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 2, 1728.
I. Sess. 1, May 2, 1728.—The King's Commission to Hugh Earl of Loudoun produced, and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 2, 1728.—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 many proofs and repeated instances which your former Assemblies have given of their firm and steady adherence to the succession in our family, and to the Protestant interest in general, and of their zeal for the advancement of piety and virtue, and the prudence, wisdom, and moderation which influenced their councils and debates, have engaged us most willingly to countenance your present meeting with our royal authority; and we do with the greatest pleasure take this first opportunity of assuring you of our fixed and determined purpose and resolution to maintain and support the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, in the full enjoyment of all its rights and privileges, as by law established.
We have the most entire confidence in your loyalty and affection for our person and government, and are fully persuaded that you come together with the best disposition to contribute all in your power to the happiness of our reign, as well as to promote the true interest of the Church whereof you are members, and the good of your country; and you may be assured of our ready concurrence in whatever may tend to those great and desirable ends, particularly in the preventing of the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of vice and irreligion. And we doubt not, but as you will avoid all disputes and contentions among yourselves, which might give advan tage to those who are enemies to our peace and prosperity, you will also make the people under your charge sensible of the blessing of a perfect transquillity which they now enjoy, and will infuse into them those principles on which the security on our happy constitution and their own welfare entirely depend.
We have appointed our right trusty and right entirely beloved cousin and councillor, Hugh Earl of Loudoun, to represent our royal person in this Assembly, being well satisfied of his loyalty, integrity, and zeal for our service; which qualifications, and his abilities for the discharge of this important trust which he has had opportunity of showing upon former like occasions, and the affection and concern which you have experienced in him for the Church of Scotland, cannot but make our choice of him very agreeable to you. And we hope that the unanimity and brotherly love and charity with which you will dispatch the business before you, will bring this your meeting to as happy conclusion as that of any former Assembly. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
Given at our Court at St. James's, the 1st day of April 1728, in the first year of our reign.
By His Majesty's Command,
Directed thus,—To the Right Reverend and well-beloved, the Moderator, Ministers, and Elders, of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
III. Sess. 3, May 4, 1728.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter
May it please your Majesty,
The honour done by your Majesty's most gracious letter to this first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which hath had the happiness to meet since the beginning of your Majesty's most auspicious reign, we have received with the greatest joy, and do acknowledge with the utmost gratitude.
The mention your Majesty is pleased to make of the firm and steady adherence of our former General Assemblies to the succession in your royal family, and to the Protestant interest in general; of their zeal for the advancement of piety and virtue; and of the prudence, wisdom, and moderation, which influenced their councils and debates, shows us your Majesty's kind inclination to approve, in the most favourable manner, what hath been done by others before us, according to their duty, and is a great encouragement to us to follow the good example of those with whom your Majesty hath the goodness to express yourself so well pleased. And the countenancing our present meeting with your Majesty's royal authority we take as a great blessing from God, and a most engaging evidence of your Majesty's royal goodness.
Your Majesty's being pleased to acquaint us in so kind and gracious a manner, that it is with the greatest pleasure you take this first opportunity of assuring us of your fixed and determined purpose and resolution to maintain and support the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, in the full enjoyment of all its rights and privileges as by law established, is an endearing testimony of your royal favour to us, which we humbly accept with the greatest thankfulness, and rely upon with the firmest confidence, as esteeming your Majesty's royal protection to be, under God, our great security.
Your Majesty does us the greatest honour when you are pleased to express the most entire confidence in our loyalty and good affection for your person and government, and it shall be our care, through Divine assistance, so to acquit ourselves upon every occasion, as your Majesty may never have reason either to alter or to lessen it. These sentiments are deeply rooted in our hearts, and we shall most cheerfully embrace every proper opportunity of showing them.
To promote the happiness of your Majesty's reign, the true interest of this Church whereof we are members, and the good of our country, are great and desirable ends, which we are bound always to have in view; and we think them so closely connected together, that not any one of them can be advanced without the rest; and we should be most unworthy of your Majesty's favour, and of the character we bear, if we had not the best disposition to contribute all in our power unto them, seeing the assurance your Majesty gives us of your hearty concurrence in whatever may tend to these great purposes, is at once the greatest encouragement and obligation for us to exert ourselves in the most vigorous manner for accomplishing them. With pleasure also we acknowledge your Majesty's royal wisdom, when you observe that the preventing the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of vice and irreligion, will, in a particular manner, contribute to the happiness of your Majesty's reign and the good of our country, as well as to the promoting the true interest of this Church.
