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, holden and begun at Edinburgh, may 1, 1712.
I. Sess. 1, May 1, 1712.—Act appointing the Queen's Commission to his Grace John Duke of Atholl to be Recorded.
The General Assembly, being convened and constituted, there was produced to them by his Grace John Duke of Atholl, her Majesty's commission, sealed at Edinburgh the 30th day of April last, with the Seal appointed by the Treaty of Union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England, to be kept and used in Scotland in place of the Great Seal of Scotland, and of the same tenor with former commissions, con stituting him her Majesty's High Commissioner and Representative in this Assembly; which commission being publicly read with all due honour and respect, it is, by order of this Assembly, recorded in their books, ad futuram rei memoriam.
II. The Queen's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them the 1st of May 1712.
Right reverend and well-beloved,
We greet you well. We have had so much experience of your good conduct in your Assemblies, that we have very gladly countenanced by our authority this your meeting; and we hope that you will take it as a particular mark of our regard to you, that we have appointed our right trusty and right entirely beloved cousin and counsellor, John Duke of Atholl, to represent our royal person in this Assembly, who, we doubt not, will be acceptable to you. It hath always been our concern to employ our authority for suppressing vice and immorality; and we assure you, that such magistrates as shall be most faithful in executing the laws, and conforming themselves to our royal pleasure, signified in our proclamations, in punishing all such practices as are a scandal to the Christian profession, shall have most of our countenance and favour. Lest any late occurrences may have possessed some of you with fears and jealousies, we take this solemn occasion to assure you, it is our firm purpose to maintain the Church of Scotland as established by law; and whatever ease is given to those who differ from you in points that are not essential, we will, however, employ our utmost care to protect you from all insults, and redress your just complaints. As we are sensible that a pious and learned ministry is (under God) the great support of Christianity, so we are resolved to countenance you in your endeavours to promote it. The address of the Commission of the late General Assembly, which was presented to us by those commissioned by them to take care of their affairs here, did so much manifest their loyalty and good affection to our royal person and government, and their true concern for the succession in the Protestant line, as established by law, that it could not but be acceptable to us; and it gives us ground to expect, that there will be nothing in your procedure but what shall be dutiful to us, and agreeable to the conduct of former Assemblies; and so we bid you heartily farewell.
III. Sess. 3, May 3, 1712.—The General Assembly's Answer to her Majesty's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
We do accept, with all thankfulness, your Majesty's royal favour, in continuing to countenance, by your authority, our meetings; and do take it as a very particular mark of your regard to us, that you have been pleased to appoint the Duke of Atholl to represent your royal person in this Assembly; a choice for us, so visibly attended with all desirable advantages, specially considering his known zeal for the Protestant religion, and against all immorality, that we cannot but acknowledge it to be most acceptable and obliging.
Your Majesty's great concern to employ your authority for suppressing vice and immorality, doth tend so much to the advancement of the glory of God, and the interest of our holy religion, and withal to the honour of your Majesty's reign, and the peace and quiet of this Church and country, that we must ever make it our utmost study and endeavour, in our places and stations, to promote the practice of true Christianity, in opposition to all profaneness and impiety; and it is a satisfaction to us, that your Majesty is pleased to assure us, that such magistrates as shall be most faithful in executing the laws against those practices which are a scandal to the Christian profession, shall have most of your Majesty's countenance and favour; and we humbly presume to persuade ourselves, that your Majesty will, in your royal wisdom, find out such methods as shall be most proper for making your pious purposes, expressed in your proclamations, more effectual than hitherto, to our deep regret, they have been.
The late occurrences which your Majesty is pleased to take notice of have, we must acknowledge, possessed us with fears and jealousies; but, as we have always embraced, and do at present lay hold upon the assurance your Majesty is pleased to give us of your from purpose to maintain the Church of Scotland, as established by law, so we cannot, but with all dutiful submission, and in that truth and ingenuity that becomes the faithful ministers and servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, put your Majesty in mind of the representations and petitions laid before you by the Commission of the last General Assembly, for a remedy in these matters; humbly hoping, that these our most just complaints may come in due time and manner to be redressed.
Your Majesty's just sense, that a poins and learned ministry is (under God) the great support of Christianity, doth greatly encourage us to use our utmost endeavours for promoting of it, as being most firmly persuaded, that your Majesty's best assistance to us will never be wanting in so good a work.
That the address of the Commission of the late General Assembly, presented to your Majesty, asserting their loyalty and good affection to your Majesty's royal person and government, and their true concern for the succession, in the Protestant line, of the illustrious House of Hanover, upon which it is established by law, was acceptable to your Majesty, is to us most satisfying; specially, since your Majesty is graciously pleased to take it for a ground to expect that there will be nothing in our procedure but what shall be dutiful, it being indeed our most earnest desire, ever to testify to your Majesty, and to all men, our most firm and steady loyalty and affection to your Majesty and your government; and also our sincere and zealous concern for the succession in the Protestant line, as being certainly the greatest securities both of our religion and liberties, and all that can be dear to men.
That your Majesty may be guided and directed of God in the great and weighty
affairs of your government, and that after a long and happy reign upon earth, you
may be possessed of a blessed immortality, shall be the earnest and constant prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most humble subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
IV. Sess. 5, May 6, 1712.—Act concerning the Admission of Infants to Baptism.
It being the duty of Christian parents of dedicate their children to God in baptism, and to covenant for their education in the faith of Christ, no other sponsor is to be taken, unless the parents be dead, or absent, or grossly ignorant, or under scandal, or contumacious to discipline; such being unfit to stand as sponsors in transacting a solemn convenant with God. In which cases, the immediate parent who is in such circumstances is to be required to provide some fit person; and if it can be, one related to the parent of the child, should be sponsor; but if either of the parents, whether father or mother, give evidence to Church judicatories, and the congregation offended, of their repentance for removing the scandal, the suspension they were under as to Church privileges should be taken off, according to the rules of this Church, and the penitent parent should be allowed to present the child.
In the case of children exposed, whose baptism, after inquiry, cannot be known, the Kirk-session is to order the presenting of the child to baptism, and to see to the Christian education thereof; and it is recommended to the parish to take care of the maintenance of the child.
V. Sess. 6, May 7, 1712.—A Representation of the Committee of the Society in Scotland for Promoting Christina Knowledge, with an Act of the General Assembly thereupon.
