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 14, 1724.
I. Sess. 1, May 14, 1724.—The King's Commission to James Earl of Findlater and Seafield produced, and ordered to be Recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 14, 1724.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner, 14th May 1724.
III. Sess. 3, May 16, 1724.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 3, May 16, 1724.—Act concerning Commissions from Universities and Burghs.
The General Assembly, for the greater uniformity in commissions to the members of Assemblies, do resolve and appoint, that the Presbytery's attestation and approbation of all commissions from universities and burghs to their representatives in Assembly, as well as the commissions from Presbyteries, shall, in all time coming, bear the following clause, viz.—"And, further, that the said commissioner is every other way qualified to be a member of the Assembly, according to the Acts of Assembly."
V. Sess. 5, May 19, 1724.—Act erecting the Synod of Glenelg, and four Presbyteries therein.
The General Assembly, taking under consideration the overture transmitted by the late Assembly for erecting of four new Presbyteries and a Synod, and having heard the returns of the Synods and Presbyteries concerned, thereupon; and considering that through the greatness of ministerial charges in the bounds after mentioned—the great way that the ministers thereof have to travel to their Synods and Presbyteries—and that when they do attend the same, they are long detained, and much diverted from their parochial and ministerial work, and from watching over their flocks, and guarding their people against the poisonous influence of Popish emissaries, and others disaffected to our happy establishment; do, for a remedy to these things, hereby rescind and make void and null the Act of the General Assembly, anno 1642, entitled, "Act anent the joining the Presbytery of Skye to the Synod of Argyle;" and also do disjoin the parishes and Presbyteries after named, from the Presbyteries and Synods they formerly belonged to, and do erect the parishes of Glenelg, Kintail, Lochalsh, Lochcarron, Gairloch, Lochbroom, and Assint, with the pertinents thereof, into a Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Gairloch, and to have their meetings for ordinary in that place: And do erect the parishes of Kilmalie in Lochaber, Kilmanivaig, Abertarff, Laggan, and Urquhart, and Glenmorristoun, into another Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Abertarff, and to have their meetings at Killiwhimin: And do erect the whole parishes of the Isle of Skye, and small islands next adjacent thereto, into a third Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Skye, and to have their meetings for ordinary at Strowan in Bracadale: And do erect the whole parishes in the Lewis, Harris, North and South Uists, and Barra, and small islands adjacent thereto, with Hirta, into a fourth Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Long Island, and to have their meetings, per vices, at Rudil in Harris, and Ballallan in Lewis: And ordains the foresaid four Presbyteries to have their first meetings, at their respective places of meeting above mentioned, the second Wednesday of July next. And the General Assembly hereby erects the foresaid four Presbyteries into a provincial Synod, to be called the Synod of Glenelg, and to have their first meeting at Glenelg, the first Wednesday of July 1725 years; and thereafter to meet once in the year, that day and place, and oftener, when and where they shall see needful; and appoints them to send one minister and a ruling elder to correspond with each of the Synods of Argyle and Ross; and these two Synods, each of them, to send two ministers and one ruling elder, to correspond with the said Synod of Glenelg, aye and until the Assembly see cause to restrict the number of these correspondents. And the Assembly declares the foresaid Synod and Presbyteries therein to have the same powers and privileges which any other Synod or Presbyteries of this Church, by the Word of God, and constitutions of this Church, have. And because the ministers at present in the Presbyteries of Gairloch and Abertarff are few, the General Assembly appoints the Presbytery of Skye to send two or more ministers, and a ruling elder with each of them, to meet with and assist the said Presbytery of Gairloch in their presbyterial work; and also to send ministers and probationers to supply vacant churches therein. And likewise appoints the Presbyteries of Inverness and Abernethy to send each of them a minister and a ruling elder, to correspond with the Presbytery of Abertarff, until the vacancies in the said Presbyteries of Gairloch and Abertarff shall be fully planted. And the General Assembly ordains the whole four new Presbyteries above named to lay an account of their circumstances before the next General Assembly or Commission; and appoints letters to be written to the old Presbyteries and Synods above mentioned, intimating the premises to them, and requiring them to acquaint the brethren in their bounds to give obedience to this Act. And the Assembly appoints all concerned to observe what is hereby enjoined, as they will be answerable to the General Assemblies of this Church. And, lastly, it is referred to the Commission of the General Assembly to give all the assistance, concurrence, and encouragement they can to the foresaid new Synod and Presbyteries, and to the brethren therein, in order to the carrying on a reformation in the foresaid bounds, and to give them advice in difficult matters when applied unto for that effect. And it is hereby declared, that the annexation of the parish of Assint to the Presbytery of Gairloch is only temporary, until the Assembly shall consider what other Presbytery the same ought to be joined unto.
VI. Sess. 6, May 20, 1724.—Act concerning the more frequent Celebration of the Lord's Supper.
The General Assembly, considering that the Act 6th of Assembly, anno 1711, entitled, "Recommendation concerning the Administration of the Lord's Supper," has not had its full effect, do hereby revive and renew the said Act; and do appoint Presbyteries to do all they can to have the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper more frequently administered in their bounds throughout the several months of the year. And in regard it has been represented, that there are some disorders committed in divers places at such occasions, especially on the Lord's Day; therefore, the General Assembly does hereby enjoin Kirk-sessions and Presbyteries to endeavour the reformation of such disorders; and for that end, that Presbyteries take care that on the Lord's Day, upon which the sacrament is to be administered in any congregation, the neighbouring congregations be supplied with sermon; and that the ministers of the several parishes, where the sacrament is to be administered, do give public warning, on the preparation day, to all their audience, that if any disorders shall be committed by any person on the Lord's Day, those guilty will be censured according to the degree of their offence. And the General Assembly appoints the several Presbyteries, at their privy censures, to call the respective brethren in their bounds to an account as to their observation of this and the other above mentioned Act, and to record their diligence in their books. And likewise ordains the several Synods to see to the punctual observation of the said Acts, and, particularly, at their privy censures, to call their respective Presbyteries to a strict account with regard to their observation of what is above enjoined; and to record also their diligence in their books, that their obedience herein may come under the consideration of the General Assemblies of this Church.
