee to make such regulations as to the administration of the foresaid Royal Bounty, as to them may seem most beneficial. And the said committee are appointed to examine the accounts of the distribution of the Royal Bounty, and to lay the same before the Lords Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury, or the Barons of her Majesty's Court of Exchequer, and to report their diligence to the General Assembly, to whom they are to be accountable. And it is agreed, that no person once employed, and inserted in the scheme, shall be struck out thereof for that year, but by a quorum of at least fourteen, whereof nine to be ministers; and in case any complaint shall be made against any of those on the scheme, it shall not be determined the first ordinary meeting that the same is offered, but it shall lie on the table till another meeting; and, in the mean time, the person complained of, and the Presbytery of the bounds wherein he officiates, shall be acquainted with such complaint, and those concerned be required to send to the said committee a just account of the matter against the next meeting. And it is further appointed, That after the yearly scheme of missionaries on the Royal Bounty is settled in the manner above directed, and notice thereof given by letters to the Presbyteries concerned, such Presbyteries shall send up to the said committee their answers to these letters, at farthest with their commissioners to the General Assembly, if the same be not done sooner; and that the committee, at their first meeting after the General Assembly, shall endeavour to complete the next year's scheme themselves, and if they cannot complete it, they shall name a sub-committee of their number for that purpose, who are to lay their draught thereof before a subsequent meeting, which is appointed to meet as soon after the rising of the Assembly as possible: And empower the committee, at their first meeting, to reject any petition for a new station, in case they shall find sufficient objectins against it: And that the said committee, in making up the scheme of missionaries, &c., do not exceed the sum in the grant.
VII. Sess. 2, May 20, 1842.—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 appoint the following ministers and elders, viz., the ministers of the Presbyteries of Edinburgh and Glasgow, &c.; to be a committee, of which Dr Keith shall be convener, with all the powers conferred by former Acts of Assembly, appointing committees for the same object; and, in particular, with full power to appoint an acting sub-committee in Edinburgh, and corresponding and co-operating sub-committees in other places, as well as to nominate missionaries and agents, and take all other needful steps for forwarding this work, in those stations which shall appear to be most promising: Further, The General Assembly having considered the recommendation of the Committee relative to the Establishment of an Institution or Mission for the Conversion of the Jews in London, together with the application to that effect, of certain ministers and elders connected with this Church and resident there, reported to the Assembly by the committee, do hereby request and authorise the said ministers and elders, together with such others in communion with this Church as they may associate with themselves, to act as a committee on behalf of this Church, and in subordination to the acting committee before referred to, for the purpose of collecting funds, as well as of managing and superintending such missionary operations among the Jews in London, as it may be found desirable to institute, with instructions to the said committee in London to avail themselves as far as possible of the concurrence and co-operation of the Christians of other denominations, who may be willing to give their aid in this good work of the Lord. And the General Assembly, with reference to that part of the report of the committee, which brings before them the case of Mr Allan, and that of Mr Wingate, being sensible, as well of the urgency of the call for additional labourers among the Jews, as of the high qualifications of these two candidates for the office, and the peculiar circumstances in which they have been placed, approve of the arrangements adopted and contemplated by the committee; and, in particular, as to Mr Allan, the Assembly agree to dispense with one session of his attendance on Divinity and Church History, he having pursued his studies during the past year under Dr Duncan's superintendence at Pesth, and having submitted all his discourses to the Professor of Theology in Glasgow, under whom he formerly studied; and they authorise the Presbytery of Glasgow, or any other Presbytery of this Church, without waiting for the usual sanction of the Synod, to take Mr Allan on trial for licence, and thereafter, on his being licensed as a probationer, to proceed with his ordination as a missionary to the Jews, according to the laws of the Church; while, again, as to Mr Wingate, the General Assembly, dispensing, in his case, with the usual preliminary of licensing him as a probationer to preach the Gospel, which is indispensable to his being eligible to a charge in this country, and with a view exclusively to his appointment as a missionary to the Jews, authorise the Presbytery of Edinburgh, or any other Presbytery of this Church, to take trial of his gifts and qualifications in the usual manner, after his completion of the next session of college, being the second session of his attendance on the Professor of Theology; and thereafter, on being satisfied, to ordain him to the office of the ministry as a missionary to the Jews as aforesaid; it being expressly understood and hereby provided, that he shall not, in respect of such ordination, be considered eligible for a charge in Scotland, until he shall have completed the curriculum prescribed by the laws of this Church, as essential to the receiving of a licence as a probationer as aforesaid. And the Assembly renews its recommendation to the ministers of the Church to remember the cause of God's ancient people in the services of the sanctuary.
VIII. Sess. 3, May 21, 1842.—Standing Order as to Dissents.
The General Assembly did, and hereby do, appoint, that no dissents against any deliverance of the Assembly shall be given in until the matter in which it is pronounced shall, for that sederunt, be disposed of, the minutes completed and adjusted, and the House ready to proceed to other business; before doing which, it shall be intimated by the Moderator, that dissents from any deliverance in the course of the proceeding then brought to a close may now be tendered, and that the clerks shall not receive or record any dissents before such intimation shall have been made.
IX. Sess. 4, May 21, 1842.—Act rescinding the Act, 1799, anent Ministerial Communion.
The General Assembly, having considered the Overture for rescinding the 5th Act of the General Assembly, 1799, did, and hereby do, rescind that part of the 5th Act of the Assembly of 1799, which discharges and prohibits, under pain of such censures as the judicatories of the Church may see cause to inflict, all the ministers of the Church, and the ministers of all Chapels of Ease connected therewith, from employing to preach, upon any occasion, or to dispense any of the other ordinances of the Gospel, within any congregation under the jurisdiction of this Church, persons who are not qualified, according to the laws of the Church, to accept of a presentation, and from holding ministerial communion in any other manner with such persons; while, at the same time, the Assembly enjoins upon all ministers of this Church to guard against holding ministerial communion with men who are not duly ordained and sound in the faith.
X. Sess. 5, May 23, 1842.—Act anent the Election of Elders.
The General Assembly, on the Report of the Committee for classing Returns to Overtures, having found that the Overture anent the Eldership has received the approbation of a majority of the Presbyteries of the Church, did, and hereby do, enact the said Overture into a Standing Law of the Church, as follows:—
1. That when a kirk-session shall have resolved upon an addition to the number of elders in the same, the minister shall publicly intimate from the pulpit, after divine service on the Lord's Day, that an appointment of additional elders has been resolved upon, and shall also intimate the number which is to be added; and he shall certify the whole male communicants of the congregation, that, on the third Lord's Day thereafter, they shall give in lists of such members of the congregation, being communicants and of full age, as they would choose for the office of the eldership, the number of names in each list being required to be as near as may be one-half more than the number of elders proposed, as, for instance, six when four elders are to be appointed; the session being at liberty, if they see fit, to suggest the names of such persons as they may deem meet for the office, for the consideration of the communicants; and the minister shall repeat the intimation on the two following Lord's Days, giving such exhortation as he shall deem necessary.
2. That on the Lord's Day fixed for giving in the lists aforesaid, the said male communicants shall respectively give to the elder or elders of the congregation appointed to receive them their said lists, which shall be signed by the parties lodging them, and shall have been sealed up by them before being given in.
3. That if the number of elders proposed to be appointed be not an even number, that to be contained in the lists shall be equal to it and one-half of the next immediate larger number, as, for instance, if the elders proposed to be appointed shall be five, the names to be given in shall be eight in each list.
4. That on the following Monday, the session shall meet in the Church with open doors, so that all members of the congregation who choose to attend may be present, and shall then and there open the sealed lists, and the names in each list shall be read aloud and recorded, with the number of votes given for each, and those having most votes, to the number required to be contained in the lists, shall be taken as the parties chosen, from among whom the elders are to be appointed.
5. That the session shall thereupon select, from among the parties chosen as aforesaid, the number resolved to be added to the session; being, however, always entitled, according to the laws of the Church, to judge of the qualifications and fitness for the office of the parties so chosen, and to reject such as they shall judge to be unqualified; and being also entitled, if they shall see cause, in the particular circumstances of any special case, to appoint to be elders the whole of the parties so chosen.
6. That when the parties so chosen and appointed shall have declared their willingness to accept the office of elder, their edict shall be served, and the other steps followed out towards their ordination, agreeably to the forms now in use, and according to the laws of the Church.
7. That in parishes which, by the intervention of lochs, ridges of hills, or the like, are separated into totally distinct districts; or when, from other circumstances, a division is considered necessary and proper, the session may, with consent and authority of the Presbytery, divide the parish into districts, and require a certain number of elders to be appointed for each district; and the choosing of the elders of each district shall be by the male communicants residing in each district respectively, in the same manner as is herein before provided as to parishes.
The General Assembly appoint a copy of this Act to be transmitted to every kirksession within the bounds of the Church, and direct the kirk-sessions to insert the same in their respective records; enjoin Presbyteries at their visitation of the session books, to see that this direction has been complied with; and farther, to take order, either at their parochial visitations, or on application of members of congreagations, that, so far as the means exist for it, and adequate number of elders be established in every congregation; and farther, appoint all ministers and session-clerks to make a return of the names of the elders in their several sessions, with the dates of their ordination, or of their admission, (if previously ordained,) and their usual places of residence; and for facilitating the making of these returns, appoint the following committee to prepare and transmit schedules, to be filled up and re-transmitted to the committee before the first day of April next to come, and to report to the next General Assembly the results, pointing out also the alteration in regard to the number of elders in the respective sessions, as compared with the corresponding returns obtained in 1828, viz., Rev. James Buchanan, Thomas Guthrie, R. Jameson, J. Adamson, W. Bruce Cunningham, James Balfour, Esq., W. Brown, Esq., Carlyle Bell, Esq., Captain Ramsay, John Tait, Esq., James Bonar, Esq., Macduff Rhind, Esq., James Crawford, jun., Esq., and Alexander Dunlop, Esq.—Mr Dunlop to be convener.
XI. Sess. 5, May 23, 1842.—Overture anent Attendance on the Latin Class.
XII. Sess. 6, May 23, 1842.—Resolution as to Patronage.
The General Assembly, having considered the Overtures and Petitions anent Patronage, did, and hereby do, resolve and declare, That patronage is a grievance, has been attended with much injury to the cause of true religion in this Church and kingdom, is the main cause of the difficulties in which the Church is at present involved, and that it ought to be abolished; and appoint the following committee to prepare petitions to the two Houses of Parliament, and an address to the Queen, on the subject, viz.—The Moderator, Dr Gordon, Dr Makellar, Dr Dewar, Dr Buchanan, Mr Cunningham, Dr Candlish, Mr Buchanan, Mr Gray, (Perth,) Mr Buchan, Mr Makgill Crichton, Mr Earle Monteith, Mr Dunlop, Mr Bridges;—Mr Cunningham to be convener.
