The principal acts of the general assembly, holden and begun at Edinburgh, May 12, 1720.
I. Sess. 1, May 12, 1720.— Act appointing the King's Commission to John Earl of
Rothes to be Recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his
Majesty's Commissioner, 12th May 1720.
George, R., &c.
III. Sess. 3, May 14, 1720.— The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious
May it please your Majesty, &c.
IV. Sess. 6, May 18, 1720.—Act concerning Commissions to Members of the General
Assembly, and Attestations of the same.
The General Assembly, considering that there have been divers acts passed with respect to the qualifications of the members of Assembly since the Act 8th, Assembly,
anno 1695, which prescribes a form of their commissions, particularly the Act 6th, Assembly, anno 1698; Act 6th, Assembly, anno 1704; and Act 9th, Assembly, anno
1718; and that it is expedient, for the direction of Presbyteries, and for procuring, as
near as may be, an uniformity amongst them, in granting commissions to their representatives in Assemblies, that an addition be made to the foresaid directory in the
Act 1695, with regard to the other posterior acts above mentioned: Therefore, the
General Assembly do appoint and ordain, that, in all time coming, there be subjoined and adjected to the foresaid formula in the Act 1695 the following clause,
viz.:— "And the said Presbytery does hereby testify and declare, that all the ministers above named have signed the formula enjoined by the 10th Act of the
General Assembly, anno 1711, and all the ruling elders above written have signed
the formula prescribed by the 11th Act of Assembly, 1694;" but if the Presbytery
be uncertain whether the said elders have signed the said formula or not, then the
attestation shall bear, that they are either to sign it in presence of the Assembly, or
instruct that they have done it before. And further, "That all the said commissioners are every other way qualified to be members of the Assembly, according to
the Acts of Assembly. Extracted by Clerk, Presb." And because
the said Act, anno 1718, appoints that all commissions, after they are written out
and extracted, and before they be put in the hands of the commissioners, be first
read in presence of the Presbytery, and be revised by them, and that it be attested
by the Moderator and Clerk of the Presbytery upon the said commissions that this
was so done: Therefore, the Assembly appoints, that the Presbytery's attestation
shall run thus:— "At the day of the Presbytery
having had the above written extract of their commission to their representatives
in the ensuing Assembly laid before them, they caused it to be read, and having revised and considered the same, they did approve thereof. Attested by
Moderator, or Clerk." And because the foresaid Act 9th, Assembly,
1718, does appoint and ordain, that no commissions from royal burghs to their representatives in Assembly shall be sustained, but such as shall be consented to and
approven, not only by the ministry and kirk-sessions of the burghs, but also by the
Presbytery of the bounds within which the burghs lie; and upon which it shall be
attested both by the Kirk-session and Presbytery foresaid, according to the tenor of
the foresaid Act: Therefore, the General Assembly appoints, that the foresaid attestations of the Kirk-session and Presbytery shall be in the terms following:— "At
the day of the which day the Kirk session of having had laid before them a commission given by the
magistrates and town-council of to to represent the said
burgh in the ensuing General Assembly of this National Church, do, in the terms of
the Act 9th, Assembly, 1718, testify and declare, that the said is an elder
lawfully ordained, and that he has signed the formula prescribed by the 11th Act of
Assembly, 1694; and likewise that he is (a residenter in the said burgh,) or (an heritor in the said burgh,) or (an heritor in the bounds of the Presbytery of
within which the said burgh lies,) or has (formerly resided and officiated as an elder
in the said burgh,) or (Presbytery of within which the said burgh does lie.")