VII. Sess. 13, May 26, 1724.—Act concerning vagrant Beggars, Maintenance of the Poor, and Recommendations for Charity.
The General Assembly does instruct their Commission to consider what may be proper for ministers and church judicatures, in their several capacities, to do, for maintaining of the poor, and restraining of vagrant beggars in their respective bounds. And, in the meantime, the Assembly recommends it to ministers and Kirk-sessions, Presbyteries, and Synods, to take effectual care, and use all due means, to get every parish to maintain their own poor; and to make earnest application to Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Commissioners of Supply, and heritors in their respective bounds, and to Magistrates of Burghs, that the laws against vagrant and sturdy beggars be put into vigorous execution. And the General Assembly further enjoins Synods, Presbyteries, Kirk-sessions, and Ministers, strictly to observe the 19th Act of Assembly, 1696, which discharges them to give recommendations for charity to any without their own bounds; and appoints that recommendations given within their bounds be for a definite time.
VIII. Sess. 14, May 26, 1724, post meridiem.—Commission 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 hereby nominate and appoint their reverend brethren, Mr William Wisheart, Principal of the College of Edinburgh, and one of the ministers of that city, their Moderator, &c.; to be commissioners of this General Assembly, to the effects after mentioned, with power to the said commissioners or their quorum, &c. (The Act proceeds in the same terms as the corresponding Act of the two preceding years.)
IX. Sess. 14, May 26, 1724, post meridiem.—Act concerning Commissions to Ruling Elders.
The General Assembly appoints and ordains, that all commissions hereafter to be given to ruling elders in this Church, as members of Assembly, shall bear this additional clause, viz., "And in particular, that the said elders are qualified in all respects, according to what is required by the 9th Act of the General Assembly, held anno 1722."
X. Sess. ult., May 27, 1724.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
Sess. 4, May 18, 1724.—Overture concerning the Form of a Licence to Probationers. (fn. 1)
The Committee for Overtures brought in the draught of a licence to be given by Presbyteries to probationers, after they have passed their trails, in order to their being allowed to preach the Gospel, which was transmitted by the late Commission to this Assembly, with an overture that the said form of a licence should be established, and that every probationer should be obliged to have such a licence before he be allowed to preach the Gospel; and that no other form of a licence than that after mentioned should be regarded, the tenor of which follows:—"The Presbytery of taking into consideration that having passed his course at the college, and thereafter studied divinity for the space of six years; as also having resided for the most part of that time within the bounds of this Presbytery, or having resided six months within those bounds, and been recommended by the Presbytery or Presbyteries of , where he resided for the most part of that time, as a person fit to be entered on trials; and they being satisfied with the testimonials given as to his life and conversation; as also, having had sufficient testimonials from the Professors of Divinity with whom he studied, during the time of his attendance with them, as to his proficiency in his studies, and his good behaviour; and neighbouring Presbyteries, as also the Synod of the bounds, having been acquainted with the design of entering him on trials, and their advice obtained thereto, he was admitted to the usual trials appointed by the Acts of the General Assembly of this Church; (fn. 2) and having passed through all the parts thereof, the said Presbytery did, upon the day of years, declare their satisfaction with the said his literature, and other necessary qualifications; and thereupon the questions appointed to be put to such as are to be licensed, prescribed by the 10th Act of the General Assembly, held in the year 1711, being put to him, he gave satisfying answers to all the said Questions, and then did judicially subscribe the Formula annexed to the said Act, and thereby coming under the engagements to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and Presbyterian government of this Church, contained in the said Act, Question, and Formula; he was licensed by the foresaid Presbytery to preach the Gospel of Christ, and exercise his gifts as a probationer for the holy minister. And now being designed to go elsewhere, the said Presbytery doth hereby allow him this extract of his licence." And the General Assembly having heard the said form of a licence and overture read, and having reasoned thereupon, they did transmit the same to the several Presbyteries within this Church, to be considered by them, and appointed them, in the terms of the 9th Act of Assembly, 1697, to send up their opinion thereupon to the next General Assembly; and to render the examining the said form more easy to the Presbyteries, they appointed the Acts of Assembly related to therein to be set down upon the margin thereof.
Sess. 14, May 20, 1724, post meridiem.—Overture as to Ministers, Probationers, Elders, and Deacons, their signing the Formula prescribed by Act of Assembly, anno 1711.
The General Assembly, for the greater uniformity and equality amongst the officebearers of this Church, as to their obligations with respect thereto, do transmit to the several Presbyteries the following overture, to be considered by them, that they may send in their opinion of it to the next General Assembly, in manner directed by the 9th Act of Assembly, anno 1697, viz., "That all the ministers of this Church, and probationers for the holy ministry, who have not yet subscribed the Formula prescribed by the 10th Act of Assembly, held anno 1711; and all ruling elders and deacons that shall be hereafter ordained to these offices within this Church, shall, at their admission, and before they begin to act or vote in Church Judicatories, in their foresaid capacities, subscribe the said Formula."