Unto the very Reverend the Moderator, and the remanent Reverend and Honourable Members of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Committee of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge,
That before the erection of the said Society, the General Assembly, 1709, by their sixth Act, did, out of their great wisdom and zeal for that pious undertaking of propagating Christian knowledge, seriously recommend to all the ministers and elders of this Church to go through their respective parishes on such days as the several Presbyteries should appoint, to receive and collect subscriptions and contributions for promoting thereof; and appointed ministers on a Sabbath day, before they begin this work, to read and intimate this act from the pulpit to their respective congregations; and to exhort and excite their people to subscribe and contribute; and recommended to the several Presbyteries to be careful to promote subscriptions and collections within their bounds, and to appoint some of their number to preach in vacant parishes, and to intimate the said act, and to join with and assist the elders or heritors and parishioners in taking subscriptions, and making collections; and to call for reports from each minister in their bounds, containing a particular account of the subscribers, and sums subscribed for, and money collected in each parish; and to send in an extract thereof, subscribed by their moderator and clerk, to the clerk of the Commission, now secretary to the society; and thereafter, upon advertisement, to send in the principal subscriptions, and money collected, to the society's treasurer.
And after the society was constituted, they did apply to the General Assembly, 1710, who, by the 11th Act of that Assembly, did enjoin the exact observation of the foresaid sixth act, 1709; and recommended to the several Synods concerned in the Highlands and Islands, to inquire into the state of the several parishes in their bounds, as to the particulars contained in the said act; and to send an exact account thereof to the secretary of the society, subscribed by their moderator and clerk, that the society might the better know what places of the country did most need the assistance of charity schools; and they exhorted all ministers, and other charitable persons, to put their contributions forthwith in the treasurer to the society's hands.
And since that time, the society, in pursuance of the pious ends of their erection, have, by themselves and their committees, in the first place, essayed all proper means to bring in the money subscribed for, and to procure more subscriptions and contributions, by dealing themselves with persons of all ranks of their acquaintance, writing frequently to the reverend Synods and Presbyteries, and particular ministers of this Church, to the justices of the peace in their quarter-sessions, and to magistrates of burghs; and by settling societies of correspondents, consisting of gentlemen in the several shires, and in some of the royal burghs; and by these means there is come to their treasurer's hands about four thousand four hundred pounds sterling money; all which, except a very small part, is lent out upon good security for annual rent, to sufficient and responsible hands.
And, in the next place, for the due employing of the annual rents of this stock, which only the society are empowered to dispose of, the society and their committees have made it their work to find out the most proper places of the Highlands and Islands, and remote corners of Scotland, in which they should erect their charity schools, and persons most fit for teaching the said schools, by writing letters upon that subject to the several Synods and Presbyteries, and particular ministers and gentlemen concerned in the Highlands and Islands, and to the professors in the universities.
And after having received all the information that they could expect, they agreed to set up presently eleven charity schools—beside the catechist or schoolmaster of St Kilda—in the following places, viz., one in Abertarff; one in Castletoun of Braemar; a third in Auchintoul, both in the Highlands of the shire of Aberdeen; a fourth in the parish of Larg in Sutherland; a fifth in the parish of Diurness, in the country of Strathnaver; a sixth in Elrish, in the Presbytery of Skye; a seventh in his Grace the Duke of Atholl's Highlands; an eighth in Glenelg; a ninth in Harray, in the continent of Orkney; a tenth in the Island of Sanday, in the North Isles there; and the eleventh in Zetland.
The society have found out a competent number of young men, duly attested by their respective Presbyteries, and whom (upon suitable trials) they have found sufficiently qualified for teaching the said schools; and they have settled schoolmasters in several of the foresaid places, and have given them commissions and the necessary instructions, and are going on with all diligence to settle the rest; and they have allowed to the schoolmasters of the first eight schools, and to the catechist or schoolmaster at St Kilda, each of them two hundred pounds; and to the three schools in Orkney and Zetland, one hundred pound Scots each per annum of salaries, which, with books needful to be furnished, goes near to exhaust all the annual rents of the money yet got in; and the society have resolved, as their stock increases, to settle free schools also in the countries of Assynt and Gairloch, Glenlivet, and Inveraven, and other remote places that most need their assistance.
So that nothing hinders the further progress of that good work but the want of a fund sufficient to carry it on; and as to this, albeit the committee, in the society's name, does thankfully acknowledge the commendable zeal and concern of some reverend Presbyteries and ministers in this matter; yet they cannot but regret that the distinct and excellent method laid down by the foresaid sixth act of the Assembly, 1709, has not been so duly observed by some reverned Presbyteries as might have been expected, whereby it has fallen out that the society cannot possibly get the names of subscribers and contributors, with their sums subscribed for and contributed, so exactly and regularly booked and recorded, as they proposed at first to do; nor can they for the most part know what parishes and persons in parishes have contributed, which deprives them of the means of dealing with persons of note and others that are deficient, and in many other respects exceedingly prejudges the work: And there are a great many Presbyteries and parishes in Scotland from which there is no contribution at all come in; and the society are informed that there are several subscriptions taken, and money collected in some parishes not yet brought to their treasurer's hands; and there are several subscribers deficient in payment, and many persons of honour and note, and others charitably inclined, who would willingly subscribe and contribute to this pious undertaking, if they were applied to and dealt with for that effect; which the society does attribute to forgetfulness in some of the reverend ministers, or perhaps to some prejudices and mistakes arising from misrepresentations, which some who are no friends to this undertaking do very industriously propagate, and others who are friends to it do too easily give credit to. For removing whereof, the society did formerly cause print and disperse a scheme of their designed management, and now are ready to lay their books open to any persons who shall think fit for their satisfaction to peruse the same.
And, seeing this charitable and pious undertaking is now so far advanced, and did it meet with suitable encouragement, would prove of excellent use to the nation, both with respect to its religious and civil concerns, and that the only probable way to promote it, is, that the reverend judicatures and ministers of this Church will resolve to follow exactly the method prescribed by the former acts of Assembly.
It is therefore humbly entreated, that this Venerable Assembly would be pleased
again earnestly to recommend to the reverend Presbyteries and ministers the
exact observation of the two acts of Assembly above mentioned, and would appoint the reverend Presbyteries to report to their several Synods an account of
what they have done at any time before this, or shall hereafter do, in order to
forward this pious design; and, particularly, to require an account of the diligence of the several ministers within their bounds in this matter, and record
their reports in their books; and would ordain the reverend Synods to take an
account of the diligence of their several Presbyteries, and record their reports in
their books; and also to report an account of their diligence to the Commission
from time to time; and that the Venerable Assembly will do what else they shall
see proper for advancing this so pious and charitable an undertaking. This, in
name, and by the appointment of the said Committee, is subscribed by
Ja. Justice, I.P.C.
