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 principl acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 21, 1761.
I. Sess. 5, May 26, (fn. 1) 1761.—The King's Commission to Charles Lord Cathcart produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 5, May 26, (fn. 1) 1761.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioners.
Right Reverend and well-beloved, we greet you well. Having the most perfect confidence as well in your loyality and affection to our person and government, as in your zeal for the encouragement of virtue and piety, we take this first opportunity of assuring you of our fixed purpose and resolution to support the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, in the full enjoyment of its rights and privileges, as by law established.
At the same time, as we have no doubt of your coming together in the best intentions to promote the happiness of our reign, and the true interest of the Church whereof you are members, we have a particular satisfaction in countenanting your present meeting with our royal authority.
The many and repeated proofs which your former Assemblies have given of their wisdom, prudence, and temper, are an earnest to us of the moderation which we may expect from you, in avoiding all unnecessary debates and contentions amongst yourselves, and giving your whole attention to the means of advancing true religion, and the service of Almighty God.
The preventing, as much as possible, the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of vice and immorality to the utmost of your power, are objects of so great consequence that you may be fully assured of our ready concurrence with you, in whatever may tend to the attainment of so desirable ends.
And as you cannot but be affected with the most sensibly pleasure, in reflecting upon the present undisturbed tranquillity and freedom which you enjoy in common with the rest of our good subjects of Scotland, we are persuaded you will think it of the highest moment to infuse into the minds of the people under your charge such principles, and such a spirit, as may be best adapted to the security of our happy constitution, and their own most valuable interests.
We have appointed our right trusty and well-beloved Charles Lord Cathcart to represent our royal person in this Assembly, being well satisfied with his loyalty, integrity, and zeal for our service. You have before had experience of his abilities for the discharge of this important trust which we now confer upon him, and of his particular affection to the Church of Scotland, and concern for its prosperity; so that we have the greatest reason to believe that our choice of him upon this occasion will be most agreeable to you.
There is nothing more remaining, but to acquaint you with our hopes, that the charity, brotherly love, and unanimity of your proceedings in the business before you, will bring this your meeting to as happy a conclusion as that of any former Assembly. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
III. Sess. 6, May 27, 1761.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
Your Majesty's most gracious letter to this first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which hath had the happiness to meet since the beginning of your Majesty's most auspicious reign, we received with the greatest joy, and do acknowledge with the utmost gratitude.
Your Majesty's being pleased, in so gracious a manner, to take this first opportunity of assuring us of your fixed purpose and resolution to support the Church of Scotland in the full enjoyment of all its rights and privileges, as by law established, is a most endearing testimony of your royal favour to us, which we humbly accept of with the greatest thankfulness, and rely upon with the firmest confidence, as esteeming your Majesty's royal protection to be, under God, our greatest security. Your Majesty does us the greatest honour, when you are pleased to express the most perfect confidence in our loyalty and affection to your person and government, and in our zeal for the encouragement of virtue and piety; and it shall be our constant care, through Divine assistance, so to acquit ourselves upon every occasion, as that your Majesty may never have reason to entertain a less favourable opinion of this Church. These sentiments are deeply rooted in our hearts, and we shall most cheerfully embrace every opportunity of expressing them.
Your Majesty's countenancing our present meeting with your royal authority we take as a great blessing from God, and a most engaging evidence of your Majesty's royal goodness. To promote the happiness of your Majesty's reign, and the true interests of this Church, are great and desirable ends, which we are bound always to have in view; and we should be most unworthy of your Majesty's favour, and of the character we bear, if we had not the best disposition to contribute to them all in our power.
The mention your Majesty is pleased to make of the many and repeated proofs which our former General Assemblies have given of their wisdom, prudence, and temper, shows us your Majesty's kind inclination to approve what hath been done by others before us according to their duty, and is a great incitement to us to follow the good example of those with whom your Majesty hath the goodness to express yourself so well satisfied. We are sensible how much disputes and contentions among ourselves would give advantage to those who are enemies to the peace and prosperity of your Majesty's government, upon which our own welfare, under God, does depend. And we humbly acknowledge your Majesty's fatherly tenderness for us, in being pleased to caution us against them, and in recommending to us the giving our whole attention to the means of advancing true religion, and the service of Almighty God. We pray and hope that the good Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of love and peace, will assist us to dispatch all our business with that unanimity, brotherly love, and charity, which becomes the servants of the Prince of Peace, and which is so necessary to the bringing of our meeting at this time to a happy conclusion.