And that the Presbytery's attestation shall run thus, viz.:—"At the
day of the which day the Presbytery of
having had produced before them a commission given by the magistrates and town
council of to to represent the said burgh in the ensuing
General Assembly of this National Church, with an attestation of the Kirk-session of
the said burgh, conform to the direction of the Act 9th, Assembly, 1718, and Act
4th, Assembly, 1720, do, in the terms of the foresaid Acts, likewise testify and declare, that," &c., and so forth, precisely in the words of the form above prescribed to
the Kirk-sessions. And the General Assembly does resolve and declare, that all
commissions not in the terms above mentioned shall be rejected. And it is hereby provided and declared, that if the person elected by the burgh royal be qualified
as above, that the ministry and session, and Presbytery, respectively, do attest him
when his commission is presented to them.
V. Sess. 9, May 20, 1720.— Act concerning a Book, entitled, The Marrow of Modern
The General Assembly, having had under their consideration the book entitled
"The Marrow of Modern Divinity," reprinted at Edinburgh, anno 1718, with an ample
recommendation prefixed thereto, which they found was dispersed and come into
the hands of many of the people; and having had laid before them the following passages, collected out of the said book by a committee for preserving the purity of doctrine in this Church, appointed by the Commission of the late General Assembly;
the tenor whereof follows:—
Concerning the Nature of Faith.
Page 118.— "There is no more for him to do, but only to know and believe that
Christ hath done all for him." Page 119.— "This, then, is perfect righteousness,—only to know and believe that Jesus Christ is now gone to the Father, and sitteth
at his right hand, not as a judge, but as made unto you of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; wherefore, as Paul and Silas said to the jailor,
so say I unto you, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;'—that
is, be verily persuaded in your heart that Jesus Christ is yours, and that you shall
have life and salvation by him; that whatsoever Christ did for the redemption of
mankind, he did it for you." Page 120.— "Forasmuch as the Holy Scripture speaketh
to all in general, none of us ought to distrust himself, but believe that it doth belong
particularly to himself." The same is asserted, pages 121, 122, 123, 124, 131, 136,
137, 175, 176, 177, and in many other places of the book. This notion of saving
faith appears contrary to Scripture: Isa. 1. 10; Rom. viii. 16; I John v. 13; and
to Confess. Cap. xviii.§ 1, 3, 4; and to Larger Catechism, Quest. 81, 172; all
which passages show that assurance is not of the essence of faith, whereas the passages cited from "The Marrow," &c., appear to assert the contrary, making that saving
faith commanded in the Gospel a man's persuasion that Christ is his, and died for
him; and that whoever hath not this persuasion or assurance hath not answered the
Gospel call, nor is a true believer.
Of Universal Atonement and Pardon.
Page 108.—"Christ hath taken upon him the sins of all men." Page 119.—"The
Father hath made a deed of gift and grant unto all manking, that whosoever of
them all shall believe in his Son shall not perish, &c., (i. e. whosoever believes or is
persuaded that Christ is his; for this must be the sense according to the former passages.) Hence it was that Christ said to his disciples, 'Go and preach the Gospel to every
creature under heaven;'—that is, Go and tell every man, without exception, that here
is good news for him; Christ is dead for him. Even so, our good King, the Lord of
heaven and earth, hath, for the obedience and desert of our good brother, Jesus
Christ, pardoned all our sins." To the same purpose, pages 127 and 128. Here is
asserted an universal redemption as to purchase, contrary to John x. 15, 27, 28, 29;
and xv. 13 and 17; Titus ii. 14; Confess. Cap. iii. § 6; Cap. viii.§ 8; Larger Catechism, Quest. 59.
Holiness not necessary to Salvation.
From page 150 to page 153.—"And if the Law say good works must be done, and
the commandment must be kept, if thou wilt obtain salvation, then answer you, and
say, I am already saved before thou camest; therefore, I have no need of thy presence—Christ is my righteousness, my treasure, and my work. I confess, O Law ! that I
am neither godly nor righteous; but this yet I am sure of, that he is godly and righteous for me." Page 185.—"Good works may rather be called a believer's walking in
the way of eternal happiness than the way itself." This doctribe tends to slacken
people's diligence in the study of holiness, contrary to Heb. xii. 14; 2 Thess. ii. 13;
Ephes. ii. 10; Isa. xxxv. 8; James ii. 20; Confess. Cap. xiii. § 1; Larger Catechism
Quest. 32; Confess. Cap. xv. § 2.
