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 6, 1725.
I. Sess. 1, May 6, 1725.—The King's Commission to Hugh Earl of Loudoun produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 6, 1725.—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. That steady zeal and affection to our person and government, as well as concern for the interest and prosperity of the Church, which have so eminently appeared in your former Assemblies, leave us no room to doubt but we shall find in you the same good spirit and disposition on all future occasions, especially in this your present meeting, which we therefore most willingly approve of, and countenance with our royal authority.
We have given you so many assurances of our resolutions to maintain inviolable the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland, as by law established, that we think it unnecessary to repeat them at this time, or to recommend to you such measures as shall be conceived to conduce most to the flourishing estate of the true reformed religion, the promoting of virtue, and discouraging vice and immorality; in all which you may be assured of our approbation and concurrence.
Our Commissioner has it in his instructions to signify to you the steps taken by us to put some stop to the spreading of ignorance and profaneness on the one hand, and the trafficking of Popish priests and emissaries on the other, in the Highlands and Islands, of which frequent representations have been laid before us, from several pre ceding Assemblies and their Commissions.
As nothing can be more becoming a religious assembly than the spirit of moderation and unanimity, so can it suffer in nothing more than in divisions; which we therefore most earnestly exhort you to avoid, and guard against the practices of such as would labour to destroy that brotherly love and affection which ought to shine and prevail in all your debates and councils.
We are so sensible of the capacity and abilities of our right trusty and well-beloved cousin and counsellor, Hugh Earl of Loudoun, that we have thought fit to renew our choice of him to represent our royal person in this Assembly, not doubting but his true concern for the Church, as well as zeal for our service, will render him acceptable to you. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
III. Sess. 3, May 8, 1725.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
We embrace, with the greatest satisfaction, this new opportunity of making a dutiful return to your Majesty's most gracious letter to us. We esteem it our great honour that your Majesty is pleased again to take notice, in so kind and encouraging terms, of the steady zeal and affection to your Majesty's royal person and government, which has appeared in the former Assemblies of this Church; and we should be most unworthy of so many instances of your royal favour if we did not continue to be of the same good spirit and disposition on all future occasions, and particularly in this our present meeting, which your Majesty is pleased so willingly to approve of, and countenance with your royal authority.
It is with the greatest joy and satisfaction we reflect on the many repeated assurances your Majesty has been pleased formerly to give us of your resolution to maintain inviolable the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland, by law established, on which we rely with the most entire confidence; and do acknowledge ourselves to be thereby laid under the strongest obligations to pursue such measures as shall be conceived to conduce most to the flourishing estate of the true reformed religion, the promoting of virtue, and discouraging vice and immorality; in which we are greatly encouraged by the assurance your Majesty gives us of your royal approbation and concurrence.
May it please your Majesty,
As your Majesty's reign and wise administration has, from the beginning, been most auspicious to all your dominions, so they have, in a very particular manner, proved a great blessing to this Church; and we have now a new and distinguished instance of your Majesty's great goodness and fatherly care, in appointing a proper fund to be applied for the provision and entertainment of such itinerant preachers and catechists as shall be employed in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, for removing of ignorance, and putting a stop to profaneness and the growth of Popery; for which royal bounty we are engaged, by the strongest ties, to return our most sincere and dutiful thanks.
We cannot but rejoice that the representations, made by former Assemblies and their Commissions, have moved your royal heart so effectually to take care of the good of mankind and the welfare of precious souls, as to provide so bountifully for instructing them in the faith and practice of the true Christian religion, and preventing their being seduced to vice and the errors of Popery.
As we have the deepest sense of gratitude for this your royal donation, so we hope the due and faithful application of it to the pious purposes for which it is granted by your Majesty, shall appear by the accounts of the distribution, which shall be annually exhibited to your Majesty's High Treasurer, or Commissioners of your Treasury, or Barons of your Majesty's Court of Exchequer in Scotland, in obedience to the direction contained in your Majesty's royal warrant; and it does afford us the greatest pleasure and encouragement to consider, that by the blessing of God on our endeavours, the same methods that contribute to remove the ignorance and superstition of the rude inhabitants of those remote places, and to defeat the attempts of Popish emissaries, must necessarily tend to impress them with sentiments of loyalty towards your Majesty, to promote the interest of your happy government and royal family, and dispose them to give a due and cheerful obedience to your Majesty and the just laws, to which all your subjects ought to conform themselves. We have always looked on ourselves to be bound, by the strictest ties, to endeavour to influence the people committed to our charge with a due sense of their duty in those particulars, and we shall be careful to instruct such as shall be employed upon your Majesty's gracious donation, to use their utmost endeavours among the people with whom they are to deal for the same purpose.