The General Assembly, having heard and considered the representation of the Committee of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, giving a distinct account of the diligence of that society in prosecution of the pious ends of their erection, and the progress they have made in their work, and of the things that hinder the further advancement thereof, they did, and hereby do, again renew the recommendations of former Assemblies, to the several Synods, Presbyteries, Sessions, Ministers, and charitably inclined persons within this Church, desiring that the judicatures above mentioned would exactly observe and follow forth the distinct and orderly method prescribed by the sixth act of the General Assembly held in the year 1709, and the eleventh act of the General, Assembly held in the year 1710, in furthering subscriptions and contributions in the several parishes, and reporting the same to the society. And for the better securing of the observation of the said acts and recommendations, the General Assembly strictly enjoins and appoints the several Presbyteries of this Church to report to their Synods a distinct account of what they have done at any time before this, or what they shall hereafter do, in order to forward this pious undertaking; and that in the method prescribed by the said two former acts of Assembly. And, particularly, the General Assembly appoints the several Presbyteries again to require an account of the diligence of all the ministers within their bounds in this matter, and that they record the reports of every minister in their Presbytery books. And the General Assembly likewise ordains the several Synods to take a particular account of the diligence of their respective Presbyteries, and record it in their Synod books. And, further, the General Assembly hereby appoints the several Presbyteries and Synods of this Church to send a full and distinct report of their diligence in this matter, subscribed by their moderator and clerk, in manner prescribed by the foresaid sixth act of the General Assembly, anno 1709, and eleventh act of the General Assembly, 1710, to the meeting of the Commission in December next; and that the Commission give in a list of such Presbyteries and Synods as shall omit to send in these accounts to the next General Assembly, And, lastly, the General Assembly seriously and earnestly entreats and exhorts persons of all ranks and degrees within this Church, according to their abilities, to contribute to the advancement of this charitable and Christian undertaking.
VI. Sess. 7, May 8, 1712.—Act concerning the Representation of Presbyteries in the General Assembly.
The General Assembly, considering that by the fifth act of the General Assembly, 1694, appointing the number of representatives for Presbyteries, there is a proportion observed with respect to the number of ministerial charges in each Presbytery, and that the regulation contained in the said act is no further expressed, than to allow five ministers and two ruling elders as the representatives of each Presbytery whose number excecds twenty-four; therefore, the General Assembly, according to the design of the said act, founding upon a proportion to be observed betwixt the number of ministerial charges in Presbyteries and the number of representatives, doth declare and appoint, that each Presbytery, whose number doth exoeed thirty ministerial charges, shall send to the General Assembly six ministers and three ruling elders; and this shall take place at the election to the next General Assembly.
VII. Sess. 8, May 9, 1712.—Act directing the right Application of the Money granted by her Majesty for defraying the Public Charges of this Church.
The General Assembly, considering that the Assembly held in the year 1709 did, by their act dated the 25th day of April that year, discharge any more precepts to be drawn till all former debts of the Church were paid, and all precepts ordered or drawn before that time were declared payable out of the Equivalent, according to the order of their dates: And the said act appoints that her Majesty's yearly allowance be, in the first place, applied for defraying the charges of the Church for that particular year for which it is given; and, if there be any remains, that the same be applied for payment of the Church's debts for preceding years, according to the order of ranking set down in the act of the commission, dated the 7th day of January 1707: And the Church's receiver is appointed to apply the said money in the manner and order above prescribed; and that so soon as the money comes to his hands he put some thereof yearly in the hands of one of the agents for the Church, to be given out by him for the incidental charges of the Church, for which he shall be accountable to each General Assembly. And the General Assembly, finding it necessary that the said rules be further explained and extended, and that the proper uses to which the public money should be applied be fixed and determined, and that a certain proportion thereof yearly be allotted for the incidental charges of the Church's affairs, and that such other orders be laid down, as that the pressing affairs of the Church may not be retarded for want of money to expedite the same: Therefore, the General Assembly does hereby enact and appoint—First, That of her Majesty's yearly allowance for defraying the public charges of the Church's affairs, and the salaries of the Church's public servants, there be always the sum of L.100 sterling money in reserve, for answering any extraordinary emergencies in the Church's affairs. Secondly, That no commission of any General Assembly in time coming shall have power, and they are hereby discharged to dispose of any more of the Church's money but of one year's allowance only, reckoning the commencement of the year as the same is fixed by her Majesty's grant, viz., from the 24th day of June in the year preceding: and the commission of this Assembly is hereby allowed only to dispose of what is untouched of this year's allowance, reckoning the commencement from the 24th day of June last bypast, that thereby the next General Assembly, and every subsequent General Assembly of this Church, and their commissions, may have one year's allowance entire, without any anticipations or encroachments by preceding Assemblies or Commissions, to defray the necessary charges of the Church during the time of their administration. Thirdly, The General Assembly appoints that each year's allowance be applied, in the first place, for defraying the stated annual charges of the Church quarterly, and the necessary exigencies of each particular year; that is, in such matters only as, during the time of every Commission's administration shall occur, which do immediately and directly concern the public interest of the whole Church in general, and any arrears of these that shall happen to be resting; and, in the next place, for payment of the other bygone debts of the Church then resting, according to the foresaid order of ranking already established: and the General Assembly discharges any new orders to be given, or precepts to be drawn upon any other accounts, until all the Church's bygone debts be paid; but, after payment of all prior debts, the General Assembly allows the several commissions to bestow that which remains of each year's allowance to such other uses of the Church as they shall judge most proper. Fourthly, The General Assembly hereby provides and declares, that no appointments upon the procurator or agents for the Church to manage processes for particular Synods, Presbyteries, or ministers, shall in time coming warrant the agents to lay out any money thereupon, except there be a special order of a General Assembly, agreeably to the present rules, expressly appointing them to that effect. Fifthly, The General Assembly appoints that L.12, 10s. sterling money quarterly, as the Church's money comes in, be lodged in the hands of one of the agents for the Church for defraying the said incidental charges, for which they are hereby ordered to make an account at each General Assembly; and, if any balance shall be found due to them, the same shall be paid to them, and the sum of L.12, 10s. sterling further; or, if the balance that shall be found due by them shall not extend to that sum, the said sum shall be made up to them out of the first money that comes in after clearing their accounts, as said is, including this year. And, Lastly, The General Assembly appoints the receiver of the Church's money, in his disbursing thereof in time coming, strictly to observe the foresaid rules; and discharges him to make payments in any other manner or order, as he will be answerable to the General Assemblies of this Church.