XIII. Sess. 7, May 24, 1842.—Act on India Missions.
The General Assembly, having heard the Report of the Committee for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, approve thereof, and authorise the same to be printed and circulated; and the General Assembly requested the Moderator to present to Dr Brunton, and through him to the committee, the grateful thanks of this Assembly, for their intelligent, zealous, and devoted labours in the conduct of the important missionary scheme committed to their care; re-appoint the committee, with former powers and instructions, and enjoin them to continue their best exertions to procure additional funds for the promotion of this cause, which is again earnestly recommended to the support of the Presbyteries and ministers, and of all the members of the Church, and of all Christians, whether at home or abroad, who take an interest in the extension of Gospel truth among the heathen.
XIV. Sess. 16, May 28, 1842.—Act for Parochial Collections throughout the Church.
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland appoint the following days for general collections throughout all the churches within their bounds, viz.:—(1.) The third Sabbath of June for relief of the Labouring Classes in Distress; (2.) The fourth Sabbath of August for the Scheme for Conversion of the Jews; (3.) The fourth Sabbath of October for Education; (4.) The fourth Sabbath of December for Foreign Missions; (5.) The fourth Sabbath of February for the Home Mission—the collection for Colonial Churches for the current year having already taken place;—and they appoint the collections for the next year to commence in the ordinary order of rotation, with the Scheme for Conversion of the Jews on the fourth Sabbath of April; 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 appoint every minister, on the Sabbath preceding that on which each collection is to be made, to give due intimation thereof from the pulpit, accompanied with such information on the object of the collection as he may deem fitting. The General Assembly, while rejoicing at the increased fruits of the Christian zeal of the people of this Church, during a year of peculiar depression and distress, would earnestly urge on them the duty of still farther augmenting the means provided by them for promoting the cause of the Redeemer, so inadequate to the extent of the field daily opening up to the operations of the Church, and so far within what might be expected from the gratitude and love due to a crucified Saviour. They would, particularly, press upon all ministers of the Church, the duty incumbent on them of at least affording to their parishioners an opportunity of contributing towards the spread of the Gospel of Christ. The General Assembly hail with the highest gratification the information they have received of the increased number of Parochial Associations for Raising Funds in support of the Schemes of the Church, and renew their earnest recommendation to institute such associations where these have not already been established; and they would specially press on the members of these associations the great importance of accompanying all their efforts with frequent meetings for prayer and supplication, in especial connection with the objects in support of which they are associated. Farther, the General Assembly enjoin all the Presbyteries of the Church to hold a yearly meeting, of which due intimation shall be given in all the parish churches within its bounds, and which the public shall be invited to attend; in order to afford to every minister of the Presbytery an opportunity of stating what has been done within his parish in furtherance of the said objects, and to give to the persons present, by means of addresses by one or two of the members specially appointed for that purpose, such information as to the progress of Christianity at home and abroad, as may be best calculated to arouse the benevolence of the Christian public, and to maintain their interest in the prosperity of the said objects. And, particularly, the General Assembly appoint the several Presbyteries to require an account of the diligence of all the ministers within their bounds in this matter, and to record the report of every minister in their Presbytery-books; and likewise ordain the several Synods to take a particular account of the diligence of their respective Presbyteries, and to record it in their Synod-books. And the Assembly earnestly urge on their faithful people seriously to consider the duty of contributing liberally towards the advancement of Christ's cause, according to the ability wherewith God has blessed them.
The General Assembly appoint the minister of every parish within the bounds of this Church to read this Act from the pulpit, on the second Sabbath of June next to come, or where there is no service on that day, or where it is the Communion Sabbath, on the first Sabbath thereafter.
XV. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Order as to the Titles of New Churches.
The General Assembly, finding there is a general misapprehension on the subject, did, and hereby do, direct, that the drafts of the titles of the new churches lodged, or to be produced by the respective parties, be remitted to the revising committee on the constitutions of new churches, that they may be satisfied that they are framed in terms of the constitutions; and instruct the Agent of the Church to give out extracts of the constitutions; to the parties, only on the production of a certificate from the committee, to the effect that the feudal titles are framed, or sufficient security given that the titles shall be framed, in terms of the constitutions; and such committee shall, for that purpose, have access to the constitutions and relative papers before extract. And the substance of this order shall be communicated by the revising committee to all parties bringing up constitutions to the General Assembly.
XVI. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Act Amending the First Article of the Standing Orders passed in the year 1838.
The General Assembly, on the Report of the Revising Committee for New Churches, did, and hereby do, amend the first article of the standing orders passed in 1838, and enact, that instead of the words "alongst with the feudal titles of the site, or drafts thereof," there be substituted the words "alongst with the drafts of the feudal titles of the church and ground."
XVII. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Overture and Interim Act, with Regulations for carrying into effect the Act of Assembly, May 29, 1835, on the Calling of Ministers.
The General Assembly agree, without a vote, to authorise the omission of the words "sustain the call and," in the sixth section of the second head; also unanimously agree to omit those portions of the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth sections, which relate to special objections; and, with these amendments, re-transmit the following Overture and Regulations to Presbyteries for their consideration; and, in the mean time, convert them into an Interim Act.
Whereas the General Assembly have declared, &c.
XVIII. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Act on Home Missions.
The General Assembly, upon the recommendation of their Committee on the Home Missionary objects of the Church, did, and hereby do, appoint the following committee, to be called the Home Mission Committee, of which Dr Makellar is to be convener; the Moderator, &c.; which General Committee is hereby empowered to take charge of the objects formerly carried on by separate Committees appointed by this Church, called—the Church Extension Committee—the Committee for Aiding Congregations already Established—the Committee for the Employment of Probationers—and the Committee for the Encouragement of Young Men to the Office of the Ministry; and the Assembly empower this General Committee, annually, at its first meeting after the rising of the Assembly, to appoint four separate standing committees, one for each of the special objects above mentioned, the conveners whereof to be Dr Simpson, for Church Extension; Dr Candlish, for Aiding Congregations; Dr Clason, for the Employment of Probationers; and Mr C.J. Brown, for the Encouragement of Young Men; and the General Committee is hereby appointed, from time to time, to allocate to each separate Standing Committee, out of the general fund which may be contributed to this Scheme, such sum as they may deem proper for the object under its charge; and they shall, at the same time, receive such special contributions for each of the objects as any parties may appropriate thereto, applying the same according to the specific destination of the donor. Farther, the Assembly direct that, in the mean time, the expenditure in the erection of the new fabrics shall be limited to the produce of the supplementary fund, and, so far as regards the general fund, to meeting the subsisting engagements thereon; but that the Standing Committee in charge of this branch of the Scheme shall direct their attention to obtaining the removal of the obstacles to the erection of the quoad sacraparishes into parishes quoad civilia, using all prudent means for obtaining endowments to the ministers of these churches, and opening up communications with the heritors of the various parishes, with a view to the attainment of the improvements and benefits pointed out in the report of the sub-committee, given in to the Assembly of 1836 by the Marquis of Tweeddale. The Assembly also instruct the Standing Committee for Aiding Congregations to turn their attention to those cases where, from peculiar circumstances, sufficient or secure provision cannot be obtained, and must be guided in their conduct by the relative conditions of the respective congregations; with reference to the Committee for the Employment of Probationers, the Committee are appointed to the apply the fund allocated to the object under their charge, either in adding to the provision made locally for missionaries in particular parishes or districts, according to the rules hitherto acted on by the former committee, provided always, the missionary to be employed be examined and approved of by the committee, or in the employment of missionaries after the manner of the missionaries on the Royal Bounty; and in regard to the encouragement of young men for the ministry, the attention of the committee in charge of that object shall be very much directed to seeking out and encouraging those having the Gaelic language, and the committee shall bestow particular attention in framing a system of regulations for conducting the object entrusted to them, in such a way as to secure all the advantages and avoid the evils incident to a scheme of this nature.
XIX. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Claim, Declaration, and Protest, anent the Encroachments of the Court of Session. (fn. 1)
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, taking into consideration the solemn circumstances in which, in the inscrutable providence of God, this Church is now placed; and that, notwithstanding the securities for the government thereof by General Assemblies, Synods, Presbyteries, and Kirk-Sessions, and for the liberties, government, jurisdiction, discipline,rights, and privileges of the same, provided by the statutes of the realm, by the constitution of this country, as unalterably settled by the Treaty of Union, and by the oath "inviolably to maintain and preserve" the same, required to be taken by each Sovereign at accession, as a condition precedent to the exercise of the royal authority; which securities might well seem, and had long been thought to place the said liberties, government, jurisdiction, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church beyond the reach of danger or invasion;—these have been of late assailed by the very Court to which the Church was authorised to look for assistance and protection, to an extent that threatens their entire subversion, with all the grievous calamities to this Church and nation which would inevitably flow therefrom;—did, and hereby do, solemnly, and in reliance on the grace and power of the Most High, resolve and agree on the following Claim, Declaration, and Protest: that is to say:—
Ch. 25, Sect. 6. Ch. 23, sect.; Ch. 23, sect. 4.; Ch. 30, sect.
Whereas, it is an essential doctrine of this Church, and a fundamental principle in its constitution, as set forth in the Confession of Faith thereof, in accordance with the Word and Law of the most holy God, that "there is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ;" and that, while "God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be, under him, over the people, for his own glory, and the public good, and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword;" and while "it is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honour their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority for conscience sake," "from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted;" and while the magistrate hath authority, and it is his duty, in the exercise of that power, which alone is committed to him, namely, "the power of the sword," or civil rule, as distinct from the "power of the keys," or spiritual authority, expressly denied to him, to take order for the preservation of purity, peace, and unity in the Church, yet "the Lord Jesus, as King and Head of his Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of Church officers distinct from the civil magistrate;" which government is ministerial, not lordly, and to be exercised in consonance with the laws of Christ, and with the liberties of his people:
Ch. 30, sect. 2.; Ch. 23, sect. 3.