We are very sensible, that nothing can be more becoming a religious Assembly than the spirit of moderation and unanimity, and that it can suffer by nothing more than by divisions; and, therefore, (as your Majesty is pleased graciously to exhort us,) we are resolved, by the grace of God, to avoid them, and to guard against the practices of all such as, under any pretence whatsoever, would labour to destroy that brotherly love and affection which, your Majesty so justly observes, ought to shine in all our debates and councils.
The Earl of Loudoun's capacity and abilities, by which he has so often distinguished himself in your Majesty's service, and in promoting the good of this Church, whose interests were on many occasions the particular care of his noble ancestors, render your Majesty's choice of him to represent your royal person in this Assembly most acceptable to us.
That our gracious God may plentifully reward your Majesty and your royal family
the many great favours you have conferred upon this Church; that He may long
preserve your Majesty, to reign a happy prince over an obedient people; that He may
long continue you to be guardian of the Protestant religion both at home and abroad;
that He may greatly bless their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales,
and their royal offspring, and make these nations happy in a succession of Protestant
princes of your royal line to latest posterity, who may inherit your royal virtues as
well as your crown, is, and shall be, the earnest 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 National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
IV. Sess. 11, May 15, 1725.—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 nominate, commission, and appoint their reverend brethren, Mr James Alston, minister at Dirleton, 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 three preceding years.)
V. Sess. 11, May 15, 1725.—Act erecting the Presbytery of Cairston, and a Synod in Orkney.
The General Assembly, taking into their consideration the circumstances of the ministers of Orkney and Caithness, and the great difficulty they have in attending their judicatures, as they are now constituted, by reason of the dangerous seas and ferries that lie betwixt their residences and the places at present fixed for the meeting of the said judicatures; for remedying of the which inconveniences, and for the more easy and regular carrying on of the Lord's work in those countries, they did, and hereby do, unite and erect the ministers of Kirkwall, Deerness and St Andrews, Holme, South Ronaldshay, and Evie and Rendall, and a ruling elder from each united parish, in one Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Kirkwall, and to meet at the town of Kirkwall; the ministers of the parishes of Birsay and Harray, Firth and Stenhouse, Orphir, Sandwick and Stromness, Græmsay and Hoy, and Walls and Flotta, with a ruling elder from each of these united parishes, into another Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Cairston, and to meet at Cairston. Also, they appoint the ministers of the parishes of Rousay and Egilshay, Westray, and Papa Westray, Cross-parish, Burness and North Ronaldshay, Lady-parish, Stronsay and Eday, and Shapinshay, with their ruling elders, to continue their meeting together as formerly, and to constitute a third Presbytery, to retain the name of the Presbytery of North Isles; and they appoint the Presbytery of Kirkwall to have their first meeting at Kirkwall, upon the first Wednesday of July next, and thereafter at such times as they shall find convenient; and the Presbytery of Cairston to meet at the Church thereof, upon the third Wednesday of July next, and thereafter at such times as they shall see cause. And, further, the General Assembly unites and erects the said three Presbyteries of Kirkwall, Cairston, and North Isles, into a Synod, to be called the Synod of Orkney; and appoints them to meet at Kirkwall, and to hold their first meeting upon the last Wednesday of July next, and thereafter at such times and places as they shall judge needful and convenient, and so to continue in all time coming. And the Assembly hereby declares, that the said Synod, and the Presbyteries that constitute the same, shall have the same powers and privileges that any other Synods and Presbyteries of this Church have, by the Word of God and constitutions of this Church. And, further, the General Assembly did, and hereby do, disjoin and dismember the Presbytery of Caithness from the Synod of Orkney, and do adjoin and annex them to the Synod of Ross and Sutherland; and appoints the said Synod to have their first meeting at Tain, the first Tuesday of September next, and their second at Dornoch, the first Tuesday of April next; and thereafter to hold their meetings at the said places per vices, at such times as they shall find necessary and expedient. And the General Assembly hereby ordains the Synod of Ross and Caithness to send two ministers correspondents to the said Synod of Orkney at every meeting; and ordains the Synod of Orkney to send one of their number to correspond with the Synod of Ross at their meetings. And, lastly, considering that the minister of Shapinshay lives within two miles of the town of Kirkwall, therefore, for the better assistance of the foresaid Presbyteries, they ordain the said minister to correspond with the Presbytery of Kirkwall; and suchlike, appoints the two ministers of Kirkwall, by turns, to correspond with the Presbytery of Cairston, beginning with the eldest of the said ministers.