VIII. Sess. 8, May 9, 1712, ante meridiem.—Commission by the General Assembly to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing divers Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, taking into their consideration that there are divers weighty affairs which they cannot overtake, do therefore nominate and appoint their reverend brethren, Messrs William Hamilton, Professor of Divinity in the College of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c., to be commissioners of the General Assembly, to the effect after mentioned; with power to the said persons or their quorum. (Powers the same as in three preceding years.)
IX. Sess. 8, May 9, 1712, ante meridiem.—Instructions by the General Assembly to their Commission.
3. The Commission are appointed to use all proper means to preserve and maintain all the rights and privileges of this Church, and to obtain a redress of what is grievous to us with respect to the same, and to send Commissioners to London for that effect, if they see cause.
5. The Commission are instructed to use all diligence in getting payment of the money gifted by her Majesty for defraying the public charges of the Church, and to see that the rules and orders laid down in the seventh Act of this Assembly, entitled, "Act directing the right Application of the Money granted by her Majesty for defraying the public Charges of this Church," or established by the Acts of former Assemblies, for the right application of the public money, consistent with the said Act seventh, be punctually observed.
X. Sess. 11, May 13, 1712.—Act approving of the Representations and Addresses made by the Commission of the late General Assembly to the Queen, concerning the Toleration and Patronages.
The General Assembly having considered the proceedings of the Commission of the late General Assembly, with relation to public affairs, and, in particular, having had produced and read before them the representations made by them to her Majesty, concerning the bill entitled, "A Bill to prevent the disturbing of those of the Episcopal Communion in Scotland, in the exercise of their Religious Worship, and in the Use of the Liturgy of the Church of England, and for repealing an Act against irregular Marriages and Baptisms", then depending in Parliament; and the "Bill for restoring of Patronages," which were reserved by them in their approbation of the proceedings of the said Commission: The General Assembly did, by their vote, and hereby do, unanimously approve and ratify the foresaid proceedings of the said Commission in the premises, and particularly the said representations, as having been most faithful and seasonable. And, in token of their said approbation, they hereby ordain the said representations to be here inserted verbatim, as follows:—
May it please your Majesty,
The Church of Christ in Scotland, being, as we apprehend, in hazard of sad alterations and innovations, inconsistent with, and contrary to, that happy establishment secured to us by the laws both of God and the realm, from a bill entitled, "A Bill to prevent the disturbing those of the Episcopal Communion in Scotland, in the Exercise of their Religious Worship, and in the Use of the Liturgy of the Church of England, and for repealing the Act against irregular Baptisms and Marriages." We do, in all duty and humility, flee to your Majesty's royal protection, so often and so graciously assured to us, both by your royal word and letters.
If the matters in question did only relate to our own case and better accommodation, we should patiently bear the same; but when we see the glory of God, and the power and purity of our holy religion, and of the ordinances of Jesus Christ, in this Church so much concerned, and the peace and quiet thereof, and of this whole country, so visibly in danger, to the prejudice of your Majesty's honour and government, we cannot but hope that your Majesty will allow us to plead our just right, with that gracious liberty you are pleased to give the meanest of your subjects.
When, after the great and many hardships, troubles, and vicissitudes, wherewith the Church of Scotland had been tossed, even from its first Reformation from Popery, it pleased our gracious God, at, and by the late happy Revolution, to bless us with a full and complete restitution, and that by the Claim of Right, and the Acts of Parliament following, viz., the fifth Act of the Parliament, 1690, entitled, "Act ratifying the Confession of Faith, and settling Presbyterian Church Government;" whereby Presbyterian Church Government is established, ratified, and confirmed, "as the only government of Christ's Church within this kingdom," rescinding, annulling, and making void all Acts of Parliament, statutes and ordinances in the contrary, allowing and declaring the general meeting and representatives of the Presbyterian ministers and elders, in whose hands the exercise of the church government is established, to have power to try and purge out all insufficient, negligent, scandalous, and erroneous ministers, by due course of ecclesiastical process and censure; and, likewise, to redress all other Church disorders. By which act it is evident, that Presbyterian church government being thus established, the ministers and elders of this Church have all the powers committed by our Lord and Master to his ministers and officers, to watch over the flock, and to guard against all usurpers and intruders. Secondly, By the twenty-third Act of the Parliament, 1693, entitled, "Act for settling the Quiet and Peace of the Church," whereby it is expressly statute and ordained, That no person be admitted or continued to be a minister or preacher within this Church, unless he first take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance and Assurance, and also subscribe the Confession of Faith, as the confession of his faith: And likewise, that he owns and acknowledges Presbyterian Church Government to be the only government of this Church. And, further, that he observe the uniformity of worship, and of the administration of all public ordinances, as the same are at present performed and allowed within this Church; and that no minister or preacher be admitted or continued, unless that he subscribe to observe, and do actually observe, the foresaid uniformity. Thirdly, By the twenty-second Act of Parliament, 1695, entitled, "Act against intruding into Churches without a legal Call and Admission thereto;" by which act it is statuted and declared, That whoever shall intrude themselves into any church, or shall exercise any part of the ministerial function within any parish, without an orderly call from the heritors and eldership, and legal admission from the Presbytery of the bounds, shall be removed, and also incapable for the space mentioned in the Act. And, Fourthly, By the third act of the Parliament, 1702, entitled, "Act for securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Government;" whereby the foresaid Act 1690 is fully ratified. By which acts, and several others to that purpose, which we humbly presume to lay together, for your Majesty's more full information, we, with all submission, conceive, that Presbyterian Church Government is as fully settled and secured as could be devised; and, as the worship, discipline, and government of this Church were complied with, and submitted to, without any separation in all times since the Reformation, when Presbyterian Government was established by law; so there is no reason to doubt, but the same cheerful and universal compliance had been given thereto, at and ever since the late happy Revolution, if it had not been for that woeful seed of disaffection to the Revolution, and your Majesty's Government, as thereby established, and which indeed hath been the principal if not the only cause of these few prosecutions that occasion so loud and unjust a clamour.
