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 19, 1808.
I. Sess. 1, May 19, 1808.—The King's Commission to Francis Lord Napier produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 19, 1808.—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. We are pleased again to appoint our right trusty and well-beloved Francis Lord Napier to be our Commissioner at the approaching General Assembly of your venerable body. We doubt not that this our choice will be acceptable to you, and that it will be an additional proof of our care and attention to the general interests of religion, and more particularly of our attachment and regard to the Church of Scotland, to whose care so considerable a portion of our subjects is entrusted, to be by them instructed in the great and awful truths of religion, and to learn from them those unerring ruled of morality, which are in vain sought to be grounded on the speculative reasonings, or the unsatisfactory hypotheses of philosophy. Convinced, as we are, of the qualifications of your venerable body, to preserve, in their original purity, those doctrines which have so long flourished in your Church, we still think it more particularly our duty to call forth your zeal, at a time when menaced by so gigantic a power, and nearly surrounded by the instruments of his unprincipled devasation. We feel confident in the loyal endeavours and persevering efforts of our subjects, from a conviction of the justice with which these efforts have been directed uniformly in the cause of virtue and morality; and trusting, that however ill we may have deserved of that Almighty power, by whose command alone nations and empires rise and fall, flourish and decay, that still his mercy is infinite, and that he will not rigorously visit the sins of his people, or send the avenging angel to destroy this country, where alone religion, virture, morality, and honour, are still respected: But, that these our hopes and expectations may be realized, it behoves us more particularly to exhort you to activity in the duties imposed upon your offices, most carefully to repress every irregularity and abuse, which time, accident, or evil-desingning persons may have introduced in the Church government; and lastly, most earnestly do we entreat your spiritual did and assistance, by your exhortations, to prepare the persons committed to your charge for the many hardships which this ardnous contest may impose upon them. Convinced, therefore, well-beloved, of your attachment to us, we commend, you most earnestly to God's holy keeping and protection, and heartily did your farewell.
III. Sess. 3, May 21, 1808.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
The gracious letter with which your Majesty hath been pleased to honour this meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland hath been received with equal respect and gratitude.
The renewed appointment of Francis Lord Napier to be your Majesty's High Commissioner in this Assembly is in the highest degree acceptable to the Church of Scotland. We regard it as a proof of your Majesty's care and attention to the general interests of religion, and more particularly of your gracious attachment and regard to our National Church, that your royal person is represented among us by one whom we so highly and so justly value.
We are deeply impressed with the importance of the trust committed to us, of instructing so considerable a portion of your Majesty's subjects in the great and awful truths of religion, and in those unerring rules of morality, of which the foundation is sought in vain in mere speculative reasoning, or in the unsatisfying hypotheses of philosophy.
It is our anxious wish and hope, that those doctrines which have so long flourished in our Church may still be preserved in their original purity. And we are most sincerely grateful for the paternal solicitude with which your Majesty calls forth our zeal in their defence, at a time when we are menaced by so gigantic a power, and nearly surrounded by the instruments of his unprincipled devastation. It shall be our earnest study that the loyal endeavours and persevering efforts of your Majesty's subjects may never be wanting in the cause of virtue and morality, that religion and honour may still be respected in our land; and we trust, in the infinite mercy of God, that however ill we have deserved of that Almighty power, by whose command alone empires rise or fall, he will not rigorously visit the sins of his people, nor send forth the avenging angel to destroy. We shall endeavour to guard, with the most vilgilant care, against every irregularity or abuse, which time, accident, or the attempts of evil-designed persons, may have a tendency to introduce into our Church government. And we entreat your Majesty to believe, that every exhortation which it is in our power to employ shall be used in preparing the people under our charge for the many hardships which they may be called to endure in the arduous contest in which we are at present involved.
We have received, with respectful gratitude, and shall endeavour faithfully and zealously to employ, your Majesty's royal donation of L. 1000, for propagating the knowledge of the Gospel in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
We entreat your Majesty to be at all times assured of our affectionat attachment
to your person and government; and that Almighty God, the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, may protect your Majesty and prosper your councils;—that He may
bless abundantly our gracious Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all the
members of your Illustrious House;—that He may long continue to us the inestimble
benefits which we enjoy under your Majesty's reign; and that He may bestow upon
your hereafter a crown of glory, are the 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. 4, May 21, 1808.—Address to his Majesty on the present Arduous Situation of Public Affairs.
May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the minister and elders of the Church of Scotland, met in the General Assembly, embrace the earliest opportunity of approaching your throne at this interesting juncture, to express our sincere and inviolable attachment to your royal person and government.
As servants of the God of peace, we deplore the continuance of war, and its attendand miseries. We behold, with astonishment and concern, the alarming progress of the arms of France on the Continent of Europe; and while we see our implacable enemy overturing the thrones of princes, and trampling upon the rights of nations, we are sensible of the danger to which our dearest interests, as a nation, are exposed. But we derive much encouragement from reflecting, that the vigilance, wisdom, and vigour of your Majesty's councils, have hitherto, by the blessing of Heaven, frustrated the hostile designs of the unnatural combination formed against us; and we trust, that your Majesty, supported by the wise and generous patriotism of your faithful subjects, will be enabled, under God, to bring this ardous contest to an issue, successful and glorious for Britain.
We regard as our immediate duty, in such a time of national exertion, to be indefatigably diligent in the functions of our sacred office, that we may lead those entrusted to our care to a due consideration of the awful judgments which are in the earth, impress them with a deep sense of their manifold transgressions, and incite them to such a reformation in their hearts and lives as may, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, avert from our country the calamities which our iniquities justly deserve.
That the God of battles may crown with victory your Majesty's fleets and armies;—that the present war may speedily terminate in an honourable and lasting peace;—and that your Majesty may long reign the beloved Sovereign of a free and happy
people, are the sincere and earnest prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, 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.
V. Sess. 9, May 28, 1808.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
VI. Sess. 9, May, 28, 1808.—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 to that end.
VII. Sess. 9, May 28, 1808.—Overture anent the Ordination of Elders.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 30, 1808.—Interin Act and Overture respecting the Licensing of Probationers.
IX. Sess. ult., May 30, 1808.—Order and Injunction of the General Assembly to the Presbyteries of the Church, concerning Teachers and Schoolmasters
The General Assembly called for the report of the committee appointed to class returns respecting the regular examination of schools, which was given in and read. The Assembly enjoin Presbyteries to be careful to report their obedience to the Act of Assembly, 1799 and 1800, upon this important subject, and direct the clerks to see that this injunction be printed among the Acts of the Assembly.