The principal acts of the general assembly, holden and begun at Edinburgh, December 17, 1695. (fn. *)
I. Sess. 1, December 17, 1695, post meridiem.—The Meeting of the General Assembly.
The which day, after sermon preached by Mr John Law, one of the ministers of
Edinburgh, Moderator of the last Assembly, upon 1 Corinth. iv. 2, the General Assembly of the Ministers and Ruling Elders of this Church of Scotland did convene in
the Assembly-House; where, after prayer by the said Mr John Law, a roll was taken
up of the commissioners delegated by the several Presbyteries, burghs royal, and universities, for holding this Assembly.
II. Eadem Sessione.—Act continuing Mr John Law Moderator till Friday next.
The said day, the General Assembly, considering that many of their members had
not yet come to this town, did therefore put it to the vote, whether to chuse a new
Moderator presently, or continue Mr John Law Moderator till Friday next; and it
carried, nemine contradicente, that the said Mr John Law should be continued Moderator till Friday next.
III. Eadam Sessione.—Act appointing Mr John Bannatyne to officiate as Clerk till
The General Assembly, considering that through the decease of Mr Robert Park,
advocate, their clerk's place is now become vacant; therefore, they, by an unanimous
vote, made choice of Mr John Bannatyne, minister of the Gospel at Lanark, and one
of their own number, to officiate as clerk until Friday next.
IV. Eadem Sessione.—Appointment of a Diet to be kept by the Assembly for Prayer.
The General Assembly appoints to-morrow, being Wednesday, betwixt nine and
twelve o'clock in the forenoon, to be set apart by the members of this Assembly for
public prayer to the Almighty God, for his countenancing and directing this Assembly in the matters that shall come before them, and recommends to all the said
members to meet in the Assembly-House timeously for that effect.
V. Sess. 2, December 18, 1695, ante meridiem.—Appointment of another Diet for Prayer.
The General Assembly being met, this diet was spent in prayer, according to the
appointment made yesterday thereanent; and, further, it was agreed to that the
members of this Assembly should meet again to-morrow for public prayer; and, accordingly, it was recommended to all the members to meet in the Assembly-House
to-morrow, immediately after sermon, for the effect foresaid.
VI. Sess. 3, December 19, 1695, ante meridiem.—A Diet spent in Prayer.
The General Assembly being met, this diet was spent in prayer, according to the
appointment made yesterday thereanent, and adjourned till to-morrow, at ten o'clock
in the forenoon.
VII. Sess. 4, December 20, 1695, ante meridiem.—The recording of his Majesty's Commission to John Lord Carmichael, for representing his Majesty in this General Assembly,
with the Commissioner's and Moderator's Speeches.
This day, the General Assembly of this National Church being met, and Mr Patrick
Simson chosen Moderator, and Mr John Bannatyne clerk, there was produced to
them by a noble Lord, John Lord Carmichael, his Majesty's Commission under the
Great Seal of the kingdom of Scotland, nominating and appointing him to be his Majesty's High Commissioner and representative in this National Assembly, which
Commission was publicly read with all due honour and respect; and the General
Assembly appointed, and hereby appoints, the said Commission to be registered in
the records of the General Assembly, therein to remain, ad futuram rei memoriam,
the tenor whereof follows:—"Gulielmus," & c
After reading of which commission, Mr Patrick Simson, moderator, did, in the
Assembly's name, represent to his Grace how great a mercy it was to this Church and
kingdom, that his Majesty had called and countenanced this National Assembly with
his authority, and honoured it with a representative of his royal person, who, by his
former prudent conduct in two former General Assemblies, hath rendered himself most
acceptable to this Assembly to represent his Majesty therein.
