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 25, 1758.
I. Sess. 1, May 25, 1758.—The King's Commission to Charles Lord Cathcart produced, and ordered to be recorded,
II. Sess. 1, May 25, 1758.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
III. Sess. 3, May 27, 1758.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 5, May 30, 1758.—Act declaring Mr Thomas Boston, late Minister at Oznam, incapable of receiving or accepting a Presentation or Call to any Parish in this Church, without the special allowance of the General Assembly.
There was transmitted to the General Assembly, from their Committee for Bills, a reference from the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, concerning the Rev. Mr Thomas Boston, who had deserted his charge of the parish of Oxnam, and set up a separate meeting in the parish of Jedburgh, containing an overture given in to them by a committee of their number, and the Synod's approbation thereof, bearing, that Mr Boston's conduct deserved severe censure; but that, in order to give weight to any censure which may be inflicted, they proposed the authority of the General Assembly of this Church should be interposed; and, therefore, had appointed the Presbytery of Jedburgh to transmit to this Assembly extracts from their records, of the demission given in to them by Mr Boston, and of their deliverance thereupon; and that the Presbytery should cause summon Mr Boston to compare before this Assembly, in order to their giving a final judgment or direction in the affair as they shall see cause. Upon the reading of the above reference, 'the Presbytery of Jedburgh being inquired at, with respect to the appointment laid upon them by the Synod, represented, that, in obedience thereto, they had ordered Mr Boston to be summoned to this Assembly; and an execution being produced and read of his being accordingly summoned, he was called, but did not compear. Then the Assembly caused to be read the minutes of the Presbytery of Jedburgh, dated the 7th of December last, containing a demission given in to them by Mr Boston of his charge at Oxnam; and a question being moved, how far it was proper for the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale to have taken up this affair, and to have brought it immediately before the Assembly? that part of the 4th Act of Assembly, 1739, concerning ministers who secede from this Church, which directs the several judicatories in their method of procedure in such cases, was read. After some reasoning, the General Assembly did agree, in respect of the particular circumstances attending this cause, to take Mr Boston's demission under their consideration, together with the proceedings of the Presbytery of Jedburgh, relating to him; whereby the Assembly finds that the said Mr Thomas Boston has declared himself to be no minister of this Church, and that he will not hold communion with her judicatories; and, therefore, they did, without a vote, and hereby do, declare, that he is incapable of receiving or accepting of a presentation or call to any parish in this Church, without the special allowance of some future General Assembly. And the General Assembly do hereby prohibit all the ministers of this Church from employing him to preach or perform any ministerial offices for them, or from being employed by him, unless some future Assembly shall see cause to take off this prohibition. And Mr Boston being called, and not compearing, the above sentence was publicly read.
V. Sess. 9, June 3, 1758.—Act anent Presbyteries neglecting to send up their Opinions on Overtures transmitted to them.
The General Assembly, considering that a great many Presbyteries neglect to send up their opinions concerning overtures transmitted to them, whereby the consideration and enacting of several overtures has been postponed, do hereby enact, that when any overture hath been twice transmitted, the General Assembly will, without further transmission, take them into consideration, and pass them into Acts, or reject them, as they shall see cause, although Presbyteries have not sent up their opinions.
VI. Sess. 9, June 3, 1758.—Act anent Parochial Schools.
There was transmitted to the General Assembly, from the Committee for Overtures, a representation by the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, setting forth—"That by divers laws and Acts of Parliament, particuarly the 17th Act of the Parliament, 1646, and 26th Act of the Parliament, 1696, it is statuted and ordained, that there be a school settled, and a schoolmaster appointed, in every parish; and, for that effect, that a commodious house be provided for a school, and a salary modified for the schoolmaster, not under 100 merks, nor above 200 merks, to be paid by the heritors and liferenters, according to their valuations, and to be laid, on and uplifted in manner mentioned in the foresaid Acts; and, particularly, by the said Acts it is provided, that if the heritors of the parish shall not convene and agree amongst themselves anent the premises, that the Commissioners of Supply, or any five of them, upon application from the Presbytery, shall have power to settle a school, and modify a salary to the schoolmaster, as aforesaid. That, notwithstanding of the above quoted, and other acts of Parliament, as well as several acts of the Privy Council of Scotland to the same purpose, the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge are sorry to find, that in no less than 175 parishes, within the bounds of 39 Presbyteries, where the Society's schools are erected, parochial schools are not yet erected, and of these parishes the Society have given in a list, founded on the information of the Presbyteries in which the parishes lie. The Society are extremely sensible that it would be improper for them to point out to the Assembly the fatal consequences of this neglect; these must occur to every person who considers of how much consequence it is to train up the youth of this, or of any country, in learning and Christian knowledge. The Society are also unwilling to suggest to the Assembly to what causes, at least in some places, this neglect may be owing. They are sorry to say, that those for whose benefit this salutary regulation was principally designed are not always so ready and willing as they ought to be to carry it into execution, although the burden it lays upon them is so extremely small, as to bear no proportion to the benefit derived from it. The Society have done every thing in their power to have this neglect remedied; so far as their influence has reached, they have excited all concerned to comply with so reasonable a demand. They have done more; they have threatened to withdraw their charity schools from those parishes which neglect or refuse to provide parochial ones; they have passed and act to that purpose, and have notified the same to every Presbytery where their schools lie. It was never surely the intention of the donors, nor of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, to substitute their charity schools in place of parochial schools, which are by law appointed to be established through the whole country. It will easily occur to the Assembly that there is work enough for both. As it is but too certain that in many places the heritors are backward in raising and establishing parochial schools, and as, by the acts already quoted, in every case when that happens, the remedy in by an application from the Presbytery to the Commissioners of Supply, the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge thought it their duty to apply to the Assembly, that, by their authority, it may be recommended to every Presbytery through Scotland to inquire whether or not a parochial school is established in every parish within their bounds, and in every instance where that shall not be found to be the case, that an immediate application be made by the Presbytery to the Commissioners of Supply, to have a parochial school forth with established in that parish. And as they conceive this affair to be of the last consequence to the interests of learning, religion, and virtue, and to the peace and prosperity of the country, the Society beg leave further to suggest, that the result of the above inquiry and requisition be forthwith notified to the Procurator and Agent for the Church, that under their direction a process may, in name of the particular Presbytery, and of the Procurator, be, in case of necessity, immediately commenced, for having a school erected in that parish; and that the expense of these processes, which cannot be considerable, as the law is clear, and as one summons will do for all the parishes within the same Presbytery, may be defrayed out of the Church's funds." The General Assembly, having heard the said representation read, with the opinion of the Committee for Overtures thereupon, do hereby appoint the several Presbyteries of this Church to inquire whether or not a parochial school is established in every parish in their bounds, and where such schools are wanting, the Presbyteries concerned are hereby appointed to make application to the Commissioners of Supply for having parochial schools, with legal salaries, erected in every parish, as the law directs. And the General Assembly appoint the Procurator and Agent for the Church, at the public charge, to commence and carry on all processes necessary for having the laws respecting parochial schools put in execution.
VII. Sess. ult., June 5, 1758.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
VIII. Sess. ult., June 5, 1758.— 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 Thomas Turnbull, minister at Borthwick, their Moderator, &c.; to be a committee of this Assembly, for reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, &c. (The Act proceeds in the same terms as that of last year.)