Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842. Originally published by Edinburgh Printing & Publishing Co, Edinburgh, 1843.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The Principal acts of the General assembly, holden and Begun at Edinburgh, March 29, 1694. (fn. 1)
I. Sess. 1, March 29, 1694, post meridiem.—The recording of their Majesties' Commission to John Lord Carmichael, for representing their Majesties in this General Assembly.
This day, the General Assembly of this National Church being met and constituted, there was produced to them by a noble Lord, John Lord Carmichael, their Majesties' commission, under the Great Seal of the Kingdom of Scotland, nominating and appointing him to be their Majesties' High Commissioner and representative in this General Assembly: Which Commission was publicly read, with all due honour and respect; and the General Assembly appointed, and hereby appoints, the said commission to be recorded in the books of the General Assembly, therein to remain, ad futuram rei memoriam, whereof the tenor follows:—"Gulielmus et Maria," &c.
II. Eadem Sessione.—Appointment of a Diet to be kept by the Assembly for Prayer.
The General Assembly appoints to-morrow, being Friday, betwixt nine and twelve o'clock in the forenoon, to be set apart for public prayer by the members of this Assembly; and recommends to all the said members to meet timeously in the Assembly-House for that effect.
III. The General Assembly's Letter to his Majesty.
IV. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent the giving in of Commissions.
The General Assembly, taking to consideration how inconvenient it is that the rolls of the Assembly should be made up when the Assembly is met and actually sitting, and how much time is unnecessarily spent thereby, and being desirous that for the future it may be remedied; therefore, the General Assembly doth hereby appoint, that, in time coming, the commissioners from Presbyteries and others shall give in their respective commissions to the clerk of the General Assembly the night at least before the first diet or meeting thereof, to the effect the rolls may be timeously made up, and that the commissions may be considered by the Assembly, without any interruption through the making of the rolls. And the General Assembly appoints that any such commissions as may happen to be undelivered before the said first diet, shall only be delivered in the intervals betwixt the after diets, and no ways in presence of the Assembly while actually sitting.
V. Sess. 3, April 2, 1694, post meridiem.—Act anent the Representation of Presbyteries in the General Assemblies.
The General Assembly doth hereby enact and appoint, that, in all time coming, the representation of the several Presbyteries of this National Church, in its General Assemblies, shall hold proportion to the number of parishes in which there are or ought to be settled ministers within each Presbytery in manner following:—That is to say, that all Presbyteries consisting of twelve parishes, or under that number, shall send two ministers and one ruling elder; and that all Presbyteries consisting of eighteen parishes, or under that number, but above twelve, shall send three ministers and one ruling elder; and that all Presbyteries consisting of twenty-four parishes, or under that number, but above eighteen, shall send four ministers and two ruling elders; and, lastly, that all Presbyteries consisting of above twenty-four parishes shall send five ministers and two ruling elders to the General Assemblies. And it is hereby declared that collegiate kirks, where there used to be two or more ministers, are, so far as concerns the design of this act, understood to be as many distinct parishes.
And farther, the General Assembly hereby enacts, appoints, and declares, that no person shall be admitted members of Assemblies but such as are either ministers or ruling elders.
VI. Sess. 5, April 4, 1694. post meridiem.—Act for the better regulating Transportations of Ministers, and Appeals thereanent.
The General Assembly, taking to consideration the designs of transportations are become too common to many parishes, and very troublesome to neighbouring congregations, and to church judicatories; therefore, the General Assembly hereby recommends to all parishes which are or may be vacant, what, before they design the calling of any minister already fixed in another congregation, they do first seriously essay and follow other means of providing themselvdes, if they can be found. As also, the General Assembly hereby recommends to all Presbyteries that they do not concur in any such call or design of transporting a minister from one congregation to another, unless, by due comparing of places and all parties concerned, the disproportion betwixt them and the greater good of the Church be manifestly evident.
And suchlike, when any such design of transportation is pursued, the General Assembly hereby ordains that all parties concerned therein shall debate, with such meekness and brotherly kindness as becometh parts and members of the same body of Christ, designing the good of the whole; and that they represent their reasons and answers with due perspicuity and all possible brevity, and that they do not needlessly expatiate on things which concern not the true merit of the cause; and the General Assembly hereby prohibits all lengthening of debates, by replies and duplies, unless the judicatory before whom the debate lies find it necessary for clearing some matter of fact, or because of some new matter that hath occurred, which could not be considered before.