Whereupon his Grace, his Majesty's High Commissioner, delivered himself as follows:—Right Reverend, and you the remanent members of this Assembly, you are
now met in this Assembly conform to the King's appointment; and his Majesty
having honoured me to be his Commissioner, I am warranted to give you all assurance
of his Majesty's resolution to maintain Presbyterian government in this Church, and
to evidence his fatherly care for its welfare. His Majesty expects that at this time you
will chiefly make it your work to regulate matters of order and discipline amongst
yourselves. It is the King's great regret that there are so many churches vacant
within this kingdom, which obviously suggests that it would be your best work, as indeed it would be most acceptable to his Majesty, that you should apply yourselves
principally to the restoring the Gospel to such churches; and, in doing of this, you may
be very assured of his Majesty's countenance and authority. It is also evidently convenient, and likewise expected, that if good men apply to you to be assumed, you
will receive their applications with all charity and moderation.
I hope the good Spirit of God shall direct you in these matters to the best advantage;
only I recommend to you to mind your business closely, without heats and unnecessary contentions, and to make all the dispatch you can to bring this Assembly to an
happy issue, both for the Church's good and his Majesty's satisfaction.
VIII. Sess. 5, December 23, 1695, post meridiem.—Act anent Commissions to the General
The General Assembly hereby recommends it to the several Presbyteries of this
National Church to keep an uniform method, as near as may be, in granting commissions to the members of the General Assembly, and not to insert particular instructions in their commissions; and, for the better attaining the end foresaid, the
General Assembly gives the form after inserted for a directory:—
At the day of years. The which day the Presbytery
of did, and hereby do, nominate and appoint Mr minister at
Mr minister at and ruling elders, their commissioners to
the next General Assembly of this Church, indicted to meet at the
day of next to come, or when or where it shall happen to sit; willing them to
repair thereto, and to attend all the dicts of the same, and there to consult, vote, and
determine, in all matters that come before them, to the glory of God and the good
of his Church, according to the Word of God, the Confession of Faith, and agreeable to the constitutions of this Church, as they will be answerable; and that they
report their diligence therein at their return therefrom. Extracted by me.
IX. Sess. 6, December 24, 1695. post meridiem.—Act anent Trafficking Priests, and the
Education of young Noblemen, Gentlemen, and others, Children of Popish Parents.
The General Assembly recommends to all Provincial Synods, Presbyteries, and
Kirk-Sessions within this National Church, to take particular notice of trafficking
Papists, and appoints lists to be taken up of their names and given to the Privy
Council, with an address for executing the laws against them; and the General Assembly recommends to Presbyteries to advert to the education of young noblemen,
gentlemen, and others, children of Popish parents, and to put the 7th act of the
General Assembly, 1690, thereanent, in execution.
X. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent Quakers.
The General Assembly of this National Church, for prevention of the growth of
these abominable heresies of the Quakers, do recommend to all Provincial Synods,
Presbyteries, Ministers, and Kirk-Sessions, to use all proper means for reclaiming
them; and in case of their obstinacy, to proceed against them with the censures of the
Church, and especially against the ringleaders, that are traffickers for seducing of
XI. Sess. 7, December 25, 1695, post meridiem.—An Overture and Act anent Novations.
The General Assembly of this National Church, having heard an overture brought
in from the Committee for Overtures, that no new acts relating to the doctrine,
worship, or government of this Church, be made until they be first transmitted to the
several Presbyteries of this National Church; which, being considered, the General
Assembly recommends it to the members of this Assembly to discourse upon the said
overture with their respective Presbyteries, that the next General Assembly may be
the more ripe to determine anent the conveniency thereof; and, in the mean time, the
General Assembly hereby revives the acts of the former Assemblies made thereanent,
and particularly the 13th act of the Assembly 1639, and 14th act of the Assembly
XII. Sess. 12, December 31, 1695, post meridiem.—Act approving Overtures anent a more
expedite and certaing way of planting the North with fixed Ministers.
The General Assembly of this National Church, having considered the overtures
underwritten, which were at two several diets publicly read over in open Assembly, and examined, and any members that desired were allowed to have doubles
thereof, to the effect they might be perused by them, and intimation was made to
give in their objections, if they had any, to a committee appointed for that end; and,
last of all, upon the day and date hereof the said overtures were again a third time
publicly read in presence of the General Assembly, as also the additional overtures
annexed thereto, the tenor of both which follows:—
"1. That, for the more expedite planting of ministers on the North side of the
Water of Tay, the Assembly nominate a commission of some of the most experienced ministers and elders to meet at Edinburgh, and there to sit monthly, from time
to time, until there shall be settled on the said North side of Tay twenty-two ministers
of some considerable standing and experience, now belonging to the Presbyteries on
the South side of the said Water.