And whereas, according to the said Confession, and to the other Standards of the Church, and agreeably to the Word of God, this government of the Church, thus appointed by the Lord Jesus, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate or supreme power of the State, and flowing directly from the Head of the Church to the office-bearers thereof, to the exclusion of the civil magistrate, comprehends, as the objects of it, the preaching of the Word, administration of the sacraments, correction of manners, the admission of the office-bearers of the Church to their offices, their suspension and deprivation therefrom, the infliction and removal of Church censures, and, generally, the whole "power of the keys," which, by the said Confession, is declared, in conformity with Scripture, to have been "committed" to Church officers, and which, as well as the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments, it is likewise thereby declared, that "the civil magistrate may not assume to himself:"
And whereas this jurisdiction and government, since it regards only spiritual condition, rights, and privileges, doth not interfere with the jurisdiction of secular tribunals, whose determinations as to all temporalities conferred by the State upon the Church, and as to all civil consequences attached by law to the decisions of Church Courts in matters spiritual, this Church hath ever admitted, and doth admit, to be exclusive and ultimate, as she hath ever given and inculcated implicit obedience thereto:
And whereas the above mentioned essential doctrine and fundamental principle in the constitution of the Church, and the government and exclusive jurisdiction flowing therefrom, founded on God's Word, and set forth in the Confession of Faith and other Standards of this Church, have been, by divers and repeated Acts of Parliament, recognised, ratified, and confirmed—inasmuch as,—
1690, c. 5
First, The said Confession itself, containing the doctrine and principles above set forth, was "ratified and established, and voted and approven as the public and avowed Confession of this Church," by the fifth Act of the second Session of the first Parliament of King William and Queen Mary, entitled, "Act ratifying the Confession of Faith, and settling Presbyterian Church government,"—to which Act the said Confession is annexed, and with it incorporated in the statute law of this kingdom.
Second, By and Act passed in the first Parliament of King James VI., entitled, "Of admission of ministers; of laic patronages," it is enacted and declared, "That the examination and admission of ministers within this realm be only in the power of the Kirk, now openly and publicly professed within the same;" and, while the "presentation of laic patronages" was thereby "reserved to the just and ancient patrons," it was provided, that, if the presentee of a patron should be refused to be admitted by the inferior ecclesiastical authorities, it should be lawful for the patron "to appeal to the General Assembly of the whole realm, by whom the cause being decided, shall take end as they decern and declare."
1567, c. 19. (Fol. Edit.) 1579, c. 69.; 1581, c. 99.; 1592, c. 116.; 1690, c. 5.
Third, By an Act passed in the same first Parliament, and renewed in the sixth Parliament of the said King James VI., entitled, "Anent the jurisdiction of the Kirk," the said Kirk is declared to have jurisdiction "in the preaching of the true Word of Jesus Christ, correction of manners, and administration of the holy sacraments;" and it is farther declared. "That there be no other jurisdiction ecclesiastical acknowledged within this realm, other than that which is and shall be within the same Kirk, or that flows therefrom, concerning the premises;" which Act, and that last before mentioned, were ratified and approven by another Act passed in the year 1581, entitled, "Ratification of the liberty of the true Kirk of God and religion, with confirmation of the Laws and Acts made to that effect of before;" which other Act, and all the separate Act therein recited, were again revived, ratified, and confirmed by an Act of the twelfth Parliament of the said King James VI., entitled, "Ratification of the Liberty of the true Kirk," &c.; which said Act (having been repealed in 1662) was revived, renewed, and confirmed by the before mentioned statute of King William and Queen Mary.
1592, c. 116.; 1567, c. 7.; 1584, c. 129.
Fourth, The said Act of the twelfth Parliament of King James VI. ratified and approved the General Assemblies, Provincial Synods, Presbyteries, and Kirk-Sessions "appointed by the Kirk," and "the whole jurisdiction and discipline of the same Kirk;" cassed and annualled "all and whatsoever acts, laws, and statutes, made at any time before the day and date thereof, against the liberty of the true Kirk, jurisdiction and discipline thereof, as the same is used and exercised within this realm;" appointed presentations to benefices to be directed to Presbyteries, "with full power to give collation thereupon, and to put order to all matters and causes eccelecsiatical within their bounds, according to the discipline of the Kirk, providing the foresaid Presbyteries be bound and astricted to receive and admit whatsoever qualified minister, presented by his Majesty or laic patrons; "(the effect of which proviso, and of the reservation in the Act of the first Parliament of King James VI., above mentioned, is hereinafter more fully adverted to;) and farther declared, that the jurisdiction of the Sovereign and his Courts, as set forth in a previous Act, to extend over all persons his subjects, and "in all matters," should "noways be prejudicial nor derogate any thing to the privilege that God has given to the spiritual office-bearers of the Kirk, concerning heads of religion, matters of heresy, excommunication, collation, or deprivation of ministers, or any such like essential censures, grounded and having warrant of the Word of God;" by which enactment, declaration, and acknowledgement, the State recognised and established as a fundamental principle of the constitution of the kingdom, that the jurisdiction of the Church in these matters was "given by God" to the office-bearers thereof, and was exclusive, and free from coercion by any tribunals holding power or authority from the State or supreme civil magistrate.
1662, c. 1.; 1592, c. 116.
Fifth, The Parliament holden by King Charles II., immediately on his restoration to the throne, while it repealed the above recited act of the twelfth Parliament of Kings James and other relative acts, at the same time acknowledged the supreme and exclusive nature of the jurisdiction thereby recognised to be in the Church, describing the said Acts, as Acts "by which the sole and only power and jurisdiction within this Church doth stand in the Church, and in the General, Provincial, and Presbyterial Assemblies and Kirk Sessions," and as Acts "which may be interpreted to have given any Church power, jurisdiction, or government, to the office-bearers of the Church, their respective meetings, other than that which acknowledgeth a dependence upon, and subordination to, the sovereign power of the King, as supreme."
1690, c. 5.; 1592 c 116.
Sixth, The aforesaid Act of King William and Queen Mary,—on the narrative that their Majesties and the Estates of Parliament conceived "it to be their bounden duty, after the great deliverance that God hath lately wrought for this Church and kingdom, in the first place, to settle and secure therein the true Protestant religion, according to the truth of God's Word, as it hath of a long time been professed within this land; as also the government of Christ's Church within this nation, agreeble to the Word of God, and most conducive to true piety and godliness, and the establishing of peace and tranquillity within this realm,"—besides ratifying and establishing as aforesaid the Confession of Faith, did also "establish, ratify, and confirm the Presbyterian Church government and discipline; that is to say, the government of the Church by Kirk-Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies, ratified and established by the 116th Act of James VI., Parliament 12, anno 1592, entitled, 'Ratification of the Liberty of the true Kirk, '&c., and thereafter received by the general consent of this nation, to be the only government of Christ's Church within this Kingdom;" and revived and confitmed the said Act of King James VI.
And whereas, not only was the exclusive and ultimate jurisdiction of the Church Courts, in the government of the Church, and especially in the particular matters spiritual and ecclesiastical, above mentioned, recognised, ratified, and confirmed,—thus necessarily implying the denial of power on the part of any secular tribunal, holding its authority from the Sovereign, to review the sentences of the Church Courts in regard to such matters, or coerce them in the exercise of such jurisdiction; but all such power, and all claim on the part of the Sovereign to be considered supreme governor over the subjects of this kingdom of Scotland in causes ecclesiastical and spiritual, as he is in causes civil and temporal was, after a long continued struggle, finally and expressly repudiated and cast out of the constitution of Scotland, as inconsistent with the Presbyterian Church government established at the Revolution, and thereafter unalterably secured by the Treaty of Union with England; by the constitution of which latter kingdom, differing in this respect from that of Scotland, the Sovereign is recognised to be supreme governor, "as well in all spiritual and ecclesiastical things and causes as temporal." Thus:—
1592, c. 116.
First, The General Assembly having, in the year 1582, proceeded to inflict the censures of the Church upon Robert Montgomery, minister of Stirling, for seeking to force himself, under a presentation from the king, into the archbishopric of Glasgow, contrary to an act of the General Assembly discharging the office of Prelatic bishop in the Church, and for appealing to the secular tribunals against the infliction of Church censures by the Church courts, and seeking to have these suspended and interdicted,—and having deposed and excommunicated him, notwithstanding of an interdict pronounced by the Privy Council of Scotland, the then supreme secular court of the kingdom,—and having at the same time declared it to be part of the subsisting discipline of the Church, that any ministers thereof who "should seek any way by the civil power to exempt and withdraw themselves from the jurisdiction of the Kirk, or procure, obtain, or use any letters or charges, &c., to impair, hurt, or stay the said jurisdiction, discipline, &c., or to make any appellation from the General Assembly to stop the discipline or order of the ecclesiastical policy or jurisdiction granted by God's Word to the office-bearers within the said Kirk," were liable to the highest censures of the Church;—although their sentence of excommunication was declared by one of the acts of Parliament of the year 1584, commonly called the "Black Acts," to be void, yet ultimately the king and privy council abandoned their interference, Montgomery submitted to the Church courts, and the statute of the twelfth Parliament of King James VI., already mentioned, cassed and annulled "all and whatsoever acts, laws, and statutes made at any time before the day and date thereof, against the liberty of the true Kirk, jurisdiction and discipline thereof, as the same is used and exercised within this realm since which enactment, no similar interference with the discipline and censures of the Church was ever attempted till the year 1841.
1584, c. 129.; 1592, c. 116.
Second, It having been declared by another of the "Black Acts" aforesaid, entitled, "An act confirming the king's majesty's royal power over all the estates and subjects within this realm," that "his highness, his heirs and successors, by themselves and their councils, are, and in time, to come shall be, judges competent to all persons his highness' subjects, of whatsoever estate, degree, function, or condition that ever they be of, spiritual or temporal, in all matters wherein they or any of them shall be apprehended, summoned, or charged to answer to such things as shall be inquired of them by our sovereign lord and his council," it was, by the said before mentioned act of the twelfth Parliament of King James VI., declared that the said act last above mentioned "shall noways be prejudicial, nor derogate any thing to the privilege that God has given to the spiritual office-bearers of the Kirk, concerning heads of religion, matters of heresy, excommunication, collation or deprivation of ministers, or any such like essential censures, specially grounded and having warrant of the Word of God."
1612, c. 1.; 1640, c. 7.
Third, It having been enacted, on the establishment of Prelacy in 1612, that every minister, at his admission, should swear obedience to the Sovereign, as "the only lawful supreme governor of this realm, as well in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical as in things temporal," the enactment to this effect was repealed on the restoration of Presbyterian Church government.
1661, c. 11.; 1681, c. 6.; 1669, c. 1.; Estates, 1689, c. 18.
Fourth, A like acknowledgement, that the Sovereign was " the only supreme governor of this kingdom, over all persons, and in all causes," having been, on the second establishment of Prelacy consequent on the restoration of King Charles II., required as part of the ordinary oath of allegiance, and having been also inserted into the "Test Oath," so tyrannically attempted to be forced on the subjects of this realm during the reigns of Charles II. and James II., and the same doctrine of the king's supremacy in all causes, spiritual and ecclesiastical, as well as temporal and civil, having farther been separately and specially declared by the first act of the second Parliament of the said King Charles II., (1669,) entitled, "Act asserting his majesty's supremacy over all persons and in all causes ecclesiastical," whereby it was "enacted, asserted, and declared, that his majesty hath the supreme authority and supremacy over all persons, and in all causes ecclesiastical, within this kingdom,"—the Estates of this kingdom, at the era of the Revolution, did set forth, as the second article of the "Grievances" of which they demanded redress under their "Claim of Right," "That the first act of Parliament, 1669, is inconsistent with the establishment of Church government now desired, and ought to be abrogated."