Fear of Punishment and Hope of Reward not allowed to be motives of a Believer's
Page 181.—"Would you not have believers to esehew evil and do good, for fear
of hell or hope of heaven ? Answer.—No, indeed; for so for forth as they do so,
their obedience is but slavish." A great deal more to this purpose is to be seen,
pages 175, 179, 180, 182, 183, 184, and appears contrary to Psalms xlv. 11; Psal.
cxix. 4, 6; Exod. xx. 2; James i. 25; and ii. 8, 10, 11, 12; 1 Tim. iv. 8; Col. iii. 24;
Heb. xi. 6, 26; Rev. ii. 10; 2 Cor. v. 9, 10, 11; Heb. xii. 2, 28, 29; 2 Pet. iii.
14; Confess. Cap. xvi. § 2 and 6.
That the Believer is not under the Law as a Rule of Life.
Page 150.— "As the Law is the convenant of works, you are wholly and altogether
set free from it. "And, page 151.—"You are now set free both from the commanding
and condemning power of the convenant of works." Page 216.—"You will yield obedience to the law of Christ, not only without respect, either to what the law of works
either promiseth or threateneth, but also without having respect to what the law of
Christ either promiseth or threateneth; and this is to serve the Lord without fear of
any penalty, which either the law of works or the law of Christ threateneth," Luke i.
74. See also pages 5, 153, 180, 156, 157, 163, 199, 209, 210, contrary to Scripture,
Exod. xx. 2; Matth. v. 17, &c.; Rom. iii. 21; and xiii. 9; James i. 25; and ii. 8,
10, 11, 12; and Confession, Cap. xix. § 5, 6.
The Six following Antinomian Paradoxes are fenced and defended by applying to them
that distinction of the Law of Works, and Law of Christ.
Pages 198 and 199.—"1mo, A believer is not under the law, but is altogether delivered from it. 2do, A believer doth not commit sin. 3tio, The Lord can see no
sin in a believer, 4to, The Lord is not angry with a believer for his sins. 5to, The
Lord doth not chastise a believer for his sins. 6to, A believer hath no cause, neither
to confess his sins, nor to crave pardon at the hand of God for them, neither to fast
nor mourn, nor humble himself before the Lord for them."
Expressions in the Marrow, &c.
Page 192.—"A minister that dares not persuade sinners to believe their sins are
pardoned before he see their lives reformed, for fear they should take more liberty to
sin, is ignorant of the mystery of faith."And, page 27.—"Christ undertook to suffer
under the penalty that lay upon man to have undergone."And, page 117—"The covenant of works was twise made,—first with man, and a second time God was on both
sides." Page 115.—"The law practised his whole tyranny upon the Son of God; and
because it did so horribly and cursedly sin against his God, it is cursed and arraigned,
and as a thief, and cursed murderer of the Son of God, loseth all his right, and deserveth to be condemned; the law, therefore, is bound, dead, and crucified, to me."
Page 126.—"Whosoever is married to Christ, and so in him by faith, he is as acceptable to God the Father as Christ himself." Page 127.—" And so shall the love and favour of God be as deeply insinuated into you as it is into Christ himself." Page 144.—"Whence it must needs follow, that you cannot be damned, except Christ be damned
with you, neither can Christ be saved, except ye be saved with him." Pages 145,
146.—"Say unto Christ, with bold confidence, I give to thee, my dear husband, my
unbelief, my mistrust, my pride, my arrogancy, my ambition, my wrath, and anger,
my envy, my covetousness, my evil thoughts, affections, and desires. I make one
bundle of those, and all my other offences, and give them unto thee." 2 Cor. v.