"2. That when any of the parishioners of the said North shall call any of the following ministers, they may, without sending any commissioner to prosecute the
same, send the said call approven and concurred with by the Presbytery of the bounds,
to the moderator of the said commission, who, for greater expedition, shall cause
double the call and attest the copy, and send the same with the reasons of the desired
transportation, in a letter to the moderator of that Presbytery to whom the minister
called doth belong.
"3. That the moderator of the said Presbytery, upon the receipt of the said letter,
shall be obliged to transmit the said call, with the reasons thereof, to the minister
called, and shall cause summon the said minister and the parish he belongs to,
the next Sabbath, in the ordinary way, to appear before the said Presbytery, and answer the call and reasons; and if the ordinary time of the meeting of the said
Presbytery shall fall not to be within eleven days, then the moderator shall call a
Presbytery pro re nata against that time."
4. That the Presbytery at their said meeting shall, without any delay, consider
and determine the process of the said call thus brought before them, and if they
shall not at the same time transport the minister called to the said parish he is
called unto, they be obliged to transmit the said call, reasons and answers, and the
Presbytery's determination, to the said commission, against the first ensuring diet
thereof; providing there intervene ten days betwixt and the said diet, and shall
summon the said minister called, and his parish, to appear before the said commission, to answer finally thereunto.
5. That the said commission, at Edinburgh, do thereupon without any delay, consider
and determine the said process, and that whether the said minister and his parish
thus summoned do appear or not.
6. That when the said commission or Presbytery pass a sentence of transportation, it shall be obeyed by the minister transported, against the time limited in the
act of transportation, under the pain of suspension, which he is to lie under until he
obey, and which censure the Assembly doth require the said commission to inflict
upon him who doth disobey.
7. That there be forty-four ministers of some considerable experience, fit to be
transported to the North, nominated by this Assembly, in manner following, of which
the one-half shall, upon calls as above, be transported by virtue of this act.
8. That there may be some suitable proportioning of the said transportations, it
is overtured, that where a Presbytery on the South side of Tay is two-third parts
planted with fixed ministers, and hath eight fixed ministers therein, that two of these
eight (and proportionally where there are sixteen or twenty-four) be nominated by the
Assembly, making up in all the above number of forty-four ministers.
9. That out of these Presbyteries who furnish two, one of the said two shall be
transported, and but one; and so proportionally where the Presbytery furnishes more,
making up of all, twenty-two to be actually transported.
10. That the foresaid number of forty-four, out of which only twenty-two are to
be transported, shall be furnished by the following Presbyteries, viz., by the Presbytery of Chirnside two, one of which is to be actually transported; by the Presbytery
of Earlston two, one of which is to be actually transported; by the Presbytery of
Jedburgh two; by Melrose or Selkirk two; by Dunbar two; by Dalkeith none, having
already given one; by Linlithgow two, one of which is to be transported; by Peebles
two, one of which is to be transported; by Biggar two, one of which is to be transported; by Dumfries two, one of which is to be transported; by Lochmaben two,
one of which is to be transported; by Kirkcudbright two, one of which is to be
transported, having given one already; by Ayr two, one of which is to be transported,
having given one already; by Irvine two, one of which is to be transported, having
given one already; by Hamilton two, one of which is to be transported; by Lanark
two, one of which is to be transported; by Glasgow two, one of which is to be transported, having given one already; by Paisley two, one of which is to be transported; by Dumbarton two, one of which is to be transported; by Cupar two, one of
which is to be transported; by Kirkaldy two, one of which is to be transported; by
Dunfermline two, one of which is to be transported; all which make up the abovenamed number, out of which the half is to be transported to the North, after the way
and manner above expressed.
