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, convened at Edinburgh, May 19, 1757.
I. Sess. 1, May 19, 1757.—The King's Commission to Charles Lord Cathcart produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 19, 1757.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
III. Sess. 3, May 21, 1757.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 6, May 25, 1757.—Act anent the Method of keeping the Separate Registers.
The General Assembly, having heard the report of the Trustees for Managing the Fund for a Provision to Ministers' Widows, &c. concerning the manner of keeping the separate registers, do appoint, that, for the future, the separate registers shall be divided into as many parts as the respective Presbyteries consist of parishes; and that the facts respecting the ministers and vacancies of every parish shall be stated under its own proper head or division, marked with the name of the parish: And further, as an abstract is to be prepared of the two Acts relative to the fund, and of what other papers are necessary for the direction of Presbyteries and Universities respecting the said fund, the General Assembly appoint, that, as soon as this abstract shall be transmitted, every Presbytery and University shall cause it to be bound up with a quire of clean paper, in order that whatever after regulations shall be found necessary with respect to the fund, these may be copied over into the said book, by which means the whole of the rules concerning the fund will be always at hand.
V. Sess. 8, May 27, 1757.—Recommendation to Presbyteries to take care that none of the Ministers of this Church attend the Theatre.
The General Assembly, considering how much the success of the Gospel depends on the regular and inoffensive behaviour of the ministers of this Church, do earnestly recommend to the several Presbyteries to take such wise and effectual measures as may promote the spirit of our holy religion, and preserve the purity and decorum of the ministerial character; and that they take care that none of the ministers of this Church do, upon any occasion, attend the theatre.
VI. Sess. 9, May 28, 1757.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
VII. Sess. ult., May 30, 1757.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty for that end.
The General Assembly do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint, the Rev. Mr William Leechman, Professor of Divinity in 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 Popery and profaneness, and for managing the royal bounty given for these ends, according to and in terms of his Majesty's grant to this Assembly. In prosecution of which purposes, the committee are to appoint preachers and catechists to go to such places as they shall find, upon due information, to be most proper, according to his Majesty's design, expressed in his warrant. And they shall take care that the persons they employ be certified, and found, upon due trial, to be properly qualified for these respective offices, of good abilities for the same, of a pious life and conversation, prudent, of undoubted loyalty to his Majesty, and of competent skill in the principles of divinity, and particularly in Popish controversies; such preachers and catechists being hereby appointed to be subject to and under the inspection of the Presbyteries of the bounds to which they are sent, who are to take care that the orders of the committee be duly observed by them. And the preachers are also appointed to catechise, and both they and the catechists to instruct the people from house to house, and to 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 obligations 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; which instructions the preachers and catechists are hereby ordered to obey. The General Assembly do further appoint the said committee to have a particular regard, in their proceedings, to the regulations agreed upon by the committee of the Assembly for managing the royal bounty, on the 30th day of September 1730, approved by subsequent Assemblies; and to take care that Presbyteries, and others concerned, observe the same, which they are hereby ordered to do; particularly, the Assembly ordains the several Presbyteries to insert in their registers the committee's appointments of the designations, salaries, and stations, of the several missionaries, and to have an exact regard thereto in all the letters they shall write about the said missionaries, and in giving of certificates to them, and to direct all their letters concerning missionaries in their bounds only to the moderator of the committee; which letters shall be signed, at the appointment of the Presbytery, by the moderator or clerk thereof. And the Assembly does discharge any payments to be made of the saleries of missionaries, except upon receipts from the missionaries themselves, and upon certificates from the Presbyteries, bearing that they have served for the time mentioned in the receipts. The General Assembly do also empower the said committee to apply, for the purposes above mentioned, what may remain of the last year's royal bounty not disposed of, by reason of any of the missionaries not fulfilling the appointments laid upon them; and they are to keep a register of their proceedings, and likewise distinct