21.—" And thus was Christ made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be
made the righteousness of God in him." Page 207.—"Nor yet, as touching your
justification and eternal salvation, will he love you ever a whit the less, though you
commit never so many or great sins."
These are collected out of many other exceptionable positions contained in that
book, which for brevity's sake are omitted.
And the General Assembly having had the said passages, and several others, read
to them from the said book, and having compared them with the texts of Holy Scripture, articles of our Confession of Faith, and of the Larger Catechism of this Church,
above cited, the General Assembly found, that the said passages and quotations,
which relate to the five several heads of doctrine above mentioned, are contrary to
the Holy Scriptures, our Confession of Faith and Catechisms; and that the distinction of the law, as it is the law of works, and as it is the law of Christ, as the author
applies it, in order to fence and defend the six Antinomian paradoxes above written,
is altogether groundless; and that the other expressions above set down, excerpted
out of the said book, are exceedingly harsh and offensive; and, therefore, the General
Assembly do hereby strictly prohibit and discharge all the ministers of this Church,
either by preaching, writing, or printing, to recommend the said book, or, in discourse, to say any thing in favour of it; but, on the contrary, they are hereby enjoined and required to warn and exhort their people, in whose hands the said book
is, or may come, not to read or use the same.
VI. Sess. 10, May 21, 1720.— Commission to some Ministers and Elders for discussing
divers Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, taking into their consideration that there are divers weighty
affairs which they cannot overtake, do nominate, commission, and appoint, their
revered brethren, Messrs William Hamilton, Professor of Divinity in the College
of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c.; to be Commissioners of this General Assembly,
to the effect after mentioned, with power to the said Commission, or their quorum,
which is hereby declared to be any thirty-one of the said Commissioners, whereof
twenty-one are always to be ministers, to meet and convene within the AssemblyHouse at Edinburgh, the first free day after the dissolution of this Assembly, at ten
o'clock forenoon, and afterwards, the second Wednesdays of August, November, and
March, next to come, and oftener, when or where they shall think fit and convenient,
with power to the said Commission to choose their own moderator. And suchlike,
the General Assembly fully empowers and authorises their said Commissioners, or
their quorum above mentioned, to cognosce and finally determine as they shall see
cause, in every matter referred, or that shall be referred to them, by any act or order
of this Assembly, and to do every thing contained in and conform to the instructions
given, or to be given, by this Assembly; and to advert unto the interests of the
Church on every occasion, that the Church, and present establishment thereof, do not
suffer or sustain any prejudice which they can prevent, as they will be answerable;
providing this general clause be not extended to particular affairs or processes before
Synods or Presbyteries, that are not of universal concern to or influence upon the
whole Church: And it is hereby appointed, that what shall be determined at one
diet of the said Commission, with relation to private causes, shall be unalterable by
any other diet thereof, and shall stand and continue in force till disapproven by the
General Assembly. And the General Assembly renews the instructions given by the
General Assembly, 1717, to their Commission, and appoints the same to stand in full
force, as instructions to the Commissioners above named, and to be observed by them
in all points, as if the same were specially therein inserted; and that they inquire into
the publishing and spreading of books and pamphlets tending toward the promoting
a scheme of opinions inconsistent with our Confession of Faith; and that the recommenders of such books or pamphlets, or the errors therein contained, whether by word
or print, be called before them to answer for such recommendations. And the Commission are empowered to judge in cases of doctrine, that shall be brought before them
by appeals or references from Synods or Presbyteries; and they are likewise appointed
to take care that impressions of the Holy Scriptures, of the Confession of Faith, and
Catechisms, and of all other books relating to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
government of this Church, be correct. And the said Commissioners are hereby
strictly prohibited and discharged to meddle in any other matters than what are committed and referred to them as above mentioned, and in all their actings they are to
proceed according to the acts and constitutions of this National Church, and to do
nothing contrary thereto, or to the prejudice of the same; declaring, that in and for
all their actings they shall be accountable to and censurable by the next General
Assembly, as they shall see cause; and this Commission is to continue and endure
until another Commission be appointed, and members are required to attend the diets
of the said Commission, and absentees therefrom ordered to be noticed, according to the
17th Act of the General Assembly, 1706. And for the better securing of a quorum,
and attendance of members on the Commission, the General Assembly prohibits the
Presbytery of Edinburgh, and other Presbyteries within twelve miles thereof, to meet
any of the days or weeks appointed for the meeting of this Commission, and such of
the members of these Presbyteries as are on the Commission are required all of them
to give punctual attendance on the diets thereof, and Presbyteries at a greater distance,
who have four or more members on the Commission, are to take care that at least two
of them attend each diet of the same.