11. That of these forty-four out of the Presbyteries above named, the half of them
be appointed to go North, by way of mission to the several provinces they shall be
allotted unto, so as to be there against the first Sabbath of March next, and to stay
there three months, exercising their ministry according to the appointment of the
Presbyteries unto which they come; and the other half to go North, after the same
manner, and to stay the same length of time, against the first Sabbath of June next,
and that these of them who have not been in the North already go first.
12. That the brethren from the North do meet among themselves, and proportion
these twenty-two among the several provinces of Angus and Mearns, (comprehending
Rattray parish,) Aberdeen, Moray, and Caithness, and that they concert among
themselves out of which of the above written Presbyteries they will have their
quotas, and that they do this before the nomination of the persons to be transported.
13. That besides these forty-four, there be some ministers and expectants out of
Argyleshire, nominated, who being preachers of the Highland language, are to be allotted to supply Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, and the town of Inverness.
14. It is also overtured, that such as have been appointed by the judicatories of this
Church since the last General Assembly for the supply of the North, and have not
obeyed their appointments, be not only censured for their disobedience, but their
appointments renewed, and they ordained to go with the first supplies.
15. That the General Assembly declare, that these parishes thus to be vacated by
transporation, when they shall after come to be settled with another minister, that
the said minister shall be declared not transportable from that parish without their
consent, and unless he have unsupportable grievances therein.
16. That the Assembly name two or three out of each Synod on the South side of
Tay, to meet with the brethren of the North, to concert the names of the above
forty-four ministers, and to present the same to the Assembly, to be by them nominated and appointed.
Additional Overtures for a more Expedite Planting the North.
1. It is overtured that the Presbytery of Irvine be exempted from any being nominated to be transported, but not excused from quarterly supplies.
2. That besides the brother of the Presbytery of Dalkeith who is transported already,
they send one to the North in mission.
3. That the Presbytery of Dumfries, because of the particular circumstances they
are in, have the Presbyteries of Penpont and Middlebie to help them, and that two fit
persons be named out of these Presbyteries, and not above one out of any one Presbytery of the three.
4. That in the nomination of the commission one at least out of every Presbytery
be named, who send two of the forty-four above mentioned.
5. That the suspension to be inflicted, in the case above expressed, be taken of by
the Synod of the bounds, or next Assembly, if they find insuperable difficulties arising in the minister transported his obeying the sentence; and providing they immediately nominate another fit person who shall effectually supply the other's room.
6. That out of St Andrews Presbytery two be named and added to the number.
7. That all these Overtures are condescended to only for the present exigent, and
that this shall be no precedent for after times, but in case there be any transportations
pursued afterward, that they shall proceed in the ordinary course, and not otherwise.
All these above-written Overtures, both principal and additional, being maturely considered, the General Assembly of this National Church, by an unanimous vote, did, and hereby do, approve the same, and recommends and appoints according thereto in all points.
XIII. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent Testimonials.
The General Assembly appoints all probationers who apply to Presbyteries, to bring
not only sufficient testimonials, but also a letter from a known person to the Presbytery, and that the Presbytery write to them from whom the testimonials come, (if
need be,) to know the verity thereof.
XIV. Sess. 16, January 3, 1696, ante meridiem.—Act anent the Supply of Ross, Sutherland,
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into their serious consider
ation the many vacant churches, and great desolations that are in the bounds of
Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness, do therefore appoint, that there be sent in mission
to the said bounds of Sutherland, Ross, and Caithness, the ministers and probationers
after mentioned, in manner and to the effect under expressed, viz., Mr Robert Duncanson, minister, from the Provincial Synod of Argyle, who is declared already transportable, and upon a call to be transported, in case the commission shall see cause, to
whom that matter is hereby referred; as also, that such as have the Irish language in
Lowland congregations be sent in mission, and, upon calls, transported by the commission, and that in the same way that other ministers are appointed to be transported
to the North; and, farther, that Messrs Thomas and Hector Frasers, probationers, (who
were formerly appointed,) go there, and Mr Hugh Duff be sent to that Presbytery to
pass his trials, in order to be settled there, and such other probationers that have the
Irish language as the Synod of Argyle can spare.
