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, 1827.
I. Sess. 1, May 17, 1827.—The King's Commission to James Ochoncar Lord Forbea produced, and ordered to be recorded.
II. Sess. 1, May 17, 1827.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
III. Sess. 3, May 19, 1827.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
IV. Sess. 3, May 19, 1827.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, the ministers and elders of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, embrace the opportunity of this our first meeting, since the lamented death of his Royal Highness the Duke of York and Albany, to approach the throne with the expression of our heartfelt sympathy and condolence and account of that afflicting dispensation of Providence.
We take a deep interest in whatever affects the happiness of a King so endeared to us, and we contemplate the death of your Majesty's illustrious Brother as a great calamity, both to your Majesty's Royal House and to the nation at large.
To affections and manners which gave a charm to the intercourse of social life, there was added, in the Duke of York, the nobler adorning of the most eminent official merit, the merit of an enlightened, and benevolent, and indefatigable zeal, in the discharge of the duties of his high appointment—the merit of having thus improved the condition, and exalted the character of the British army, to a degree of excellence which had never before been realized. If, in the late evenful contest, our countrymen achieved the most splendid victories which our history records,—if, when the mighty strife was over, the men, who had been accustomed to scenes of devastation and blood, returned readily, and at once, to all the quiet and orderly habits of civil life,—if, while thus triumphant in war, they have also shown themselves exemplary in peace,—to the Duke of York's military administration, and to his solicitude for their religious instruction, it is owing, under Providence, that Britain has to boast of an army deserving such a praise.
While, in common with your Majesty, we mourn over the death of a Prince thus privately amiable, and thus publicly useful, we trust that it may be some consolation to your Majesty to know, that the sorrow with which your Majesty has been visited is participated unaffectedly by the whole empire.
That your Majesty may long reign over a loyal and affectionate people, and may
at length exchange an earthly crown for one more glorious in the heavens, is the
fervent prayer of
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders of this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
V. Sess. 9, May 26, 1827.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
VI. Sess. 9, May 26, 1827.—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 26, 1827.—Act as to the Course of Study to be pursued by Students of Divinity.
"Returns have been received from four Presbyteries, as to the overture respecting the course of study to be pursued by students of divinity, re-transmitted by last Assembly, viz. from the Presbyteries of Caithness, Kirkcudbright, and Dumfries, approving simpliciterof the same; and from the Presbytery of Kintyre, approving of the general principle and spirit of the overture, but objecting to it, 'in respect that it does not give Presbyteries any powers in connection with the examinations proposed therein.'
"As it appears from the Report given in by the committee of Assembly last year, that, exclusively of the returns from the Presbytery of Wigton, the import of which was ambiguous, thirty-eight Presbyteries had then approved of this overture, there are now forty-one Presbyteries who have sent up returns in favour of it, constituting a decided majority of Presbyteries approving of its being enacted into a Standing Law of the Church.
Whereas it appears from the above report, that a majority of Presbyteries have now given their consent to the second overture, respecting the course of study to be pursued by students of divinity, the General Assembly did, and hereby do, convert the said overture into a Standing Law of the Church, and enact and ordain, that, in all time coming, it shall be held and acted upon as such by all the Presbyteries of this Church, with respect to all students of divinity entering upon the said study from and after this date.
It is therefore enacted, that, previously to the enrolment of any student as a student of divinity, he shall be examined by the Presbytery within the bounds of which he resides, upon literature, science, and philosophy, particularly upon Greek and Latin; that when students shall not give regular attendance at the Divinity Hall, excepting for one year of their course, they shall, during the currency of the fourth year of that course, be examined by their respective Presbyteries upon their attainments in Divinity, Church History, Greek, and Hebrew; and that, in both cases, they shall present to the Professors of Divinity under whom their studies are conducted, the certificates of examination granted by Presbyteries.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 28, 1827.—Report concerning Schools.
The General Assembly called for the Report of the Committee appointed to Class the Returns upon the subject of the Examination of Schools, which was produced by Dr Dickson, the convener. The Assembly approved of said Report, and directed their clerks to have the same inserted in the printed Acts of this Assembly.
1. That regular printed or written schedules of the prescribed form, containing
reports as to almost every parish within their respective bounds, have been received
from the following Presbyteries, viz.:—
25 St Andrews,
2. That reports, either less regular or less complete than the above, have been returned by the following Presbyteries, viz.:—
4. That, on comparing the returns in 1825 and 1826 with those sent up to the present Assembly, it appears that these returns have, during that period, been made almost entirely by the very same Presbyteries; a circumstance which will deserve the special attention of the committees of future Assemblies, as it may otherwise be supposed, in the course of two or three years, that returns have been received from every Presbytery in the Church, while the fact may really be, that not many more than a half of the Presbyteries have actually made such returns.
5. That the practice of making merely general reports on the back of commissions, or of sending up separate reports from particular parishes, instead of the prescribed abstract that should be drawn up by Presbyteries, still prevails, and ought to be distinctly discountenanced, as rendering the reports necessarily most imperfect, and making it almost impossible for any committee of Assembly sufficiently to examine them.
6. That, notwithstanding the statements in the two former reports of the committee, there is still nothing said in the returns from the Presbytery of Lewis, as to the actual erection of a parochial school-house in the parish of Lochs.
7. That the returns of this year continue to furnish the most satisfactory evidence of the great advantages resulting from the stated presbyterial visitation of schools, and should be felt by the Assembly as a powerful inducement to the renewed enforcement of their regulations in so important a subject.
8. That it is of the utmost consequence that the third recommendation and injunction of the Assembly, 1820, anent the Examination of Schools, be more strictly observed in future, viz. "That every Presbytery take care to have their returns made up and transmitted to the Agent for the Church, on or before the first week of the sitting of the General Assembly, to whom they will be answerable."
IX. Sess. ult., May 28, 1827.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
Note.—Overtures respecting the Union of Offices in the Church were again laid on the Assembly's table:—"After reasoning, it was moved and seconded, 'That the General Assembly, considering that there is at the present time a Royal Commission holding sittings in this country, for remedy of all evils or inconveniences alleged to exist in the Universities of Scotland, deem it inexpedient to enter upon the consideration of the subject of the Overtures on the table of the Assembly; and, therefore, resolve that the consideration of the said Overtures shall be postponed until the meeting of the next General Assembly, and that the said Overtures shall, in the meantime, lie on the table. Another motion was made and seconded, 'That the General Assembly, considering that there is at the present time a Royal Commission holding sittings in this country, for remedy of all evils or inconveniences alleged to exist in the Universities of Scotland, deem it inexpedient to enter upon the consideration of the subject of the Overtures on the table of this Assembly; and the vote being called for, it was agreed the state of the vote should be, First or Second Motion; and the roll being called, and votes marked, it carried Second Motion; and, therefore, the Assembly, considering that there is at the present time a Royal Commission holding sittings in this country, for remedy of all evils or inconveniences alleged to exist in the Universities of Scotland, deem it inexpedient to enter upon the consideration of the said Overtures."—Ed. 1843.