We cannot but thankfully acknowledge your Majesty's royal wisdom and watchful care, in calling upon us to prevent, as much as possible, the growth of Popery, and the suppressing of vice and immorality, to the utmost of our power; and the assurance your Majesty gives us of your ready concurrence in whatever may tend to the attainment of so desirable ends, is at once the greatest encouragement and obligation for us to exert ourselves in the most vigorous manner for accomplishing them.
The present undisturbed tranquillity and freedom we enjoy, in common with the rest of your Majesty's good subjects, excite in us the most sensible pleasure; and it shall always be our principal care to make the people under our charge deeply sensible of the many great and invaluable blessings they now enjoy under your Majesty's wise government and administration; and to infuse into them those principles of piety and loyalty on which the security of their own most invaluable interests entirely depend.
To this we are greatly animated by your royal proclamation, in the beginning of your reign, and, in a special manner, by your princely donation to this General Assembly, for promoting the knowledge and practice of religion in the Highlands and Islands, and places where Popery and ignorance prevails. For this we beg leave to return your Majesty our most humble and grateful acknowledgments; and earnestly pray that God may abundantly reward you for so great a charity; and we shall take the most effectual care faithfully to apply it to the pious purposes for which it is granted by your Majesty.
Lord Cathcart hath given such eminent proofs of his loyalty, integrity, and zeal for your Majesty's service, and of his abilities, on many former occasions, for the discharge of this important trust which your Majesty has reposed in him, and of his most affectionate concern for the prosperity and happiness of this Church, as render your Majesty's choice of him, to represent your royal person in this Assembly, most acceptable and obliging to us; and we humbly acknowledge it as a particular evidence of your Majesty's goodness.
That the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may long preserve your Majesty,
to be a blessing to these lands, the guardian of our liberties, civil and sacred, and
the support of the Protestant interest; that he may bless your Majesty's arms in the
just and necessary war in which you are now engaged, for vindicating the honour of
your Crown, and redressing the injuries done to your subjects; and that he may
prosper all your Majesty's endeavours for restoring the peace, and preserving the
liberties of Europe; that he may bless the Princess Dowager of Wales, and all the
branches of your royal family; that there may never be wanting one of your most
illustrious house to fill the throne of these kingdoms to latest ages; and that, after a
long and happy reign, over a free and dutiful people, you may exchange an earthly
for a heavenly crown, are, and shall be, the sincere and hearty prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
IV. Sess. 6, May 27, 1761.—The General Assembly's Address to the King on his Accession to the Throne of these Realms.
May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, as we heartily approve the conduct of the Commission of the late Assembly, in congratulating your Majesty's auspicious accession to the throne of your ancestors, so we embrace with pleasure this first opportunity, which our meeting together in a National Assembly affords us, of expressing our own joy on account of an event so happy for Great Britain.
The many blessings which we had enjoyed, during so long a tract of time, under the mild and paternal government of your royal grandfather, gave us the highest reason to join in that deep and universal sorrow which filled the nation on his death. The memory of so just and gracious a Sovereign, whose councils and arms were so remarkably blessed by the Almighty, as it must long remain engraved on our hearts, cannot fail to endear to us the more every decendant of his illustrious family.
With most lively gratitude to Heaven, we now behold your Majesty raised, in the prime of life, to the throne of these realms; and, under your happy administration, we have the greatest reason to promise ourselves the continuance and increase of all public felicity. Trained up from your earliest youth to every princely virtue; conspicuous for a steadiness and greatness of mind superior to the snares of royalty; endowed with a heart and affections truly British; and formed to know and to love that constitution of which you are the guardian; distinguished, in particular, for that sincere regard to religion which adds so much lustre to your exalted character, your Majesty became, from the moment of your accession to the Crown, the object of the highest hopes to all your subjects. Every step of your administration, since that time, has confirmed and enlarged these hopes.
