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 10, 1722.
I. Sess. 1, May 10, 1722.—The King's Commission to Hugh Earl of Loudoun Produced, and ordered to be Recorded.
The General Assembly, of the ministers and rulling elders of this National Church being convened and constituted, there was produced to them, by the Right Honourable Hugh Earl of Loudoun, his Majesty's Commission, sealed with the seal appointed by the Treaty of Union betwixt the two kingdoms of Scotland and England to be kept and used in Scotland in place of the Great Seal of Scotland, appointing him his Majesty's High Commissioner and Representative in this National Assembly; which Commission being publicly read with all due honour and respect, the General Assembly ordered the same to be recorded in their registers, ad futuram rei memoriam, the tenor whereof follows:—
II. Sess. 1, May 10, 1722.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
Right Reverend and well-beloved,
We greet you well. The Church of Scotland have given us so many proofs of their steady adherence to the Protestant succession in our family, their loyalty and affection to our person and government, and their constant zeal for the Protestant interest in general—which neither the force and violence of our open enemies, nor the artful contrivances of factious and ill-designing men, have been able to alter—that we do, with great cheerfulness, countenance your General Assembly at this time, being fully persuaded, from your prudent and dutiful behaviour upon former occasions, that you will now meet with the same good disposition, and behave yourselves with the same temper and unanimity in this present Assembly.
We take this opportunity of renewing to you the assurances we have so often given heretofore of our unalterable resolution to maintain the established government of the Church of that part of our kingdom of Great Britain in the full enjoyment of all their rights and privileges.
We have made choice of our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin and councillor, Hugh Earl of London, to be our Commissioner, and to represent our royal person in this present Assembly, being confident that his known concern for the Church, as well as zeal for our service, will render him acceptable to you.
As we have nothing more at heart than the promoting true religion and piety, the preserving the peace and public tranquillity both in Church and State, and preventing the growth of Popery, you may most firmly assure yourselves of our ready and cheerful concurrence in promoting those good and glorious ends; to which end, I must recommend it to you to be upon your guard against the practices of such as shall endeavour to create unhappy divisions among you; there being nothing that can tend more to your honour and welfare than concord and brotherly love. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
III. Sess. 3, May 12, 1722.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
This new opportunity we have of meeting in a General Assembly, honoured with the renewed assurances, in so ample a manner, of your Majesty's royal favour, lays us under the strongest ties of gratitude to our gracious God, and the most dutiful sense of your Majesty's great goodness.
The inviolable obligations we are under to do our utmost to preserve our holy religion would have rendered us inexcusable, if we had neglected any opportunity, in the most difficult times, to give proof of our hearty zeal for the Protestant interest, the succession to the crown of those dominions in your Majesty's royal family, and of our most cordial affection to your Majesty's person and government, whose interests are so inseparably connected with those of the reformed churches: And we hope, from the assistance of our God, that neither force and violence of open enemies, nor the artful contrivance of factious and ill-designing men, shall be able to divert us from those principles of loyalty which, by the blessing of God, we have
The approbation your Majesty is graciously pleased to give of our behaviour on former occasions, as dutiful and prudent, is an additional engagement to the ties which our interest, and regard to our character bring us under, to behave ourselves in this our present Assembly with the greatest temper and unanimity we are capable of.
We do humbly rely upon your Majesty's most gracious and repeated assurances of your unalterable resolution to maintain the Established Church of Scotland in the full enjoyment of all their rights and privileges; and do esteem your Majesty's royal favour, and the succession to the crown in your royal family, as our greatest security under God.
The Earl of Loudoun's known concern for this Church, in which he follows the example of his noble ancestors, as well as his zeal for your Majesty's service, render your Majesty's choice of him to represent your royal person in this Assembly most acceptable to us.
The care your Majesty hath showed, in your wise and just administration ever since your happy accession to the crown, for preserving of peace and the public tranquillity, both in Church and State, your Majesty's having so much at heart the promoting true religion, and preventing the growth of Popery, together with your gracious assurances of your royal concern for the advancement of the same good and glorious ends, leave us not ground to doubt that your Majesty will favourably countenance such methods as may tend to the preventing the growth of Popery, the increase of which, we humbly believe, is dangerous to the interests of your Majesty's government, as well as to those of our holy religion.
We are firmly resolved, through the grace of our God, in order to the promoting those great and good ends which your Majesty is pleased to recommend unto us, to be upon our guard against the practices of such as shall endeavour to create unhappy divisions among us; being fully persuaded that nothing can tend more to the welfare and honour of this Church than concord and brotherly love.
That God may eminently bless your Majesty with all spiritual blessings in Christ,
and long preserve you to reign over a people sensible of their own happiness, and to
be a support to all the Protestant Churches of Europe; that he may plentifully
pour out his blessings upon their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of
Wales, and their royal issue; that when, after a long and prosperous reign, you
shall receive an immortal crown in heaven, you may have successors to the latest
posterity, worthy of yourself, and possessed of your royal virtues, to inherit your
crown, is the constant, earnest, and fervent prayer of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Ruling Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
IV. Sess. 4, May 14, 1722.—Act for the better Observation of Fasts and Thanksgivings.
The General Assembly, for the more exact observation of the 7th Act of the General Assembly, 1710, concerning fasts and thanksgivings, do appoint and ordain the several Presbyteries within this National Church, at their first meeting after every public fast or thanksgiving, whether appointed by the Church or the supreme magistrate, to call the several brethren within their bounds to an account how they have observed the foresaid fasts or thanksgivings, and to record their diligence herein in their books. And the General Assembly does likewise enjoin the several Synods, at their revising of Presbytery books, and at their privy censures, in case the Presbytery book be not brought up to them, or be not so far filled up as their diet after the foresaid fasts or thanksgivings, to take particular notice how the said 7th Act of the General Assembly, anno 1710, and this present Act, have been observed by the said Presbyteries, and the several ministers therein: and appoints the Synod likewise to record their diligence herein in their books.