VII. Sess. 10, May 23, 1720, ante meridiem.—Act and Reference against Popery.
The which day, there being brought in from the Committee for Overtures a report
concerning the extraordinary increase of Popery in divers places of this nation, together with a large and particular memorial of the instances thereof, and an overture
concerning the same; and the General Assembly having considered the said overture
and memorial, they, in pursuance thereof, did, and hereby do, instruct and empower
their Commission to do what in them lies to prevent the growth of Popery, by directing and assisting ministers in those bounds where Popery prevails, in applying all
proper ecclesiastical remedies, particularly those prescribed in the 4th Act of the General Assembly, anno 1719, and former acts. And the General Assembly does appoint
all the ministers of this Church, especially in such corners as there are Papists in, to
preach against the errors of Popery, and deal seriously with Papists for their conviction. And, farther, the General Assembly does instruct their said Commission to use
all suitable endeavours to get the civil remedies that are now under consideration
brought to some good issue; and likewise to think upon means to get proper books
against Popery put in the hands of the people in those places where Popery prevails,
or people are in danger of being perverted. And the General Assembly did approve
of the draught of the said memorial against Popery brought in, and appoints the Moderator, in their name, to sign the same, and orders that it be sent to the Secretary
of State, to be laid before his Majesty.
VIII. Sess. 10, May 23, 1720.—Act for Preaching Catechetical Doctrine, with Directions
The General Assembly, considering how much it may conduce unto the establishment of people in the Christian faith, and to the promoting of piety in practice, that
they be well instructed in the principles of our holy religion; do, therefore, recommend
to the several ministers of this Church punctually to observe the acts of former General Assemblies for preaching catechetical doctrine; and that in these their catechetical sermons they more especially insist upon the great and fundamental truths, according to our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, such as that of the Being and
Providence of God, and the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, the necessary
doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity in the unity of the Godhead; particularly, of
the eternal deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the satisfaction to
Divine Justice made by him who is our only proposition, of regeneration by efficacious grace, of free justification through our blessed surety the Lord Jesus Christ, received by faith alone, and of the necessity of a holy life, in order to the obtaining
of everlasting happiness; and that they be earnest and instant in their prayers to
God, that, through his blessing upon their labours, their flocks may be preserved from
the infections of dangerous errors, and engaged to maintain a conversation that becomes the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is God over all, blessed
IX. Sess. 10 et ult., May 23, 1720.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
The next General Assembly of this National Church of Scotland is appointed to
be held at Edinburgh, the second Thursday of May next to come, in the year of our
Lord 1721, being the 11th day of that month.
This General Assembly was concluded with prayer, singing the 133d Psalm
throughout, and pronouncing of the blessing.
Collected and extracted from the records of the General Assembly, by
Jo. Dundas, Cls. Eccl. Scot.