In this we are greatly animated by your Majesty's recommending them to us, and also by your royal proclamation, emitted so early in the beginning of your reign, and in a special manner by your bountiful and princely donation to this General Assembly, and the intimation given us by your Majesty's royal warrant, directed to the Barons of your Exchequer in Scotland, of your royal and gracious inclination to contribute yearly so considerable a fund for promoting the knowledge and practice of religion in the Highlands and Islands of our country; for this we beg leave to return your Majesty our most humble and grateful acknowledgments, and shall earnestly pray that God may abundantly reward you for so great a charity to souls. And 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 which shall be annually exhibited, according to the direction contained in your Majesty's warrant; and the most effectual care that we can shall be taken, that the persons to be employed upon that fund shall be duly qualified for serving the purposes for which your Majesty hath been pleased to bestow it. And it is with great pleasure we observe that the same endeavours which we use for preventing the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of vice and irreligion, and for advancing the knowledge and service of God among the people under our charge, do also contribute to make them sensible of the perfect tranquillity, and other great blessings which they now enjoy under your Majesty's happy government and wise administration, and to infuse into them those principles of duty and loyalty on which the security of our happy constitution, and their own welfare, entirely depend; for next to the persuading men to become faithful subjects to our Lord Jesus Christ, our chief care shall be to make them loyal and dutiful subjects to your Majesty.
The Earl of Loudoun hath given such eminent proofs of his loyalty, integrity, and zeal for your Majesty's service, and, upon many former occasions, of his abilities for the discharge of this important trust, and of his most affectionate concern for the prosperity and happiness of this Church, as render your Majesty's choice of him to represent your royal person in this Assembly most acceptable and obliging to us, and we humbly acknowledge it as a particular evidence of your Majesty's goodness.
We are sensible how much disputes and contentions among ourselves would give advantage to those who are enemies to the peace and prosperity of your Majesty's government, upon which our own welfare under God does depend; and we humbly acknowledge your Majesty's fatherly tenderness for us, in being pleased to caution us against them. We pray and hope that the good Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of love and peace, will assist us to dispatch all our business with that unanimity, brotherly love, and charity, which becomes the servants of the Prince of Peace, and which is so necessary to the bringing of our meeting, at this time, to a happy conclusion.
That the Most High God, by whom kings reign, may graciously preserve your
Majesty's person, direct all your councils, and bless your government;—that your
Majesty may long reign a happy prince over a loving and obedient people;—that He
may pour down his best blessings upon your Royal Consort the Queen, upon his
Royal Highness the Prince, and all your royal progeny;—that there may never be
wanting a Protestant prince of your royal family to away the sceptre over us;—and
that your Majesty may late, very late, exchange the crown which you now wear for
a crown of glory that fadeth not away, are, and shall be, the earnest prayers 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.
Signed in our presence, in our name, and at our appointment, by
Will. Wishart, Moderator.
IV. Address to the King on his Majesty's Accession to the Throne.
TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
The humble Address of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
May it please your Majesty,
The great concern which we, according to our duty, have in all the events which happen to your royal family, obliges us to take hold of every proper opportunity to express it; and the death of our late gracious Sovereign, your Majesty's royal father, of glorious memory, with your Majesty's most peaceable and happy accession to the crown, having in Providence fallen out since the last meeting of the General Assembly of this Church, we humbly presume to take hold of this first occasion to give vent to those different passions, which, even at this distance of time, continue to work in our minds, upon account of these important occurrences.
It is with great satisfaction that we understand that the Commission of the late General Assembly did, according to their duty, in the most respectful manner they could, by some of their number, present a humble address to your Majesty, upon an occasion of so great concern to us and all your Majesty's good subjects, which your Majesty was pleased to accept very graciously, and which address we have in this our meeting unanimously approved; yet we cannot forbear to take hold of this first opportunity of expressing, in the most public and solemn manner which our constitution admits of, our own sentiments upon this subject, wherein we are well assured we have the hearty concurrence of all the members of this Church, whom we have the honour in this our meeting to represent.
The death of our late gracious Sovereign, your Majesty's royal father, of glorious memory, whom God made the instrument of so great blessings to us and to all Europe, was so sensible and heavy a stroke to us, that we should have been inconsolable under it, if so great a loss had not been made up to us by your Majesty's most peaceable and happy accession to the throne.