Nor can we omit to join in the general admiration and applause due to that virtue, which disposed your Majesty to relinquish power and revenues, which, though most safely lodged in hands so pure as yours, might have been employed, in some future period, to the prejudice of that liberty which you have and cherish. With hearts full of affection, we repose an entire confidence in your Majesty, as the great defender of our faith and liberties; and, in particular, as the protector of the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland, which you have given us the most gracious assurances of your intention to maintain.
Permit us to assure your Majesty, that amongst all your subjects none are more distinguished for their fidelity and loyalty to your person and government than the members of the Church of Scotland. A Church which dates the era of its secure establishment from that happy period of the Revolution, which introduced your royal house to the throne of Great Britain, must have the strongest motive to a most sincere and faithful attachment to your Majesty. Animated, as we are, with the deepest sense of the inestimable happiness we derive from our sacred and civil constitution, it ever has been, it ever shall be, our zealous endeavour to inspire with like sentiments all who are within our influence, or under our care. The blessings of a wise and merciful government, now so universally felt in every part of your dominions, give us the best reason to hope that your Majesty will reign in the hearts, and may command the united strength of all your people.
That the great God of heaven, by whom kings reign, may crown all your undertakings with success; that he may inspire you with the Spirit both of the counsel and
of might; that he may scatter all your foes; and that, after having long made you
the instrument of blessing a free and happy people, he may raise you to an high place
in his glory above, are the sincere and fercent prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of the Church of Scotland.
V. Sess. 8, May 29, 1761.
The Acts of the General Assemblies, 1712 and 1719, respecting the public money, ordered to be reprinted with the Acts of this Assembly, and the instructions to the Commission to contain a particular appointment on them to observe these Acts, which are as follows, viz. (Here follow in the original edition at full length, 1st, Act 8th, Assembly, 1712, entitled, "Act directing the right Application of the Money granted by her Majesty, for defraying the Public Charges of this Church;" and, 2d, Act 8th, 1719, entitled, "Act for the right Management of the Church's Public Money.")
VI. Sess. 9, May 30, 1761.—Act anent taking a Blind Man upon Trials.
Upon reading the minute of yesterday, concerning the settlement of Kirkcudbright, it was proposed by a member, that before any Presbytery or Synod shall agree to take upon trials any blind man, they shall first consult the General Assembly. The General Assembly, having heard the said proposal, agreed thereto, and appoint accordingly.
VII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1761.—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 and appoint the Rev. Dr John Hyndman, one of the ministers of the West Kirk, their Moderator, &c.; to be a committee of this Assembly, for reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, &c. (The terms of the Act are the same as the corresponding Act of the immediately preceding years, with the following addition:) And that the said committee, in making up the scheme of missionaries, &c. do not exceed the sum in the grant.
VIII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1761.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
IX. Sess. ult., June 1, 1761.—Act appointing the Meeting of the Synod of Ross.
X. June 1, 1761.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
May 25, 1761.—Overture for preventing Dilapidation of Stipends, &c.
May 27, 1761.—Overture anent sending up Opinions on Overtures transmitted by the Assembly. (fn. 2)
The following overture was transmitted from the Committee for Overtures, viz. That considering how dilatory Presbyteries are in sending up their opinions on overtures transmitted by the Assembly, which shows, that all preceding regulations to enforce a due return have been ineffectual; in order, therefore, to remedy this in time coming, that it should be enacted, that in all time coming, no commissions from any Presbytery to their representatives in Assembly shall be sustained, unless it bears the following clause, viz. "The Presbytery of having considered the overtures transmitted by last Assembly, their answer to which is hereto subjoined, proceeded to the elections," &c.; or, in case there be no overtures transmitted, then the form to be, "There being no overtures transmitted by last Assembly, the Presbytery of proceeded," &c. The General Assembly having heard the said overture read, agreed to transmit the same to the several Presbyteries of this Church, that they may send up their opinion thereon to the next Assembly; with certification, that if they fail therein, that Assembly may take up the overture, and pass it into a law as they see cause.