And farther, to prevent unnecessary and contentious appeals in such matters, it is hereby declared and ordained, that, if both the competing parishes be within the bounds of the same Presbytery, in that case the decision and sentence of the Presbytery shall take effect and be obeyed. Or if the parishes be in different Presbyteries, but both Presbyteries within the same Synod, in that case, the decision and sentence of the Synod shall also take effect and be obeyed, seeing these respective judicatories are equally concerned in both parishes, and may be thought fittest to judge both of the disproportion of the parishes, and the suitableness and fitness of the person called for either of the places. Yet always allowing liberty to any person or parish, who think themselves aggrieved, to appeal to superior judicatories, to have redress by taking off the sentence, and censuring the respective judicatory complained of, if they be found to have malversed; but with this certification, that if any be found unnecessarily to pursue appeals and complaints they shall be severely censured therefor.
VII. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent the giving in of Process, &c.
The General Assembly, considering how inconvenient it is that processes or other papers should be brought in in presence of the Assembly while it is actually sitting, without any previous acquainting the moderator or clerk therewith; doth, therefore, hereby enact and appoint, that all processes or other papers be delivered to the clerk in the intervals betwixt the diets of the Assembly's meetings; declaring, that such as shall be otherwise delivered shall be laid aside for that diet.
VIII. Sess. 7, April 6, 1694, post meridiem.—Act anent Appeals.
The General Assembly of this National Church, for preventing some mistakes that have happened about appeals, doth hereby appoint, that any appeals made in writing under the appellant's hand, with the reasons thereof, in presence of the judicatory appealed from, shall be extracted by the appellant in due form from the records of the said judicatory, and produced to the judicatory appealed to at the discussing thereof, with a citation of the parties-defenders therein, either apud acta, if they be present when the appeal is made, or a separate citation if they be absent.
And because, by the former practice, parties not instantly giving in their subscribed appeals at the time of the sentence were allowed verbally to appeal, and protest for liberty to give in their subscribed appeals, with the reasons thereof, within the space of ten days thereafter; and because that before the said space the said judicatory may happen to be up, therefore, it is hereby appointed and ordained, that all parties who have, immediately after sentence, verbally appealed and protested as aforesaid, shall, within the said space of ten days, give in their said subscribed appeals, with the reasons thereof, to the clerk of the judicatory appealed from, notwithstanding it may be up before that time. And, likewise, that they shall, within the same ten days, intimate their said appeal, with the reasons of the same, to the moderator of the said judicatory, and leave an authentic copy thereof with him. Which appeals and reasons are hereby allowed to be registered by the clerk, and summons to be directed by him for citing the parties-defenders thereupon; and extracts thereof, with the cita tion foresaid, are appointed to be produced by the appellants, at discussing, to the judicatory appealed to; and the General Assembly hereby appoints the clerk to intimate to the said judicatory, at their first meeting thereafter, that such appeals were given in to him in the intervals of their meetings.
And suchlike, the General Assembly hereby appoints that all defenders in appeals, who insist in discussing thereof, shall produce extracts of the said appeals and reasons to the judicatory appealed to. And, lastly, the General Assembly hereby declares that any appeals or insistings thereanent otherwise made shall be rejected.
IX. Sess. 9, April 10, 1694, post meridiem.—Act anent Lecturing.
The General Assembly of this National Church, considering how necessary and edifying it is that the people be well acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, doth, therefore, recommend to the several Presbyteries that they endeavour that the ministers within their respective bounds shall, in their exercise of lecturing, read and open up to the people some large and considerable portion of the Word of God; and this to the effect the old custom introduced and established by the Directory may by degrees be recovered.
X. Sess. 10, April 11, 1694, post meridiem.—Act anent Probationers.
The General Assembly of this National Church hereby appoints that no Presbytery shall admit any person to trial, in order to preaching, but such as are of sound principles, and of a sober, grave, prudent, and pious behaviour, and of whom they have ground to conceive good hopes that they shall be useful and edifying in the Church. And for this end it is hereby appointed, that such persons shall produce, before the Presbyteries who admit them to trial, sufficient testimonials from the ministers of the parishes where they lived, and from the Presbyteries in whose bounds they reside, and also from the Professors of Divinity where they may have attended the profession for some time. And if the said persons come from a place where there is no Presbytery yet constituted, according to the legal establishment, they shall produce testificates from the next adjacent Presbytery, who are to inform themselves concerning their principles and behaviour, and to testify of them accordingly.