But that your Majesty may be further satisfied of the injustice of these calumnies, wherewith we are reproached for excessive rigour, we cannot but lay before your Majesty this pregnant instance of our moderation; that since our late happy establishment, there have been taken in and continued hundreds of dissenting ministers upon the easiest terms; and we are further assured, that when any just trial shall be made, we shall ever be found inclined to all the Christian tenderness that can be expected from such as fear God, and love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Your Majesty, then, by what is here humbly represented, may plainly perceive what security we have for our present settlement before the Union; but then, in order to the Union, and for facilitating thereof, we have the 6th Act of the Parliament, 1707, entitled, "Act for securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Government," whereby the whole acts above set down are ratified and approven. And your Majesty further, with advice and consent of the Estates of Parliament, expressly provides and declares, 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, "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, further, that after the decease of your Majesty, (whom God long preserve,) the Sovereign succeeding 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, rights, and privileges of this Church, as above by law established." And it is further statute and ordained, that this Act of Parliament, with the establishment therein contained, shall be held and observed, in all time coming, as a fundamental and essential condition of any treaty of union to be concluded betwixt the two kingdoms, without any alteration thereof, or derogation thereto, in any sort whatsoever; as, also, that this Act of Parliament, and settlement therein contained, shall be inserted and repeated in any Act of Parliament that should pass for agreeing or concluding the foresaid treaty of 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 of union in all time coming; and, accordingly, and that our Church might have the plenary security above provided, and that, as was then plainly said, and as the acts sufficiently import, our security above-mentioned might be stated and established in a manner even beyond the reach of Parliament; in both Acts of Parliament passed in both kingdoms, ratifying and approving the treaty of union, the foresaid act for securing the Protestant religion, and Presbyterian Church government, is expressly inserted; and it is thereby statute and ordained, that this act, with the Establishment therein contained, shall be held and observed in all time coming, as a fundamental and essential condition of the foresaid treaty of union, without any alteration thereof, or derogation thereto, in any sort, for ever.
This being our great and plenary security in law, that we have for our present Church government and establishment; and we being in danger, on the other hand, of alterations and innovations intended by the foresaid bill, depending before the Honourable House of Commons; wherein, besides the hard reflections contained in the preface, it is proposed to be enacted, That Episcopal Dissenters shall have liberty to meet and assemble, for the exercise of Divine Worship in their own manner, and to use in their congregations the Liturgy of the Church of England, without any disturbance; and that for qualifying such pastors, Episcopal orders, and presenting letters of their orders to the justices of peace, shall be sufficient; and that no person or persons shall incur any penalty whatsoever, upon account of his or their resorting to the said Episcopal meeting: And that it shall be free and lawful for all the subjects in that part of Great Britain called Scotland to assembly and meet for divine service, without any disturbance, and to settle their congregations where they think fit: And for the Episcopal ministers not only to pray and preach in these congregations, but to administer the Sacraments, and marry, without incurring any pain or penalty whatsoever, without any other caveat that appears for their doctrine, save that they shall not deny, in their preaching or writing, the doctrine of the blessed Trinity; and withal, that the Presbyterian clergy are still allowed to inflict ecclesiastical censures upon those of their own communion, which plainly imports an exemption of all who shall disown their communion, we cannot but, in the first place, express our astonishing surprise and deep afflication to hear of such a bill offered for such a large and almost boundless toleration, not only threatening the overthrow of this Church, but giving a large licence almost to all errors and blasphemies, and throwing up all good discipline to the dishonour of God, and the scandal and ruin of the true Christian religion, and the infallible disturbance of the quiet, and to the confusion, of this Church and nation. And, therefore, in the next place, we do, in all humility, but with the greatest earnestness, beseech, nay, obtest your Majesty, by the same mercy of God that restored this Church, and raised your Majesty to the throne, to interpose for the relief of this Church, and the maintenance of the present establishment against such a manifest and ruining encroachement, in such manner as in your royal wisdom and justice you shall think fit.
That the gracious God may ever guide your Majesty with his counsel, till, after
a long and happy reign upon earth, he crown you with glory in heaven, shall be the
earnest prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most humble subjects, the Ministers and Elders, Commissioners of the late General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, and at our appointment, by
(Sic subscribitur) William Mitchell, Moderator.
May it please your Majesty,
Though we cannot forbear to regret the want of success in our endeavours with relation to a bill lately passed into an act, entitled, "An Act for preventing the disturbing of those of the Episcopal Communion in Scotland, in the exercise of their religious Worship, and in the use of the Liturgy of the Church of England;" yet, seeing we must still judge that the form and purity of worship presently within this Church, and its Presbyterian government and discipline, established by the Acts of Parliament pursuant to the Claim of Right, are to remain and continue unalterable, and that the Act of Parliament securing our Presbyterian Church government, and the establishment thereof, are to be held and observed in all time coming as a fundamental and essential condition of the treaty of union concluded betwixt the two kingdoms, without any alteration thereof, or derogation thereto, in any sort, for ever.
We cannot but with all humble duty and submission take notice of another bill presented in the Parliament of Great Britain for restoring of patronages, which we conceive is contrary to our Church constitution, so well secured by the treaty of union, and solemnly ratified by the Acts of Parliament of both kingdoms, and will inevitably obstruct the work of the Gospel, and create great disorder and disquiet in this Church and nation. For the further clearing whereof, we beg leave to represent to your Majesty, that from our first reformation from Popery, patronages have been reckoned a yoke and burden upon the Church of Scotland, as is declared by the First and Second Books of Discipline, published soon after the said Reformation; since which time they were still judged a grievance, till at length they came to be by law abolished.
These patronages having been restored with Prelacy, in the year 1661 and 1662, did indeed continue till the year 1690, that Prelacy was abolished, and Presbyterian government again established; and, though the Act of Parliament, 1690, resettling Presbyterian Church government, was founded upon the Act of Parliament, 1592, which bears a relation to patronages, yet the said Act of Parliament, 1690, doth expressly except that part of the old act, and refer patronages to be afterwards considered; which accordingly followed in the same Parliament, 1690. Whereby your Majesty may plainly perceive that the abolition of patronages was made a part of our Church constitution, enacted by the act 1690, and that this act 1690, with all other acts relative thereto, being expressly ratified, and for ever confirmed by the act securing the Protestant religion, and Presbyterian Church government, and engrossed as an essential condition of the ratifications of the Treaty of Union, passed in the Parliaments of both kingdoms, the said act abolishing patronages must be understood to be a part of our Presbyterian constitution, secured to us by the Treaty of Union for ever.
Yet the same Parliament, 1690, was so tender of the civil rights of patrons, and so sincerely desirous only to restore the Church to its just and primitive liberty in calling ministers, in a way agreeable to the word of God, that they only discharged the patron's power of presenting ministers to churches vacant; but, as to any thing of their civil rights, did better the condition of patrons, not only by reserving to them the right of disposal of vacant stipends for pious uses within the parish, but also giving to them the heritable right of the tithes restricting the ministers who formerly had the said right to stipends much below the value of the said tithes.