V. Sess. 7, May 17, 1722.—Act in favour of Lithuanian Students.
The General Assembly, taking into their serious consideration the distressed state of the Protestants in the great Duchy of Lithuania, for whom the Church of Scotland hath made lately a liberal contribution; and having also under their consideration a letter to the Assembly from the Protestant Synod in these parts, petitioning them to the effect underwritten; do, for the further support of their Protestant brethren in these parts, appoint and ordain that the bursaries of the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, one whereof Synodical and three Presbyterial, that have been employed for maintaining of students having the Irish language, be, at the term of Martinmas 1723, applied for the maintenance of two Lithuanian students, to be educated at the University of Edinburgh; and do appoint Mr James Young of Killicantie to be collector of the said bursaries. And in case any of the Highland bursars, who at present enjoy the said bursaries, their time of four years from the commencement of their bursaries be not run our at the foresaid term of Martinmas 1723, the General Assembly hereby recommend to the Commissions of the Assemblies of this Church to take care that the said Lithuanian students be otherwise provided in the meantime; and, for that end, they hereby discharge the several Synods to supply any of the Highland bursaries that shall happen to fall vacant before that time, to the end that there may be room for providing such as are to give place to the foresaid Lithuanians. And the General Assembly appoints the produce of these four bursaries to be divided betwixt them by equal proportions; providing always, that none shall be received from Lithuania, as bursars, but such as shall be attested and recommended by the Protestant Synod there. And the General Assembly ordains the premises to be intimate to the King of Prussia's resident at the Court of Great Britain, and to the Reverend Mr Boguslaus Kopijewicz, minister of the Gospel at Vilna, in Lithuania, that they may acquaint the foresaid Protestant Synod of Lithuania of this resolution of the General Assembly. And the General Assembly do resolve that no other alteration shall be made at present, as to the bursaries appointed by former Acts of Assembly, to be employed for maintenance of students having the Irish language.
VI. Sess. 8, May 18, 1722.
May it please your Majesty,
The duty we owe to our merciful God; our concern for the advancement of the kingdom of our blessed Saviour; the regards we have to the interests of your Majesty's government; the just abhorrence we have always maintained of such principles and actions as may tend to the subversion of that happy constitution we now enjoy, bring us under an indispensable necessity of representing to your Majesty the lamentable increase of Popery, and pernicious practices of Romish priests and emissaries, their encouragers and abettors; and, with all humble duty, to beseech your Majesty to apply an effectual and speedy remedy.
It must be matter of inexpressible grief to us, who are office-bearers in the House of God, to observe, that since this nation and Church was delivered in so remarkable a manner by the immediate hand of Divine Providence, in bringing about the glorious Revolution from the dangers that then threatened them; and even since that blessing was renewed, and the security of our religion and liberties more strongly confirmed by your Majesty's happy accession to the throne, and the settlement of the crown in your royal Protestant family, the number, not only of Papists, but of Popish bishops, priests, and Jesuits, is so greatly increased in several parts of this nation, who take upon them, notwithstanding of the many good laws made for preventing the growth of Popery, in contempt thereof, and in defiance of your Majesty's authority, openly to assemble in great numbers, for hearing and saying of mass, for dispensing of sacraments in their idolatrous manner; and that those bishops and priests do presume to exercise the functions of their several officers with avowed freedom and insolence; that seminaries are openly erected and maintained in the remoter parts of the kingdom, for educating of youth in the principles of Romish error and superstition; that numbers of those, whose genius and capacity seem to distinguish them from others, are carried abroad to foreign parts, in order to be further confirmed and instructed in those pernicious and damnable doctrines, which are equally dangerous to our holy religion and the foundations of your Majesty's government; and when they are fully poisoned with the principles of idolatry and arbitrary power, and many of them, clothed with the character of priesthood, do return into your Majesty's dominions, and exercise the utmost power and diligence in perverting your Majesty's subjects from the true reformed Protestant faith, and from that loyalty and affection to your Majesty, which love to liberty, and a due regard to the peace of their country, ought to engage them to promote; of which we have transmitted more particular accounts to your principal Secretary of State, in order to be laid before your Majesty.
Those violations of the public laws, and attempts to undermine our constitution in Church and State, seem the more extraordinary, that they appear to be countenanced by persons of considerable power, influence, and distinction, some of whom owe their all to your Majesty's great goodness and clemency; and that they are not only done in the remoter corners of the kingdom, but that very open meetings for idolatrous worship are commonly held within the liberties of this city, where now we have the happiness to meet, under your Majesty's protection and favour.
We cannot presume to lay open all the various causes of these growing evils; but, as the enemies of our constitution must perceive the absolute inconsistency that is betwixt the Romish tenets and those principles upon which our present establishment in Church and State is founded, this, no doubt, hath rendered them more assiduous, since the Revolution and your Majesty's happy accession to the crown, in diffusing their poison; which they have the more easy access to do, by reason of the great extent of the northern country, the small number of churches, the utter inactivity of inferior judges in executing the laws against Popery, and the many defects which yet appear in these laws; which we, with great humility, apprehend does render it necessary that some further laws on that subject should be enacted, and that a more effectual method of executing them be provided than that which the ordinary course of proceedings, as the law now stands, does afford; which we humbly submit to your Majesty's great wisdom.
We embrace this opportunity of laying those particulars before your Majesty, when you have been graciously pleased to declare, that you have repeated and unquestionable advices of the designs of your undutiful subjects, in concert with traitor abroad, to raise a rebellion against your Majesty, in your kingdom of Great Britain; the rather that we apprehend those unnatural and traitorous conspiracies are the native produce of a Popish influence, and of the practices of Romish emissaries, connived at by others, inexcusable Protestants, who cannot but perceive, that as the security of our religion and liberty does, under God, in the strongest manner depend upon the safety of your Majesty's person and government, so the increase of Popery is a proper step towards the endangering of both.
We beg leave, heartily, to declare our thankfulness to our gracious God for this new proof of his goodness towards this Church and nation, in blessing your Majesty's councils and prudent administration with a happy discovery of the wicked designs of your undutiful and ungrateful subjects, and to testify our utter detestation of their horrid and bloody resolutions; and to assure your Majesty that no fear, either of open violence or secret wicked attempts whatsoever, shall, through the blessing of God, be able to divert us from an inviolable loyalty, and from that care and diligence incumbent upon us to impress the minds of your subjects, according to our several capacities and stations, with the principles of true religion, and of affection to your Majesty's person and interests, and with a due sense of the happiness they are blessed with, under so mild, so prudent, and careful an administration.
That God may long preserve your Majesty for the protection of this, and comfort of
all Protestant Churches; that he may turn the councils of your enemies into filly, and
return their wicked devices upon their own heads; that he may establish the succession
to the crown of these dominions in your royal family to the latest ages; and, after a prosperous and easy reign, crown you with eternal blessings, is the most fervent prayer of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this General Assembly of the Church of Schotland.
VII. Sess. 10, May 21, 1722.— Act concerning Doctrine, confirming and explaining the Acts 5th and 8th of the General Assembly, anno 1720.