And suchlike, the General Assembly hereby appoints, that when such persons are first licensed to be probationers, they shall oblige themselves to preach only within the bounds or by the direction of that Presbytery which did license them; and they shall also, by promise and subscription, engage themselves that they shall be subject to the Presbytery that did license them, or to any other church judicatory, where in providence they shall have their abode, for shorter or longer time, and that they shall follow no divisive course; and this their engagement shall be inserted in the body of their licence. And farther, the General Assembly appoints that when they are removing from that Presbytery which did license them, they shall carry with them an extract of their licence, and a testimonial from the Presbytery of their carriage, which they are to present to the Presbytery to which they come, or at least to some minister therein, before they preach within that bounds; and which minister is not to employ them, except in his own pulpit, until he give notice thereof to the Presbytery at their next meeting, and have their allowance. As also, it is hereby appointed that the said Presbytery to which the said probationers so come, shall require the same subjection and orderly carriage from the said probationers, during their abode in that bounds, to which they were engaged to the Presbytery by which they were licensed; and if they go to any place where a Presbytery is not yet constituted according to the legal establishment, they shall be obliged, before they preach in that bounds, to make their address to the next adjacent and legally erected Presbytery, to whom they shall be subject, and by whom they shall be directed as aforesaid.
And in case the said probationers malverse in doctrine or conversation, they shall be accountable to and censurable by the foresaid respective judicatories, as they shall see cause; and if the said probationers refuse subjection, or prove contunacious to such censure, whether of reproof, suspending the exercise of their licence, or of recalling the said licence, intimation shall be made thereof by the said judicatory to the neighbouring judicatories, or where they shall understand the said probationers are, that so none may employ them to preach, nor their after irregularities be imputed to the Presbyteries that did license them, or where they afterwards had their abode.
It is always hereby expressly provided and declared, that the foresaid probationers are not to be esteemed, by themselves or others, to preach by virtue of any pastoral office, but only to make way for their being called to a pastoral charge.
XI. Sess. 13, April 13, 1694, post meridiem.—Act approving Overtures anent a Commission of the General Assembly, and Instructions thereto.
This day the following overtures and instructions were read in presence of the General Assembly. The tenor whereof follows:—
"1. It is overtured to the General Assembly, that there be a commission appointed by this General Assembly, to meet and take such affairs under their consideration as the General Assembly shall think fit to commit to them.
"2. That out of this commission there be a certain number specially appointed by the General Assembly, as a committee to go to the North, with power to the commission to add any more of their number as they think fit.
"3. That this commission consist of fifty ministers and twenty-five ruling elders, fifteen to be the quorum, of whom ten to be ministers.
"4. That out of this commission, fifteen ministers and five ruling elders, besides these ministers and ruling elders of the North who shall be named in the foresaid commission, be appointed as a committee, as said is, to go to the North; thirteen of which committee to be the quorum, of whom seven to be of these commissioners who are on the south side of Tay, and of these seven five at least to be ministers; and that the said committee have the same power on the North side of Tay as the commission itself.
"5. That the General Assembly appoint the first meeting of this commission, and that the meeting be before the members go out of town after the Assembly ends; and that the commission do appoint their own after-meetings, and likewise the time when the said committee should meet in the North.
"6. That this commission may receive into ministerial communion such of the late conforming ministers as, having qualified themselves according to law, shall apply personally to them one by one, duly and orderly, and shall acknowledge, engage, and subscribe upon the end of the Confession of Faith as follows, viz.:—
"'I, , do sincerely own and declare the above Confession of Faith, approven by former General Assemblies of this Church, and ratified by law in the year 1690, to be the confession of my faith; and that I own the doctrine therein contained to be the true doctrine, which I will constantly adhere to; as likewise, that I own and acknowledge Presbyterian Church government of this Church, now settled by law, by Kirk-Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies, to be the only government of this Church, and that I will submit thereto, concur therewith, and never endeavour, directly nor indirectly, the prejudice or subversion thereof; and that I shall observe uniformity of worship, and of the administration of all public ordinances within this Church, as the same are at present performed and allowed.'