This being, then, the true account of our legal settlement as to this matter, we presume also, in all humble duty, to represent to your Majesty, that the restitution of patronages as to the point of presentation, can only gratify a few, while, on the other hand, it must necessarily disoblige a far greater part of your Majesty's good subjects, that are now freed of that imposition.
Neither can we forbear to suggest to your Majesty, that from what is said, it may easily be gathered what difficulties and hardships presbyteries may be laid under, as to their compliance with this innovation; and what differences, contests, and disorders may probably ensue betwixt patrons, presbyteries, heritors, and people, besides the known abuses wherewith patronages have been attended, even in their most settled condition; whereof many instances might be given, especially that thereby a foundation was laid for simoniacal pactions betwixt patrons and those presented by them; and likewise ministers were imposed upon parishes by patrons who were utterly strangers to their circumstances, having neither property nor residence therein.
And, therefore, we cannot but most humbly and earnestly obtest your Majesty to consider this affair of restoring patronages in this Church, with all its circumstances and consequences; and since, through the blessing of God, and your Majesty's gracious protection, we have hither to been at quiet and ease in this matter, that your Majesty would be graciously pleased, in your great wisdom, to use proper means for preventing this encroachment, so evidently prejudicial to the work of the Gospel and the peace of this Church.
That your Majesty may be guided and directed of God, in the great and weighty
affairs of your government, and that, after the fulness of earthly blessings here, you
may for ever wear a crown of glory that fadeth not away, are the earnest and fervent
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most humble subjects, the Ministers and Elders. Commissioners of the late General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
And the General Assembly doth not only approve of the foresaid two Addresses and representations above inserted; but also hereby do further empower the Commission appointed by them to advert carefully to the concerns of this Church, in the matters above mentioned; and ordains them to use all dutiful and proper means for obtaining redress of what is or may be found therein grievous; and to advert to, and lay hold, with all duty and deference, on every fit occasion for that effect.
XI. Sess. 11, May 13, 1712.—Act appointing the more frequent Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
The General Assembly, considering that the Assemblies of this National Church have, by several acts, appointed the frequent celebration of the holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in all the congregations of this Church; and judging that the due observation of these acts will greatly tend to the glory of God, and edification of souls; therefore, they do hereby enjoin all Presbyteries to inquire if the said acts be duly observed by all the brethren; and in case any minister shall neglect to celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in his parish for a whole year, the Assembly appoints the Presbytery in which the said parish lies to call for an account of the reasons of his omission of that great and solemn duty and ordinance, and to approve or disapprove the same as they shall see cause, and to record their diligence in this matter. And for making this and other acts and recommendations of Assemblies effectual, the General Assembly enjoins the Synods, at their several meetings, to inquire at the Presbyteries within their bounds, what care they have taken to execute the said act, and other recommendations foresaid; and ordains that their books shall bear an account of their diligence therein: And in order thereto, the Assembly appoints the several Synods to make up a roll of all matters that have been, or shall be recommended by the Assemblies of this Church, to be inquired at Presbyteries; and ordains the said roll to be inserted in their register, and given to the visitors of the Presbytery books, that they may take notice of, and report the diligence of Presbyteries in executing the said acts and recommendations. And in like manner it is agreed, that the Assembly shall make up a roll of all matters appointed to be inquired at Synods; and ordains every new act and recommendation, so soon as they are made, to be added to the said rolls, that thereby the General Assemblies may know how their acts and recommendations are observed by the several Synods and Presbyteries of this Church.
XII. Sess. 12, May 13, 1712, post meridiem.—Act for the further Encouragement of Students having Irish.
The General Assembly recommends to Synods to admit no more bursars having the Irish language, but so many, to each of whom they are in a condition to pay ten pounds sterling at least; and for that end, appoints the bursaries of more Presbyteries than two or three, if they be small, to be joined together to make up the said sum; and for making this recommendation the more effectual, the Assembly appoints the several Presbyteries to send in to the meeting of the commission of this Assembly, in July next, a particular and distinct account of the quotas of their bursaries, subscribed by their moderator and clerk, and appoints the commission to proportion the said bursaries in the several districts, so as to make ten pounds sterling, at least, to each bursar, out of the half of the bursaries, appropriated by the acts of Assembly for that use. And, considering that there are several hopeful young men unprovided, the Assembly requires the several Synods timeously to fill up their vacant bursaries, in manner above mentioned, and ordains them to examine bursars, at least once every year, at their meetings, in harvest or winter. And the Assembly, understanding that there are many of the students who rely upon these bursaries for their maintenance and encouragement, that are reduced to great straits through not-payment thereof, they do enjoin Presbyteries to pay in punctually their several proportions of the said bursaries; and appoints the names of deficients to be given in to the meetings of the commission that immediately precede each Assembly. And the Assembly instructs their commission to look out for hopeful young men, having the Irish language, in order to be put on trials; and renews the powers given to the last commission to this effect.
XIII. Sess. 12, May 13, 1712, post meridiem.—Advice concerning Soldiers under Scandals.
The General Assembly, considering that it may prove inconvenient to bring soldiers under scandals back to the parishes where they were delated as guilty, to satisfy church discipline there, after they areremoved to places very remote; therefore, in case of scandals among soldiers, the Assembly does advise kirk-sessions to proceed without delay against the delinquents, so soon as the scandal breaks out; and in case the soldiers guilty be removed from their bounds before any scandal breaks out, or during the dependence of the process against them, the Assembly allows that the said scandalous soldiers satisfy church discipline in the parish where they are quartered for the time; and appoints the kirk-session of that parish to report what is done to the kirk-session of the parish in which the scandal broke out, or where the process was commenced, that they may cause intimate the same in their congregation. And the Assembly advises Church judicatories to proceed with all tenderness and prudence in dealing with strangers, so that the ends of Church discipline may be reached.
XIV. Sess. 12, May 13, 1712, post meridiem.—Act concerning the Preservation of the Registers of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly, judging it sufficient for the preservation of the Records of this Church, that copies thereof be lodged in the Library of each University, according to the Act passed in the Assembly, 1692, and this in place of sending them to each Synod, as was ordered by the General Assembly, 1703: Therefore, they do hereby appoint, that a copy of the proceedings of every Assembly be sent to the Library of each of the Universities in Scotland, to be lodged there, and kept for the use of the Church and Judicatories thereof; and that the Faculties of the several Universities do, upon receipt of the said copies, send in to the Commissions of each General Assembly an extract of an act of their Faculty, under their Clerk's hand, acknowledging the receipt of the said copies; and that they are lodged in their Library only in trust, for the use and behoof of the Church; and obliging them to make them forthcoming to any of the Judicatories of this Church that calls for them, upon their receipt and obligement to return the same: And the Assembly repeals the said Act, 1703, which appoints copies to be sent to each Synod upon the public charges of the Church, but allows the Clerk of Assembly to give copies to such of the Judicatories of this Church as shall call for them, upon their own expenses.