Permit us, then, great Sir, to congratulate your Majesty upon your ascending the throne of your royal ancestors, with the joyful acclamations of all your dutiful subjects.
We can never cease to bless our gracious God, when we think of his setting a king over us, whose royal qualities do so brightly adorn the throne upon which he sits; who, even from the beginning of his reign, hath given so evident proofs of his being the guardian of the peace and liberty of Europe, and of all the just rights and privileges of his subjects; who, at his entering upon the administration of his government, did, with the greatest cheerfulness, give us the most firm and solemn assurances of his inviolable resolution to maintain and protect our Church in the enjoyment of all her rights established by law, and hath fully made good, to our great joy, this his gracious purpose in the following steps of this reign.
It is with the greatest joy that we observe these blessings multiplied upon your Majesty, which we hope shall continue to distinguish your reign, and render it more and more illustrious. That you are blessed with a Royal Consort, who, for her many excellent qualities, and particularly her distinguished zeal and constancy in adhering to the Protestant religion, ought to be dear to all the Protestant Churches while she lives, and have her memory highly honoured by them to the latest posterity. And it greatly adds to our joy for the present, and fills our hearts with the most encouraging hopes for the time to come, that we behold your Majesty's throne encompassed with so numerous and hopeful a progeny, born, as we trust, for great blessings to the world, and for securing the succession to the crown in the Protestant line of your Majesty's royal house for many generations.
That God may bless your Majesty with a long life and a prosperous reign;—that he
may ever defeat all the open and secret attempts of your enemies;—that he may establish
your throne by righteousness, and make you more and more a blessing to your own
subjects, and to all the Protestant Churches;—that he may eminently bless your Royal
Consort, our gracious Queen, his Royal Highness that Prince, and the whole royal family, with all temporal and eternal blessings;—and when your Majesty hath been long
honoured of God to serve him and promote the good of mankind upon earth, you
may be rewarded with eternal happiness in heaven, is, and shall be, the earnest
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in a General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our presence, in our name, and at our appointment, by
Will. Wishart, Moderator.
Address to the King, by the late Commission, on the same subject.
TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
The humble Address of the Commission of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
May it please your Majesty,
We lay hold of this first opportunity that our meeting together affords us to express our just sorrow and concern for the unspeakable loss which we, together with all the Protestant churches, have sustained, in the unexpected death of his late Majesty, your royal father, our most indulgent Sovereign; and, at the same time, to declare the hearty joy and complete satisfaction that possess us on your Majesty's quiet and peaceable accession to the throne.
When we revolve in our thoughts, how melancholy our situation appeared to be by the sudden removal of our late most gracious and wise king, at a season when the critical juncture of public affairs in Europe seemed to call for the most steady hand to conduct them; and when we reflect how momentary our fears were, how quickly they were dispelled upon your Majesty's ascending the throne of your ancestors, with the universal and joyful consent and congratulation of your people; and when we see the weight of British councils, in supporting the Protestant interest abroad, and preserving the balance of Europe, prevail as formerly, we cannot but admire and adore the kind Providence of Almighty God, who hath turned our sorrow into gladness, and under those gloomy circumstances which threatened us with danger, hath opened to us the prospect of lasting happiness and security.
It has been the unhappiness of Britain for more than a century past, that it never saw the throne filled at the same time with a Protestant King and Queen, blessed and supported by a hopeful progeny; whence grew that weakness in the state, and uncertainty in the settlement in matters of religion, that has frequently threatened the Protestant churches with ruin. But now, thanks be to our most gracious God, we see joined to our King, whose wisdom, justice, and magnanimity, secure the Church and State from all apprehensions, a Queen, whose virtues and piety are a fit pattern for your people, and whose generous contempt of diadems, when standing in competition with the Protestant religion, is rewarded even in this life with one of the most considerable crowns in Europe; and assures religion in this island of finding in her a tender nursing-mother, as it gives a solid expectation, that the growing royal family, the hope and glory of this kingdom, will be brought up in the same principles.
Under these happy circumstances, we can have no apprehensions of what we formerly dreaded; but may reasonably hope, that the abjured Pretender will soon have no friend in Britain, who is not likewise a friend to his absurd religion; and our faithful endeavours must, with the blessing of God, have the same success against him, as against those errors that lead captive his blinded abettors into his interest against their own.