"And the commission is to have special regard to their ministerial qualifications. And if any of the said ministers so applying, or any other ministers within this Church, of what persuasion soever, shall be accused or informed against of any scandal, error, supine negligence, or insufficiency, then the said commission shall make inquiry thereinto, cite parties, lead witnesses, take depositions, and do every other thing that may clear the matter of fact informed against them, and report the same, and their diligence therein, to the next General Assembly. Providing always, that if any be accused of gross uncontroverted scandals, and these clearly proven, in that case the commission shall proceed to determine as they find cause: As it is likewise expected of all Presbyteries in this kingdom, that they will use that discretion in their behaviour and government, as that (during the continuance of this commission) in all processes against any ministers, they advise with their respective Synods, or in case of urgent necessity, consult with the said commission. As also, that the General Assembly require all Presbyteries and Synods, in their admitting or receiving any to ministerial communion, that they oblige them to take and subscribe the above acknowledgment: And that during the said time, neither this commission, or any other judicatory of this Church, do take advantage to censure any minister whatsoever, for not having qualified himself in the terms of the Act of Parliament 1693, intituled, 'Act for settling the Quiet and Peace of the Church;' as likewise, that the said commission and all other judicatories are to take care, that if any shall be found to have maliciously or calumniously accused any minister, they shall be condignly censured, according to the order and practice of this Church. As also, that the Assembly ordain, that none of these ministers who are not presently in charge be received into ministerial communion but by the said commission, or by that Presbytery or Synod of the bounds in which they now reside.
"7. That this commission and committee foresaid shall be careful to settle elderships and plant ministers in vacant congregations on the North side of Tay, either by ordaining well qualified expectants (who shall be bound at their entry to subscribe the said Confession of Faith, with the acknowledgment above expressed) or by transporting ministers, who shall be called by any vacant congregation therein, (the Presbytery to which they belong being first applied unto,) requiring all ministers who shall be so called to give obedience to these sentences of transportation; with power likewise to the said commission, to receive any appeals that shall be made in any process of transportation of a minister from one Synod to another, (which appeals may be from any such Presbytery to the Synod or commission, which of these two shall first happen to sit,) and to determine finally therein, as they find cause.
"8. And seeing there are diverse processes led before several judicatories of this Church against Mr John Hepburn, which, by references thereanent, lie before this Assembly, that, therefore, the General Assembly do remit these processes to the consideration of the said commission. And it being informed that several aspersions are laid on the ministers and judicatories of this Church by some persons, as if the said ministers and judicatories had receded from the known principles thereof, in relation to the constitution and government of the Church, contained in the Confession of Faith, though the contrary thereof be evident, not only by the ministers of this Church their owning of and adhering to the said Confession, wherein these principles are contained, but also by the whole course of their ministry; that, therefore, the General Assembly require the said commission to take all due pains to inform, convince, and satisfy any such persons of their mistakes, that they may be reclaimed.
"9. That such references and appeals as the General Assembly cannot overtake to determine, and shall be particularly remitted to the said commission by the Assembly, the same shall by the said commission be taken to consideration, cognosced upon, and finally determined as they see cause.
"10. That this commission do not take on them to meddle with any thing not contained in their commission; and that in all their actings they be accountable to and censurable by the next ensuing General Assembly.
"And, lastly, that this commission continue till the second Tuesday of April 1695, or the meeting of the next General Assembly, which soever of these two shall first happen."
All which overtures and instructions above set down being maturely considered, the General Assembly of this National Church hereby approves thereof; and recommends and appoints according thereto in all points.
XII. Sess. 13, April 14, 1694, post meridiem.—Act anent Processes against Ministers.
The General Assembly doth seriously recommend to all the Presbyteries of this Church, to proceed in all processes against ministers with all due circumspection and prudence, and that they consult their respective Synods, or, in case of urgent necessity, the Commission of this Assembly therein. And the General Assembly hereby requires, that no judicatory of this Church do take advantage to censure any minister whatsoever, for not having qualified himself in the terms of the act of Parliament, 1693, intituled, "Act for settling the Quiet and Peace of the Church;" and this act to endure only till the second Tuesday of April 1695, or the meeting of the next General Assembly, which of the two shall first happen.