XV. Sess. 17, January 3, 1696, post meridiem.— Act Nominating and Appointing Ministers
to go North, by way of Mission.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into their consideration that
by their act, dated the last day of December last, they have laid down a way for a
more expedite planting of the vacant churches on the North side of Tay, and for
that end appointed the number of forty-four ministers to be sent North, by way
of mission; and now having, according to the said act, concerted the names of
those to be sent to the North, do therefore nominate and appoint the ministers from
the several Presbyteries after named to repair to their respective posts in the North,
in manner, at the times, and according to the proportions under-written, viz., to the
province of Angus and Mearns, &c. &c. The General Assembly hereby appoints the
brethren who are first named in each Presbytery to go so, as to be there the first
Sabbath of March, and the last named in each Presbytery against the first Sabbath of
June next; as also, the General Assembly appoints, that those of the said brethren
first named, who are actually present at their respective posts in the North, stay
some time longer, and that to stand for their mission, by virtue of this act.
XVI. Eadem Sessione.—Act approving the Proceedings of the Commissions of the
General Assemblies, 1690 and 1694.
The General Assembly of this National Church, having heard the report of a committee of their own number, appointed to revise, consider, and examine the actings
and proceedings of the Commission for Visitations on the North side of Tay, appointed
by the General Assembly, 1690, beginning the 14th day of November 1690, and
ending the 30th of October 1691 years, inclusive of both days; as also, the actings
and proceedings of the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly, 1694, to
meet at Edinburgh, beginning the 18th April 1694, and ending the 5th day of April
1695, inclusive of both days; and, after serious and mature consideration thereof, finding that the whole acts, proceedings, and conclusions, of the said commissioners, contained in the register thereof, do evidence much wisdom, diligence, vigilancy, and
commendable zeal; and that the said commissioners have orderly and formally proceeded in every thing according to their commissions and instructions; therefore,
this General Assembly did, and hereby do, unanimously ratify and approve the said
whole acts, proceedings, and conclusions, of the said commissioners appointed by the
sai General Assemblies, 1690 and 1694 years.
XVII. Eadem Sessione.—Act approving the Proceedings of the Committee for the North,
appointed by the General Assembly, 1694.
The General Assembly of this National Church, having heard the report of a com
mittee of their own number, appointed to revise, consider, and examine the actings
and proceedings of the committee of the North, appointed by the General Assembly
held at Edinburghs in the year 1694, beginning the 14th day of June, and ending the
29th day of August next thereafter; and, after serious and mature consideration
thereof, finding that the whole acts, proceedings, and conclusions, of the said committee, contained in the register thereof, subscribed by Mr William Mackie, clerk thereto,
do evidence much wisdom, prudence, diligence, vigilancy, and commendable zeal,
and that the said committee hath orderly and formally proceeded in every thing according to their commission and instructions; therefore, this General Assembly, by
an unanimous vote, did, and hereby do, ratify and approve the said whole acts, proceedings, and conclusions, of the said committee appointed for the North, contained
in the said register.
XVIII. Eadem Sessione.—Act recommending to Ministers to Preach Catechetical Doctrine.
The General Assembly of this National Church, considering how necessary and
edifying it is that the people be well acquainted with the fundamental principles of
the Christian religion, do, therefore, recommend to the care of ministers, that besides
their ordinary work of catechizing, they also preach catechetical doctrine, at such
times, and in such manner, as they shall find most conducive for the edification of
Eadem Sessione.—Act anent Recommendations for Charity.
The General Assembly appoints that no minister, kirk-sessions, or elders, give recommendations for charity to any without the bounds of their own parishes, nor
Presbyteries without the bounds of their Presbyteries, nor Provincial Synods without
their bounds; and that any recommendations so to be given within their respective
bounds shall be for a definite time.