That the profession we make of affection to your Majesty is unfeigned and genuine, no enemy we have can pretend to doubt. Early upon your accession to the crown we received the strongest security that your Majesty will maintain inviolably the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland; and its main support, under God, is from the present happy establishment of the crown on your Majesty and your royal family. Our preservation depends so evidently upon your undoubted title to the imperial crown of this realm, that though the Popish Pretender to your Majesty's throne, in public papers and declarations, has often attempted to delude others with the vain hopes of protection, should his arbitrary and tyrannical government take place over this island, yet not the remotest insinuation either was or could, with any colour, be made in favour of our Church—so inseparably are our duty to your Majesty and our interest connected together: and, therefore, we humbly presume to hope, that your Majesty will graciously accept of this first declaration and tender of our unalterable love, duty, and loyalty.
That God may long preserve your Majesty, the great pattern and promoter of
religion, and the defender of the true faith; that your reign may be happy and undisturbed; that you may always possess the hearts and affections of all your subjects;
that you may be the guardian of the liberties of Europe, the support of the Protestant
interest, and the blessed instrument of relief to our suffering brethren abroad; that
all divine blessings in Christ Jesus may be plentifully dispensed to your Majesty,
to our most gracious Queen, to the Prince, and all your royal family; and that it
may ever be the happiness of Britain to have a Prince of your royal line to sway the
sceptre, are the ardent prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in the Commission of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, at our appointment, and in our presence, by
Will. Hamilton, Moderator.
V. Sess. 6, May 8, 1728, ante meridiem.—Act renewing the Recommendation of the last Assembly in favour of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge.
The Lord President of the Session, preses of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, gave in to the Assembly a memorial from the said Society, representing that they did lay before the late General Assembly the then state of their affairs, upon which a recommendation was granted; but are sorry to find that divers Synods and Presbyteries have neglected to make any report as to their diligence in what was therein desired of them,—that there are new demands made by several Presbyteries and parishes for charity schools, which the Society cannot answer, because they have already more schools than their fund can well maintain; but when collections come in, they are ready, as far as they can, to settle schools in places that most need the same; and, for enabling the Society to do this, humbly de siring that the recommendation of the late General Assembly may be renewed. The Society also represented, that they having received payment of the L.1000 sterling, mortified by John Raining, merchant in Norwich, for a school, they laid out the same upon heritable security; and having formerly intimated to the Assembly a proposal of settling that school at Inverness, to which hopeful youths having Irish at the Society's other schools might be brought, in order to learn the English language, and, when further instructed, be returned to take up schools in the Highlands, it was now reported that the magistrates, town-council, ministers, and kirk-session of Inverness, have agreed to give accommodation and encouragement thereto, and that thereupon that school was, in May last, settled in the said town, and is in a flourishing condition. The General Assembly having heard and considered the above memorial, with the act and recommendation of the late Assembly in favour of the said Society, and heard the Lord President, and other members of that Society, give account of the state and management thereof, they did, and hereby do, renew the recommendation of the said Assembly, and instruct and appoint their Commission to be named by them to take care that the said recommendation be executed; and, likewise, do appoint the several Synods and Presbyteries within this Church to send up to the meeting of the Commission, in November next, and also to the next Assembly, with the commissioners from their bounds, a particular account in writing of their diligence, with a list of deficients in contributing within the several Presbyteries. And they appoint their said Commission to take this matter under their consideration, at their said meeting in November next, at furthest, and report their diligence, and an account of their success, to the next General Assembly.
VI. Sess. 12, May 11, 1728, post meridiem.—Act and Recommendation for a Voluntary Contribution, to be applied towards erecting and Infirmary or Hospital for Diseased Poor at Edinburgh.
