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 17, 1804.
I. Sess. 1, May 17, 1804.—The King's Commission to Francis Lord Napier produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 17, 1804.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
Right Reverend and well-beloved, we greet you well. It is with the highest satisfaction that we have again throught fit to sanction with our royal authority this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Assured by the experience of a long course of years, we look forward with perfect confidence to the continuance of that zeal, wisdom, and moderation, which have uniformly marked your proceedings, and to a steady perseverance in those sentiments of loyalty and affection towards as and our government for which you have ever been distinguished. On our part, you may firmly rely upon our effectual co-operation and support, and upon our unalterable resolution to maintain the Church you represent in the full possession and enjoyment of all its rights and privileges, as by law established. The objects of your care are both arduous and important. To your charge are committed the most essential interests of my people, their morals and their religion; the indispensable means of their happiness here, and the only ground of their hopes hereafter. Like faithful shepherds of the flock, you will watch over them with unceasing vigilance; and if this be at all times your bounden duty, and the effectual discharge of it so essentially necessary to the public welfare, I need not remind you what a peculiar degree of importance is at present attached to it, and how nearly we are concerned to secure, by our unremitting and best endeavours, in these awful times of difficulty and danger, that Divine protection with which we have been hitherto so signally favoured. We have again thought fit to constitute and appoint our right trusty and well-beloved Francis Lord Napier to be our Commissioner, and to represent our person in this General Assembly, not doubting but that he will continue to be acceptable to you, as well from his zeal and affection for our person and government, as for the knowledge and uprightness with which he will fulfil the duties of this high and important office. And so we bid your heartily farewell.
III. Sess. 3, May 19, 1804.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
The gracious letter with which your Majesty has been pleased to honour the present General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was received with the most lively sentiments of respect and gratitude.
The entire approbation which, from the experience of a long course of years, your Majesty has condescended to express of former General Assemblies, is to us a most valuable recompence for out past labours in the discharge of duty. And it forcibly reminds us of the many signal blessings which, by the favour of Divine Providence, our Church and nation have enjoyed under the auspices of a King, to whose heart nothing is dearer than the happiness of his people, and to whose regard nothing is a more effectual recommendation than a sincere desire to promote that object.
The confidence which your Majesty is pleased to repose in this General Assembly we are anxious to justify and confirm, as well by presevering attention to the great interests of religion and order, as by that moderation in our proceedings, and that mutual charity which are so congenial to the spirit of the Gospel, and so conducive to the dignity and usefulness of our deliberations.
We receive with the utmost satisfaction the renewed assurance of your Majesty's unalterable resolution to maintain the Church we represent in the full possession and enjoyment of all its rights and privileges, as by law established; and in the exercise of our functions we firmly rely upon your Majesty's effectual co-operation and support.
We are deeply sensible of the importance of the objects of out care. We know and feel that to out charge are committed the most essential interests of your Majesty's people in this part of the United Kingdom, their morals and their religion; the indispensable means of their happiness here, and the only ground of their hopes hereafter.
Animated in the work of our ministry by your Majesty's affectionate recommendations, we will watch over the flock with unceasing vigilance, and be careful to lead them in those paths of righteousness, in which we may hope to obtain the continuance of that Divine protection with which we have hitherto been so signally favoured. We fell that this is at all times our bounden duty, and that a peculiar degree of importance is attached to the effectual discharge of it in the present times of difficulty and danger. We should be wanting, however, in the duty we owe to those over whom we preside in the offices of religion, if we did not assure your Majesty that their good dispositions in the present trying circumstances at once encourage and assist our exertions.
The re-appointment of the Right Honourable Francis Lord Napier to represent your Majesty's royal person in this General Assembly is to us most acceptable. The experience we have had of the affection of that Noble Lord for your Majesty's person and government; of the knowledge and uprightness with which he has formerly fulfilled the duties of that high office; and of his zeal for the interest of the Church of Scotland, entitles him to our highest honour and regard.
We receive your Majesty's royal donation for the propagation of Christian knowledge, and the principles of the Reformed religion, in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, as a pleasing expression of your Majesty's unremitted attention to the best interests of your people. It shall be out care to secure, by a faithful and considerate application of this bounty, the valuable objects for which it has been bestowed.
That Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may protect your Majessty's person, and prosper the administration of your government; that He may bless
the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family; and that,
after a long and happy reign over a loyal and affectionate people, you may at length
be received to the glories of the heavenly kingdom, are the 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.
IV. Sess. 3, May 19, 1804.—Address to his Majesty on the present Arduous Situation of Public Affairs.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, met in the General Assembly, beg leave to approach the throne, in the present alarming situation of the affairs of Europe, with sentiments of the most sincere and affectionate attachment to your Majesty's person and government.
Persuaded that your Majesty's paternal care preserved to us the blessings of peace, so long as they could be retained with safety and honour, we beheld with indignation that spirit of aggression and aggrandisement in the ruler of France, which obliged your Majesty to draw the sword in defence of every thing we regard as dear. His lawless ambition, not satisfied with the overthrow of several independent governments, with the extinction of some of the moss free and prosperous states, and with the subjugation of France itself to a most odious tyranny, seems to aim at nothing less than universal domination.
Regarding the prosperity and power of Britain as the chief obstacles to the progress of his despotism, he directs all his force, and that of his allies, to the invasion of our country, and, by a mighty and unprecedented armament, in the fierceness of his rage, threatens us with desolation.
Although we consider the present war as the most arduous and important contest in which our country has ever been engaged; although we feel that our religion, our liberties, our laws, and our existence as a nation, are at stake; yet, trusting in the justice of out cause, and looking up with humble confidence for the continuance of that Divine protection which has hitherto supported us, we behold the immense preparations of the enemy without dismay.
We rejoice in that ardour and enthusiasm in the cause of their country which animate all classes of your Majesty's subjects; and we have peculiar satisfaction in being able to assure your Majesty that this generous and patriotic spirit glows in the hearts of the people of Scotland.
We beg leave to congratulate your Majesty on the success which has attended your arms, in confining within their ports formidable armaments, intended to carry war, in all its horrors, into the heart of our country and on the important conquests achieved by your forces in the East and West Indies.
Happy in the inestimable privileges we enjoy under your Majesty's mild and paternal rule, we trust that the united efforts of a brave nation will, by the blessing of the Almighty, defend and maintain out free constitution, against the hostile enterprises of a haughty enemy, and convince him that he shall never be able to wrest from us and from our children the prosperity at which he may repine.
That the God of armies, the Arbiter of battles, may give success to the means employed for the protection and security of our country; that He may shield your Majesty's fleets and armies, and lead them to victory; that He may speedily restore to
us the blessings of an honourable, an advantageous, and a lasting peace; that, happy
in your family and government, your Majesty may long reign in the hearts of your
subjects; and that descendants of your illustrious house, steadily maintaining the
civil and religious rights of a free people, may sway the British sceptre to the latest
posterity, are the servent prayers of,
Most Gracious Sovereign, your Majesty's most dutiful, most faithful, and most obedient subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.