1690, c. 1.; 1689, c. 2.; 1706, c. 6.
Fifth, In compliance with this claim, an act was immediately thereafter passed, of which the tenor follows: "Our sovereign lord and lady, the king, and queen's majesties, taking into their consideration, that by the second article of the Grievances presented to their majesties by the estates of this kingdom, it is declared, that the first act of the second Parliament of King Charles the Second, entitled, 'Act asserting his majesty's supremacy over all persons and in all causes ecclesiastical,' is inconsistent with the establishement of the church government now desired, and ought to be abrogate: Therefore, their majesties, with advice and consent of the estates of Parliament, do hereby abrogate, rescind, and annul the foresaid act, and declares the same in the whole heads, articles, and clauses thereof, to be of no force or effect in all time coming." In accordance also therewith, the oath of allegiance above mentioned, requiring an acknowledgment of the king's sovereignty "in all causes," was done away, and that substituted which is now in use, simply requiring a promise to be" faithful, and bear true allegiance" to the sovereign; and all preceding laws and acts of Parliament were rescinded, "in so far as they impose any other oaths of allegiance and supremacy, declarations and tests, excepting the oath de fideli." By the which enactments, any claim on the part of the Sovereigns of Scotland to be supreme rulers in spiritual and ecclesiastical, as well as in temporal and civil causes, or to possess any power, by themselves or their judges holding commission from them, to exercise jurisdiction in matters or causes, spiritual and ecclesiatical, was repudiated and excluded from the constitution, as inconsistent with the Presbyterian Church government then established, and secured under the statutes then and subsequently passed," to continue, without any alteration, to the people of this land, in all succeeding generations."
And whereas divers civil rights and privileges were, by various statutes of the Parliament of Scotland, prior to the Union with England, secured to this Church, and certain civil consequences attached to the sentences of the courts thereof, which were farther directed to be aided and made effectual by all magistrates, judges, and officers of the law; and in particular:—
1592, c. 117.
It was, by an act of the twelfth Parliament of King James VI., enacted "That all and whatsoever sentences of deprivation, either pronounced already, or that happens to be pronounced hereafter by any Presbytery, Synodal or General Assemblies, against any parson or vicar within their jurisdiction, provided since his Highness' coronation, is, and shall be repute in all judgements, a just cause to seclude the person before provided, and then deprived, from all profits, commodities, rents, and duties of the said parsonage and vicarage, or benefice of cure; and that, either by way of action, exception, or reply; and that the said sentence of deprivation shall be a sufficient cause to make the said benefice to vaike thereby:"
1690, c. 5.
As also, by the fifth act of the first Parliament of King William and Queen Mary, it was enacted, "That whatsoever minister, being convened before the said general meeting, and representatives of the Presbyterian ministers or elders, or the visitors to be appointed by them, shall either prove contumacious for not appearing, or be found guilty, and shall be therefor censured, whether by suspension or deposition, they shall, ipso facto, be suspended from, or deprived of their stipends and benefices:"
1693, c. 22.
As also, by an act passed in the fourth session of the first Parliament of King William and Queen Mary, entitled, an "Act for settling the peace and quiet of the Church," it was provided, that no minister should be admitted, unless he owned the Presbyterian Church government, as settled by the last recited act, "to be the only government of this Church;" "and that he will submit thereto, and concur therewith, and never endeavour, directly or indirectly, the prejudice or subversion thereof;" and it was statute or ordained, "that the Lords of their Majesties' Privy Council, and all other magistrates, judges, and officers of justice, give all due assistance for making the sentences and censures of the Church, and judicatories thereof, to be obeyed, or otherwise effectual, as accords:"
1695, c. 22.
As also, by an act passed in the fifth session of the foresaid Parliament, entitled, an "Act against intruding into Churches without a legal call and admission thereto," on the narrative, "that ministers and preachers, their intruding themselves into vacant churches, possessing of manses and benefices, and exercising any part of the ministerial function in parishes, without a legal call and admission to the said churches, is an high contempt of the law, and of a dangerous consequence, tending to perpetual schism;" such intrusion, without an orderly call from the heritors and elders—the right of presentation by patrons being at this time abolished,—and "legal admission from the Presbytery," was prohibited under certain penalties; and the Lords of the Privy Council were recommended to remove all who had so intruded, and "to take some effectual course for stopping and hindering those ministers who are, or shall be hereafter deposed by the judicatories of the present Established Church, from preaching or exercising any act of their ministerial function, which" (the said statute declares) "they cannot do after they are deposed, without a high contempt of the authority of the Church, and of the laws of the kingdom establishing the same."
1705, c. 4.; 1706, c. 6.; 1690, c. 5.; 1706, c. 7.; 5 Anne, c. 8.
And whereas, at the Union between the two kingdoms, the Parliament of Scotland, being determined that the "true Protestant religion," as then professed, "with the worship, discipline, and government of this Church, should be effectually and unalterably secured," did, in their Act appointing commissioners to treat with commissioners from the Parliament of England, as to an union of the kingdoms, provide, "That the said commissioners shall not treat of or concerning any alteration of the worship, discipline, and government of the Church of this kingdom, as now by law established;" and did, by another Act, commonly called the Act of Security, and entitled, "Act for securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government," "establish and confirm the said true Protestant religion, and the worship, discipline, and government of this Church, to continue without any alteration to the people of this land in all succeeding generations;" and did "for ever confirm the 5th Act of the first Parliament of King William and Queen Mary," entitled, "Act ratifying the Confession of Faith, and settling Presbyterian Church Government, and the whole other Acts of Parliament relating thereto;" and did "expressly provide and declare, That the foresaid true Protestant religion, contained in the above mentioned Confession of Faith, with the form and purity of worship presently in use within this Church, and its Presbyterian Church government and discipline; that is to say, the government of the Church by Kirk-Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies, all established by the foresaid Acts of Parliament, pursuant to the Claim of Right, shall remain and continue unalterable: and that the said Presbyterian government shall be the only government of the Church within the kingdom of Scotland:" And farther, "for the greater security of the same," did, inter alia, enact, "That, after the decease of her present Majesty, the Sovereign succeeding to her in the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Great Britain shall, in all time coming, at his or her accession to the Crown, swear and subscribe, that they shall inviolably maintain and preserve the foresaid settlement of the true Protestant religion, with the government, worship, discipline, right, and privileges of this Church, as above established by the laws of this kingdom, in prosecution of the Claim of Right;" which said Act of Security, "with the establishment therein contained," it was specially thereby enacted, "should be held and observed in all time coming, as a fundamental and essential condition of any treaty or union to be concluded betwixt the two kingdoms, without any alteration thereof, or derogation thereto, in any sort, for ever:" It being farther thereby provided, that "the said Act and settlement therein contained shall be insert and repeated in any Act of Parliament that shall pass, for agreeing and concluding the foresaid treaty or union betwixt the two kingdoms; and that the same shall be therein expressly declared to be a fundamental and essential condition of the said treaty or union in all time coming." In terms of which enactment, this Act of Security was inserted in the Treaty of Union between the two kingdoms, as a fundamental condition thereof, and was also inserted in the Act of the Parliament of Scotland ratifying and approving of the said Treaty, and likewise in the corresponding Act of the Parliament of England, entitled, "An Act for a Union of the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland."
1690, c. 5.; 1592, c. 116.; 1592. c. 117.; 1690, c. 23.
And whereas, at the date of the said Treaty of Union, the right of patrons to present to churches stood abolished by statute, after the following manner, viz.:—By the Act of King William and Queen Mary, herein before mentioned, the Act of James VI., also herein before mentioned, then standing totally repealed, was only revived, subject to the express exception of "that part of it relating to Patronages," which consequently remained repealed and unrestored, and "which," the Act 1690, c. 5, farther bore, "is hereafter to be taken into consideration." The part of the said Act, thus left repealed and unrevived, was the provision, that Presbyteries "be bound and astricted to receive whatsoever qualified minister presented by his Majesty or laic patrons,"—a provision which, while it subsisted, was held to leave the Church free to proceed in the collation of ministers "according to the discipline of the Kirk;" and non-compliance with which implied only a forfeiture of the fruits of the particular benefice, which it did by virtue of the immediately succeeding statute 1592, c. 117, whereby it was enacted, that "in case the Presbytery refuses to admit any qualified minister presented to them by the patron, it shall be lawful to the patron to retain the whole fruits of the benefice in his own hands." This subject having, accordingly, been thereafter taken into consideration in the same session of Parliament, was definitively settled by an Act, entitled, "Act concerning Patronages," whereby the right of presentation by patrons was "annulled and made void," and a right was vested in the heritors and elders of the respective parishes "to name and propose the person to the whole congregation, to be approven or disapproven by them," the disapprovers giving in their reasons " to the effect the affair may be cognosced upon by the Presbytery of the bounds, at whose judgment, and by whose determination," (as is declared by the said Act,) "the calling and entry of a particular minister is to be ordered and concluded."
10 Anne, c. 12.
And whereas the said Act last mentioned formed part of the settlement of the Presbyterian Church government effected at the Revolution, and was one of the "Acts relating thereto," and to the statute 1690, c. 5, specially confirmed and secured by the Act of Security and Treaty of Union; yet, notwithstanding thereof, and of the said treaty, the Parliament of Great Britain, by an Act passed in the 10th of Queen Anne, repealed the said Act, "in so far as related to the presentation of ministers by heritors and others therein mentioned," and restored to patrons the right of presentation, and enacted that Presbyteries should be "obliged to receive and admit in the same manner, such qualified person or persons, minister or ministers, as shall be presented by the respective patrons, as the persons or ministers presented before the making of this Act ought to have been admitted:"
And whereas, while this Church protested against the passing of the above mentioned Act of Queen Anne, as "contrary to the constitution of the Church, so well secured by the late Treaty of Union, and solemnly ratified by Acts of Parliament in both kingdoms," and for more than seventy years thereafter uninterruptedly sought for its repeal, she at the same time maintained, and practically exercised, without question or challenge from any quarter, the jurisdiction of her courts to determine ultimately and exclusively, under what circumstances they would admit candidates into the office of the holy ministry, or constitute the pastoral relationship between minister and people, and, generally, "to order and conclude the entry of particular ministers:"
chap. 3, § 5.
And whereas, in particular, this Church required, as necessary to the admission of a minister to the charge of souls, that he should have received a call from the people over whom he was to be appointed, and did not authorise or permit any one so to be admitted till such call had been sustained by the Church Courts, and did, before and subsequent to the passing of the said Act of Queen Anne, declare it to be a fundamental principle of the Church, as set forth in her authorised Standards, and particularly in the Second Book of Discipline, repeated by Act of Assembly in 1638, that no pastor be intruded upon any congregation contrary to the will of the people:
Act of Assembly, 1736, c. 14.; Act of Assembly, 1834, c. 9.