VI. Sess. ult., May 17, 1725.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for Management of the King's Bounty for that end.
The General Assembly, taking into their consideration that his Majesty, upon its being represented to him, by the General Assemblies of this Church, that Popery and ignorance did increase and prevail in several places in the Highlands and Islands, had, out of his great concern for the glory of God and good of souls, signified his gracious inclination to contribute yearly the sum of L.1000 sterling, to encourage itinerant preachers and catechists to go to these parts; and that his Majesty's royal warrant is already issued for L.1000 sterling for this year, the distribution whereof is entrusted to this Assembly; to the intent, therefore, that the same may be managed with all due care and fidelity, in pursuance of the great and good ends mentioned in the said royal warrant, and conform to it in all points, the Assembly does appoint and ordain as follows:— Primo, That Mr John Dundas of Philipstoun, procurator for the Church, be empowered, likeas he is hereby empowered, to receive the said L.1000 sterling for this first year, and to grant discharge for the same, he giving sufficient bail to the committee underwritten to apply the said sum, after deducting the charges of the warrant, according to the orders of that committee. Secundo, That the persons after named, viz., the Reverend Mr James Alston, minister of the Gospel at Dirleton, their Moderator; Messrs William Wishart, Principal of the College of Edinburgh, William Hamilton, Professor of Divinity there, William Mitchell at Edinburgh, William Miller there, James Nisbet there, James Ramsay at Kelso, John Stirling, Principal of the College of Glasgow, Niel Campbell at Renfrew, Allan Logan at Culross, James Haddow, Principal of the New College of St Andrews, Alexander Anderson at St Andrews, James Craig at Edinburgh, Samuel Semple at Libberton, Niel M'Vicar at West Kirk, James Smith at Cramond, John Cuming at Humbie, James Hart at Edinburgh, John Wilkie at Strathbrock, Matthew Crawford, Professor of Church History in the College of Edinburgh, Robert Kinloch at Dundee, William Steuart at Perth, William Morison at Tiree and Coll, George Chalmers, Principal of the King's College of Aberdeen, James Chapman at Cromdale, Hugh Munro at Tain, Daniel M'Aulay at Bracadale, James Guthry at Irongray, and John Anderson at Kirkmaiden, Ministers; the Right Honourable Charles Earl of Lauderdale, George Lord Ready, 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 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, seven of the Senators of the College of Justice, John Campbell, Esq., Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Colonel John Erskine of Carnock, Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, Baronet, Colonel Robert Munro of Fowlis, Mr Patrick Grant of Easter Elchies, advocate, Mr Hugh Dalrymple, senior, advocate, George Drummond, Esq., one of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs, and Mr James Boswell of Auchinleck, Ruling Elders; shall be a committee, to continue and endure till another committee be nominated in their room, with full power to employ and lay out the said sum for the ends mentioned in His Majesty's royal warrant; who are hereby empowered to choose their own moderator and clerk, and appointed to have their meetings at Edinburgh upon the Fridays, at nine o'clock forenoon, next after the meetings of the Commissions of the General Assembly in May current, August, November, and March next; and their first meeting to be in the Burgh-room, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, the first day after the dissolution of this Assembly, with power to adjourn themselves to such times and places, and to name sub-committees, to prepare matters, and see their orders executed, as they shall think fit, and to meet oftener as there may be occasion, upon advertisement by their moderator or clerk, and that nine shall be a quorum, whereof six shall be ministers; and they are appointed to cause keep a record of their proceedings. Tertio, They are to appoint itinerant preachers and catechists to go to the proper places designed in his Majesty's warrant; and for that end they are carefully to inform themselves of the fit places where the said itinerant preachers are to be sent and employed, and of persons duly qualified for that service, of good abilities for the same, of a pious life and conversation, prudent, of undoubted loyalty to his Majesty, and competently skilled in the principles of divinity, and in Popish controversies; and that none be employed as catechists but such as are certified and found, upon due trial, to be so qualified. And for these ends, the committee are to correspond with Presbyteries where these preachers and catechists are to be employed, and with the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and their committee, and to advise with the Commission appointed by this