The General Assembly, having taken under their consideration a representation and petition, signed by twelve ministers of this Church, and craving that the 5th Act of the General Assembly, 1720, concerning a book, entitled, "The Marrow of Modern Divinity,"might be repealed; and the several heads and articles of the said representation having been read in presence of the Committee of Overtures, where all the members of Assembly were desired to be present and declare their opinion; and the subscribing brethren having been fully heard upon the same before them, find, that the said brethren in their representation do lay a grievous and heavy charge against the General Assembly, anno 1720, and load with foul reproaches their 5th Act, where in they censure some erroneous passages, and harsh and offensive expressions in that book, called "The Marrow of Modern Divinity;" and also their 8th Act, wherein they direct ministers, in preaching catechetical doctrine, to insist upon the great and fundamental truths, according to our Confession of Faith and Catechisms: Such reproaches are these following, viz., "That by the said 5th Act Gospeal truth hath suffered: That in finding fault with this doctrine of the Marrow, viz., 'That the believer is not under the law as a rule of life,' from several passages of the said book, the Assembly doth suppose, 'That a man cannot be under the law as a rule of life, unless he be under the convenant of works: That the declaring that distinction of the law, as it is the law of works, and as it is the law of Christ, to be groundless, as the author senses and applies it, page 198, 199, 'is of dismal tendency; and that the Assembly seems to them to have buried divers truths in the ruins of that distinction: That, when the Assembly cites the Marrow, from page 150 to page 153, to show the erroneous opinion of its author, viz.,—that holiness is not necessary to salvation,—'they have hereby condemned, in cumulo, a bundle of sweet and pleasant Gospel truths, and cut off and condemned the believer's plea in the case of justification, in answer to the demands of the law:' That by consuring the Marrow, for making a man's persuasion, that Christ is his, and died for him, to be that saving faith commanded in the Gospel, 'the Assembly hath excluded from the nature of faith its appropriating act, without which there can be no receiving and closing with Christ for salvation; and thereby turned it into that general doubtsome faith, abjured in our National Covenant: ' That by adducing that passage of the Marrow concerning a deed of gift to all mankind, to prove that its author was for a universal atonement and pardon, 'the Assembly hath encroached upon the Divine warrant unto all to receive Christ, and also upon sovereign grace: That this act of Assembly hath so opened the sluice, unto the turning of religion into mere morality, that, if remedy be not timely provided, this matter must terminate in a confounding of the law and the gospel: and that the Assembly, in this act, hath showed too great con cern for binding on the necks of believers in Christ the yoke of the law, as a covenant of works: 'That in the above mentioned 8th Act, wherein the General Assembly directs ministers, in preaching catechetical sermons, to insist especially upon the necessary doctrine of satisfaction to Divine justice, made by Jesus Christ, who is our only propitiation, and of free justification through our blessed surety, the Lord Jesus Christ, received by faith alone, 'the Assembly hath winded up the great doctrine of justification in such terms as give shelter to the erroneous doctrine of justification for something wrought in or done by the sinner, as his righteousness, or keeping the new and Gospel law.' And that, in the same act, the Assembly's directing ministers to preach the necessity of a holy life, in order to the obtaining everlasting happiness, 'is of very dangerous consequence to the doctrine of free grace."
All which, the General Assembly cannot but look upon to be injurious and undutiful aspersions cast upon the supreme judicatory of this Church, who, in these two quarrelled acts, have given an open and evident proof of their true zeal for maintaining the received Gospel truths, and of their sincere concern for preserving this Church from the infection of the opposite errors. And the General Assembly finds, that the said Assembly, 1720, in these acts, had no design to recede from the received doctrine of this Church, nor by them have done injury to truth, nor given countenance to error, as they are charged with; and that the accusers themselves, by the accusations they have advanced, and by standing up in defence of that book, so justly censured, have laid themselves open to be suspected of favouring too much the errors contained in it. And, in vindication of the said two acts of Assembly, and for wiping off the above mentioned injurious aspersions, and for preserving the purity of Gospel truths received in this Church, and in opposition to the Antinomian errors censured in that book called" The Marrow of Modern Divinity,"(the defence whereof is so keenly espoused by the subscribers of the Representation), the General Assembly have thought fit to declare, and they hereby do declare, that they own and maintain, agreeable to the holy Scriptures, the received doctrine of this Church contained in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms; and, particularly, they assert, in the express words of our Confession and Catechisms:—
1. Concerning the Covenants of Works and of Grace.—"That the first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and, in him, to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience. That man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinurers life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith, as the condition to interest them in him, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe."—Confess. Chap. vii.§ 2, 3; Larger Catechism, Quest. 32.
2. Concerning the Mediator, and the extent of his purchase.—"That it pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man. That the Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father, and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father hath given unto him. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same."—Confess. Chap. viii. § 1, 5, 8."And they are in time, by the Holy Ghost, enabled to believe in Christ, according to the Gospel."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 5.
3. Concerning Free Justification.—"That them whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone: Not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their rightcousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them; they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith alone, which faith they have, not of themselves, it is the gift of God."—Confess. Chap. xi. § 1; Larger Catechism, Quest. 70.
4.Concerning Justifying Faith, and it appropriating act.—"That the grace of faith, whereby the elect are enable to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts. Its principal acts are,—accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace."—Confess. Chap. xiv.§ 1, 2. "That justifying faith is a saving grace wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby, he being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself, and all other creatures, to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth unto the truth of the promise of the Gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ, and his righteousness therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation. That it is an instrument whereby he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 72, 73. "That this faith is different in degrees,—weak or strong,—growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance throught Christ."—Confess. Chap.xiv. § 3. "That such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavour to walk in all good conscience before him, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith, grounded upon the truth of God's promises, and by the Spirit enabling to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God, be infalibly assured that they are in a state of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation; that this infalliable assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be made partaker of it. And that assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith, true believeres may wait long before they obtain it. One who doubteth of his being in Christ may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof."—Confess. Chap. xviii. § 1, 3; Larger Catechism, Quest. 80, 81, 172.
5. Concerning the Believer's plea for acceptance with God, and title to eternal life, against the demands of the law and justice.—"That Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to his Father's justice in their behalf."—Confess. Chap. xi. § 3. "And although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in behalf of them that are justified; yet, inasmuch as God, accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring nothing of them, for their justification, but faith, which also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace. That faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works, that are the fruits of it; nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification, but only as it is an instrument, by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 71, 73. "That repentance is not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof."—Confess. Chap. xv. § 3. "That we cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of sin or eternal life at the hand of God."—Confess. Chap. xvi. § 5. "They that are regenerated, and believe in Christ, are delivered from the Moral Law, as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified not condemned."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 97; Confess. Chap. xix. § 6.