XIII. Sess. 14, April 16, 1694, post meridiem.—Act against Profaneness.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into serious consideration how much God is dishonoured by the impiety and profaneness that aboundeth in this nation, in profane and idle swearing, cursing, Sabbath-breaking, neglect and contempt of Gospel ordinances, mocking of piety and religious exercises, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, blasphemy, and other gross and abominable sins and vices; and how much it concerns the honour and glory of God that the same be restrained and suppressed, and that virtue and godliness be encouraged; and also what may be the remedies of these detestable sins; doth, therefore, exhort and require, that ministers, and all who fear God, have on their hearts a deep, humbling, and soul-affecting sense of these evils, and be much in prayer and supplication before God on this account; and that all the ministers of this Church preach plainly and faithfully against these vices, and denounce the threatened judgments of God against such evil-doers, and deal earnestly and much with their consciences, to bring them to a conviction and sense of their sin and danger. As also, the General Assembly appoints that Church judicatories do faithfully exercise Church discipline against all such scandalous offenders, with that gravity, prudence, and meekness of wisdom, as, by the blessing of God, may prove an effectual mean of reforming and recovering the guilty, and of preventing the like sins in others.
And farther, the General Assembly requires that care be taken in the receiving of servants, that they have testimonials of their honest and Christian behaviour; and that the same be required of all others who flit and remove from one parish to another.
And also, the General Assembly appoints, that the ministers and elders in each congregation take care that the worship of God be performed in the several families thereof; and if any family be found which neglecteth this necessary duty, the head of that family is to be gravely, seriously, and earnestly admonished, until he amend his fault; and recommends to ministers and kirk-sessions, that none be ruling elders who make not conscience of this necessary and unquestionable duty; and that no grossly ignorant and scandalous person be admitted to the Lord's Table.
And likewise the General Assembly recommends to all ministers and kirk-sessions, that they carefully apply to the several magistrates of their bounds that the acts of Parliament against profaneness may be put in execution, and particularly the act of Parliament, June 15, 1693, intituled, "Act against Profaneness."
And, lastly, the General Assembly ordains that this present act be publicly read and intimated in all churches.
XIV. Eadem Sessione.—Act appointing some Ministers for the Supply of the North.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into consideration the many vacancies in this Church by north the Water of Tay, and the paucity of ministers in these parts, who are in any condition to give supply without their own congregations; and also having before them the petitions of several noblemen, gentlemen, and magistrates of burghs living in these parts; therefore, the General Assembly have ordained, and hereby ordain, that the Synods besouth Tay shall send north the number of sixteen ministers, according to the proportions after mentioned, for supply of the vacancies within the Synods of Angus and Mearns, Aberdeen, Murray, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness: That is to say, that there be two sent to supply the vacancies of Angus and Mearns, including the kirk of Rattray; four to supply the vacancies within the town and province of Aberdeen; six to supply the vain the Synod of Murray; and four to supply the vacancies within the Synods of Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness: And ordains that the Synods of Fife, Perth, Lothian, Merse and Teviotdale, Glasgow, Galloway and Dumfries, do send to the north for that effect the ministers after named, viz. from the Synod of Fife, Mr Thomas Russell at Kennoway, and Mr James Hadow at Coupar; from the Synod of Lothian, Mr John Frazer at Glencorss, Mr Donald Campbell at the Queensferry, Mr Robert Livingstoun at Liberton, in the Presbytery of Biggar, and Mr Robert Colvill at Baro; from the Synod of Perth any one of their number to supply the congregation of Rattray; from the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, Mr George Guthry at Oxnam, and Mr John Dysart at Langton; from the Synod of Glasgow, Mr James Brisbane at Kilmalcolm, Mr Andrew Tait at Carmunnock, Mr John Glasgow at Kilbirnie, Mr Duncan Campbell at Roseneath, (or any other for him having the Irish tongue, whom the Presbytery of Dumbarton shall appoint,) and Mr Andrew Rogers at Galston; from the Synod of Galloway, Mr John Murdoch at Crossmichael; and from the Synod of Dumfries, Mr William Somervel at Traquair, in all sixteen, who are hereby ordained to repair to the Commission of this General Assembly, to meet at Edinburgh against the eighteenth day of April instant, and receive directions from the said Commission, to go to such particular Synods in the north as it shall direct, and thereafter to be advised by the ministers, residing in these respective Synods, to what particular congregations they shall apply themselves. And likewise, the General Assembly ordains that the said ministers make all diligence (with the Lord's assistance) to be at the respective places to which they are to be sent against the first Sabbath of June next, where they are to continue for the space of three months; at which time the General Assembly doth hereby ordain the above written Synods of the south to send a new supply to the north, of as many ministers more, (if need require,) to continue for the second quarter; and so forth quarterly, ay and until the sitting of the next General Assembly; and that according to the proportion underwritten, to wit, from the Synod of Fife, three; from the Synod of Perth, one; from the Synod of Lothian, four; from the Synod of Merse, two; from the Synod of Glasgow, four; from that of Galloway, one; and from that of Dumfries, one. But, with this provision, that, according as the vacancies in the north shall be filled, and the necessity of supplies grow less, the remotest of the said Synods shall be first eased. And farther, because the Synod of Glasgow, Galloway, and Dumfries, are not to meet in their respective Provincial Assemblies before the expiring of the first quarter of the above appointed time; therefore, the General Assembly doth now nominate and appoint the ministers after named to be sent north, in manner after mentioned, from these three Synods, for the second quarter, viz. from the Synod of Glasgow, Mr John Laury at Auchinleck, Mr Archibald Hamilton at Cambuslang, Mr Alexander King at Bonhil, and Mr David Meldrum, preacher: from the Synod of Galloway, Mr Andrew Ewart at Kells; and from the Synod of Dumfries, Mr George Boyd at Glencairn.
