Acts: 1784

Pages 819-822

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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In this section

The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 20, 1784.

I. Sess. 1, May 20, 1784.—The King's Commission to David Earl of Leven produced, and ordered to be recorded.

The General Assembly, &c.

II. Sess. 1, May 20, 1784.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.

George, R., &c.

III. Sess. 3, May 22, 1784.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.

May it please your Majesty, &c.

IV. Sess. 3, May 22, 1784.—The General Assembly's Address to his Majesty on occasion of the Birth of a Pincess.

May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders met together in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, beg leave, with all humility and respect, to approach your Majesty's throne, and with that affection which we owe to our gracious Sovereign, to assure your Majesty of our sincere and inviolable attachment to your royal person, family, and government.

Sensible of the many inestimable blessings which these kingdoms, and this Church in particular, derive from the beneficent reign of a Prince who is so justly esteemed as the affectionate father of his people, we feel ourselves deeply interested in every event which is conducive to the prosperity and happiness of your Majesty's family While we rejoice in such events, as contributing to your Majesty's domestic felicity, we are at the same time convinced that they afford additional security to those privileges, both sacred and civil, which this nation have had the happiness to enjoy under the auspicious government of your Majesty, and of your illustrious ancestors.

Animated by these sentiments, we do, with the most cordial satisfaction, and with the most devout gratitude to Almighty God, the sovereign Disposer of all events, congratulate your Majesty, that, since the last meeting of the General Assembly, God, in his kind Providence, hath been pleased to add to your Majesty's family by the birth of another Princess, and to gratify the ardent wishes of all your Majesty's loyal subjects, by the happy recovery of your Royal Consort, our most gracious Queen, from ner late indisposition.

That God may be graciously pleased to preseve your Majesty's most valuable life for a blessing to your kingdom and people;—that he may take under his merciful protection our most gracious Queen, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and all your royal family;—that the descendants of your Majesty's illustrious house may sit on the British throne, and be eminent protectors of the liberties of all your Majesty's dominions to the latest posterity; and that your Majesty, after a long, a glorious, and a happy reign over a free and faithful people, may at last, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, be rewarded with a crown of immortal glory in the kingdom of heaven, are, and ever shall be, the most fervent 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.

Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
John Dhysdale, Moderator.

V. Sess. ult., May 31, 1784.—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.

The General Assembly, &c.

VI. Sess. 9, May 29, 1784.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.

The General Assembly, &c.—(This year the following clause is, for the first time, omitted in the instructions given to the Commission, viz.:—"And the Assembly doth further empower and direct the said Commission to make due application to the King and Parliament for redress of the grievance of patronage, in case a favourable opportunity for so doing shall occur during the subsistence of this Commission."—Ed. 1843. (fn. 1) )

VII. Sess. 9, May 29, 1784.—Interim Act and Overture concerning Ordained Assistants. (fn. 2)

The General Assembly, having considered the report of their Committee, appointed to take under their consideration the reference from the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, concerning ordained assistants, are of opinion, that both the minister of the parish and his ordained assistant and successor, ought to be constituent members of the Kirk-session; that in the Presbytery and Synod, either of them who is present may deliberate and vote; that if both are present, these privileges belong to the minister of the parish only, and that either of them is capable of being elected a member of the General Assembly, but not both of them in one year. And agreed to enact the same as an interim act, and to transmit it as an overture for the consideration of Presbyteries.

VIII. Sess. 9, May 29, 1784.—Resolution concerning Marriages.

The General Assembly do resolve that no session-clerk in this Church proclaim any persons in order to marriage, until he give intimation to the minister of the parish in a writing, dated and subscribed by him, of the names, designations, and places of residence of the parties to be proclaimed, and obtain the said minister's leave to make the said proclamation; with certification, that if any certificate of proclamation of banns is given without observing the above order, the said certificate shall be held as a false certificate, and the session-clerk who subscribes it shall be censured accordingly; and in case of a vacancy, the above intimation is to be made to two of the elders of the parish; and that this resolution be printed in the Acts of this Assembly; and appointed the clerks to transmit copies of this their resolution to the several Presbyteries, to be by them transmitted to the sessions of the parished within their bounds, in order to its being observed.