6.Concerning the standing obligation of the Moral Law in the dispensation of grace, and the necessity of personal holiness and good works, in order to the obtaining the enjoyment of eternal salvation.—"That the Law, after man's fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness, and as such was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in the Ten Commandments. That the Moral Law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God, the Creator, who gave it. Neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation."—Confess. Chap. xix. §2, 5. "That it is likewise of great use to the regenerate to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin; and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof, although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works; so a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under grace. Neither are the forementioned uses of the Law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it."—Ibid.§ 6, 7. "That they who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally— and more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, 'without which no man shall see the Lord.' "—Confess. chap. xiii. § 1. "That God promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all the elect, to enable them to all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 32. "That good works, done in obedience to God's commandment, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith, and by them believers manifest their thankfulness. That having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end eternal life."—Confess. Chap. xvi. § 2.
7. Concerning the desert of Sin, and necessity of Repentance, in order to remission.—"That as there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent."—Confession, Chap. xv. § 4. "That every sin, even the least, being against the sovereighty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserveth his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come, and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 152. "That repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minster of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ; and it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it."—Confession, Chap. xv.§ 1, 3. "That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us, by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 153.
8. Concerning Believers' Sins, their confessing them, begging pardon, and humbling themselves before the Lord for them.—"That although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet it is of great use to them, as well as to others, in that as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives, so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin. And the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law."—Confession, Chap. xix. § 6. "That every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof; upon which, and the forsaking them, he shall find mercy."—Confession, Chap. xv. § 6. "That in the fifth petition, (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,) acknowledging, that we and all others are guilty both of original and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God, we pray for ourselves and others, that God, of his free grace, would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin, accept us in his Beloved, continue his favour and grace to us, pardon our daily failings, and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more assurance of forgiveness."—Larger Catechism, Quest. 194. "That in the fifth petition, we pray that God, for Christ's sake, would freely pardon all our sins, which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others."—Shorter Catechism, Quest. 105. "That God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's Fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance."—Confess. Chap. xi. § 5.
And whereas, in the two above mentioned acts, it was the true intent and design of the General Assembly to have these precious truths preserved in purity, and maintained and inculcated; and that people might be kept from the infection of the opposite errors, the General Assembly do judge it a very undutiful and uncharitable practice, in any ministers of this Church, to suggest that the Assembly have therein receded from the received doctrine contained in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms.
Moreover, that well-meaning people may not be imposed upon by the evil suggestions of the said Representation, its authors and abettors, and for removing mistakes, which the unthinking may fall into, about the true design and import of the 5th Act of Assembly, anno 1720, the General Assembly do hereby declare, that the passages cited in the said act, from the book entitled, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, to show it contained the erroneous opinions ascribed to it, are to be taken and understood (as in justice and equity they ought) in the sense and meaning of its author, gathered and appearing from the book itself; and that the said passages are condemned only in so far as they import the said erroneous opinions, or are applied by the author to that purpose: and, particularly,—
1. With respect to the fourth paragraph of the Representation, it is to be observed, that the Assembly, in the first paragraph of the Act, concerning the nature of faith, do blame the Marrow for placing assurance in the essence of faith, and making that saving faith, commanded in the Gospel, to be "A man's being verily persuaded that Jesus Christ is his; and that he shall have life and salvation by him; and that whatever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for him,"—the brethren in their Representation, do not disown that the passage there adduced from the book does evince this to be the opinion of its author; but they charge the Assembly, on account of their censuring this doctrine, with excluding from the nature of faith its appropriating act, without which there can be no receiving and closing with Christ for salvation; and with turning it into that general and doubtsome faith, abjured in our National Covenant, though most unjustly, seeing the assurance the Assembly doth there blame is that which the author of the Marrow advanceth, when the makes that to be the justifying act of faith, a man's being persuaded that Jesus Christ is his; that he shall have life and salvation by him; and whatever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for him; which is contrary to the texts of Scripture, and passages of our Confession and Larger Catechism there cited; the doctrine of which Confession they have solemnly engaged to maintain, defend, and adhere to; and which is altogether different from the general and doubtsome faith of the Papists, who allow a man's believing implicity as the Church believes, and place true faith in a general assent to revealed truths, without a cordial accepting of Christ as offered in the Gospel for salvation, deny perseverance, and do not own assurance to be attainable by a true believer without extraordinary revelation. The brethren do not, nor can they charge the Assembly with denying, that the assurance of grace and salvation is attainable by a believer, or that it his duty to endeavour the attaining thereof, seeing these are expressly asserted in the passages of our Confession cited by them. Nor can they charge the Assembly with denying, that a belief and persuasion of the mercy of God in Christ, and of Christ's ability and willingness to save all that come unto him, is necessary unto justifying faith; but they do, and must maintain, with our Confession and Catechisms, that a true believer is not at all times, even when he is acting faith unto salvation, assured of his present being in a state of grace, and that he shall be saved; but that he may wait long before he obtain this assurance. See Larger Catechism, Quest. 81.
2. With respect to the fifth paragraph of the Representation, it is to be observed, that the Assembly, in the second paragraph of the Act, concerning universal atonement and pardon, doth censure the book for asserting an universal redemption as to purchase, and to show that this opinion is there taught, several passages of the book are quoted, and particularly page 119, "The Father hath made a deed of gift and grant unto all mankind, that whosoever of them all shall believe in his Son, shall not perish," &c. Here the brethren do not blame the Assembly for condemning the assertion of an universal atonement, but they allege they have condemned that deed of gift and grant extracted out of the Sacred Record, viz., "He that believeth on the Son shall not perish, but have eternal life;" by which, the brethren say, they understand no more but the revelation of the Divine will in the Word, affording a warrant to offer Christ unto all, and a warrant unto all to receive him; which revelation and warrant the Assembly owns. And here the brethren give their gloss upon that text of Scripture, which is not denied by the Assembly, not to the purpose; but they omit the sense and meaning of the author, which the Assembly evinceth to be an asserting of universal redemption as to purchase, both from what goes before, and from what follows, upon that passage in the book; which is no fair treatment of the Assembly's Act.
3. With respect to the third paragraph of the Representation, it is to be observed, that, in the third paragraph of the Act, the Assembly censures that false opinion, "That holiness is not necessary to salvation;" and, for fixing it upon The Marrow, the cite page 150 to 153. They cite these pages for clearing the author's mind from the connection of purposes, and, particularly, that he is speaking of a person already justified; and then adduce the words from page 153, which plainly bear his rejecting of the law, as it requires good works to be done, and the commandments to he kept, in order to obtain salvation. Which is farther strengthened by the following words,(the omitting whereof by the Assembly is complained of in the Representation,) viz., "For in Christ I have all things at once, neither need I any thing more that is necessary unto salvation."Then personal holiness and good works, and perseverance in holy obedience to the law of God, are not (in his opinion) necessary unto salvation; and a man may have all things necessary to salvation, though he be not yet a godly man; and, therefore, the Assembly have given no just ground of quarrel in this, nor for any who understand the Gospel to be offended, seeing, though good works be excluded from being the ground of justification, yet they are necessary in the justified, in order to their obtaining the enjoyment of eternal salvation; and this doth no way cut off or condemn the believer's only plea, in answer to the law demands of perfect obedience, for justification and title to eternal life, as the Representation alleges.