Eadem Sessione.—Commission of the General Assembly for some Commissioners to meet
The General Assembly of this National Church, considering the many vacant
churches on the North side of Tay, and having laid down a way for a more expeditious
planting of ministers therein, doth, therefore, by these presents, nominate and appoint
Messrs John Dysert, minister of the Gospel at Coldingham, &c. &c., to be commissioners of the General Assembly to the effect after expressed, with full power and commission to the said persons, or their quorum, which is hereby declared to be any
fifteen of the said commissioners, whereof nine are always to be ministers, to meet
and convene within the Assembly-House at Edinburgh, upon the first Tuesday after
the dissolution of this General Assembly, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, and afterwards to meet the first Wednesday of every month, and oftener as they shall see
needful, during the continuance of this commission; and the General Assembly requires all the members of this commission to attend punctually the first meeting
thereof, and all the quarterly meetings thereafter, and which commissioners, at their
first and quarterly meetings, are to take into their consideration the particular affairs
recommended to them by the General Assembly, and the monthly and quarterly
meetings to consider the transportations of the twenty-two ministers from the South
to the North, with power also to the said commissioners to choose their own moderator and clerk. And suchlike, the General Assembly fully empowers and authorises
the said commissioners, and their quorum foresaid, to consider, cognosce, and finally
determine, as they shall see cause, in all references, appeals, and other matters, that
have been or shall be particularly remitted to them for that effect, by any act or order
of this Assembly; all which are holden as herein expressed. And, finally, to proceed
and cognosce in every thing contained in, and conform to the overtures and instructions thereanent, approving by this General Assembly upon the last day of December
last, entitled, "Act approving Overtures anent a more expeditious and certain way for
Planting the North with fixed Ministers," as fully and freely as if the same were in
these presents at full length inserted and set down. This commission is also to correspond with the State for appointing fasts and thanksgivings as occasion falls out, and
to specify the causes thereof. Likeas, the General Assembly hereby prohibit the
said commissioners to meddle in any other matter than what is herein contained;
declaring also, that in and for all their actings the said commissioners shall be accountable to and censurable by the next ensuing General Assembly of this Church;
and, lastly, the General Assembly hereby declares that this commission shall continue
till the meeting of the next General Assembly of this National Church.
XXI. Sess. 18, January 4, 1696, ante meridiem.—Act against the Atheistical Opinions of the
Deists, and for establishing the Confession of Faith.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into their serious consideration, that, in many places, not a few, of Atheistical principles, who go under the name
of Deists, and for the time refuse the odious character of Atheist, maintain and disseminate pernicious principles tending to Scepticism and Atheism; and that there is
no small ground to fear the spreading of that gangrene through this land, where (as
it is credibly informed) there are not wanting active factors for Satan, and his kingdom of darkness, who make it their great business to overturn and ridicule true and pure
religion, Do, therefore, seriously recommend to, and enjoin the ministers of the Gospel, where there is any apparent hazard of such a contagion, to warn and guard the
Lord's people against that infernal course, and to detect the abominableness of the
tenets of those men, such as the denying of all revealed religion, the grand mysteries
of the Gospel, viz. The doctrine of the Trinity—the incarnation of the Messiah—his
satisfaction to justice—salvation through Him—justification by His imputed righteousness to them who believe on His name—the resurrection of the dead—and, in a word,
the certainty and authority of Scripture revelation; as also, their asserting that there
must be a mathematical evidence for each purpose, before we can be obliged to assent
to any proposition thereanent, and that natural light is sufficient to salvation. It is
also hereby required that authors, who treat well of those subjects, be named to the
people, in order to perusal; as likewise, that ministers deal seriously with the seduced, and such as are mostly in hazard to be perverted; but especially with seducers
and imposters, that, after sufficient instruction and admonition, these be proceeded
against as scandalous and heretical apostates used to be; and, in general, the Assembly doth discharge all ministers, and other members of this Church, to publish or
vent, either by speaking, writing, printing, teaching, or preaching any doctrine, tenet,
or opinion contrary unto, or inconsistent with, the Confession of Faith of this Church,
or any article, part, or proposition therein; and appoints that all such as contravene
this act, or any part thereof, be censured by the Church according to their demerit.
XXII. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent Students.