And whereas, in especial, this fundamental principle was, by the 14th Act of the General Assembly, 1736, re-declared, and directed to be attended to in the settlement of vacant parishes, but having been, after some time, disregarded in the administration of the Church, it was once more re-declared by the General Assembly, 1834, who established certain specific provisions and regulations for carrying it into effect in time to come:
Auchterarder Case, 1839.
And whereas, by a judgment pronounced by the House of Lords, in 1839, it was, for the first time, declared to be illegal to refuse to take on trial, and to reject the presentee of a patron, (although a layman, and merely a candidate for admission to the office of the ministry,) in consideration of this fundamental principle of the Church, and in respect of the dissent of the congregation; to the authority of which judgment, so far as disposing of civil interests, this Church implicitly bowed, by at once abandoning all claim to the jus devolutum,—to the benefice, for any pastor to be settled by her,—and to all other civil right or privilege which might otherwise have been competent to the Church or her Courts; and anxiously desirous, at the same time, of avoiding collision with the Civil Courts, she so far suspended the operation of the above mentioned Act of Assembly, as to direct all cases, in which dissents should be lodged by a majority of the congregation, to be reported to the General Assembly, in the hope that a way might be opened up to her for reconciling with the civil rights declared by the House of Lords, adherence to the above mentioned fundamental principle, which she could not violate or abandon by admitting to the holy office of the ministry a party not having, in her conscientious judgment, a legitimate call thereto, or by intruding a pastor on a reclaiming congregation contrary to their will; and farther, addressed herself to the Government and the Legislature for such an alteration of the law, (as for the first time now interpreted,) touching the temporalities belonging to the Church, (which alone she held the decision of the House of Lords to be capable of affecting or regulating,) as might prevent a separation between the cure of souls and the benefice thereto attached.
And whereas, although during the century which elapsed after the passing of the said Act of Queen Anne, Presbyteries repeatedly rejected the presentees of patrons on grounds undoubtedly ultra vires of the Presbyteries, as having reference to the title of the patron or the validity of competing presentations, and which were held by the Court of Session to be contrary to law, and admitted others to the pastoral office in the parishes presented to, who had no presentation or legal title to the benefice, the said Court, even in such cases, never attempted or pretended to direct or coerce the Church Courts, in the exercise of their functions in regard to the collation of ministers or other matters acknowledged by the State to have been conferred on the Church, not by the State, but by God himself. On the contrary, they limited their decrees to the regulation and disposal of the temporalities which were derived from the State, and which, as the proper subjects of "actions civil," were within the province assigned to the Court of Session by the Constitution, refusing to interfere with the peculiar functions and exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of the Church. Thus,—
Monerleff D. Maxton. Feb. 15, 1735.
In the case of Auchtermuchty, where the Presbytery had wrongfully admitted another than the patron's presentee, the Court found, "That the right to a stipend is a civil right; and, therefore, that the Court have power to cognosce and determine upon the legality of the admission of ministers, in hunc effectum, whether the person admitted shall have right to the stipend or not;" and simply decided, that the patron was entitled to retain the stipend in his own hands.
Cochran v. Stoddart, June 26, 1751. Dick v. Carmichael, Mar. 2, 1753. Forbes v. M'Wilham, Feb. 1762.
So also, the same course was followed in the cases of Culross, Lanark, and Forbes; in reference to one of which (that of Lanark) the Government of the country, on behalf of the Crown, in which the patronage was vested, recognised the retention of stipend by the patron, as the only competent remedy for a wrongful refusal to admit his presentee;—the Secretary of State having, in a letter to the Lord Advocate of Scotland, (January 17, 1752,) signified the pleasure of his Majesty, "Directing and ordering his Lordship to do every thing necessary and competent by law, for asserting and taking benefit, in the present case, of the said right and privilege of patrons by the law of Scotland, to retain the fruits of the benefice in their own hands till their presentee be admitted."
Cochran, Nov. 19, 1748.
So farther, in the before mentioned case of Culross, the Court refused, "as incompetent," a bill of advocation presented to them by the patron, for the purpose of staying the admission by the Presbytery of another than his presentee.
Hay V. Presbytery of Dunse, Feb. 26, 1749.
So likewise, in the case of Dunse, the Court would not interfere in regard to a conclusion to prohibit the Presbytery " to moderate in a call at large, or settle any other man," because "that was interfering with the power of ordination or internal policy of the Church, with which the Lords thought they had nothing to do."
Lord Dundus V. Presbytery of Shetland, May 15, 1786.
And so, in the same manner, in the case of Unst, where the party concluded to have the Presbytery ordained to proceed to the presentee's settlement, as well as to have the validity of the presentation and the right to the stipend declared, the Court limited their decree to the civil matters of the presentation and stipend.
1537, c. 36.; 1532, c. 1.
And whereas, pending the efforts of the Church to accomplish the desired alteration of the law, the Court of Session,—a tribunal instituted by special Act of Parliment for the specific and limited purpose of "doing and administration of justice in all civil actions," with Judges appointed simply "to sit and decide upon all actions civil,"—not confining themselves to the determination of "civil actions,"—to the withholding of civil consequences from sentences of the Church Courts, which, in their judgment, were not warranted by the statutes recognising the jurisdiction of these courts,—to the enforcing of the provision of the Act 1592, c. 117, for retention of the fruits of the benefice in case of wrongful refusal to admit a presentee, or the giving of other civil redress for any civil injury held by them to have been wrongfully sustained in consequence thereof,—have, in numerous and repeated instances, stepped beyond the province allotted to them by the Constitution, and within which alone their decisions can be held to declare the law, or to have the force of law, deciding not only "actions civil," but "causes spiritual and ecclesiastical, "—and that, too, even where these had no connection with the exercise of the right of patronage,—and have invaded the jurisdiction, and encroached upon the spiritual privileges of the Courts of this Church, in violation of the Constitution of the country,—in defiance of the statutes above mentioned, and in contempt of the laws of this kingdom; as for instance—
1st Lothendy Case.; Stewarton Case.
By interdicting Presbyteries of the Church from admitting to a pastoral charge, when about to be done irrespective of the civil benefice attached thereto, or even where there was no benefice—no right of patronage—no stipend—no manse or glebe, and no place of worship, or any patrimonial right connected therewith.
By issuing a decree requiring and ordaining a Church Court to take on trial and admit to the office of the holy ministry, in a particular charge, a probationer or unordained candidate for the ministry, and to intrude him also on the congregation, contrary to the will of the people; both in this and in the cases first mentioned, invading the Church's exclusive jurisdiction in the admission of ministers, the preaching of the Word, and administration of sacraments—recognised by statute to have been "given by God" directly to the Church, and to be beyond the limits of the secular jurisdiction.
By prohibiting the communicants of the Church from intimating their dissent from a call proposed to be given to a candidate for the ministry to become their pastor.
By granting interdict against the establishment of additional ministers to meet the wants of an increasing population, as uninterruptedly practised from the Reformation to this day;—against constituting a new Kirk-Session in a parish, to exercise discipline;—and against innovating on its existing state, "as regards pastoral superintendence, its KirkSession, and jurisdiction, and discipline thereto belonging."
By interdicting the preaching of the Gospel, and administration of ordinances throughout a whole district, by any minister of the Church under authority of the Church Courts, thus assuming to themselves the regulation of the "preaching of the Word" and "administration of the sacraments," and at the same time invading the privilege, common to all the subjects of the realm, of having freedom to worship God according to their consciences, and under the guidance of the ministers of the communion to which they belong.
2d Auchter arder Case.
By holding the members of inferior Church judicatories liable in damages for refusing to break their ordination vows and oaths, (sworn by them, in compliance with the requirements of the statutes of the realm, and, in particular, of the Act of Security embodied in the Treaty of Union,) by disobeying and setting at defiance the sentences, in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical, of their superior Church judicatories, to which, by the Constitution of the Church and country, they are, in such matters, subordinate and subject, and which, by their said vows and oaths, they stand pledged to obey.
By interdicting the execution of the sentence of a Church judicatory prohibiting a minister from preaching or administering ordinances within a particular parish, pending the discussion of a cause in the Church Courts as to the validity of his settlement therein.
Cambusne than Case.; Stranraer Case.; 4th Lethendy Case.
By interdicting the General Assembly and inferior Church judicatories from inflicting Church censures; as in one case, where interdict was granted against the pronouncing of sentence of deposition upon a minister found guilty of theft by a judgment acquiesced in by himself; in another, where a Presbytery was interdicted from proceeding in the trial of a minister accused of fraud and swindling; and in a third, where a Presbytery was interdicted from proceeding with a libel against a licentiate for drunkenness, obscenity, and profane swearing.
1st and 2d Strathbogle Cases.
By suspending Church censures, inflicted by the Church judicatories in the exercise of discipline, (which by special statute, all "Judges and officers of justice" are ordered "to give due assistance" for making "to be obeyed or otherwise effectual,") and so reponing ministers suspended from their office, to the power of preaching and administering ordinances; thus assuming to themselves the "power of the keys."
3d Strathbogie Case.
By interdicting the execution of a sentence of deposition from the office of the holy ministry, pronounced by the General Assembly of the Church; thereby also usurping the "power of the keys," and supporting deposed ministers in the exercise of ministerial functions, which is declared by special statute to be a "high contempt of the authority of the Church and of the laws of the kingdom establishing the same."
5th Strathbogie Case.
By assuming to judge of the right of individuals elected members of the General Assembly to sit therein, and interdicting them from taking their seats; thus interfering with the constitution of the Supreme Court of the Church, and violating her freedom in the holding of General Assemblies secured to her by statute.
By, in the greater number of the instances above referred to, requiring the inferior judicatories of the Church to disobey the sentences, in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical, of the superior judicatories, to which, by the constitution in Church and State, they are subordinate and subject, and which, in compliance with the provisions of the statutes of the realm, their members have solemnly sworn to obey;—thus subverting "the government of the Church by Kirk. Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies," settled by statute and the Treaty of Union, as "the only government of the Church within the kingdom of Scotland."
By all which Acts, the said Court of Session, apparently not adverting to the oath taken by the Sovereign from whom they hold their commissions, have exercised powers not conferred upon them by the Constitution, but by it excluded from the province of any secular tribunal,—have invaded the jurisdiction of the Courts of the Church—have subverted its government—have illegally attempted to coerce Church Courts in the exercise of their purely spiritual functions—have usurped the "power of the keys"—have wrongfully acclaimed, as the subjects of their civil jurisdiction, to be regulated by their decrees, ordination of laymen to the office of the holy ministry, admission to the cure of souls, Church censures, the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments—and have employed the means entrusted to them for enforcing submission to their lawful authority, in compelling submission to that which they have usurped—in opposition to the doctrines of God's Word set forth in the Confession of Faith, as ratified by statute—in violation of the Constitution—in breach of the Treaty of Union, and in disregard of divers express enactments of the Legislature.