4. The brethren, in the second part of their Representation, and third instance of the hard treatment of The Marrow, do quarrel the fourth paragraph of the Assembly's Act; and they complain that the Assembly do infer the author's not allowing fear of punishment and hope of reward to be motives of a believer's obedience, from his saying, "That he would not have believers to eschew evil, or do good, for fear of hell or hope of heaven."And their reason against this inference is, that there are other punishments besides hell, and other rewards besides heaven, which, they would insinuate, are not excluded by the author from being motives of the believer's obedience. But, 1. This passage, adduced from page 181, proves the charge against the author, as to the chief reward and punishment, a respect whereunto ought not to be excluded from the believer's obedience; nor does the Assembly make these the only motives, as in the Representation they would allege. 2. This part of the Assembly's Act is unfairly represented, seeing they do not draw that inference from that one passage alone, but cite other passages, as pages 175 and 179, where fear of punishment and hope of reward, in express terms, and in general, without exception, are removed from being motives unto the believer's obedience. To which may be added page 73, where he says of believers under the Old Testament, "That answerably as they believerd, answerably they yielded obedience to the law, without fear of punishment or hope of reward;" and page 216, cited in the following paragraph of the Act, where he exhorts the believer "to yields free obedience, without having respect either to what the law of works either promiseth or threateneth; but, also, without having respect to what the law of Christ either promiseth or threateneth." 3. And when they say, they heartily approve of the author's position in this sense, viz., That believers are not to do good, for hope of obtaining heaven by their own words and doings," (which is a calumnious insinuation against the orthodox doctrine,) they do not declare themselves, whether they allow that a believer may and ought to be moved unto obedience by the hope of heaven, in any other sense than that of a hope of ob taining a right and title to it by his own works; or if no regard can be had to it promised reward of the heavenly inheritance by a believer in his obedience, without its being mercenary.
5. And whereas by the Act of Assembly, 1720, this passage, page 150 of The Marrow,— "As the law is the convenant of works, you are wholly and altogether se free from it;" and this other passage, page 151, "You are now set free both from the commanding and condemning power of the covenant of works;" are con descended upon as a part of the proof against the author, of his maintaining this er roneous tenet, "That the believer is not under the law as a rule of life." The General Assembly hereby declares, that it was not the meaning or intention of the said Act in the least to insinuate, "That believers in Christ are under the law, as a covenant of works, or that they are oblieged to seek justification by their own obe dience," it being a precious Gospel truth, "That believers are free from the law, as it is a covenant of works." But that these passages are adduced in the said Act as a proof of the author of The Marrow's maintaining the foresaid erroneous proposition, "That believers are not under the law as a rule of life," in regard that the Assembly did apprehend that the author understood, by the covenant of works, "the Moral Law, strictly and properly taken," as it appears he does in other places of the book; as, particularly, page 7, he says, "That indeed the law of works signifies the Moral Law; and the Moral Law, strictly and properly taken, signifies the covenant of works." And the General Assembly appoints that these two passages shall not be understood as a proof of the foresaid error in any other sense.
6. With respect to the second paragraph of the Representation, it is to be observed, that the other passages, cited and referred to in this fifth and the following paragraph of the Act, respect his distinction of the law, "as it is the law of works, and as it is the law of Christ;" by which he justifies the six positions, that are either Antinomian, or wrested by the Antinomians into an unsound sense. And as to the law of Christ, pages 209, 210, he will have it to be such as hath not eternal, but temporal rewards and penalities annexed to it, and to be deliverd to believers only, page 157. So that unbelieving hearers of the Gospel are under no obligation by it. Moreover, in page 267, he will have a believer to be under no "law which commands any moral duty to be done, either for eschewing of punishment, or upon promise of any reward, temporal or eternal;" and so not under the Moral Law, nor even the law of Christ, in the author's own account of it. And when this is the plain meaning of the author in this his distinction, and is applied by him to justify and fence the foresaid six positions, the brethren, in their Representation, had no ground to quarrel the Assembly for rejecting the "distinction as it is applied by the author," nor so injuriously to charge them, as they do, with "staking down believers under the covenant of works, and with directing them to an obedience upon which they may boast, and with burying several Gospel truths in the ruins of this distinction."
7. The brethren do, in their Representation, advance a charge against the 8th Act of the same Assembly, entitiled, "Act for preaching catechetical doctrine, with directions therein," and complain, 1st, That two clauses therein, concerning justification and the necessity of holiness, are not expressed in the form of words used in our Confession and Catechisms. 2dly, That the article of justification is expressed, without mentioning Christ's righteousness imputed to us. And, 3dly, That ministers are directed to preach the necessity of a holy life, in order to the obtaining of everlasting happiness; which they conceive to be of very dangerous consequence unto the doctrine of free grace. But these are unjust exceptions, and afford no strength unto their groundless objections against the former Act: For, 1st, When the Assembly, in that 8th Act, do direct ministers, in their catechetical sermons, more especially to insist upon the great and fundamental truths of our holy religion, expressly according to our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, it was not needful, in their encumerating some special articles, to describe every one of them in the very form of words used in our Confession or Catechisms. 2dly, The article of justification is so expressed in itself, and in conjunction with the preceding article of the satisfaction to Divine instice made by Christ. who is our only propitiation, that it necessarily implies our being justified, for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, seeing it is called free justification through our blessed surety, the Lord Jesus Christ, received by faith alone. And, 3dly, The article immediately following, concerning the necessity of holiness, can be accounted of no dangerous consequence, if they truly own personal holiness to be necessary to salvation. And if they quarrel the phrase, "of obtaining everlasting happiness," they may also quarrel the Apostle's expression, I Cor. ix. 24, 25, and Phil. iii. 11, 12. For it relates to the obtaining of enjoyment and possession, and not of right and title to everlasting happiness, which all justified persons have already attained. So that this Act, designedly calculated for maintaining of truth, and preventing the infection of error, gives no shadow of ground for the jealousies the brethren vent against it.
