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, 1743.
I. Sess. 1, May 12, 1743.—The King's Commission to Alexander Earl of Leven pro duced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 12, 1743.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, pre sented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
Right Reverend and well-beloved, we great you well. It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that we reflect on the wise and prudent behaviour of the former Assemblies of the Church of Scotland; and as we are persuaded that you come together with the same zeal for the glory of God, and the advancement of true religion and piety, for the preventing the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of vice, we most willingly countenance this your present meeting with our royal approbation and authority.
The steady loyalty and affection which the Church has, on all occasions, shown to our person and government, and her firm adherence to the Protestant interest in general, and to the cause of virtue and religion in particular, are reasons sufficient to induce us to give fresh assurances of our resolution to protect and maintain the Church of Scotland in the full enjoyment of all her rights and privileges, as by law established.
You may be fully assured of our readiness to concur in whatever may tend to promote true religion, suppress vice and immorality, and secure the peace and prosperity of the Church, not doubting but that you, on your part, will sincerely endeavour, to the utmost of your power, to do every thing that can conduce to our service and the welfare of our people; and that your debates and proceedings be managed with a spirit of meekness becoming so venerable an assembly, carefully avoiding whatever may create unhappy divisions, which are the most effectual means that the enemies of our happiness and tranquillity can lay hold of, to disappoint the good ends for which you are assembled.
The experience you have already had of the abilities and integrity of our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin, Alexander Earl of Leven, of his concern for the Church, and his zeal for our service, will, we doubt not, render our choice of him to represent our royal person in this Assembly agreeable to you. And we are perto represent our royal person in this Assembly agreeable to you. And we are per suaded, that his diligence and application in the discharge of so important a trust will be assisted and encouraged by the unanimity and dispatch with which you will go through the several affairs that shall come under your consideration. And so we did you heartily farewell.
III. Sess. 3, May 14, 1743.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious. Letter.
May it please your Majesty, The General Assembly of this Church have been honoured with your Majesty's most gracious letter, and acknowledge, with the greatest thankfulness, the countenance you are pleased to give to our meeting at this time.
As it is with great pleasure and satisfaction we observe your Majesty's approbation of the conduct of former Assemblied of the Church of Scotland, and the confidence you place in us, we hope on this occasion to show the same zeal for the glory of God, and the advancement of true religion and piety, for the preventing the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of vice, which has appeared in former Assemblies; and that the proceedings of this Assembly shall likewise be favoured with your Majesty's royal approbation.
The repeated declarations your Majesty is pleased to give of your resolution to protect and maintain the Church of Scotland in the full enjoyment of all her rights and privileges, as by law established, greatly encourage us to persevere in that steady loyalty and affection to your Majesty's person and government, for which this Church has been remarkable on all occasions; and as we are persuaded the security of the Protestant religion, and of our liberties, does, under God, depend on the preservation of your Majesty's government, your Majesty may firmly rely on our unshaken loyalty, and that we will promote the same loyal principles among the people.
The assurances your Majesty gives us at this time of your readiness to concur in whatever may tend to promote true religion, suppress vice and immorality, and secure the peace and prosperity of the Church, are extremely agreeable, and must be powerful motives to excite us on our part sincerely to endeavour, to the utmost of our power, to do every thing that may promote such valuable ends, and can conduce to your Majesty's service and the welfare of our country. We should much neglect our true interest, and be unworthy of the character we bear, if we did not carefully avoid whatever may create unhappy divisions, and manage our debates and proceedings with that spirit of meekness your Majesty recommends.
We look on the continuance of your royal bounty, for promoting the knowledge of true religion, and preventing the increase of Popery in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, as a fresh instance of your paternal regard, and of your generous designs for the good and prosperity of your subjects. It shall be our care to manage this your royal donation in such manner as may best answer the good ends proposed by your Majesty.
The abilities and integrity of the Earl of Leven, his zeal for your Majesty's service, his sincere regard to the interest of this Church, and his prudent conduct in former Assemblies, render your Majesty's choice of him to represent your royal person in this Assembly most agreeable to us. And your Majesty may be firmly persuaded that nothing shall be wanting on our part to assist and encourage him in the discharge of his important trust, by going through the several affairs that shall come under our consideration with a becoming unanimity, and all possible dispatch.
That God may abundantly bless your Majesty, and long preserve you for the happi
ness of these nations;— that he may make your reign prosperous, direct your councils,
and render your arms successful for redressing the injuries done to your subjects, restoring the peace and preserving the liberties of Europe;—that he may eminently bless
the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke, the Princesses, the issue of the Prince
and Princess of Wales, and all the branches of your royal family;—that he may protect you while you are abroad, and restore you in peace and honour to your British
dominions; and that, after a long and happy reign on earth, over a flourishing and
free people, your Majesty may inherit an immortal crown, are the sincere and hearty
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. 9, May 21, 1743.—Act and Overture about the manner of Licensing Probationers.
There was transmitted, from the committee for overtures, an overture and interim act, passed by the General Assembly last year, with relation to the licensing of probationers, with their opinion that the same be continued in force as an Act for another year, and that before next Assembly Presbyteries, particularly those in the Highlands, do give their opinion on the following amendment proposed to be made thereto, viz., That there be no exception of students having the Irish language, as to the time of their studying divinity. The General Assembly having heard the said overture and opinion, agreed thereto in the above terms, and do enact for one year, from the meeting of this Assembly; and also transmit the same as an overture to the several Presbyteries accordingly.