4th Strathbogie Case.; 3d Auchterarder Case.; 3d Lethendy Case.
And whereas, farther encroachments are threatened on the government and discipline of the Church as by law established, in actions now depending before the said Court, in which it is sought to have sentences of deposition from the office of the holy ministry reduced and set aside, and minorities of inferior judicatories authorised to take on trial and admit to the office of the holy ministry, in disregard of, and in opposition to, the authority of the judicatories of which they are members, and of the superior judicatories to which they are subordinate and subject.
And whereas, the government and discipline of Christ's Church cannot be carried on according to His laws and the constitution of His Church, subject to the exercise, by any secular tribunal, of such powers as have been assumed by the said Court of Session.
And whereas this Church, highly valuing, as she has ever done, her connection, on the terms contained in the statutes herein before recited, with the State, and her possession of the temporal benefits thereby secured to her for the advantage of the people, must, nevertheless, even at the risk and hazard of the loss of that connection and of these public benefits,—deeply as she would deplore and deprecate such a result for herself and the nation,—persevere in maintaining her liberties as a Church of Christ, and in carrying on the government thereof on her own constitutional principles, and must refuse to intrude ministers on her congregations, to obey the unlawful coercion attempted to be enforced against her in the exercise of her spiritual functions and jurisdiction, or to consent that her people be deprived of their rightful liberties.
THEREFORE, the General Assembly, while, as above set forth, they fully recognise the absolute jurisdiction of the Civil Courts in relation to all matters whatsoever of a civil nature, and especially in relation to all the temporalities conferred by the State upon the Church, and the civil consequences attached by law to the decisions, in matters spiritual, of the Church Courts, do, in name and on behalf of this Church, and of the nation and people of Scotland, and under the sanction of the several statutes, and the Treaty of Union herein before recited, Claim, as of Right, that she shall freely possess and enjoy her liberties, government, discipline, rights, and privileges, according to law, especially for the defence of the spiritual liberties of her people, and that she shall be protected therein from the foresaid unconstitutional and illegal encroachments of the said Court of Session, and her people secured in their Christian and constitutional rights and liberties.
And they Declare, that they cannot, in accordance with the Word of God, the authorised and ratified Standards of this Church, and the dictates of their consciences, intrude ministers on reclaiming congregations, or carry on the government of Christ's Church, subject to the coercion attempted by the Court of Session as above set forth; and that, at the risk and hazard of suffering the loss of the secular benefits conferred by the State, and the public advantages of an establishment, they must, as by God's grace they will, refuse so to do; for, highly as they estimate these, they cannot put them in competition with the inalienable liberties of a Church of Christ, which, alike by their duty and allegiance to their Head and King, and by their ordination vows, they are bound to maintain, "notwithstanding of whatsoever trouble or persecution may arise."
And they Protest, that all and whatsoever acts of the Parliament of Great Britain, passed without the consent of this Church and nation, in alteration of, or derogation to the aforesaid government, discipline, right, and privileges of this Church, (which were not allowed to be treated of by the Commissioners for settling the terms of the Union between the two kingdoms, but were secured by antecedent stipulation, provided to be inserted, and inserted in the Treaty of Union, as an unalterable and fundamental condition thereof, and so reserved from the cognizance and power of the federal legislature created by the said Treaty,)—as also, all and whatsoever sentences of courts in contravention of the same government, discipline, right, and privileges, are and shall be, in themselves, void and null, and of no legal force or effect; and that, while they will accord full submission to all such acts and sentences, in so far—though in so far only—as these may regard civil rights and privileges, whatever may be their opinion of the justice of legality of the same, their said submission shall not be deemed an acquiescence therein, but that it shall be free to the members of this Church, or their successors, at any time hereafter, when there shall be a prospect of obtaining justice, to claim the restitution of all such civil rights and privileges, and temporal benefits and endowments, as for the present they may be compelled to yield up, in order to preserve to their office-bearers the free exercise of their spiritual government and discipline, and to their people the liberties, of which respectively it has been attempted, so contrary to law and justice, to deprive them.
And, finally, the General Assembly call the Christian people of this kingdom, and all the Churches of the Reformation throughout the world, who hold the great doctrine of the sole Headship of the Lord Jesus over his Church, to witness, that it is for their adherence to that doctrine, as set forth in their Confession of Faith, and ratified by the laws of this kingdom, and for the maintenance by them of the jurisdiction of the office-bearers, and the freedom and privileges of the members of the Church from that doctrine flowing, that this Church is subjected to hardship, and that the rights so sacredly pledged and secured to her are put in peril; and they especially invite all the office-bearers and members of this Church, who are willing to suffer for their allegiance to their adorable King and Head, to stand by the Church, and by each other, in defence of the doctrine aforesaid, and of the liberties and privileges, whether of office-bearers or people, which rest upon it; and to unite in supplication to Almighty God, that He would be pleased to turn the hearts of the rulers of this kingdom, to keep unbroken the faith pledged to this Church, in former days, by statutes and solemn treaty, and the obligations, come under to God himself, to preserve and maintain the government and discipline of this Church in accordance with His Word; or otherwise, that he would give strength to this Church—office-bearers and people—to endure resignedly the loss of the temporal benefits of an establishment, and the personal sufferings and sacrifices to which they may be called, and would also inspire them with zeal and energy to promote the advancement of His Son's kingdom, in whatever condition it may be His will to place them; and that, in His own good time, He would restore to them these benefits, the fruits of the struggles and sufferings of their fathers in times past in the same cause; and, thereafter, give them grace to employ them more effectually than hitherto they have done, for the manifestation of His glory.
XX. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Address to the Queen on the subject of the foregoing Claim of Right.
May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's most loyal, dutiful, and devoted subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, met in General Assembly, relying with undoubted confidence on the gracious assurance repeatedly vouchsafed to us, of your Majesty's determination to maintain inviolate the government, worship, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church, humbly approach your Majesty, in order to lay before your Majesty a statement of the invasions which have recently been made on the said government, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church.
We deeply lament that the invasions of which we complain have proceeded from the Court of Session, to whose determinations, in their own province, we have ever yielded and inculcated implicit obedience.
We most respectfully submit to your Majesty's favourable consideration the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, which we have adopted with reference to this matter, wherein are fully set forth the legal and constitutional securities for the rights and privileges of this Church, and the encroachments thereon, from which we desire to be protected.
We fully rely on your Majesty's determination to uphold and maintain the government, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church; and while we cannot, in accordance with the dictates of our conscience, and our views of the Word of God, submit to the coercion attempted over us in the exercise of our spiritual functions by the
said Court, and must refuse to do so, even at the hazard of the loss of the temporal
advantages we at present enjoy, we earnestly trust that such measures may be directed
by your Majesty as will preserve to us the peaceable possession of those rights and
privileges secured to us by statute and solemn treaty.
Given at Edinburgh, this 30th day of May 1842, by your Majesty's most faithful, obedient, and loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders of this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
D. Welsh, Moderator.
XXI. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Declaration as to Declaratory Act of 1834, anent the Ministers of quoad sacra Parishes.
The General Assembly, on consideration of the overture anent quoad sacraministers, without a vote, did, and hereby do declare, That the principle on which the Declaratory Act of 1834 is founded, is a fundamental principle of this Church, to which she is resolved, by the grace of God, at all hazards to adhere, and instruct the Standing Committee of the Home Mission Committee, charged with the object of Church Extension, to use all efforts in their power to obtain the removal of the obstruction to the erection of parishes quoad temporalia, presented by the provisions of the Act, 1707, and to secure adequate permanent provision for these ministers.
XXII. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Act appointing Meeting of Synod of Orkney.
The General Assembly, on an application from the Synod of Orkney, did, and hereby do, appoint the said Synod in future to meet at Kirkwall, on the third Wednesday of April; and the Assembly supersede the appointment of the meeting of the said Synod in July next.
XXIII. Sess. 17, May 30, 1842.—Act appointing the Meeting of the Synod of Argyle.
The General Assembly, on the application of the Synod of Argyle, did, and hereby do, authorise the said Synod to meet alternately at Lochgilphead and Inverary, on the first Wednesday of September annually; and appoint the first meeting to be held at Lochgilphead, on the first Wednesday of September next.
XXIV. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.—Act appointing a Special Commission, with reference to the present Difficulties of the Church.
