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 3, 1733.
I. Sess. 1, May 3, 1733.—The King's Commission to William Marquis of Lothian produced, and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 3, 1733.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
George, R., &c.
III. Sess. 3, May 5, 1733.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty, &c.
IV. Sess. 10, May 14, 1733, ante 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, finding that divers late General Assemblies had granted commissions to some ministers and ruling elders for reformation of the Highlands and Islands, and management of his Majesty's royal bounty for that end; and the Assembly finding that it has pleased our gracious Sovereign the King, out of his royal bounty, to renew his grant of L.1000 sterling for the end foresaid, therefore, they do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint, Mr John Gowdie, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c.; to be a committee of this Assembly for reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for managing the royal bounty for the end foresaid, according to, and in terms of, his Majesty's grant above mentioned; and do hereby renew the powers granted to the said committee by the 7th Act of the General Assembly, anno 1732, and the whole Acts therein mentioned, in all points. Any seven of the foresaid persons are declared to be a quorum, whereof four are always to be ministers; and the foresaid committee are appointed to have their meetings in the Hall of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, the last Thursday of every month, at three o'clock afternoon, and also the first lawful day after adjournment of the four stated diets of the Commission of this Assembly, at ten o'clock forenoon, except when it falls to be on Friday or Saturday, and then the meeting is to be on the Monday next thereafter; with power to adjourn themselves to such times and places as they shall find needful, and to keep a correspondence with the Commission of this Assembly, and Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and their committee. And the General Assembly do hereby nominate and appoint Mr William Grant, Advocate, Procurator for the Church, to be receiver of the foresaid royal bounty, and to pay out the same as he shall be directed and ordered by the foresaid committee, and according to their rules.
V. Sess. 10, May 14, 1733, ante meridiem.—Act concerning some of the Ministers of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, and for preserving the Subordination of the Judicatories of the Church, and good Order therein.
The General Assembly, having fully and maturely considered the disobedience of Mr James Wardlaw and Mr Ralph Erskine at Dunfermline, Mr John Gib at Cleish, Mr Daniel Hunter at Carnock, Mr John Geddes at Culross, and Mr Thomas Mair at Orwell, ministers of the Gospel, members of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, to the Act of the General Assembly, dated the 12th day of May 1732, and several Acts of the Commission of the said Assembly, appointing the said Presbytery to enrol Mr Robert Stark, minister of Kinross, as a member thereof; and the behaviour and conduct of the said ministers before this Assembly, during their procedure on the said affair; do judge it highly contrary to, and utterly inconsistent with, the subordination of judicatories, happily established among us, and the duty they owe to the said judicatories, which they had engaged to perform at their ordination, and, therefore, deserving the highest censures: Yet the Assembly, inclining to show all tenderness towards the said brethren, they appoint them to be sharply rebuked in their presence, and appoint and command them to own Mr Robert Stark as minister of the Gospel at Kinross, to encourage and strengthen his hands in the Lord's work in the said parish, and to discourage all separation from, and non-subjection to, his ministry. And the Assembly do hereby strictly inhibit and discharge the said brethren from admitting any of the parish of Kinross to sealing ordinances, without the consent of Mr Robert Stark, according to the 12th paragraph of the Act of Assembly, February 7, 1645. And, further, the Assembly do hereby strictly discharge the offering, admitting, or receiving any protest or dissent, by any member of the said Presbytery, or other person whatsoever, against the said Mr Stark's sitting and acting in the Presbytery of Dunfermline, as a member thereof, and minister of Kinross. And they empower the Commission to be appointed by them to summon before them any person or persons who shall offer any such protest or dissent, and also the said Presbytery, if they shall receive or admit the same, and censure the said persons or Presbytery as they shall see cause. And, in regard several within the bounds of the said Presbytery do withdraw from the ministry of their respective pastors, therefore, the Assembly does hereby enjoin the observation of the Act of Assembly, dated the 24th day of August 1647, "Against such as withdraw themselves from the Public Worship in their own Congregation;" and ordains the foresaid paragraph of the Act 1645, and the said Act 1647, to be publicly intimated by the ministers of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, from their respective pulpits, on any Lord's Day of June next, with suitable exhortations. And the Assembly appoints the said ministers to appear before the Commission to meet in August next, and to report their obedience to this whole Act and appointment; and appoints and requires the said Commission, in case of disobedience or non-compearance, to proceed to the highest censures, if they see occasion for it, then, or any subsequent diet or meeting of the Commission.
And because the brethren within the bounds of the Presbytery of Dunfermline who have done their duty, in obeying the appointment of the Assembly, may be in hazard of being discouraged in the exercise of their ministry, by persons of a schismatical and divisive temper, notwithstanding of what is contained in this present Act; therefore, the Assembly, considering that these brethren deserve all encouragement, do enjoin their Commission to receive any complaint that may be offered by any of these brethren, and to judge and censure, as they shall see cause, any minister or ministers, or others, who shall give them disturbance or discouragement in their work. And appoints this Act to be read in the first meeting of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, and recorded in their register; and that this Act be printed and published among the other Acts of the Assembly.
VI. Sess. 10, May 14, 1733, ante meridiem.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing divers Affairs referred to them.