The General Assembly, taking into their consideration the danger that ariseth to the
Church and to the souls of people, and the contempt that may be brought on the
ministry, by licensing or ordaining young men, without sufficient proof of their piety,
gravity, prudence, sobriety, orthodoxy, and learning, do, therefore, appoint, that strict
inquiry be made into all these qualifications of such as are offered to Presbyteries, in
order to passing their trials, and that such be rejected who have not sufficient testi
monials from universities of their good behaviour and proficiency; (and that the
usual school-degrees be inquired after, though not made a necessary qualification,) or, at
least, should not be found to have retrieved their lost time at schools by after diligence;
as also, that such as are esteemed to be vain, or imprudent, or proud, or worldly-minded, by the generality of sober intelligent persons, who converse with them, shall be
kept back from that sacred work.
In order to the education of young men for the ministry, it is recommended to
Professors in Divinity, that they require of such students as they employ in any exercises, testimonials from universities where they have studied, and places where they
The General Assembly, considering how necessary it is that they who declare the
oracles of God to others should themselves understand them in the original languages, do require that none be licensed to preach, or ordained to the ministry, unless they give good proof of their understanding the Greek and Hebrew; and the
General Assembly recommendeth to all candidates for the ministry to study also the
other oriental languages, especially the Chaldaic and Syriac, so far as they can.
It is also recommended that they be tried not only in the great controversies of
religion, but also in the controversies concerning the government and discipline of
XXIII. Eadem Sessione.—Act anent Irregularities.
The General Assembly do seriously recommend it to all Synods and Presbyteries,
that they advert to the many irregularities committed by vagrant unfixed ministers,
many of whom are lying under ecclesiastical censures, to the great scandal and hinderance of the Gospel, and tending to the rending of churches and congregations;
and prudently to proceed to take such course anent them as the circumstances of
the case and time requires; and appoints Presbyteries, where any great difficulty occurs, in case of this nature, to consult their Synods, or the commission appointed by
this Assembly thereanent, before they proceed to any further censure.
XXIV. The General Assembly's Letter to his Majesty.
May it please your Majesty,
As we do adore the infinite goodness and mercy of God towards Britain and Ireland, in setting your Majesty King over us, and in working by you so great deliverance for us; so we do from our hearts bless God, for mercifully preserving your sacred
person, in midst of so many dangers as you have been exposed to by sea and land,
and in granting such success to your arms the last campaign.
We do also, with humble gratitude, acknowledge your Majesty's many royal favours
to this Church, and that not only under the shadow of your protection, and with the
countenance of your Majesty's authority and laws, we may peaceably meet together
in a National Assembly; but that your Majesty hath honoured us, to send as your
commissioner to represent your Majesty's royal person among us, the Lord Carmichael, a person of known and approved integrity and loyalty to your Majesty, and
who hath been formerly, and still, is most acceptable to us all.
We do humbly beg and confidently hope, your Majesty, as appointed of God to
be the nursing father of his Church, will continue your royal favour and protection
to us, and command the vigorous execution of your good laws, against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness, that our land may be thoroughly reformed from vice, and purged
of whatsoever doth offend.
We do sincerely profess, that next to our duty to God and our Lord Jesus Christ,
it is our desire to approve ourselves dutiful subjects to your Majesty, and it shall be
our endeavour, by doctrine and example, in our several capacities to promote your
Majesty's honour and service in the Lord among the people.
That Almighty God may bless and long preserve your royal person, direct and
prosper your councils and government, grant you always dutiful and loyal subjects,
faithful and victorious armies and navies, give you the hearts of your subjects and
necks of your enemies, that religion and righteousness may flourish in your days, that
you may be a repairer of the breaches and builder of the house of God, and the restorer of the peace and liberty of Europe, is, and shall be, the incessant prayer of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and
most humble subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this National
Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our presence, in our name, and at our appointment, by
Patrick Simson, Moderator.
XXV. Eadem Sessione.—Act continuing the Supplies of Preaching for the North, conform to
the Act of the General Assembly, 1694.
