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 12, 1737.
I. Sess. 1, May 12, 1737.—The King's Commission to William Marquis of Lothian produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 12, 1737.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
Right trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. After the repeated proofs which you have given of your zeal for the advancement of true religion and piety, the prosperity of the Church of which you are members, and the good of your country, we cannot but be persuaded you will continue to pursue those measures which may most effectually contribute to the attaining of those desirable ends in this your present meeting, which we therefore most willingly countenance with our royal approbation and authority; and as we are well satisfied of your loyalty and affection for us and our royal family, so you may be assured of our constant resolution to support and maintain the Church of Scotland established by law, in the full enjoyment of all its rights and privileges.
The dependence which we have on your coming together with these good dispositions and intentions, leaves us no room to doubt of your employing your best endeayours to bring about the great and good purposes for which you are now assembled, by conducing all in your power to the peace and welfare of the Church, the increase of piety and virtue, the preventing of the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of profaneness and immorality, wherein you may rely upon our countenance and encouragement. And as you must be sensible the success of your councils and deliberations will, under God, chiefly depend upon the wisdom, moderation, and charity, with which they are conducted, we earnestly recommend to you to avoid all disputes and contentions among yourselves, and to proceed upon the business proper for your consideration, with that unanimity and brotherly love, as may justly be expected from so venerable a body, and which cannot fail to recommend you to our further favours.
The experience you have had of the capacity and abilities of our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin, William Marquis of Lothian, will, we doubt not, render the choice very agreeable to you which we have made of him to represent our royal person in your Assembly, being induced thereto by the knowledge we have of his zeal and loyalty for our service, of his affection and concern for the Church of Scotland, and of his qualifications for the discharge of so great a trust, wherein we hope the prudence with which you will dispatch the business before you will be of great assist ance to him. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
III. Sess. 3, May 14, 1737.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
The great honour done us by your Majesty's most gracious letter, and your royal goodness in condescending to take notice of the zeal of former Assemblies for the advancement of true religion and piety, the prosperity of this Church, and the good of our country, is most encouraging to us, and cannot but animate us warmly to pursue those measures which may most effectually contribute to the attaining the desirable ends of our meeting, which your Majesty has been graciously pleased to countenance with your royal approbation and authority.
It gives us the most sensible joy that your Majesty has been pleased to express your satisfaction with our loyalty and affection for your royal person and family, which we may, with great confidence, assure your Majesty, possesses the hearts of all the members of this Church; and we entirely depend upon the royal assurances you are pleased to give us of your constant resolution to support and maintain the Church of Scotland, established by law, in the full enjoyment of all its just rights and privileges. And we humbly hope, by your royal goodness, to obtain in due time redress of the grievance which has been represented to your Majesty by former Assemblies.
The confidence your Majesty has expressed of our coming together with these good dispositions and intentions, cannot but oblige us to employ our best endeavours to bring about the great and good purposes for which we are now assembled, by conducing all in our power to the peace and welfare of this Church, the increase of piety and virtue, the preventing the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of profaneness and immorality; and for our happy success therein, next to the Divine assistance, we rely upon your Majesty's countenance and encouragement. And as the success of our councils and deliberations must, under God, also greatly depend upon the wisdom, moderation, and charity, whereby they are conducted, so we are obliged to own that we should not act agreeably to the spirit of our holy religion, and the character we bear, if we paid not the highest regard to your Majesty's earnest and pious recommendations, to avoid all disputes and contentions among ourselves, and to proceed upon the business proper for our consideration, with that unanimity and brotherly love which may so justly be expected from us, and which also we are so graciously assured cannot fail to recommend us further to your royal favour.
The experience we have had of the capacities and abilities of the most Honourable the Marquis of Lothian, of his zeal and loyalty for your Majesty's service, of his affection and concern for the Church of Scotland, and of his qualifications for the discharge of so great a trust, renders your Majesty's choice of him to represent your royal person in this Assembly most acceptable to us; and we hope we shall conduct ourselves in the dispatch of the business before us in such a manner as may render the duties of his high station easy to him.
Your Majesty's High Commissioner has delivered to us your royal warrant for the renewal of your charitable donation towards the reformation of the Highlands and Islands for the twelfth year, which we most thankfully receive and acknowledge, as a fresh instance of your Majesty's tender concern for the spiritual as well as temporal interest of your subjects in these more remote and less civilized parts of your British dominions; and as this royal bounty has produced very good effects among them, and has served as an useful mean to counteract the Popish emissaries trafficking in these parts, it shall be our care to employ the same in exact conformity to your royal intentions, that the fruits of it may more and more appear to your Majesty's satisfaction.
That your Majesty's precious life, which is so great a blessing to all your people,
and the whole Protestant interest, may be long preserved; that the best of Heaven's
blessings may be plentifully poured out upon your royal person, and her Majesty the
Queen, their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all the rest of
your royal family; and that, after the crown has long flourished upon your head, you
may at length, through Jesus Christ, inherit immortal glory, 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 the National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
IV. Sess. 10, May 23, 1737.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, taking into consideration that there are divers affairs which they cannot overtake, do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint, the Rev. Mr Niel Campbell, Principal of the College of Glasgow, 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 the year preceding.)
V. Sess. ult., May 24, 1737.—Act relating to the Tenth Act of the General Assembly, anno 1736.
The General Assembly, considering that the instructions of some of the Presby teries presented to this Assembly do represent that several have taken offence at the Act of the late Assembly, in the process against Mr Archibald Campbell, Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of St Andrews, as if that Assembly had adopted some of his expressions, which were reckoned offensive, on the head of selflove; therefore, for satisfaction to all concerned, this Assembly does declare, that as the last Assembly, in their Act, say, That they gave no judgment or formal sentence upon the report of the committee, and therefore could not be constructed to adopt any of his expressions, so this Assembly do stedfastly adhere to the doctrine of our Church on that head, expressed in our Standards, particularly in the answers to that question in our Shorter and Larger Catechism, "What is the chief end of man?"
VI. Sess. ult., May 24, 1737.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty for that end.
The General Assembly do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint, the Rev. Mr Niel Campbell, Principal of the College of Glasgow, their Moderator, &c.; to be a committee of this Assembly for reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, for promoting the knowledge of true religion, suppressing of Popery, superstition, and profanity, and for management of the royal bounty given for that end, according to, and in terms of, his Majesty's grant to this Assembly, and the 13th Act of the late General Assembly, and whole Acts therein mentioned, and in former commissions to the said committee; any seven of the foresaid persons are declared to be a quorum, whereof four to be ministers; and the said committee 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 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.
VII. Sess. ult., May 24, 1737.—Act superseding the Obligations upon Synods and Presbyteries to maintain Bursars.
The General Assembly, considering that through the multitude of probationers in this Church the reasons of Synods and Presbyteries maintaining bursaries do now cease, the Assembly does supersede the obligation upon Synods and Presbyteries to maintain, as bursars, students in divinity, until the Assembly see fit to revive the same, and leaves it to Synods and Presbyteries, meantime, to apply these funds to other charitable and pious uses as they shall see convenient; but appoints that such as are preferred to bursaries in Synods or Presbyteries shall enjoy them till their ordinary time be run out.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 24, 1737.—Act concerning the Qualifications of Elders, Members of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly, considering the instructions sent up to them from Presbyteries, do strictly enjoin all Presbyteries to be careful that all to be chosen elders of this Church be qualified according to the Acts of the Assembly; and, particularly, that they attest none as members of the Assembly but such as are qualified, not only by subscribing the formula prescribed, but likewise according to all the other qualifications required of such by former Acts of Assembly.