Assembly, as there may be occasion; and all these itinerant preachers and catechists are appointed to be subject to the Presbyteries of the bounds to which they are sent, and to be under their inspection; and the said Presbyteries are to take care that the orders of the committee be duly observed by the said preachers and catechists; and the said preachers are also appointed to catechise, and both they and the catechists to instruct the people from house to house, and visit the sick; and, in all their labours among the people, to be careful to teach them the principles and duties of the true Christian Protestant religion, and the obligation they are under to duty and loyalty to our Sovereign King George, and obedience to the laws; and the committee are empowered to give them such instructions, as to their work and behaviour, as they shall judge meet, and they are appointed to obey the same. Quarto, That the allowance to an itinerant preacher do not exceed the sum of forty pounds sterling per annum, and that the allowance to a catechist do not exceed the sum of twenty-five pounds sterling for the said time, except upon special circumstances of sickness, losses, or other accidents. Quinto, To the end people may have the benefit of baptism and marriage in remote corners of large parishes, or where the parishes are vacant, the committee is hereby empowered to appoint ministers of settled congregations within the bounds of the Synods of Argyle, Ross, Moray, Aberdeen, and Perth, and Presbytery of Dumbarton, to go to proper places, for which they are to have a suitable allowance out of the fund, not exceeding four pounds sterling per month, except in the cases foresaid, and such ministers are to be subject to the Presbyteries in whose bounds they are to be employed during their mission; and they are hereby ordered to obey the committee's appointments for their going to the same, otherwise to be censured by the Commission appointed by this Assembly, upon their disobediences being represented to them; and their respective Presbyteries are required to supply their churches during their absence, and they are hereby declared not transportable to the Highlands. Also the committee is to direct Presbyteries to order the changing of posts between ministers of settled parishes and probationers employed in the distant corners thereof that the people may be readily served with ordinances which ordained ministers only can dispense. And, lastly, the committee are in all points strictly to conform themselves to the terms and articles of his Majesty's royal warrant, in the discharge of the trust hereby committed unto them. And the General Assembly ordains the several Presbyteries of the bounds pointed at in his Majesty's warrant, to meet as soon as they can, and draw up a state of their bounds, and send in the same to the agent for the Church, to be laid before the said committee; and ordains copies hereof to be printed, and sent to Synods and Presbyteries.
VII. Sess. ult., May 17, 1725.—Act establishing the Forms of Commissions to Members of the General Assembly, and Attestations thereof.
The General Assembly, judging it very necessary, that Commissions to members of the National Assemblies of this Church, and attestations thereof, should be according to, and in the terms prescribed by, the Acts formerly made concerning the same, have appointed, and hereby do appoint and ordain, the following forms of Commissions and attestations to be observed by Presbyteries, Sessions, Universities, and Burghs; and enact and ordain, That all such Commissions and attestations be precisely in the terms following, respectively; and prohibits Presbyteries and Sessions to grant or attest any Commissions which are not in these precise words; and likewise prohibits Presbyteries and Sessions to grant their own attestations in any other words than those prescribed in this Act; with certification, that, in time coming, every Commission not conceived and attested in these very words shall be rejected.
The which day, the Presbytery of did, and hereby do, nominate and appoint Mr minister at and Mr minister at and Mr minister at
and and ruling elders, their commissioners to the next General Assembly of this Church, indited to meet at the day of
next to come, or when and where it shall happen to sit, willing them to repair thereto, and to attend all the diets of the same; and there to consult, vote, and determine, in all matters that come before them, to the glory of God, and the good of his
Church, according to the Word of God, the Confession of Faith, and agreeable to the
constitutions of this Church, as they will be answerable; and that they report their
diligence therein at their return therefrom. And the said Presbytery does hereby
testify and declare, that all the ministers above named have signed the Formula enjoined by the 10th Act of the Assembly, anno 1711; and the Ruling Elders above
written have signed the Formula prescribed by the 11th Act of the Assembly, 1694.