And the General Assembly recommends to the respective Presbyteries to take care to supply the kirks of these ministers; and also of such as are upon the Commission to meet at Edinburgh, and of these that are upon the committee that is to go to the north during their absence, and that in a more punctual way than other vacancies.
XV. Eadem Sessione.—Recommendation anent Vacant Stipends.
The General Assembly, finding it necessary for support and propagation of the work of the Gospel, to send a considerable number of ministers from the remotest parts of this kingdom to the Synods in the north, which doth require a necessary expense; and it being found in law, that such as so serve vacant congregations merit and ought to be maintained out of the stipend during the time that they serve, which certainly is the most proper and preferable pious use a stipend can be applied to; therefore, the General Assembly doth humbly desire their Majesties' High Commissioner, that he would, in the Assembly's name, apply to their Majesties for a general recommendation to the Lords of Privy Council, Lords of Treasury and Exchequer, Lords of Session, and other judges whatsoever, in favour of such as shall, by order foresaid, serve vacant congregations, that they may have access for maintenance out of the vacant stipends during the time they serve.
XVI. Eadem Session.—Act anent Intrusion upon Kirks.
The General Assembly, being informed that there are divers churches intruded upon by several persons in a most illegal and unwarrantable manner, doth, therefore, recommend to the Commission of this Assembly, which is to meet at Edinburgh, and to the committee for the North respective, to make inquiry thereinto, and to apply to the Lords of Privy Council to declare the intrusion; to the effect the kirks intruded into may be orderly planted with their Lordships' assistance.
XVII. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent Exercise and Addition, Privy Censures, and Bursars of Theology.
The General Assembly doth earnestly recommend to the several Presbyteries within this Church to set up the use of exercise and addition; as also, that of privy censures, conform to the ancient practice of this Church; and appoints their diligence therein to be recorded in their respective registers. And suchlike the General Assembly hereby recommends to the several Presbyteries, that they be careful to keep and maintain bursars of theology, conform to the ancient practice and the acts of former General Assemblies made thereanent.
XVIII. Sess. 15 et ult. April 17, 1694, post meridiem.—Commission of the General Assembly for some Commissioners to meet at Edinburgh.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into consideration how requisite it is, in the present juncture, that there be a commission appointed for such affairs as this Assembly sees fit to commit thereto; doth, therefore, by these presents, nominate and appoint Mr William Mackay, minister at Dornoch, &c. &c., to be commissioners of this General Assembly, to the effect after expressed, with full power and commission to the said persons or their quorum, which is hereby declared to be any fifteen of the said commissioners, whereof ten at least are always to be ministers, to meet and convene within the Assembly-House at Edinburgh, upon the day next and immediately following the dissolution of this General Assembly, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, for their first meeting, and to appoint their after diets of meeting as they shall see convenient; as also to chuse their own moderator, in case of the absence of the moderator of this Assembly. And suchlike, the General Assembly fully empowers and authorises the said commissioners, and their quorum foresaid, to consider, cognosce, and finally determine, as they shall see cause, in all references, appeals, and other matters, that have been or shall be particularly remitted to them for that effect, by any act or order of this Assembly, all which are holden as herein expressed; and specially to proceed and cognosce in every thing contained in and conform to the overtures and instructions thereanent, approven by the General Assembly upon the thirteenth day of April instant, intituled "Overtures anent a Commission of the General Assembly, and Instructions thereto," as full and freely as if the same were in these presents at full length inserted and set down; likeas, the General Assembly hereby prohibits the said commissioners to meddle in any other matter not herein contained; declaring also, that in and for all their actings the said commissioners shall be accountable to and censurable by the next General Assembly of this Church. And, lastly, the General Assembly hereby declares that this commission shall continue till the second Tuesday of April 1695 years, or the next meeting of the General Assembly, which of these two shall first happen.
