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 24, 1781.
I. Sess. 1, May 24, 1781.—The King's Commission to George Earl of Dalhousie produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 24, 1781.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
III. Sess. 3, May 26, 1781.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 3, May 26, 1781.—The General Assembly's Address to his Majesty on the Birth of another Prince, and on the present situation of Public Affairs.
May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the ministers and elders met in the National Assembly of the Church of Scotland, humbly beg leave to approach your throne, to express our firm attachment to your person and government, and to assure you that the sentiments which we entertain are the sentiments of the people committed by Providence to our charge.
With the most lively joy and heartfelt satisfaction we have beheld the increase of your Majesty's family in your royal offspring; an event which, while it contributes to your Majesty's domestic felicity, must, on that account, give pleasure to all your loyal subjects; but which, in a particular manner, must be felt as of the utmost national importance, by encouraging us to hope for a long continuance of those civil and religious blessings which, as British subjects and Protestants, we have hitherto enjoyed under the government of your Illustrious House.
The tumultuous outrages which, under the mask of religious zeal, have disturbed the peace of your Majesty's subjects, filled us with the deepest concern; and we heard with abhorrence the name of our holy faith prostituted to encourage acts of violence, which were adverse to its principles, and forbidden by the precepts of our blessed Redeemer.
While your Majesty was engaged in a necessary, though expensive war, against the ancient enemies of these realms, and against your own rebellious subjects, in support of the honour, dignity, and just prerogatives of your crown, we have seen with indignation your ancient allies, who ought to have been united to your Majesty, by the closest ties of religion, civil interest, and gratitude, not only refusing to supply your Majesty with such succours as by treaty they were bound to give, but even affording their assistance to your enemies, to enable them the more effectually to pursue hostile measures against your Majesty. We rejoice in the success which it hath already pleased the Almighty to bestow upon your arms, in chastising their perfidy. We indulge the hope that this success may be a mean of opening their eyes, and of renewing the friendship which, to the mutual advantage of both nations, so long subsisted between Great Britain and the States of Holland. And we confide in the wisdom of your Majesty's councils, under the Divine Providence, for bringing the present bloody and destructive war to a happy issue.
In the meantime, we consider it to be our peculiar duty, at this juncture, to cherish the loyalty and affection to your Majesty, and the zeal for the success of your arms, which prevails among all ranks in this part of your dominions; and to impress those over whom we have influence with a due sense of the blessings they enjoy under your Majesty's government, and of those duties of charity and brotherly love which they owe to each other, and to their fellow Christians.
That the Lord of Hosts may go forth with your fleets and armies; that he may
crown your arms with victory; and that your Majesty may long reign over a free,
happy, and united people, is the sincere and ardent prayer 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.
V. Sess. 9, June 2, 1781.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for the Reformation of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty for that end.
VI. Sess. 9, June 2, 1781.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
VII. Sess. 8, June 1, 1781.—Interim Act anent Licensing Probationers.
The General Assembly, in consequence of an overture from the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, having taken into their serious consideration the dangerous consequences that would arise to this Church if Presbyteries were allowed to receive on trials young men who have never studied divinity at an university, did, and hereby do, strictly prohibit all Presbyteries from following such a practice; and ordain that this prohibition shall have the force of a law till next General Assembly.
VIII. Sess. 8, June 1, 1781.—Overture anent the Ordination of Elders.
IX. Sess. 8, June 1, 1781.—Overture anent Licensing Probationers.
The following is part of an Overture from the Synod of Perth and Stirling considered by the Assembly of this year. It is appended to the Acts of 1782 in the original edition, having been omitted in the printed Acts of 1781—Ed. 1843.
Whereas the receiving extrajudicial papers into the proceedings of superior judicatories, and founding decisions upon them, is highly irregular, injurious to the rights of inferior courts, and of dangerous consequences to the interests of individuals, and particularly the admitting private letters of non-residing heritors and others, never before the inferior judicatory, and sustaining the same, in place of a call regularly authenticated, is directly contrary to the rules of this Church, confirmed by immemorial practice, of fatal tendency to the interests of religion, and derogatory to the authority of Presbyteries, who have, in the first instance, the only right of judging in the settlement of vacant parishes. For remedying and preventing these abuses, the Synod of Perth and Stirling humbly overture to the General Assembly, that, in conformity to the fundamental constitution of this Church, they will be pleased to resolve and enjoin that no papers or evidence whatever, not offered to the inferior court, shall be received at discussing any appeal or complaint; but that, when any new matter or evidence occurs which the parties judge of importance, the cause shall be remitted to the inferior court. The Assembly finding this part of the overture unnecessary, as what it proposes is already sufficiently secured by the standing rules of the Church, agreed to dismiss it; and did, and hereby do, dismiss it accordingly.