And, further, that all the said commissioners are every other way qualified to be
members of the Assembly, according to the Acts of the Assembly; and, in particular,
that the said elders are qualified in all respects, according to what is required by
Act 9th of the General Assembly, held anno 1722. Extracted by
C. D. Cls.
The which day, the Presbytery of having had the above extract of their
commission to their representatives in the ensuing Assembly laid before them, they
caused it to be read, and having revised and considered the same, they did approve
thereof. Attested by
A. B. Moderator.
The which day, the Principal, Professors, Masters, and other Members of the Uni
versity of , having right to elect, did, and hereby do, nominate and appoint
their commissioner to the next General Assembly of this Church,
indited to meet at , the day of next to come, or when and
where it shall happen to sit, willing him to repair thereto, and to attend all the diets
of the same, and there to consult, vote, and determine, in all matters that come before them, to the glory of God and good of his Church, according to the Word of
God, the Confession of Faith, and agreeable to the constitutions of this Church, as
he will be answerable; and that he report his diligence therein at his return therefrom. And it is hereby testified and declared, that the said is a minister
(or an elder) of this Church, lawfully ordained, and hath signed the Formula enjoined
by the 10th Act of the Assembly, anno 1711;(or, if an elder,) hath signed the Formula prescribed by the 11th Act of the Assembly, 1694. And further, that the said
commissioner is every other way qualified to be a member of the Assembly, according
to the Acts of the Assembly; (and if an elder, it must be said,) and, in particular, he is
qualified in all respects, according to what is required by the 9th Act of the General
Assembly, held anno 1722. Extracted by
The which day, the Presbytery of having had produced before them a
commission given by the University of to , to represent the
said university in the ensuing General Assembly of this National Church, do, in the
terms of 4th Act of Assembly, 1720, the 7th Act of Assembly, 1723, and 4th Act of
Assembly, 1724, testify and declare, that the said is a minister, (or an
elder,) lawfully ordained, that he has signed the Formula enjoined by the 10th Act of
Assembly, 1711; (or, if an elder,) hath signed the Formula prescribed by the 11th
Act of Assembly, 1694, and that he is a master of the said university, or
And further, that the said commissioner is every other way qualified to be a member
of the Assembly, according to the Acts of Assembly. This signed by
A. B, Moderator.
The which day, the Magistrates and Town-Council of being convened
in council, did and hereby do, nominate and appoint their commissioner to the next General Assembly of this Church, indited to meet at
the day of next to come, or when and where it shall happen to sit,
willing him to repair thereto, and to attend all the diets of the same, and there to
consult, vote, and determine, in all matters that come before them, to the glory of
God and the good of his Church, according to the Word of God, the Confession of
Faith, and agreeable to the constitutions of this Church, as he will be answerable;
and that he report his diligence therein at his return therefrom. And it is hereby
testified and declared, that the said is an elder of this Church, lawfully
ordained, and hath signed the Formula enjoined by the 11th Act of Assembly, 1694,
and is every other way qualified to be a member of Assembly, according to the Acts
of Assembly; and, in particular, he is qualified, in all respects, according to what is required by the 9th Act of the General Assembly, held anno 1722. Extracted by
C. D., Cls.
The which day, the Kirk-Session of having had laid before them a commission given by the Magistrates and Town-Council of to , to
represent the said burgh in the ensuing General Assembly of this National Church,
do, in the terms of the 4th Act of Assembly, 1720, testify and declare, that the said
is an elder lawfully ordained, and that he has signed the Formula prescribed by the 11th Act of the General Assembly, 1694; and likewise, that he is (a
residenter in the said burgh;) or (an heritor in the said burgh;) or (an heritor in the
bounds of the Presbytery of , within which the said burgh lies;) or (has
formerly resided and officiated as an elder in the said burgh;) or (Presbytery of
within which the said burgh does lie.) Extracted by
A. B., Moderator.
C. D., Cls.
The which day, the Presbytery of having had produced before them a
commission given by the Magistrates and Town-Council of to , to
represent the said burgh in the ensuing General Assembly of this National Church,
with an attestation of the Kirk-Session of the said burgh, conform to the direction of
the Act 9th, Assembly, 1718; Act 4th, Assembly, 1720; and Act 4th, Assembly,
1724; do, in the terms of the foresaid acts, likewise testify and declare that the said
is an elder lawfully ordained, and that he has signed the Formula prescribed by the 11th Act of Assembly, 1694; and likewise, that he is (a residenter in
the burgh,) or (an heritor in the said burgh;) or (an heritor in the bounds of the
Presbytery of , within which the said burgh lies;) or (has formerly resided and officiated as an elder in the said burgh;) or (Presbytery of ,
within which the said burgh does lie.) And further, that the said commissioner is
every other way qualified to be a member of the Assembly, according to the Acts of
Assembly. This signed by
A. B., Moderator.