And the General Assembly considering, that, in the above mentioned Representation, the subscribers thereof have vented divers positions, and used several expressions of dangerous tendency, and not agreeable to the form of sound words, contained in the Holy Scripture, and our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, particularly page 2, line 11, "That the law, as to believers, is really divested of its promise of life and threatening of death;" which is contrary to Heb. xii. 28, 29; Matt. x. 28; 1 Cor. ix. ult.; Rev. xxii. 14; and Confess. Chap. xix. § 6; Larger Cat. Quest. 194, if by the law they understand the moral law, the rule of life. Page 7, line 4, "That the Assembly's directing of ministers to preach the necessity of holiness, in order to the obtaining of everlasting happiness, is of very dangerous consequence to the doctrine of free grace." Page 7, line 3, "That the law acknowledgeth, no works for obtaining salvation, but such as found a title to it before the Lord." Whereas the law requires good works in orders to the obtaining salvation, though they do not found a title to it. "That the Assembly's rejecting the author of The Marrow's definition of justifying faith, viz., 'A man's being verily persuaded in his heart that Christ Jesus is his, and that he shall have life and salvation by him; that whatever Christ did for the redemption of mankind he did it for him; excludes from the nature of faith its appropriating act, and turns it into that general and doubtsome faith, abjured in our National Covenant." — Page 3, line last, &c. Contrary to Shorter Cat., Quest. 33, which plainly makes "receiving" of Christ the appropriating act of faith; and to Shorter Cat., Quest. 31, which makes that act "embracing."
And, besides other expressions and insinuations to be found in the said Representation, that are of a dangerous tendency, such as that, "The promise of life, or threatening of death, and hope of heaven, and fear of hell, are not to influence a believer's obedience;" which plainly follows from their assertion, "That the moral law as to believers is divested of its promise of life and threatening of death;— that a promise of life and a threatening of death being added to a law or command, makes it a covenant of works." — Page 2, middle. "That the distincation of the law into the law of works and the law of Christ, which are two branches of the tripartite division of the law, as it is explained and applied by the author of The Marrow of Modern Divinity, and condemned by the Act of Assembly, 1720, is to be maintained."
And the Assembly, likewise considering that there have, at this time, been published several positions and expressions of a pernicious and dangerous tendency, such as, "That in the Gospel, properly so taken, there are no precepts, the commands of faith and repentance not excepted;— that holy obedience is not properly a federal or conditional mean, nor has any kind of causality, in order to the obtaining of glory," whereby all usefulness and influence of holy obedience, in order of means towards the possession of heaven, seem to be excluded. "That the law, as a covenant of works, wills us to accept of the non-such Saviour offered to us, of the payment of a responsible surety; and that the law wills that the sinner make full payment himself, or provide good and sufficient payment by a surety." Besides several other positions and expressions of the like nature and tendency, not here mentioned. And although some of those above mentioned positions and expressions may be explained into a sound sense; yet, because, in the obvious meaning of them, they tend to mislead the minds of the less judicious into erroneous notions,—
Therefore, the Assembly did, and hereby do, strictly prohibit and discharge all the ministers of this Church to use, by writing, printing, preaching, catechising, or other wise teaching, either publicly or privately, these, or any of these positions above mentioned, or what may be equivalent to them, or of like tendency, under the pain of the censures of this Church, conform to the merit of their offence. And do ordain the several Presbyteries and Synods, and Commissions of the General Assemblies of this Church, to take particular care that the premises be punctually observed by all ministers and members of this Church; and, more especially, the Presbyteries and Synods within whose bounds any of the brethren reside who signed the Representation. And, considering that the brethren's desire that the Act, 1720, should be repealed, is unjust, the Assembly does refuse the same. And because of the injurious reflections contained in their Representation, as above mentioned, the Assembly do appoint their moderator, in their name, to rebuke and admonish them; and though their offence deserves a much higher censure, yet the Assembly forbears it, in hopes that the great lenity used towards them shall engage them to a more dutiful behaviour in time coming.
VIII. Sess. 11, May 22, 1722.—Commission to some Ministers and 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 hereby nominate and appoint their reverend brethren, Messrs William Micheall at Edinburgh, their Moderator, Alexander Meikle at Langholm, David Balmain at Westerkirk, William Steel at Lochmaben, Thomas Goldie at Kirkpatrick-juxta, James Armstrong at Ruthwell, John Howie at Morton, Alexander Bain at Keir, James Guthrie at Irongray, John Campbell at Kirkbean, Patrick Cumming at Kirkmahoe, William Boyd at Dalry, John Reid at Carsphairn, Robert Donaldson at Balmaclellan, Robert Seton at Glasserton, William Cowpar at Mochrum, Walter Laurie at Stranraer, John Anderson at Kirkmaiden, Andrew Rodgers at Galston, Henry Osburn at Tarbolton, James Robertson at Craigie, William Coates at Dalmellington, James Laurie, junior, at Kirkmichael, Hugh Falside at New Mills, Andrew Cuming at Largs, James Ruat at Dunlop, Robert Miller at Paisley, Neil Campbell at Renfrew, John Anderson at Port-Glasgow, Alexander Finlater at Hamilton, John Wiseman at New Monkland, John Scot at Stenhouse, Thomas Linning at Lesmahagow, Charles Hunter at Pittinain, Robert Davidson at Crawfordjohn, John Stirling, Principal of the College of Glasgow, James Clerk at Glasgow, John Scot there, John Gray there, John Ritchie at Old Kilpatrick, Thomas Leckie at Kilmarnock, James Livingston at Strathblane, Robert Glen at Kingarth, Archibald Gillespie at Strathurd, Charles Stewart at Campbelton, John Campbell in Killarow, in Islay, Alexander Campbell at Inverary, Duncan Campbell at Kilchrenan, Dougal Campbell at Lismore, William Morrison at Tyrie, Daniel M'Aulay at Bracadale, Aulay M'Aulay at Lewis, William Chalmers at Kinloch, Robert Bows at Rattray, Duncan M'Lea at Dull, James Stewart at Mouline, Thomas Black at Perth, William Stewart there, William Moncrieff at Methven, James Fachney at St Martins, Matthew Wallace at Kincardine, Thomas Thomson at Tulliallan, Alexander Hamilton at Airth, Archibald Campbell at Larbet, David Shaw at Auchterarder, Andrew Ure at Fossaway, William Hunter at Gask, Samuel Charters at Inverkeithing, Allan Logan at Culross, John Hepburn at Torry, John Auchinleck at Auchterderran, John Cleghorn at Wemyss, Robert Ponton at Kennoway, William Thomson at Flisk, William