The General Asembly, taking into their consideration that there are divers weighty affairs which they cannot overtake, do nominate, commission, and appoint, their reverend brethren, Mr John Gowdie, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, 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 that of last year.)
VII. Sess. 12, May 15, 1733, ante meridiem.—Act and Sentence concerning Mr Ebenezer Ershine, and some other Ministers adhering to his Protest, for their Contempt of the Authority of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly, having at a former diet considered an appeal, entered by Mr Ebenezer Erskine, minister at Stirling, from a sentence of the Synod of Perth and Stirling, wherein the said Synod had found ground to censure him, and appointed him to be rebuked on account of several indecent expressions uttered by him in a sermon preached before the said Synod in October last, tending to disquiet the peace of this Church, and impugning several Acts of Assembly and proceedings of the Church judicatories; and had appointed him to be admonished to behave orderly for the future—the Assembly found these expressions vented by Mr Erskine, and contained in the minutes of the foresaid Synod's proceedings, with the answers thereto, made by him, to be offensive, and to tend to disturb the peace and good order of this Church: Therefore, they approved the proceedings of the Synod, and appointed him to be rebuked and admonished by the Moderator at their own bar, in order to terminate the process, which was done accordingly. But the foresaid Mr Ebenezer Erskine, together with Mr William Wilson, minister at Perth, Mr Alexander Moncrieff, minister at Abernethy, and Mr James Fisher, minister at Kinclaven, gave in a paper at the Assembly's bar, subscribed by them, craving and protesting that the same might be read and recorded in the minutes of the Assembly; but the Assembly having represented to them the irregularity and danger of such a practice, and desired them to withdraw their paper and protest, and they refusing to do it, and withdrawing, they were ordered to be cited to the next diet; and a committee was appointed to consider the paper and their conduct in this affair, and to bring in, by an overture, what might be fit for the Assembly to do upon the whole affair. This day the said four brethren having compeared, the Assembly, to show all tenderness towards them, appointed a committee to confer with them, and endeavour to persuade them to withdraw their paper and protest, and submit themselves to the Assembly; who having retired, did return, and showed that these four brethren continued fully resolved to adhere to their said paper and protest. Then the Committee reported that they had considered the paper given in by the foresaid brethren the last night, and the whole of their conduct. The said paper being produced, was read, the tenor whereof follows:—
PROTEST BY MR EBENEZER ERSKINE AND OTHERS, GIVEN IN TO THE ASSEMBLY, 1733.
Although I have a very great and dutiful regard to the judicatories of this Church,
to whom I own my subjection in the Lord, yet, in respect the Assembly have found
me censurable, and have tendered a rebuke and admonition to me, for things I conceive agreeable unto and founded upon the Word of God, and our approven standards; I find myself obliged to protest against the foresaid censure, as importing
that I have, in my doctrine, at the opening of the Synod of Perth, October last, departed from the Word of God, and the foresaid standards; and that I shall be at
liberty to preach the same truths of God, and to testify against the same or like defections of this Church, upon all proper occasions. And I do hereby adhere unto
the testimonies I have formerly emitted against the Act of Assembly, 1732, whether
in the protest entered against it in open Assembly, or yet in my Synodical sermon,
craving this my protest and declaration be inserted in the Records of Assembly, and
that I be allowed extracts thereof.
Edinburgh, May 14, 1733.
We, undersubscribing ministers, dissenters from the sentence of the Synod of Perth
and Stirling, do hereby adhere to the above protestation and declaration, containing a
testimony against the Act of Assembly, 1732; and asserting our privilege and duty
to testify publicly against the same or like defections, upon all proper occasions.
I, Mr James Fisher, minister at Kinclaven, appellant against the sentence of the
Synod of Perth, in this question, although the committee of bills did not think fit to
transmit my reasons of appeal, find myself obliged to adhere unto the foresaid protestation and declaration.
The Committee offered their overture upon the whole affair; which being read and considered, the Assembly, by a very great majority, enacted and appointed as follows:—
The General Assembly ordains that the four brethren aforesaid appear before the Commission in August next, and then show their sorrow for their conduct and misbehaviour, in offering to protest, and in giving in to this Assembly the paper by them subscribed; and that they then retract the same. And, in case they do not appear before the said Commission in August, and then show their sorrow, and retract, as said is, the Commission is hereby empowered and appointed to suspend the said brethren, or such of them as shall not obey, from the exercise of their ministry. And, further, in case the said brethren shall be suspended by the said Commission, and that they shall act contrary to the said sentence of suspension, the Commission is hereby empowered and appointed, at their meeting in November, or any subsequent meeting, to proceed to a higher censure against the said four brethren, or such of them as shall continue to offend by transgressing this act. And the General Assembly do appoint the several Presbyteries, of which the said brethren are members, to report to the Commission in August, and subsequent meetings of it, their conduct and behaviour with respect to this Act.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 15, post meridiem.—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, in the year 1734.
The General Assembly was concluded with prayer, and singing a part of the 122d Psalm, from the 6th verse to the close, and pronouncing of the blessing.
Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
William Grant, Cls. Eccl. Scot.