V. Sess. 9, May 21, 1743.—Act Disjoining certain Parishes of the Presbyteries of Middle bie, Lochmaben, and Jedburgh, and erecting the same into two new Presbyteries, to be called the Presbyteries of Annan and Langholm.
There was transmitted to the General Assembly, from their committee for bills, the petition of the Presbytery of Middlebie, representing that the said Presbytery consists of eleven parishes, of which six are in Annandale, viz., Annan, Hoddam, Dornock, Middlebie, Kirkpatrick, and Graitney; the other five are in Eskdale, viz., Langholm, Ewes, Westerkirk, Eskdalemuir, and Canonbie: That by reason of the great distance of many of these parishes from the Presbytery seat, the badness of the roads through mossy or marshy ground, and other inconveniences, more particularly set forth in the said petition, the said Presbytery seldom meets at Middlebie, but the members were seldom meets at Middlebie, but the members were in use to meet sometimes at Annan, Langholm, Halfmorton, and other churches, wandering about from one place to another, without any order, whereby a great many difficulties and inconveniences ensued, of which the Synod of Dumfries was so sensible that they advised them to meet at Annan and Langholm by turns, in winter, and at Middlebie and Halfmorton in summer; and yet this, with all other expedients, have been tried without effect. They therefore proposed that the six parishes in Annandale be erected into a Presbytery, to meet at Annan; and that Cummertrees and Ruthwell, in the Presbytery of Lochmaben, (which at present consists of fifteen parishes) be added to them, of which the first is two miles from Annan, and the other four. That this will effectually remove all the hardships which affect that part of the Presbytery; they will have good accommodiation at Annan, the remotest church is not above six miles from it, and the road is always good. They further proposed that the five parishes in Eskdale be erected into another Presbytery, to meet at Langholm, (where they will have the like advantages as at Annan,) and that the parish of Castleton (which at present belongs to the Presbytery of Jedburgh, where there are fifteen parishes) be annexed to them, which will be likewise highly convenient for the minister of this parish, as he lies sixteen miles from Jedburgh, and only eight from Langholm. The said petition further sets forth, that the Synods of Dumfries, and of Merse and Teviotdale, and the Presbyteries of Lochmaben and Jedburgh, had, for their respective concerns, consented to the aforesaid disjunctions and new erections, as appears by extracts of their several sentences produced. The General Assembly, having heard the said petition, and opinion of their committee for bills thereupon, and having had the consents of the above mentioned Presbyteries and Synods produced before them, did, and hereby do, according thereto, disjoin the six parishes in Annandale, viz., the parishes of Annan, Hoddam, Dornock, Middlebie, Kirkpatrick, and Graitney, from the Presbytery of Middlebie, and the parishes of Cummertrees and Ruthwell from the Presbytery of Lochmaben, and do erect these eight parishes into a Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Annan, and to have their meetings for ordinary at Annan; and did, and hereby do, disjoin the five parishes in Eskdale, viz., the parishes of Langholm, Ewes, Westerkirk, Eskdalemuir, and Canonbie, from the said Presbytery of Middlebie, and the parish of Castleton from the Presbytery of Jedburgh, and do erect these six parishes into another Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Langholm, and to have their ordinary meetings at Langholm. And the Assembly do authorise the Synod of Dumfries, at their first meeting, to appoint the time of the first meeting of the above mentioned Presbyteries of Annan and Langholm; and the Assembly declare these Presbyteries to have the same powers and privileges which any other Presbytery have, by the Word of God and constitution of this Church.
VI. Sess. 10, May 23, 1743.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
VII. Sess. 10, May 23, 1743, ante meridiem.—Instruction to the Commission of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly appoints that all questions concerning the settlement of parishes, not already depending before this Assembly, but that may be brought before the Commission, in pursuance of a general reference, shall not be decided by them otherwise than by appeal or reference from the Synod within which the vacant parishes lie.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 23, 1743, post meridiem.—Act appointing the Places of Meeting of the Synod of Perth and Stirling.
There being presented and read to the General Assembly an Act of the Synod of Perth and Stirling, (to whom it was remitted by last Assembly to agree upon their stated places of meeting, and report,) appointing their ordinary fixed meetings to be at Perth in October, and at Stirling in April, yearly, per vices, in all time coming; the General Assembly, having heard the said Act, did, and hereby do, interpone their authority thereto, and do appoint the meetings of the said Synod accordingly.
IX. Sess. ult., May 23, 1743, post meridiem.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands, and for Managing his Ma jesty's Royal Bounty for that end.
The General Assembly do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint, the Rev. Mr Robert Wallace, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c. (The Act proceeds in the same terms as that of the immediately preceding years.)
X. Sess. ult., May 23, 1743, post meridiem.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
May 23, 1743.— Overture about the Manner of deciding Causes before the Commission. (fn. 1)
The following overture being proposed, viz., That hereafter it be an instruction to the Commission, that all causes brought to the Assembly by appeal directly from Presbyteries, and not decided by the Assembly, be determined by the Commission at their meeting in May, or otherwise be remitted to the Synod of the bounds, and receive their judgment, from which the same may be brought to the Commission in November or March. The General Assembly transmit the said overture to the several Presbyteries for their opinion thereupon, which they are appointed to send up to the next General Assembly.