XV. Sess. 13, May 14, 1712, ante meridiem.—Commission to some Ministers to join with the Presbytery of Lorn for visiting Lochaber, and other Parishes in the Bounds of that Presbytery.
The General Assembly having had under consideration the state of Lochaber, and other parishes within the bounds of the Presbytery of Lorn, the length and breadth thereof, the abounding of Popery therein, and want of schools in those parts, judged it necessary that three ministers from the Lowlands, and as many from the Synod of Argyle, should be sent to join with the said Presbytery of Lorn, to perambulate the said bounds, discourse with the heritors and inhabitants concerning new erections of churches in that country, and settlement of schools therein, and to endeavour to get places condescended on for that effect; and to obtain in writing the consent of the heritors. And the General Assembly did, and hereby do, nominate, commission, and appoint, the Reverend Mr Neill Campbell, minister at Roseneath, Mr Daniel M'Gilchrist at Luss, Mr Alexander Fraser at Croy, Mr Dugald Steuart at Rothesay, Mr Daniel M'Lean at Kilbride, and Mr Duncan Campbell at Kilchrennan, ministers, to join with the said Presbytery of Lorn, for the ends above mentioned; and also for preaching the gospel, visiting of families, and doing other mińisterial duties in the said country. And the General Assembly appoints the persons above named, and the foresaid Presbytery of Lorn, to meet for the ends foresaid at Fort-William, the first Wednesday of July next to come, at ten o'clock forenoon; and to continue in that country, in prosecution of the ends of this their commission, such part of this summer as they shall find necessary for the effect foresaid; and report to the next General Assembly.
XVI. Sess. 13, May 14, 1712, ante meridiem.—Act concerning the Oath of Abjuration.
The General Assembly, in pursuance of the reserve made by them in their approbation of the proceedings of the Commission of the last General Assembly of this Church, taking into their more particular consideration the proceedings of the said Commission about the Oath of Abjuration; and, more especially, the humble address and representation of the said Commission, made to the Queen's most excellent Majesty in that matter; they do approve and ratify the foresaid proceedings, and, more especially, the foresaid humble address and representation, judging the same to have been true, dutiful, faithful, and most reasonable; and, in token of their said approbation, have ordained, and hereby ordain, the said humble address and representation to be here inserted verbatim, as follows:—
May it please your Majesty,
Upon notice we had of a bill depending in Parliament, entitled, "A Bill to prevent the Disturbing of those of the Episcopal Communion in Scotland in the Exercise of their religious Worship, and in the Use of the Liturgy of the Church of England;" we, in all humility, presumed to address your Majesty for the preservation of our present establishment as secured to us by law, and for preventing the inconveniences that might ensue on the foresaid toleration, at the passing whereof thereafter in both Houses of Parliament we cannot but be deeply affected.
But now, that by the foresaid bill, the Oath of Abjuration, enacted for the better security of your Majesty's person and government, and establishment of the succession to the crown in the Protestant line, is appointed to be taken by all ministers; we do, in most humble duty, truly and sincerely own and acknowledge that your Majesty is lawful and rightful Queen of this realm, and of all your other dominions and countries thereunto belonging: And do solemnly and sincerely declare, that we do believe the person pretended to be the Prince of Wales, during the life of the late King James, and since his decease pretending to be, and taking upon himself the style and title of King of England, by the name of James the Third, or of Scotland, by the name of James the Eighth, or the style and title of King of Great Britain, hath not any right or title whatsoever to the crown of this realm, or any other of the dominions thereunto belonging; and we do most heartily renounce and refuse any allegiance or obedience to him; and we, withal, solemnly and sincerely profess that we will bear faith and true allegiance to your Majesty in all duties and occasions whatsoever that can be incumbent on us: And, further, we do faithfully promise, to the utmost of our power, to support, maintain, and defend the succession of the crown in the Protestant line against the said Pretender, and all other persons whatsoever, understanding the foresaid Oath of Abjuration in the fullest sense, wherein it can be understood to renounce and disclaim any right that the said Pretender can claim to your foresaid dominions; and, in the plain sense of the words, in so far as the said oath, and the acts to which it refers, settles and entails the succession of the crown of these dominions, for default of issue of your Majesty, on the Princess Sophia, Electoress Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants.
But seeing we cannot dissemble with your Majesty, that there remains a scruple with many, as if the conditions mentioned in the acts of Parliament establishing the succession, referred to by the said oath, were to be understood as a part thereof, and that to swear to something in these conditions seems not consistent with our known principles: And that it is expressly declared and statuted by the Treaty and Articles of Union, and the acts of Parliament of both kingdoms ratifying the same, that none of the subjects of Scotland shall be liable to, but all and every one of them for ever free of any oath, test, or subscription within Scotland, contrary to or inconsistent with our present Presbyterian Church Establishment; we, in the most humble and dutiful manner, most earnestly beseech and obtest, that this our address and representation, and most sincere declarations therein contained, may be graciously accepted by your Majesty, without respect to the foresaid conditions scrupled at, as the just and true signification of our allegiance and duty, and our sense of the foresaid oath and engagement, to prevent all mistakes and misrepresentations that possibly we may be liable to in this matter.