books of accounts how the foresaid money is bestowed, which shall be patent to any concerned who please to inspect the same. Of the persons above named as members of this committee, five are declared to be a quorum, whereof three are to be ministers. But it is hereby appointed, that at the quarterly meeting of the committee, in which the scheme or establishement of missionaries for the ensuing year is to be approved and determined, not less than fourteen shall be the quorum, whereof nine shall be ministers; and the said committee are appointed to have their meetings at Edinburgh, in the Hall of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, the last Thursday of every month, at four o'clock afternoon, and also the first lawful day after the adjournment of the four stated diets of the Commission of the General Assembly, at ten o'clock forenoon, except that day should fall to be Saturday, and then the meeting shall be upon Monday next thereafter, at the said hour; with power to the said committee to adjourn themselves to such times and places as they shall find most needful and convenient; and they are to keep a correspondence with the Commission of the General Assembly and the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and their committee of directors, and take their advice and assistance; and also to correspond with Synods and Presbyteries concerned. They are likewise instructed and empowered, as they shall se cause, to apply to the government, or any magistrate, for assistance and support in carrying on the design of the commission now given to them. And the General Assembly do, by these presents, nominate and appoint Mr David Dalrymple, 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 said committee, and according to their rules. And the said committee are appointed to examine the accounts of the distribution of the royal bounty, and lay the same before the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury, or the Barons of his Majesty's Court of Exchequer, and to report their diligence to the General Assembly, to whom they are to be accountable. And it is agreed that no person, once employed and inserted in the scheme, shall be struck our thereof for that year, but by the quorum of at least fourteen, whereof nine to be ministers; and in case any complaint shall be made against any of them on the scheme, it shall not be determined at the first ordinary meeting that the same is offered, but shall lie on the table till another meeting; and, in the meantime, the person complained of, and the Presbytery of the bounds wherein he officiates, shall be acquainted of such complaint, and those concerned be required to send to the said committee a just account of the matter against their next meeting. And it is further appointed, that after the yearly scheme of missionaries on the royal bounty is settled in manner above directed, and notice thereof given, by letters, to the Presbyteries concerned, such Presbyteries shall send up to the said committee their answers to these letters, at farthest, with their commissioners to the General Assembly, if the same be not done sooner; and that the committee, at their first meeting after the General Assembly, in case they do not complete the next year's scheme themselves, shall name a sub-committee of their number for completing the same, who are to lay their draught thereof before a subsequent meeting.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 30, 1757.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
May 24, 1757.—Overtures of last year re-transmitted.
May 28, 1757.—Act and Overture against Simoniacal Practices.
An explanation or amendment being proposed of a part of the 1st Act, June 1753, against simoniacal practices, the General Assembly agreed to transmit the foresaid Act, and explication thereof, as an overture, to the consideration of the several Presbyteries of this Church, that they may send up their opinions thereupon to the next General Assembly, and appoint that, in the meantime, the same have the force of an Act, and that Presbyteries take it into their consideration as soon as the Acts of Assembly shall come into their hands; of which explication the tenor follows, viz.:—"Whereas, in the Act of Assembly of the 1st June 1753, against simoniacal practices, there is the following branch or clause,—'and do not immediately, when they come to the knowledge of it, intimate the same to the Presbytery of the bounds;' and whereas it is found necessary to explain and amend the said clause, it is, therefore, hereby enacted, that if any such simoniacal practices as are mentioned and described in the said Act, shall be carried on by any person or persons whatsoever, in order to the promoting or procuring any benefice or office in this Church, to any ministers or probationers, though without his consent or approbation; and if such minister or probationer shall at any time be told or informed that such practices have been or are carried on, or proposed to be carried on, for the purpose aforesaid, and shall not make discovery or intimation thereof to the Presbytery of the bounds, and shall not make after he shall receive such information, then, and in that case, he shall, if a minister, be deposed, and if a probationer, be deprived of his licence."