The General Assembly, considering that the vacancies on the North side of the
river of Tay have increased greatly since the sitting of the last General Assembly;
as also, the paucity of ministers in these parts, and having before them several petitions from noblemen, gentlemen, burgesses, and others, living in these parts, craving
that the Assembly would increase the supply of these bounds, and promising that
they should give all due encouragement to such as the Lord, by this Assembly, shall
be pleased to direct to them; therefore, the General Assembly have ordained, and
hereby ordains, the ordinary supplies for the North to continue till the next General
Assembly, conform to the 14th Act of the last General Assembly, entitled, "Act appointing some Ministers for the Supply of the North;" and recommends to Presbyteries and Synods, that the same be made effectual, these named, and formerly appointed to be sent from the several Presbyteries, by way of mission, being always sustained as a part of the said supply; and, lastly, the General Assembly exempts the
province of Perth, in their present circumstances, from all supplies to the North.
XXVI. Eadem Sessione.—Act Declaring the Appeals made to this Assembly from the Committee
of the Assembly, 1694, for the North, to be fallen from and null.
The General Assembly, considering that they had, upon the second day of January
instant, caused call these persons who had appealed from, protested against, and declined the committee appointed for the North by the last General Assembly, to have
compeared before the last day of this Assembly, to prosecute their said appeals and
protestations, and answer for their declinatures, with certification if they compeared
not, to prosecute the same before that time, their said appeals and protestations should
be declared to be fallen from, void and null. And now finding that the said persons
have not compeared before this Assembly for the effect foresaid: Therefore, the General Assembly do hereby declare all the said appeals to be deserted, fallen from,
void, and null, to all intents and purposes, because they have not been insisted in before this Assembly.
XXVII. Eadem Sessione.—Act and Sentence of Suspension against Mr John Hepburn.
The General Assembly of this National Church, taking into their serious consideration the references made, to them concerning Mr John Hepburn, minister, and
having often caused call the said Mr John to have compeared before this Assembly,
conform to the citation given him thereanent, to answer to these things wherewith he
is charged, but he not compearing, the General Assembly, upon the 25th day of December last, appointed a committee of their own number to consider the whole process led against him, and make report; which committee did, upon the 3d day of
January instant, bring in some overtures thereanent, and the said report, together
with an extract of the process and depositions of witnesses led against him; as also
his own confession being considered, the General Assembly found that several articles
were sufficiently proven against him, and therefore were of the judgement, that though
the said Mr John Hepburn deserved the highest censure of the Church, yet to manifest all tenderness and willingness to reclaim him, they did appoint that in case Mr
John Hepburn would oblige himself under his hand, to walk orderly in all time
coming, and embrace a call when offered to him, and oblige himself to attend the
charge he should be fixed to, and submit himself to the respective judicatories of this
Church, and forbear after this to preach or exercise any other part of his ministry
without the consent of the said judicatories, in that case the Assembly declared they
should let all processes led against him fall; but in case he either appeared not before this Assembly, or should not oblige himself as aforesaid, then the General Assembly appointed him to be suspended from the office of the ministry, with certification that he should be deposed by the Synod of Dumfries, if he should be found to
contravene the said act of suspension, with which sentence the said Synod shall acquaint all other Presbyteries within this National Church. Likeas, in case the said
Mr John shall be deposed, the General Assembly did appoint that the whole process
led against him shall be printed, that all men may see the moderation and justice of
the several judicatories that had occasion to process him; and in case that the Assembly should suspend him, and he submit thereunto, that it should be free for the said
Synod or Presbytery of Dumfries to take off the said sentence upon his application
and desire of the same, and embracing the terms above specified; and, upon the day
and date hereof, the said Mr John Hepburn being again thrice publicly called at
the most patent door of the church where the Assembly was sitting, and not compearing, the General Assembly, being well and ripely advised with the whole premises, did, and hereby do, actually suspend the said Mr John Hepburn from the
exercise of his ministry, and appoints these presents to be intimated by the minister
who is to preach in the New Church of Edinburgh the next Lord's Day; as also, that
the sentence be afterwards intimated in all the parish churches within the Provincial
Synods of Glasgow, Ayr, and Dumfries.
The next General Assembly of this National Church is to be held at Edinburgh
upon the 2d day of January 1697 years.
The General Assembly being closed, the members were dismissed with prayer,
singing of the 85th Psalm, from the 6th verse to the end, and pronouncing of the
Collected and extracted from the records of the General Assembly, by me,
J. Bannatyne, Cls. Syn. National.