XIX. Eadem Sessione.—Commission of the General Assembly to a Committee for the North Side of Tay.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into consideration how requisite it is, in the present juncture, that there be a committee appointed for the North side of Tay, for such affairs as the Assembly sees fit to commit thereto; doth, therefore, by these presents, nominate and appoint Mr William Crichton, minister at Falkirk, &c. &c.; together also with any others that shall be added to them by the said commission which is to meet at Edinburgh, out of their own number, to be a committee of this General Assembly for the North side of Tay, to the effect after expressed; with full power and commission to the said persons or their quorum, which is hereby declared to be any thirteen of the said committee, of whom seven shall be of the commissioners who are on the South side of Tay, and of these seven five at least to be ministers, to meet and convene at such time and place as the foresaid other commission, which is to meet at Edinburgh, shall appoint, for their first meeting; with power to the said committee and their quorum foresaid to appoint their own after diets and places of meeting as they shall see convenient; as also to chuse their own moderator: And suchlike, the General Assembly hereby fully empowers and authorises the said committee, and quorum thereof aforesaid, to consider, cognosce, and finally determine, in all references, appeals, and other matters, that have been or shall be particularly remitted to them for that effect, by any act or order of this Assembly, all which are holden as herein expressed; and specially to proceed and cognosce in every thing contained in and conform to the overtures and instructions thereanent, approven by this Assembly upon the thirteenth day of April instant, intituled, "Overtures anent a Commission of the General Assembly and Instructions thereto," as fully and freely as if the same were, in these presents, at full length inserted and set down; likeas, the General Assembly hereby prohibits the said committee to meddle in any other matter not herein contained; declaring also, that in and for all their actings the said committee shall be accountable to and censurable by the next ensuring General Assembly of this Church. And, lastly, the General Assembly hereby declares that this commission shall continue till the second Tuesday of April 1695 years, or the meeting of the General Assembly, which of these two shall first happen.
XX. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent the Irish Psalms.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into consideration that there is a complete paraphrase of the whole Psalms in Irish metre, approven and emitted by the Synod of Argyle, who understand the Irish language, conform to an act of the General Assembly, 1690, together with a translation of the Shorter Catechism of this Church in Irish, bound with the said Psalms in one volume; and the General Assembly, understanding that in some parts of this National Church, where preaching and prayer are used in Irish, the Psalms are sung at the same diet in a different language, whereby an uniformity in the worship of God is marred, and many of the people deprived of the benefit of praising God in a known tongue: Therefore, as the General Assembly doth hereby appoint that this incongruous way of worshipping God shall be hereafter forborne, so they do recommend to all congregations and families who worship God in the Irish language to make use of the said paraphrase therein; and also to make use of the foresaid translation of the Shorter Catechism, as an uniform mean of catechising the people.
XXI. Eadem Sessione.—Act against fixing in the Lowlands of Preachers who have the Irish Language.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into consideration that the Highlands of Scotland are deprived of many preachers who have the Irish language, contrary to divers acts of former General Assemblies, which is occasioned, in a great part, by the fixing of such as have the Irish language in congregations within the Lowlands: Therefore, the General Assembly doth hereby seriously recommend to all Presbyteries, that they fix no such preachers or intrants as have the Irish language in any congregations within the Lowlands of Scotland, without the consent of, and a testificate from the Presbyteries in the Highlands where they formerly resided; and this act to continue till such time as the Highlands shall be competently provided with ministers.
The next General Assembly of this National Church is to be held at Edinburgh the first Thursday of April 1695 years.
The Assembly being closed, the members were dismissed with prayer, and singing of the 122d Psalm, and pronouncing of the blessing.
Collected, visied, and extracted from the records of the General Assembly