Dick at Coupar, William Miles at Moonsie, James Monro at Kettle, James Haddow, Principal of the New College of St Andrews, William Hardie at St Andrews, John Craigie at St Monance, James Robertson at Leuchars, Joseph Drew, Principal of St Leonard's College in St Andrews, William Lyon at Airlie, Laurence Brown at Lintrathine, Alexander Finlayson at Eassie, Thomas Michell at Aberlemno, William Wingate at Kinnettles, Samuel Johnston at Dundee, James Mar at Muirhouse, William Thomson at Strickmartin, Charles Charters at Arbirlot, John Henderson at Kirkden, James Trail at Montrose, John Dunbar at Menmuir, Robert Gray at Brechin, Andrew Honeyman at Kinneff, James Mitchell at Dunottar, Henry Hamilton at Glenbervie, Thomas Blackwell, Principal of the College of New Aberdeen, David Anderson, Professor of Divinity in the King's College of Aberdeen, Colin Campbell at Aberdeen, James Howie at Newhills, George Chalmers, Principal of the King's College of Aberdeen, Martin Shank at Banchoryternan, John Shepherd at Logie Colston, John Burnet at Clunie, James Gordon at Alford, George Moir at Towie, Thomas Reid at Lochall, Alexander Forbes at Forgue, Thomas Scot at Fyvie, Alexander Irvine at Fordyce, James Innes at Banff, William Watt at Inverury, Gilbert Gerard at Chapel Garioch, Robert Abercromby at Leslie, William Leslie at St Fergus, James Leslie at Crimond, Alexander Auchinleck at Fraserburgh, William Forbes at Tarves, James Burnet at Ellon, Alexander Chalmers at Marnoch, John Gilchrist at Keith, James Stevenson at Rothiemay, James Thomson at Elgin, Charles Primrose there, Francis Grant at Duthill, Alexander Fraser at Inveraven, James Gordon at Kinloss, John Crockat at Dallas, William Stewart at Inverness, Alexander M'Bain there, Lauchlan Shaw at Calder, George Gordon at Cromarty, Hugh Campbell at Kilmuir Wester, Daniel M'Gilligen at Alness, Thomas Chisholm at Kilmorack, Hugh Duff at Ferne, David Ross at Tarbat, Robert Kirk at Dornoch, Robert Robertson at Loth, William Innes at Thurso, Hugh Cross at Bowar, Thomas Baikie at Kirkwall, James Sands at Birsay, William Blaw at Westray, Thomas Covingtree at Sanday, James Grierson at Tingwall, John Hay at Unst, William Hamilton, Professor of Divinity in the College of Edinburgh, John Wilson at North Leith, James Craig at Edinburgh, James Smith at Cramond, Neil M'Vicar at West Kirk, James Walker at Canongate, Walter Allan at Colinton, William Wishart, Principal of the College of Edinburgh, John Brand at Borrowstounness, John Wilkie at Strathbrock, Robert Dalgleish at Linlithgow, James Anderson at Falkirk, Robert Livingstone at Biggar, Thomas Henderson at Skirling, James Robertson at Eddleston, Alexander Couper at Traquair, Daniel Gilchrist at Linton, Patrick Cuming at Ormiston, Thomas Moffat at Newton, William Robertson at Borthwick, Robert Horsburgh at Saltpreston, John Mutter at Tranent, James Witherspoon at Yester, Andrew Brown at Spott, Henry Schaw at Cockburnspath, John Campbell at Cranshaws, James Gilliland at Greenlaw, Thomas Anderson at Ayton, George Ridpath at Ladykirk, James Christie at Simprim, James Ramsay at Kelso, William Baxter at Ednam, Alexander Coulden at Oxnam, Robert Bell at Crailing, George Hall at Abbotsrule, Henry Home at Channelkirk, Thomas Pitcairn at Lauder, Adam Miln at Melrose, and William Bannatyne at Yarrow, Ministers; His Grace John Duke of Athol, the Right Honourable David Earl of Buchan, Charles Earl of Lauderdale, Thomas Earl of Haddington, James Earl of Finlater, Patrick Earl of Marchmont, James Earl of Hyndford, David Earl of Glasgow, Archibald Earl of Islay, Alexander Lord Polwarth, Lord Charles Ker, William Lord Ross, James Lord Torphichen, George Lord Reay, Sir Hugh Dalrymple of North Berwick, Baronet, Lord President of the Session, Mr Robert Dundas, younger of Arniston, His Majesty's Advocate, Adam Cockburn of Ormiston, Lord Justice-Clerk, Sir John Maxwell of Pollock, Baronet, Sir Alexander Ogilvie of Forglen, Baronet, Mr James Erskine of Grange, Sir Francis Grant of Cullen, Baronet, Mr James Hamilton of Pencaitland, Sir Andrew Home of Kimmerghame, Sir Walter Pringle of Newhall, eight of the Senators of the College of Justice, Sir John Clerk of Pennycook, one of the Barons of Exchequer, Mr John Campbell of Mamore, Mr Arthur Forbes of Breda, Mr Francis Montgomery of Giffan, Colonel John Erskine of Carnock, Mr Charles Erskine of Edenshead, George Baillie of Jerviswood, Sir William Johnston of Westeraw, Baronet, David Murray of Belreadin, Robert M'Gathan of Dalquhat, John Gilchrist, bailie in Dumfries, Captain Samuel M'Clellan of Barclay, Captain John Martin of Airies, Sir Charles Hay of Park, Baronet, Sir Adam Whiteford of Blairchan, Baronet, Mr James Boswell of Auchinleck, Sir David Stewart of Cultness, Baronet, Mr Robert Stewart, one of the Regents in the College of Edinburgh, Mr Alexander Finlayson, Clerk of Glasgow, Hugh Montgomery of Hartfield, John Aird, Provost of Glasgow, Sir James Campbell of Ardkinlass, Baronet, John Campbell, late Lord Provest of Edinburgh, George Drummond, bailie there, James Nimmo, treasurer there, Mr Alexander Campbell, advocate, William M'Leod of Hammir, Alexander Robertson of Straloch, William Austin, late Provost of Perth, Robert Robertson, present Provost there, Sir James Livingstone of Glentirran, Baronet, Mr Alexander Abercrombie of Tillibody, Sir James Campbell of Aberuchil, Baronet, Colonel John Erskine, uncle to Alva, George Balfour of Balbirnie, Mr Patrick Haldane, advocate, Sir Robert Anstruther of Balcaskie, Mr Robert Hay of Naughton, Patrick Drummond of Gairdrum, James Craig John Donaldson, merchant in Dundee, John Allardice, provost of Aberbrothwick, Colonel Robert Reid, Mr. Arthur Shepherd, Sheriff-depute of Mearns, Robert Stewart, Provost of Aberdeen, James Morison, later bailie there, William Forbes, late bailie there, Mr George Gordon, Professor of Oriental Languages at Aberdeen, George Fordyce of Braidford, Arthur Forbes of Echt, Forbes of Balfing, Mr Alexander Garden of Troup, younger, advocate, Captain John Forbes of Boyndlie, George Sinclair, bailie in Ellon, James Spence of Alveskirton, William Cuming of Craigmill, Mr Duncan Forbes, advocate, Duncan Forbes, bailie of Fortrose, Colonel Robert Monro of Fowlis, George Monro of Culcairn, James Fraser of Auchnagart, William Ross of Aldie, Mr Robert Honeyman of Gremsey, Mr James Mitchell of Girlsta, Dr Alexander Dundas, His Majesty's Physician, Robert Craig, late Dean of Guild of Edinburgh, John Osburn, late bailie there, John Wightman of Mauldslie, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Andrew Wardrop, glazier, deacon-convener there, George Dundas of that Ilk, Mr John Dundas of Philipstoun, Mr John Mitchell of Alderstoun, Mr Alexander Menzies of Culterallers, Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, Baronet, Mr John Henderson, merchant, Mr John Hamilton of Pencaitland, William Ballie of Lamington, Sir William Baird of Newbyth, Baronet, Sir James Hall of Dunglass, Baronet, Sir John Stewart of Allanbank, Baronet, Sir Robert Sinclair of Longformacus, Baronet, Sir John Swinton of that Ilk, Archibald Douglas of Cavers, Thomas Haliburton of Newmains, and Sir Walter Riddel of that Ilk, Baronet, Ruling Elders; to be Commissioners of this General Assembly, to