IX. Sess. ult., May 31, 1784.—Recommendation respecting Ordination to the Office of a Minister, without relation to a particular Charge.

The Committee appointed to consider the overture respecting ordination to the office of a minister, without relation to a particular charge, reported as follows:—Having carefully considered the said overture, find that matter attended with so many difficulties, that they are not ripe to propose to the General Assembly any precise rules concerning it, fit for being enacted into standing laws; and can only move, that the Assembly should, in the meantime, recommend it to Presbyteries to be cautious in granting ordination to such persons as have neither a fixed charge, nor a reasonable prospect of such provision as may enable them to support the ministerial character; and that no Presbytery grant ordination to any person who has a near prospect of removing from the bounds of that Presbytery into another, from whom he may, in due time, receive ordination, if it shall by them be found necessary or proper. Which being considered by the General Assembly, they approved thereof, and do recommend accordingly, and order this recommendation to be printed in the Acts of this Assembly.

X. Sess. ult., May 31, 1784.—A new Overture respecting the Ordination of Elders. (fn. 3)

Whereas great irregularities have crept into the Church with respect to the ordination of elders, the General Assembly overtures, that it be enacted, that no minister should set apart any person to the office of elder in his congregation who has not a fixed residence in the parish, or who is not an heritor in the parish; it being the true meaning and intent of this overture, to prevent elders being ordained in congregations who are in nowise connected with them; and it being understood that any city or town where there are more congregations than one shall be held as one parish, so far as respects the purpose of this overture.

XI. Sess. ult., May 31, 1784.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.

The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be held within the New Church Aisle of Edinburgh, on Thursday, the 19th day of May, in the year 1785.

Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
James Macknight, Cls. Eccl. Scot.


  • 1. At a preceding diet there was a discussion on certain Overtures relative to the repeal of the law of Patronage. The following is the notice which appears on this subject in the Abridgment of the Assembly's Proceedings:—"May 25, 1784.—Agreeable to yesterday's resolution. the Assembly proceeded to consider the overtures from the Synods of Glasgow and Ayr, and Perth and Stirling, relating to the repeal of the law of Patronage, &c.: and after reasoning at great length, two motions were made, and seconded, 1st, To reject these overtures as inexpedient, ill-founded, and dangerous to the peace and welfare of this Church; 2d, That whereas former Assemblies of the Church have, in strong terms, declared the law of Patronage to be a grievance; and the annual instructions to the Commission of every Assembly bear, that the Commission are to embrace every favourable opportunity that may occur to obtain relief from this grievance; and whereas, in many parts of Scotland, the rigorous exercise of this law has been felt, and complained of as productive of most unhappy consequences both to Church and State; from all which, some alteration of the present law appears to be requisite; yet, as different sentiments are entertained upon this subject. therefore, with a view that the minds of those chiefly interested may be known, that the General Assembly do recommend the consideration of this matter to Presbyteries, ordaining them to consult, in the most prudent and respectful manner, with the noblemen and gentlemen of landed property, with the magistrates and town councils of burghs within their bounds, persons chiefly concerned upon the points specified in this motion; and after deliberation, transmit the opinions they have received to the next General Assembly, that it may be known what the sentiments of the gentlemen of landed interest, and their constituents, are; that thus the Assembly may be enabled to regulate their procedure, upon a subject so interesting to the public at large, and to this Church in particular, &c. It was proposed, that one state of the vote be 'Reject,' or 'Not;' another state also was proposed, viz. 'Reject,' or 'Consult.' After reasoning on the state of the vote, the Assembly agreed, that the state of the vote be, 'Reject,' or 'Not,' it being understood, that if it carries Reject, the overtures be rejected in terms of the first motion; against which state of the vote Mr Bryce Johnston protested. The question being then put, it carried by a great majority, 'Reject.' The Assembly, therefore, rejected these overtures as inexpedient, illfounded, and dangerous to the peace and welfare of this Church, against which several members dissented."—Ed. 1843.
  • 2. This overture was transmitted for four successive years, but does not appear to have passed.—Ed. 1843.
  • 3. This overture was first transmitted in 1778, and it continued to be sent down to Presbyteries till 1791, after which there is no further notice of it.—Ed. 1843.