There was presented to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland a petition for the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, showing, that they having observed many poor miserable objects in this place, as well strangers from all corners of the nation, as inhabitants of the city, seeking after the means of health, having nothing either to maintain themselves or provide medicines, they did, some years ago, erect a dispensatory, provided it with medicines at the lowest rates, and by turns gave attendance at their public hall to give advice gratis; but finding that the advice given, and the medicines applied, often proved unsuccessful, and came short of their good effect, through the patients their wanting due care taken of them, and their being destitute of means for providing a proper diet and lodging while under cure. For remedy of which, the said college did lately propose the establishing an infirmary or hospital for sick and wounded poor, after the example and practice of most other countries and cities, unto which proper objects may be taken for cure, and to raise a stock for that end, by voluntary subscriptions and donations, that so poor persons may not only have advice and medicines gratis, but also (when any physician sees it necessary) be entertained at bed and board, with proper servants to attend them during the time of their cure; and having already made some good progress in obtaining subscriptions and donations for the end foresaid, by the care and pains of some worthy gentlemen, and the charitable disposition of persons of all ranks to whom application has been made, they thought it proper to make the good design more publicly known, in hopes of an universal approbation; and that many will cheerfully contribute towards carrying on so Christian and necessary a work, which may prove universally profitable to the nation; the commendable practice of erecting and maintaining many such hospitals abroad, and the great advantages that are well known to arise therefrom, being a strong motive for us in Scotland to establish one amongst us, whereby many poor tradesmen, servants, apprentices, journeymen, and labourers, who casually meet with fractures, bruises, wounds, dislocations, or do fall into sickness, may, by the blessing of God, and the timeous application of proper medicines, be recovered and restored to health and strength, who, through the want of such help, become beggars, or a burden upon their friends or the public, but by means of this hospital may be restored to health, and enabled to follow their employments and business, gain their own livelihood, and be useful in the commonwealth. And another great use of such an hospital is, that the overseers thereof will be a check upon many idle and slothful persons, who, under pretence of some slight lameness, sickness, or weakness, become a burden upon the country; for such, being brought into the hospital and cured, will be debarred from begging, and the really poor and incurably lame or sick will the more easily and cheerfully be pitied and supplied by charitable persons. And therefore the foresaid college do invite all persons, societies, and corporations, who are in case to contribute towards carrying on this charitable and necessary design, to concur therein, and earnestly desire the General Assembly of this National Church to recommend a voluntary contribution at the several parish churches in Scotland, for advancing the foresaid charitable work, in such manner as to them shall seem most suitable.
The General Assembly, having heard the said petition, and taking into their most serious consideration the deplorable circumstances of many industrious poor of both sexes, who, while in health and firmness of body, do labour with diligence, and maintain themselves and families, yet when they fall into sickness, or are otherwise disabled, are in the greatest extremity of misery, being not only destitute of bread, but want the necessary means of cure and recovery; against both which inconveniences a remedy is proposed by this pious and Christian project; and the Assembly also considering that this infirmary or hospital will be of universal and common use to the poor of the whole nation; they do, therefore, with the greatest earnestness, recommend a public contribution through all the parishes of Scotland for advancing thereof, to be made upon such Lord's Days as the several Presbyteries or ministers shall think most proper, after these presents come to their hands; and do exhort all well disposed persons, especially those on whom God has bestowed the inestimable blessings of health and strength, and any competent measure of the other good things of this life, that they lay to heart the distress of such their fellow Christians as are deprived of them, and, according to their ability, contribute cheerfully to their relief, by encouraging this so necessary and charitable a design. And the Assembly appoints this Act and recommendation to be published in all the parish churches of Scotland, upon the Lord's Day preceding the day to be appointed for the collection, immediately after sermon in the forenoon; and recommends to the several ministers who preach on the said Lord's Days to enforce the same with suitable exhortations. And appoints the money collected in the several parishes to be put into the hands of the moderators of the respective Presbyteries, and by them to be carefully transmitted to Edinburgh, with the first opportunity, to David Spence, Secretary to the Bank of Scotland, who, at the desire of the said Royal College of Physicians, has undertaken the trouble of receiving the whole contributions for this charitable work, and will give receipts for the same, to be accounted for by him to the managers of the said infirmary, conform to his obligation granted for that end.
VII. Sess. 16, May 14, 1728, 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 nominate, commission, and appoint, the Reverend Mr William Wishart, Principal of the College of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c.; to be commissioners of this Assembly; any thirty-one of them are hereby declared to be a quorum, whereof twenty-one are always to be ministers; with power to them 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; which commissioners are hereby ordained to convene within the Assembly-House at Edinburgh the first free day after the dissolution of this Assembly, at ten of the clock in the forenoon, and afterwards the second Wednesdays of August, November, and March next, and oftener, when and where they shall think convenient; with power to them to choose their own moderator. And this General Assembly do hereby renew the powers, granted by the late General Assembly, to their commissioners by their Act, dated the 16th day of May last, entitled, "Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing divers Affairs referred to them," and the instructions therein mentioned in all points; and ordains this Commission to proceed according thereunto, and report to the next General Assembly.