the effects after mentioned, with power to the said Commission or their quorum, which is hereby declared to be any thirty-one of the said Commissioners, whereof twenty-one are always to be ministers, to meet and convene within the Assembly-House at Edinburgh, the first free day after the dissolution of this Assembly, at ten o'clock forenoon, and afterwards the second Wednesdays of August, November, and March, next to come, and aftener, when and where they shall think fit and convenient; with power to the said Commissioners to choose their own moderator. And suchlike, the General Assembly fully empowers and authorises their said Commission, or their quorum above mentioned, to cognosce and finally determine, as they shall see cause, in every matter referred, or that shall be referred to them, by any act or order of this Assembly, and to do every thing contained in, and conform to the instructions given, or to be given, by this Assembly; and to advert to the interests of the Church on every occasion, that the Church and present establishment thereof do not suffer or sustain any prejudice which they can prevent, as they will be answerable; providing always, this general clause be not extended to particular affairs, or processes before Synods or Presbyteries, that are not of universal concern to or influence upon the whole Church. And it is hereby appointed, that what shall be determined at one diet of the said Commission, with relation to private causes, shall be unalterable by any other diet thereof, and shall stand and continue in force till disapproven by the General Assembly. And the General Assembly renews the instructions given by the General Assembly, 1717, to their Commission, and appoints the same to stand in full force, as instructions to the Commissioners above named, and to be observed by them in all points, as if the same were specially herein inserted; and that they inquire into the publishing and spreading of books and pamphlets, tending towards the promoting of opinions, of whatever kind, inconsistent with our Confession of Faith; and that the recommenders of such books or pamphlets, or the errors therein contained, whether by word, writ, or print, be called before the said Commission to answer for the same. And, further, the said Commission is hereby empowered to receive any references and appeals that shall be made to them from Synods in matters of doctrine, and ripen such affairs for the General Assembly; likewise, to take care that the impressions of the Holy Scriptures, the Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and such books as are authorised by this Church, relating to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, be correct, and to give directions about printing the same. They are also appointed, at their first meeting, to take under consideration all the representations of the growth of Popery within the bounds of this National Church, and of meeting-houses not authorised by law, which have been brought up to this and former Assemblies, or Commissions thereof, or that may be farther offered to this Commission, and to apply to the government for a proper remedy and speedy redress. And the said Commissioners are hereby strictly prohibited and discharged to meddle in any other matters than what are committed and referred to them, as above mentioned; and, in all their actings, they are to proceed according to the acts and constitutions of this National Church, and do nothing contrary thereto, or to the prejudice of the same; declaring, that in and for all their actings they shall be accountable to and censurable by the next General Assembly, as they shall see cause. And this Commission is to continue and endure until another Commission be appointed; and members are required to attend the diets of the said Commission, and absentees therefrom ordered to be noticed, according to the 17th Act of the General Assembly, 1706. And for the better securing of a quorum, and attendance of members on the Commission, the General Assembly prohibits the presbytery of Edinburgh, and other Presbyteries within twelve miles thereof, to meet any of the days or weeks appointed for the meeting of this Commission; and such of the members of those Presbyteries as are on the Commission are required all of them to give punctual attendance on the diets thereof; and Presbyteries at a greater distance, who have four or more members on the Commission, are to take care that at least two of them attend each diet of the same.
IX. Sess. 11, May 22, 1722.—Act against Profaneness, and concerning the Duty of Elders and Deacons.
The General Assembly, being deeply affected with the great decay of Christian piety amongst all ranks, and the abounding of vice and immorality, the neglect of public ordinances, and profanation of the Lord's Day; and considering that slackness and partiality in the exercise of discipline, and untenderness in the walk and conversation of the office-bearers of this Church, cannot but greatly contribute to the increase of these evils; therefore, the General Assembly do earnestly beseech, exhort, and require all ministers to take heed to themselves and to their doctrine, and to be exemplary to their people in sobriety, righteousness, and holiness, abstaining from all appearance of evil; and, in like manner, the General Assembly do earnestly beseech, exhort, and require elders and deacons to be faithful in the discharges of their respective offices, tender and circumspect in their walk, and punctual in their attending upon ordinances, and strict in their observation of the Lord's Day, and in regularly keeping up the worship of God in their families; and the General Assembly appoints the judicatures of the Church to take good head that none be admitted to or continued in these offices, but such as are found qualified, and do behave themselves as above required; and appoints Kirk-sessions, Presbyteries, and Synods, strictly and impartially, without respect of persons, to observe this and former acts of Assembly, relative to office-bearers in this Church; and appoints Presbyteries, at their privy censures, to inquire into the behaviour of their members, and of all the elders and deacons in their bounds, with respect to the premises; and appoints Synods to inquire into the conduct of Presbyteries; and both Synods and Presbyteries to record their diligence herein, that the same may be reported to General Assemblies by the visitors of Synod books. And, lastly, the General Assembly appoints this Act to be read in all parish churches, on or before the first Sabbath of August next, and for that end, ordains copies thereof to be printed, and timeously transmitted.
X. Sess. ult., May 22, 1722.—Act concerning Commissioners from Universities to the General Assembly.
The General Assembly appoints and ordains, that, in all time coming, the commissions given by universities to their representatives in the Assemblies of this Church, as well as those given by Presbyteries to theirs, shall expressly bear, that the commissioners therein named have signed the Confession of Faith, with the Formula, according to the 11th Act of the General Assembly, held in the year 1720, and acts therein mentioned, under the certification therein specified.