OVERTURES CONCERNING PLANTING OF VACANT CHURCHES, ESPECIALLY
TANQUAM JURE DEVOLUTO. (fn. *)
Considering how necessary it is, that Presbyteries be very tender of giving any
ground of complaint in their planting parishes tanquam jure devoluto; and that any
who judge themselves lesed may have an opportunity of being heard by superior judicatories, and, if wronged, may be redressed; and that there were some overtures
concerning this case, transmitted by the General Assembly, in anno 1711, to the several Presbyteries of this Church, that they might send their remarks thereupon to
the then ensuing General Assembly, before the same should be turned into standing
acts; but no returns having been made thereto from Presbyteries, by reason of a law
soon after made, restoring to patrons the power of presentation, a grievance which
this Church hath always complained of from the Reformation; it is therefore overtured, that when a parish falleth vacant, the Presbytery in whose bounds it lies shall,
with all diligence, declare and intimate the vacancy, and, if there be no legal eldership settled therein according to the constitution of this Church, the Presbytery shall
not proceed to plant upon the jus devolutum, until they first use all proper means to
establish an eldership, consisting of such a number as has been usual in the parish;
as also, that before they proceed to plant upon the jus devolutum, they shall make intimation, from the pulpit of that parish, that the right is devolved upon the Presbytery;
but that they desiring to have the vacancy comfortably planted with the consent of
all concerned, do advertise and invite heritors and elders, or heritors and heads of
families, where there is not a legal eldership settled, to give in lists to the Presbytery
of such well qualified persons as they incline to call to the holy ministry. If such lists
shall be brought in to the next meeting of the Presbytery, either by the heritors and
elders jointly, or by the heritors apart, or the elders apart, or heads of families, where
there is no legal eldership, then the Presbytery shall appoint one of their number to
preach in that congregation, and moderate in a meeting of the heritors and elders for
choosing one out of the said list to be their minister; and the moderator of that meeting shall attest a call to him unto whom the plurality of the meeting have given their
suffrages; providing always, that the majority of the heritors who are well affected,
and do join in communion with this Church, do concur in the said call; as also, that
due and timeous intimation be made of the day of this meeting, that all concerned
may be advertised to attend the same. The elders likewise should try the inclinations of the heads of families, and persons of good reputation in that parish, and have
regard thereto in their choice of a minister, and where there are no elders, that the
Presbytery sound the inclinations of the people; and if it shall happen that there be
not a majority of heritors well affected, and joining in communion with this Church,
concurring in the said call, then the Presbytery shall not proceed to a settlement on
the said call till such heritors be dealt with for their consent and concurrence, or till
the advice of the Synod be had in that case; and that Synods, in judging of such
cases, shall have special regard to such heritors as are well affected and join in communion with this Church, as now by law established; but if, upon advertisement
given, no lists shall be brought in to the Presbytery from the vacant parish, then the
Presbytery shall make a list of two or three whom they judge well qualified and fit
for undertaking the ministry in that parish, and shall order intimation of their list to
be made to the vacant congregation, that any of the congregation may attend the next
meeting of the Presbytery, and show which of these in the Presbytery's list they desire to be their minister, or to object against any of the said list, if they have anything
of moment to offer, or even to add to the said list any other fit person, which addition the Presbytery shall admit; and the Presbytery shall use means both to know
the inclinations of heritors and people, and to obtain their consent unto the person
they most incline to, before they give a Presbyterial call to one in the list proposed;
and if, after all pains taken, and dealing with the heritors, elders, and people of the
vacant parish, in order to their comfortable settlement, with their own good liking
and consent, there be no hope of success, then the Presbytery may proceed to the
said settlement; but if any of the heritors, elders, or heads of families, or persons of
good reputation in the parish, do compear before the Presbytery, and offer objections against the person to be settled, either as to his orthodoxy, literature, life
and conversation, or other ministerial qualifications, the Presbytery, before they
proceed to the settlement, shall take trial of the said objections; and if any difficulty