The General Assembly, having taken into their consideration the state of the parishes herein after mentioned, and the necessity of making some special provision for the settlement and superintendence thereof, and for the management and ordering of certain other matters after mentioned, resolve, for this purpose, to appoint a Special Commission, to the effect and with the powers herein after set forth; and they accordingly did, and hereby do, appoint Dr David Welsh, their Moderator; and Dr Robert Gordon, High Church, Edinburgh, Dr Thomas Chalmers, Professor of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh, Dr Angus Makellar at Pencaitland, Dr Patrick M'Farlan at Greenock, Dr Thomas Brown, Dr John Smyth, Dr Nathaniel Paterson, Dr James Henderson, and Dr Robert Buchanan at Glasgow, Dr James Brewster at Craig, Dr David Dickson at St Cuthbert's, Mr James Grierson at Errol, Mr Lewis Balfour at Colinton, Mr James Thomson, and Mr John Roxburgh at Dundee, Mr John Paul at St Cuthbert's, Mr James M'Laggan at Kinfauns, Mr Duncan M'Farlan at Renfrew, Mr John Bruce, Mr William Cunningham, Dr Robert Smith Candlish, Mr Archibald Bennie, Mr James Buchanan, Mr Thomas Guthrie, and Mr Charles John Brown at Edinburgh, Mr James Bannerman at Ormiston, Mr David Thorburn at South Leith, Mr James Scott at Dalmeny, Mr Andrew Gray at Perth, Mr David Simpson at Aberdeen, Mr James Cordiner at Forgue, Mr George Shepherd at Kingussie, Mr George M'Kay at Rafford, Mr William Barclay at Auldearn, Mr Alexander Stewart at Cromarty, Dr M'Nair at Paisley, Mr D. Carment at Rosskeen, Mr William M'Kenzie at Dunblane, Mr Matthew Barclay at Old Kilpatrick, Mr D. Horne at Corstorphine, Mr Burns at Monkton, Mr Dickie at Dunlop, Mr Hetherington at Torphichen, Mr M'Gillivray at Dairsie, Ministers; and the Procurator, Dr Daniel Dewar, Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, Sir David Brewster, Principal of the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard's, St Andrews, Dr Robert J. Brown, Professor of Greek in Marischal College, Aberdeen, the Right Honourable Sir James Forrest of Comiston, Bart., Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, George Buchan, Esq., of Kelloe, Robert Bruce, Esq., of Kennet, James Campbell Brodie, Esq., of Lethen, Major Ludovick Stewart of Pittyvaich, William Howison Crawfurd, Esq., of Crawfurdland, William Collins, Esq., Glasgow, John Thomson, Esq., Banker, Alexander Dunlop, Esq., Advocate, John George Wood, Esq., W.S., John Clerk Brodie, Esq., W.S., Archibald Bonar, Esq., Banker, Maurice Lothian, Esq., Solicitor, Robert Johnston, jun., Esq., W.S., James Hamilton, Esq., of Ninewar, James Moncreiff, Esq., Advocate, Dr Begbie, James Bonar, Esq., W.S., W. Whitehead, Esq., Edinburgh, Dr Smyttan, Claud Alexander, Esq., of Ballochmyle, James Bridges, Esq., W.S., and D. M. M. Crichton, Esq., of Rankeillour, Elders; five, of whom three shall be ministers, to be a quorum, to be commissioners, to co-operate with the several Presbyteries within whose bounds are situated the following parishes:—viz., Huntly, Keith, Glass, Mortlach, Rhynie, Cairnie, Botriphnie, and Marnoch, in the Presbytery of Strathbogie; Auchterarder in the Presbytery of Auchterarder; Lethendy and Kinloch in the Presbytery of Dunkeld; Muckairn in the Presbytery of Lorn; Culsamond in the Presbytery of Garioch; and the new parish of Stewarton, in the Presbytery of Irvine,—in the settlement and superintendence of the said parishes, and the making provision for the supply of the ordinances of religion, and the exercise of discipline, and the ordering of all ecclesiastical matters therein; empowering and instructing the said commissioners to advise and direct the said respective Presbyteries in all their proceedings thereanent, with full power to the said commissioners, of themselves, to do and perform, in relation to the premises, every act which the respective Presbyteries might have done and performed in those cases in which the Presbytery of the bounds may be exposed to hazard by performing the same; and especially with power to moderate in a call to, and ordain a minister to the congregation of the said new church at Stewarton, and to grant ordination to the missionaries labouring in the several Strathbogie parishes, or others of the parishes above mentioned, in which there may be no speedy prospect of obtaining the enjoyment of the benefice for the maintenance of the ministry of the Word to those of the parishioners continuing in communion with this Church; and the said commissioners are further empowered in the event of any interference by the Civil Courts, with the exercise of the spiritual jurisdiction and discipline of the Church, by these or any other Presbyteries of the Church, and of their being applied to by such Presbyteries, to advise and direct such Presbyteries in regard to their proceedings; or of themselves to do and perform whatever it might have been competent for the said Presbyteries to have done and performed in the event aforesaid. And they are also instructed and empowered to advise with the Procurator in regard to legal processes in dependence touching the questions connected with the matters regarding the parishes herein before mentioned, or any others that may be similarly situated; and the said commissioners are appointed and authorised to take charge of all transactions with reference to a settlement of the great questions now in dependence touching the spiritual jurisdiction of the Church, and the liberties of the Christian people, in regard to the appointment of pastors to congregations, instructing them in all their proceedings regarding these matters, to have respect to the several deliverances of the General Assembly thereanent; and instruct such ministers of the Church as the said commissioners may call upon, to place their services at the disposal of the commissioners; and the said commissioners are hereby empowered to choose their moderator and clerk: And the General Assembly appoint the said commissioners to hold their first meeting at Edinburgh, in the Presbytery Hall, on the third of June, at ten o'clock, with power to hold meetings thereafter at such times and places as they shall see fit, and with power to their Moderator at any time to summon meetings of the said commissioners pro re nata, on five days notice to each of the commissioners.
XXV. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.—Overture anent Processes against Ministers.
The General Assembly, upon the Report of the Committee on the Form of Pro cess, without a vote agree to transmit the following Overture to all the Presbyteries of this Church for their consideration:—
1. That, in all cases of libel against a clergyman on charges of heresy or immorality, inferring deposition or suspension, it shall not be competent for the party libelled to exercise the functions of his office from the date of the service of the libel till the decision of the case upon the merits.
2. That, when a judgment finding the relevancy of a libel has become final, it shall be competent for the Presbytery to proceed with the case till it is ready for judgment on the merits, notwithstanding of any appeals which may be taken in the course of the proceedings.
XXVI. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.—Standing Orders on the Form of Process.
The General Assembly, on the Report of the Committee on the Form of Process, agreed that the following Resolutions, contained in their Report, be converted into Standing Orders of this Church:—
1. That no fees shall be exigible on presenting petitions on general subjects; and that all such petitions as may be lodged on or before the day of meeting of the Assembly, shall be classified and reported on to the Assembly, so as to show the import thereof, and number of names attached thereto; in consequence whereof, the printing of such petitions shall in future be dispensed with, unless the parties choose to print the same.
2. That overtures shall be classified and reported on as above, and the printing thereof also in like manner dispensed with.
3. That the second standing order of 28th May 1838 shall be altered and explained to the effect of declaring—That the printed copies only of all papers, appointed by former standing orders to be printed, shall be lodged with the Agent, four days before the meeting of the Assembly, excepting when they relate to matters arising after that date, otherwise they shall not be received nor founded upon in the Assembly; and that the record and other original papers shall be transmitted through the Committee of Bills as formerly.
XXVII. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.—Proposed Standing Order.
The General Assembly, on the Report of the Committee on the Form of Process, direct the following Resolution of their committee to be printed in the Acts of the General Assembly, that Presbyteries may be fully aware of what is intended to be proposed for adoption as a standing order to the next General Assembly:—
That, in cases of general resolutions, or of proposals for altering, repealing, or declaring any of the laws of the Church, or for enacting new laws, being submitted to the House, and when more than two motions shall be before the House at the same time, the question shall be put, Aye or No, upon each motion, beginning with the last. But that in cases of judgments on causes, the vote shall be taken in the same manner as at present. Or,
That the vote shall be taken as at present in all cases; but that when it shall be required, the question Aye or No shall also be put separately on the motion or amendment, which shall have been carried according to the present method of taking the votes, excepting in the case of causes submitted for the judgment of the House, which shall continue to be disposed of as formerly.
XXV III. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.—Declaratory Act as to Special Objections to Presentees.
The General Assembly did, and hereby do, declare, that it is the law of this Church, that it is competent at moderating in a call for any male communicant to state objections, of whatever kind, without a libel, to the presentee, or to the settlement taking place, and that the Presbytery are bound to receive and consider these objections.
XXIX. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.—Overture anent Union of Offices.
The General Assembly, having considered the Overture anent Union of Offices, agreed to transmit the same to Presbyteries for their consideration.
The General Assembly, being desirous to promote the interests of religion and literature, direct all the Presbyteries of this Church to employ all means competent to them in order to prevent the same person from holding at the same time a Principality or Professorship in any University and a parochial or pastoral charge; and that this direction may be uniformly carried into effect, the General Assembly do, with the consent of a majority of the Presbyteries of this Church, enact and ordain, that if a Principal or Professor in any University be hereafter presented to a parochial or pastoral charge, he shall, on his admission thereto, forthwith resign his Principality or Professorship, and at the next ordinary meeting of Presbytery thereafter produce to the Presbytery a certificate that his resignation has been accepted; and that if any minister of a parish, or any pastor of a congregation, be hereafter presented or elected to any Principality or Professorship in any University, he shall, at the first ordinary meeting of Presbytery, which shall take place after his induction into the Principality or Professorship, resign into the hands of the Presbytery his parochial or pastoral charge; and in the event of this injunction not being complied with by the persons holding such offices, the General Assembly, with the like consent of the Presbyteries of this Church, ordain the Presbytery of the bounds to serve him, in his character of minister, with a libel for the breach of this statute, and to proceed therein according to the rules of this Church.
XXX. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.—Act appointing a Day of Humiliation and Prayer.
The General Assembly, having considered the Overtures for a Day of Humiliation, and being deeply impressed with the continued tokens of the Divine displeasure still resting on the Church, and on this highly favoured and guilty land, did, and hereby do, appoint Thursday, the 21st day of July, to be set apart as a day of solemn humiliation and prayer, with especial reference to the distressed condition of the country; and the General Assembly earnestly invite the co-operation and concurrence of other denominations of Christians in the observance of that day; and appoint their Moderator to prepare a suitable pastoral address.
(The Address is appended to the Acts in the original edition, and is as follows:—)
Dearly Beloved Brethren,—The alarming indications of the Divine displeasure against our native country, manifested in the divisions and distractions that continue to afflict our Church, and in the current of events by which vast multitudes of our brethren around us are subjected to all the ills of poverty and want, have moved us, met together in solemn Assembly, to proclaim a fast throughout all the land; and while we call upon the individuals, and families and flocks over which the Lord has made us overseers, we would invite others also to join together in humiliation of soul before the Lord, under His threatening judgments, and in earnest supplication that He would turn away His wrath, and cause His face to shine upon us.
The wretchedness endured by increasing numbers of our brethren in the humbler classes of society from actual destitution, the less palpable, but not less real sufferings of those whose hearts are brought low under the silent decay of their worldly substance, and the acknowledged inability of the wisdom of man to devise adequate means for the removal of these evils, or even to determine the period of their continuance, or the limits of their operation, are calculated to awaken the most thoughtless to serious reflection. Afflictive providences, in whatever circumstances they are exhibited, should ever inspire sentiments of reverential awe, leading each individual beholder to be still, and know that God is the Lord. Wherever there is suffering there must have been sin; and when we see the outstretched arm of the Lord descending upon the devoted head, we are reminded of our own sinful state, and of our fearful deservings. But when we behold multitudes, and these our fellow-countrymen, singled out as the objects of the Divine chastisements,—their comforts blasted, their prospects darkened, their minds amazed through fear, and when no one can say when or where the evil may be stayed,—a more impressive lesson is set before us. National judgments betoken national sin. And in considering the appalling scenes of human misery existing in the midst of us, we are called upon to stand forth before the Lord, with our little ones, our wives, and our children, and to cry unto Him in our affliction, adoring his awful sovereignty, acknowledging our individual share in the guilt that has drawn down his chastisements, and submitting ourselves wholly to his righteous disposal, while deprecating the inflictions of his deserved displeasure.