That the Lord may eminently bless your Majesty, and, after a long and happy reign
upon earth, receive you into everlasting glory, is, and shall be, the earnest prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most humble subjects, the Ministers and Elders, Commissioners of the late General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
And the Assembly farther considering, that it hath pleased her Majesty, in her gracious letter to this Assembly, to declare that the said address of the commission presented to her by those therewith entrusted, did so much manifest their loyalty and good affection to her royal person and government, and their true concern for the succession in the Protestant line by law established, that it could not but be acceptable, as giving her Majesty good ground to expect that there will be nothing in the procedure of this Assembly but what shall be dutiful; and, withal, considering that such of this Church as have taken, or may be clear to take, the foresaid Oath of Abjuration, and such as are not clear, do all equally profess that they heartily agree to all the points of loyalty and duty above asserted, the security whereof appears to be intended by the said oath, as fully witnessed by her Majesty's foresaid gracious acceptation; and that such as are not clear to take the said oath as it is proposed, do differ, as being apprehensive that the oath, as it stands, in terminis, doth contain, or may be interpreted to imply, some further engagement not agreeable to our principles, and such as can be only cleared by the legislature, which such as are clear (if they did not judge groundless) would be as careful to avoid; therefore the Assembly, for a full and unanimous manifestation of their loyalty and duty in the premises to all concerned, and, withal, to establish a right and good understanding among themselves, and all the members of this Church, in the matters wherein they are agreed, and to prevent, as much as possible, all mistakes upon the foresaid difficulties, and different practices that may thereon ensue, to the prejudice of true Christian and mutual charity, have thought fit to declare, and do hereby solemnly declare and ascertain their allegiance to her Majesty, Queen Anne, as only lawful and rightful Queen of this realm, and all other her Majesty's dominions and countries thereunto belonging; and their disowning and disclaiming of the foresaid Pretender, his having any right or title whatsoever to the crown of this realm, or any other of the dominions thereunto belonging; and, therefore, renouncing and refusing all allegiance and obedience to him; and that they will bear faith and true allegiance to her Majesty, in all duties and occasions whatsoever that can be incumbent on them; and, further, that they do promise faithfully, to the utmost of their power, to support, maintain, and defend the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, settled and entailed, for default of issue of her Majesty's body, on the Princes Sophia, Electoress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants, against the said Pretender, and all other persons whatsoever. Which being the obligations and duties contained in the said oath, wherein we are all agreed, the General Assembly doth most seriously obtest all the ministers and members of this Church, whatever may happen to be their different practice, to entertain a good understanding herein, in all mutual forbearance; firmly hoping, through the grace of God, that if they continue in the same good mind, seeking and serving the Lord in sincerity, and bearing with one another in mutual love and charity, our gracious God will extricate us out of all these difficulties.
XVII. May 14, 1712.—An Address to the Queen concerning the Oath of Abjuration.
May it please your Majesty,
The Commission of the last General Assembly of this Church, being informed that the Oath of Abjuration was to be enjoined to all the ministers thereof, did enter into an humble address and representation to your Majesty, for declaring and ascertaining their loyalty to your Majesty, their disowning and disclaiming of the Pretender, and their faithful promising, to the utmost of their power, to support, maintain, and defend the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, settled and entailed on the Princess Sophia, Electoress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants, against the said pretender, and all other persons whatsoever; but withal, did humbly suggest to your Majesty, that a scruple remained with many, as if the conditions mentioned in the Acts of Parliament, establishing the succession, referred to by the said oath, were to be understood as a part thereof, which is judged not to be consistent with our known principles; and, therefore, did plead to be relieved in the terms of the Treaty and Articles of the Union. And your Majesty has been pleased, in your gracious letter to this Assembly, to declare, that the said address did so much manifest their loyalty and good affection to your royal person and government, and their true concern for the succession in the Protestant line, that it could not but be acceptable. We, at present met in this Assembly, finding that the foresaid scruples do still remain with many of us, thought fit, in pursuance of our most humble duty, and for further manifestation of our loyalty in the premises, and for establishing a right and good understanding among the ministers and members of this Church, to renew the foresaid declaration and assertion of our loyalty to your Majesty, as our only lawful and rightful sovereign; and of our true and zealous concern for the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, against the said Pretender, and all other persons whatsoever. But seeing that the aforesaid scruples, as to the said oath, do still remain with many of us, and that your Majesty may plainly perceive how that all the ministers of this Church do, notwithstanding of the foresaid scruples, fully agree in their asserting their loyalty to your Majesty, and disowning any right or title in the Pretender, or any other, and their dutiful and zealous concern for the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, all which points we are willing to affirm by our great oath, if thereto required. We cannot but, in all humble duty to your Majesty, and Christian charity to one another, and for preserving the unity, peace, and quiet of this Church, most humbly and earnestly address your Majesty, that such of us as may remain unclear as to the taking of the said oath, may yet be favourably regarded by your Majesty as your most loyal and dutiful subjects; and that your Majesty would be graciously pleased to interpose for their relief, in such manner as in your royal wisdom you shall judge expedient. And this most humble address we, with all submission, are moved to make with the greater earnestness, that we are all of us most seriously desirous to keep the ministers of this Church, and all under their charge, in the greatest unanimity as to the points of loyalty and duty to your Majesty, and in peace and concord among themselves, for the advancing of your Majesty's service, and the honour and interest of your government.
That your Majesty's reign may be long and prosperous, and that you may be
guided and directed of God in the great and weighty affairs of your government, and
that your councils and undertakings may be still successful for preserving and de
fending the reformed Protestant interest at home and abroad, are the earnest and
fervent prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most humble subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
XVIII. Sess. 15, May 15, 1712, ante meridiem.—An Address to the Queen concerning the Representations made to Her Majesty by the late Commission.
May it please your Majesty,
Having taken liberty in another address, humbly to represent to your Majesty what may tend to the full declaration of our duty and loyalty to your Majesty, and our sincere concern for the succession in the Protestant line, and for procuring relief and ease to such of us as may find ourselves straitened as to the taking of the Oath of Abjuration, in the manner appointed: We being met in the General Assembly of this Church, do, in all humble duty, beg leave to put your Majesty further in mind of the things which were laid before your Majesty by the Commission of the last General Assembly, as grievous and prejudical to this Church; and, indeed, the late occurrences that have happened do so nearly affect our well settled and secured Church establishment, that we cannot possibly be silent. That the inconveniences and troubles that we thence apprehend may never be found amongst us, is our most serious wish. But since your Majesty, in your gracious letter to this Assembly, hath been pleased not only to assure us of your firm purpose to maintain the Church of Scotland as established by law, but also that you will employ your utmost care to protect us, and redress our just complaints, we most humbly beg leave to acquaint your Majesty, that we have instructed and empowered the Commission appointed by this Assembly, to advert carefully to all good opportunities, and to use all proper and dutiful means and methods whereby these our grievances may be happily redressed.
And, therefore, we do, in all humble duty, address your Majesty, that according to your wonted goodness and the gracious condescendence wherewith you have favoured us on the like occasions, your Majesty would be pleased to give such countenance to the addresses that may happen to be made to your Majesty by our said Commission, for relief in the premises, and to interpose your royal authority in such sort for a just redress, that this Church may still have the comfort of your Majesty's protection, with the benefit of the royal assurances that have been so often confirmed to us.
That God may long preserve your Majesty for the good of all your people, and the
protection and comfort of all the churches of Christ, and that, after a prosperous reign
upon earth, you may enjoy and eternal crown in heaven, is, and shall be, the sincere
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most humble subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.