VIII. Sess. 18, May 15, 1728, post meridiem.—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 it has pleased the King, out of his royal bounty, to grant the sum of L.1000 sterling, to encourage itinerant preachers and catechists to go to the Highlands and Islands, for instructing the people in the principles of the true religion; and being desirous to carry on the reformation in the foresaid places, and to prosecute his Majesty's pious design, do hereby continue Mr John Dundas of Philipston, Procurator for the Church, to be receiver of the foresaid money, and to lay out the same in the terms of his Majesty's grant and 6th Act of the General Assembly, held in the year 1725, entitled, "Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and Management of the King's Bounty for that end;" and do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint, the Reverend Mr William Wishart, Principal of the College of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c.; to be a committee of this Assembly for reformation of the Highlands and Islands, and disposing upon the foresaid royal bounty, for the ends above mentioned, according to the said 6th Act of the General Assembly, held in the year 1725, 6th Act of Assembly, 1726, and 5th Act of Assembly, 1727; and the whole rules and powers contained in these Acts are hereby renewed, any seven of the foresaid persons are declared to be a quorum, whereof four to be always ministers. And the General Assembly appoints the said committee to have their meetings in the hall of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, in Edinburgh, the last Thursdays of every month, at three of the clock in the afternoon, but to have a quarterly meeting the first lawful day after the adjournment of the four stated meetings of the Commission of the General Assembly, at ten of the clock in the forenoon, with power to adjourn themselves as they shall find needful; and they are appointed to keep a correspondence with the said Commission, also with the foresaid Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and with Presbyteries and Synods concerned in the Highlands and Islands, and places where Popery abounds in the North; and the said Commission are empowered to concur with the said committee in their work when applied unto for that effect; and ordains the said committee to report an account of their actings and diligence to the next General Assembly. And this committee are to continue till another committee be named in their room.
IX. Sess. ult., May 16, 1728.—Act concerning Mr John Simson, Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow.
The General Assembly, having maturely considered the affair concerning Mr John Simson, Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow, with all that hath appeared to them, both from the depositions of the witnesses and his own writings and papers, do find, that, in his papers, given in to the General Assembly upon the 14th and 15th days of this instant, and this day, he does assert the necessity of the existence and generation of the person of our Lord Jesus Christ; also, that he declares that the titles, Summus Deus, and the only true God, are equally applicable to the Father and the Son, and not in any lower sense to the Son than to the Father. Likewise, that he affirms that the three Persons in the Godhead are one substance or essence in number; therefore, the General Assembly does find that his sentiments, as above expressed in his foresaid papers upon these articles, are sound and orthodox; nevertheless, considering what hath been found both relevant and proved against him by this present and the preceding General Assembly; of his having taught and uttered such things, and expressed himself in such terms, as are subversive of these blessed truths, as they are contained in the Holy Scriptures, and laid down in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and tend to shake the belief of them, and to inject needless and ill-grounded doubts and seruples into the minds of men, and to render them dark and uncertain as to what they ought to believe concerning the same; and, likewise, considering the great offence which he hath given by neglecting so many opportunities, during the course of the proceedings against him, of giving satisfaction to the judicatories of the Church, as to the soundness of his faith concerning those important articles, find themselves obliged, for the honour of truth, and in order to prevent the spreading of error, and preserving the purity of doctrine in this Church, to testify their high dissatisfaction with his conduct and behaviour. And many members declaring that they thought the said Mr John Simson deserved deposition, the Assembly, after mature deliberation, considering that the process is not entirely finished, and the other circumstances of the case, as it now stands, did agree to suspend, and hereby do suspend, the foresaid Mr John Simson, from preaching and teaching, and all exercise of any ecclesiastical power or function, until another General Assembly shall think fit to take off this sentence; and this Assembly does leave it to the next ensuing General Assembly to do concerning him, with relation to this process, and the other, not yet brought under consideration of this Assembly, as to them shall seem fit. And the Assembly further orders the proceedings of this Assembly to be printed, and to be transmitted, with the state of this process, printed by an order of the committee of the last Assembly for purity of doctrine, to the several Presbyteries of this Church, that they may send up their commissioners to the next Assembly duly instructed upon what they think proper to be further done in that which remains of Mr Simson's affair.
X. Sess. ult., May 16, 1728.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be held at Edinburgh, upon the first Thursday of May next to come, 1729 years.
This General Assembly was concluded with prayer, singing of a part of the 72d Psalm, from the 17th verse to the close, and pronouncing of the blessing.
Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
Jo. Dundas, Cls. Eccl. Scot.