occur, or that there appear any heat or division in the parish about a call, the Presbytery shall not proceed until they have the advice and direction of the Synod, and
shall acquaint the parish, that they may attend the Synod to hear their determination; or if there be any appeal from the Presbytery's procedure, they shall sist the
foresaid settlement till the time appointed for the next meeting of the Synod or the
General Assembly appealed to; and if the appellants do not then insist in their appeal, the Presbytery may proceed as if the same had never been made; but if the
appellants do insist, then the judicatory appealed to shall discuss the same without
delay, and give sentence therein as they shall see cause; and if there be a further
appeal from the Synod to the General Assembly, the foresaid settlement shall likewise stop until the time appointed for the meeting of the next General Assembly,
unless the appellants do pass from the said appeal: But because some persons, from
a litigious and disaffected humour, may oppose the settlement of a vacant church, and
appeal, with a design to continue the vacancy for some time longer; therefore, to
prevent this, that it be declared, that unless those who do oppose the planting of any
vacant parish do timeously give in, in writing, under their hands, objections against
the settlement designed, and give in also the reasons of their appeal within ten days
after the entering of it, in manner appointed by the Acts of the General Assembly, the
same shall not be regarded, nor the appeal received; but the settlement designed shall
go on, as if the objections and appeal had never been made; and the judicatory shall
intimate this to the objectors or appellants at making the said objections or appeals.
Lastly, That in case of vacant kirks in royal burghs, the magistrates and town council, ministers, and elders, of the burgh, be the electors; but where a part of the
parish belongs to the landward, the heritors and elders of that part of the vacant
parish are to join in the election and calling of the ministers to supply these vacancies, according to use and wont.
Overtures concerning Kirk-Sessions and Presbyteries.
The General Assembly, having had under consideration the Overtures concerning
Kirk-sessions and Presbyteries, transmitted by the late Commission, with the observations and remarks of several Presbyteries thereupon; but finding that divers Presbyteries had not had time maturely to consider these overtures, the Assembly did,
and hereby do, continue the foresaid overtures under the consideration of Presbyteries
till the next General Assembly, and appoints Presbyteries to send up their remarks and
opinion upon them to the next General Assembly; and because the meaning and
intention of divers passages in them hath been mistaken and understood differently
from the sense of the Commission and their committee, therefore, to prevent any
mistakes which may be entertained, the General Assembly have, from the remarks
of Presbyteries, made some amendments and explanations, as follows, viz.:—Page
5, line 13.—That the words ("Foundation of the Presbyterian government") be transposed to line 7, after "God's Word."
Page 8, parag. 4.—The first three lines are to be deleted, and to run thus,—"The
General Assembly, taking into their serious consideration," &c.
Page 11, line 3.—These words ("which are hereby allowed to continue") to be
Page 11.—In place of paragraph 8, read, "The kirk-sessions are to meet at such
times as are most convenient for the well ordering of the affairs of their congregations."
The ministers and elders ought always to study harmony and unanimity; but if
any question fall out in a session in matters of discipline to be executed by the minister nothing should be concluded unless it be agreed to by the minister and plurality
of elders, till the Presbytery give their advice and direction thereupon. And
in a collegiate session, where there are two ministers, one of them agreeing with the
majority of the elders, or both, with half of the elders, shall decide a cause; if more
ministers than two, then a majority of both ministers and elders, or an equal half of
one agreeing with the majority of the other, is necessary for a decisive sentence in
matters of discipline, to be executed as above. In matters concerning the relief of
the poor, the deacons have an equal vote with the elders.
And the General Assembly, considering that it is but in some few burghs where
general sessions are, and that the Presbyteries in whose bounds these burghs lie
have most access to know the constitution and practice of the General Sessions; the
General Assembly do therefore recommend to the respective Presbyteries in whose
bounds these burghs are, to inquire into the constitution and practice of the said
General Sessions, and report to the next General Assembly.
Nota.—The foresaid overtures having been already laid before the several Presbyteries in print, it was thought not needful to print them again this year,
and send them to Presbyteries a second time.