In preparing for this solemnity our first duty must be, to endeavour to ascertain wherefore the Lord has a controversy with us. And here we must not confine our inquiries to the special occasions or more obvious and immediate causes of the distresses which prevail. It is the part of wisdom, indeed, to attend to these, and to seek, by every proper means, for their removal. But our search must extend farther, even to the sins of the people that cause the land to mourn. We are ever ready to limit our views to what is present and outward; and in witnessing the calamities of others, we are prone to conceive that they are sufficiently accounted for by the operation of temporary causes, in which we have no farther concern than as they afford prudential rules for the guidance of human conduct. In acting thus, however, we misinterpret altogether the true character of events, and neglect intimations conveyed in the course of Divine Providence. Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it? The Scriptures teach us, that the Almighty, in his dispensations, has purposes beyond the special occassions of them; that the ills which come upon one class of individuals have often a reference to the trangressions of others; while they hold out a general warning, that unless we repent, we shall all like wise perish.
Every individual, therefore, should be much employed in searching and bewailing the transgressions of his heart and of his life; and with this exercise of soul respecting our individual condition, we should connect a serious consideration of the iniquities that prevail in the land, that we may unite in morning over the sins with which, as a nation, we are chargeable. And here the abuse we have made of our special privileges cannot fail to arise before our view. It was the voice of the Almighty to the children of Israel of old,—You only have I known of all the nations of the earth; therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities. And the distinguishing manifestations of the Divine goodness which have been displayed to our highly favoured land, as they aggravate our guilt, so they mark out the character of our national suffering as a Divine infliction. In the free preaching of the glorious Gospel,—in the general diffusion of the benefits of education,—in the Scriptural purity of the institutions of religion, there has been no people on the face of the earth more signally blessed. And it affords matter of the deepest sorrow and shame to all, that we have so little profited by these inestimable advantages.
The Word of God has had free course in our land, and the Gospel has been freely preached to us. But can it be said that the privilege has been fully improved? Have all diligently waited upon God in his ordinances? It has, indeed, pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save multitudes who have believed. But is not the number of those increasing who forsake the assembling of themselves together? And even of those who seem to seek after God, and delight to know his ways as a nation, that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinances of their God, how much of self-pleasing, and formality, and hypocrisy, have mingled with their service? Have the professors of religion lived up to their privileges, or shown their efficacy in their lives? Have they made it their holy aim to exhibit in the temper of their minds, and the tenor of their conduct, the blessed power of the Gospel of our salvation? Has it been their object to give full proof of the energy which God imparts to his Word in delivering men from the love of a present evil world, and from the principles of our evil nature? Or, while even the best must acknowledge that they fall short in all these respects, do not many seek how they may make their religious professions harmonize with the pursuit of all those objects upon which the men of this world are most strongly bent, and the indulgence of the sinful passions that reign undisguised among the children of disobedience?
We have experienced the great national blessing of a wide-spread education. We have been indebted to the enlightened zeal of our early Reformers from the errors of Popery, for advantages connected with the instruction of the young of all calsses, such as no other country has enjoyed, and to which the high name of Scotland among the nations of the earth, and the success of so many of her sons in our own and in other lands, must be mainly ascribed. As our nation owes these advantages to religion, have we made a due return to religion? Has sufficient care been exercised that the schools of elementary instruction should, agreeably to the intention of their founders, be chiefly consecrated to the godly upbringing of the young? Or has there not been great neglect in this respect? Has not that which was intended as a spiritual ordinance been too much regarded as a secular institution, so that the opportunities of early education have been too often employed with no higher aim than as a means for promoting the wordly advantages of ourselves and our children?
And having experienced the advantages of the religious ordinances and institutions handed down to us by the holy men who have gone before us, have we been sufficiently careful that their benefits should be enjoyed by our brethren around us according to the necessities of an increasing population? Have we been mindful, as a nation, of teaching diligently to our children the truths which we learned from our fathers, that they might declare them to the generation to come? Or, are we not leaving thousands, and tens of thousands of the little children whom Jesus loves, to rise around us without any effectual endeavour to bring them to Jesus? And are there not multitudes among us, of whom, in the degradation of their penury, it must be said that no one careth for their souls, even in this land that names the name of Him who gave it as a characteristic of his appearing, that the Gospel was preached to the poor?
From the necessities of our earthly condition, and from the enterprising character of our countrymen, there is scarcely any land into which our brethren and children have not penetrated. In almost all our Colonies, vast numbers of Scotsmen are to be found, and new kingdoms are rising from our loins. An opportunity is thus presented to us for extending the knowledge of the Lord over the earth. But have we laid out this talent to usury? Or are we not allowing our fellow-countrymen to leave our shores without any adequate efforts for their spiritual interests; and, instead of seeking that they may prove heralds of the Gospel in the new regions whither they are going, or be themselves the founders of new Christian kingdoms, neglecting them altogether, or thinking merely of their temporal state, and continuing our intercourse with them for no higher end than the promotion of our individual advantage, or adding to the national resources?
In no respect has our country been more distinguished than by the high Scriptural principles professed by almost all denominations of Christians among us respecting the sanctification of the Sabbath, and in regard to the outward observance of it there is certainly less to condemn than in any other land; and there is no particular as to which it could be more clearly proved that godliness is profitable unto all things. And yet how much have we to answer for in the desecration of that holy day? How far does our practice fall short of our principles? And while multitudes are openly profaning, in every varied form, the day that God has declared to be holy, how many of those by whom it is outwardly observed satisfy themselves with the form instead of the substance? How melancholy are the inconsistencies exhibited in regard to it? And how few display such unequivocal tokens of its sanctifying influences upon their whole deportment, as, without the Word, might win the thoughtless and profane to external decency, and it may be, to inward holiness?
In regard to these and all other sins, our duty is to abase ourselves in the dust because of the dishonour we have done to His name and cause who has so highly favoured us, and, in the strength of the Lord, to turn away from our iniquities,—praying that a spirit of repentance and reformation may be shed abroad, that we all may be led to a better improvement of our mercies,—that we may seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, trusting that all needful things will be added unto us, so that our sufferings may be removed, or, if continued, may tend to perfect that righteousness which alone exalteth a nation.
In calling you to the exercises of fasting and humiliation, we would never have you to forget that sympathy and relief must be extended to those who suffer, as the first and as the abiding effect of genuine contrition of soul. We have already called upon you to this duty—affording you an opportunity to contribute of your substance as the Lord hath prospered you; and so long as there is distress among us, your liberality must be exercised for its mitigation. This is the unfailing consequence, or rather, it is the essential element, of godly penitence. Is not this the fast that I have chosen, saith the Lord, to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh.
If such a spirit were generally to prevail; if even those professing godliness were to walk worthy of their vocation, there would be reason to hope for the fulfilment of the promise, that our light would break forth as the morning;—that the sad calamities which are at present exciting the apprehensions of all would wholly overpass, and that a barrier would be reared against their recurrence. If there were less of the love of gain, and more of the love of God, a sprit of greater moderation would be diffused; and if the condition of the poor were more wisely considered, and if more care were exercised for the elevation of their character and habits, they would less readily yield themselves as instruments of the cupidity of those who, hastening to be rich, fall into a snare, and pierce themselves, and pierce their country, through with many sorrows.
It is in Religion alone that the permanent security and happiness of any people is to be found; and though the chastisements of the Lord may be withdrawn without the spirit of repentance being exhibited, their removal can be in such cases only temporary, and the last state of such a land will be worse than its first. It is impossible, therefore, not to think with sorrow of those who limit their views to inferior causes, and who refuse to own the work of the Lord. With reference to our brethren in affiction, while we cannot but see cause of thankfulness in the patience with which their trials have been borne, and while we trust that, in many instances, this has arisen from a spirit of submission to the Divine will, we would remind those with whom it is otherwise, that the benefit of their Fatherly discipline is not received till they see who appointed the rod, and that till then all their temporal deprivations are but typical of a worse famine that may bring death to their souls. And in regard to those who, while they may pity and aid the destitute, make a mock at every appeal to the duty of recognising a higher power in this national visitation, and who are prepared to make our day of fasting a day of folly and sin, our souls would weep in secret places for their pride, and our eyes would weep sore, when we consider the denunciation against those who regard not the doings of the Lord. Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish; for I work a work in your days which ye shall not believe, though a man declare it unto you.
Still more solemnly would we warn those who neither fear God nor regard man,—who in the day of their fast find pleasure, and exact all their labours; or those who, without the form, as well as without the power of godliness, have despised the poor, and oppressed them. Behold, the hire of the labourers, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth, and the cries of them which have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
But it is not only in the distresses and deprivations of many of our fellow-countrymen that we have matter of humiliation. The unhappy dissensions which prevail in the Church, with the sad consequences which they have brought in their train, of estrangements, and contentions, and collisions, interrupting the harmony of families and friends, embittering the intercourse of social life, disturbing the peace of society, and threatening even the stability of the institutions of the country, cannot be contemplated without anxiety and alarm. In this unhappy state of our affairs, all the members of our Church may well humble themselves before the Most High. There may be a difference of opinion as to the character of the principles contended for, and as to the nature of the proceedings to which our divisions may be traced as their immediate cause. But, differing in other particulars, we may agree in this, that none of us are without sin,—that it is the duty of all to pray that our sins may be pardoned, and that God, by his Holy Spirit, would so teach us to improve under His afflicting hand, that we maybe prepared for enjoying the peace which Christ promised to all his true followers. And here, we have hoped for the sympathy and prayers of other branches of the Church of Christ. Where one member of the body of Christ suffers, all the other members suffer along with it. And while those who endure are more especially called upon to exercises of self-examination and acts of self-abasement, we would seek for an interest in the prayers of the faithful, that this our purging may be blessed towards our bringing forth more fruit. Those who have built upon the true founda tion, but who differ in what is not essential, may perhaps even unite with us in inquiring whether we have not allowed earthly feelings to mingle too much with our differences,—whether we have not thought more of what is peculiar to Paul or to Apollos, than of what belongs to Christ—whether we have not omitted opportunities of doing good by cooperating together against the common enemies of the Lord, and sought rather who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, than remembered all that is involved in the declaration, that he who is not against us is for us.
The dissensions which have existed among different denominations of Christians, however they may have originated, have tended greatly to the injury of religion; and we cannot but look upon them, not less than the divisions in our own Church, as holding a place
among the causes of the Divine displeasure against our land. We know not even to what
extent the distresses among us might have been prevented or mitigated, had all who name
the name of Christ united, in so far as their principles would allow, in making common
cause against prevailing ignorance and infidelity, and endeavoured to give the impress of a
higher Christian character to the inhabitants of our land. It may not yet be too late.
Let us pray, then, that Ephraim may no longer vex Judah, nor Judah Ephraim. If
we cannot be one in opinion, we may be one in Christian love, and in joint efforts for adding to the numbers of the true followers of Christ.—"Let the people praise thee, O God;
let all the people praise thee! Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our
God, shall bless us!"
By order of the Assembly,
David Welsn, Moderator.
XXXI. Sess. ult., May 30, 1842.— 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 18th of May 1843.
Extracted from the Records of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, by
John Lee, Cl. Eccl. Scot.