The principal acts the general assembly, holden and
begun at Edinburgh, May 6, 1742.
I. Sess. 1, May 6, 1742.—The King's Commission to Alexander Earl of Leven produced,
and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 6, 1742.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly,
presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
George, R., &c.
III. Sess. 3, May 8, 1742.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious
May it please your Majesty, &c.
IV. Sess. 3, May 8, 1742.—Act disjoining the Presbytery of Long-Island, and erecting the
same into two distinct Presbyteries.
There was transmitted to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, from
their committee for bills, a scheme prepared by the Presbytery of Long-Island, upon
a recommendation of the Synod of Glenelg, who had consented to the disjunction of
the said Presbytery, and erecting the same into two distinct Presbyteries. And the
General Assembly having heard the said scheme read over, with the opinion of the
committee for bills thereupon, did, and hereby do, according thereto, disjoin the
parishes of Lochs, Stornoway, Barvas, and Uig, from the Presbytery of Long-Island,
and do erect these four parishes into a Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of
Lewis, and to have their meetings for ordinary at Carlway; and did, and hereby do,
erect the parishes of Harris, North Uist, South Uist, and Barra, into another Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Uist, and to have their ordinary meetings at
Carinish; and that the Presbytery of Lewis shall, at the first meeting after their
erection, appoint the ministers of Stornoway and Uig for that year as their correspondents; and, at their first meeting in the ensuing year, the ministers of Lochs and
Barvas, and so on, in all succeeding years, by turns to attend the meeting of the Presbytery of Uist, at Scarista in Harris, when, upon any emergency, they shall be called
to meet with them there; and do appoint that the Presbytery of Uist, in like manner,
appoint the ministers of Harris and Barra for the first year, and the ministers of North
and South Uists for the next year, and so on, in all subsequent years, by turns, as
correspondents, to attend the meetings of the Presbytery of Lewis, at Scarista in
Harris, as the importance of any affair depending before them shall require; and that
each of these Presbyteries have right to be represented in the General Assembly;
and the Assembly do authorise the Synod of Glenelg to appoint the time of the first
meeting of the above mentioned Presbyteries of Uist and Lewis. And the Assembly
declare these Presbyteries to have the same powers and privileges which any other
Presbytery have, by the Word of God and constitution of this Church.
V. Sess. 9, May 15, 1742.—Act for the better Attendance of Members on the Commission
of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly do enjoin the several Presbyteries to the observance of the
6th Act of Assembly, 1703, and the 6th and 15th Acts, 1705, "For the better Attendance of Members on the Meetings of the Commission;" and that the Presbyteries read
over these Acts at their first meetings after the Assembly, and enjoin the observation
of them on their members; and that the Presbyteries, after every quarterly meeting
of the Commission, take account of the attendance of their members, and to inquire
into the reasons or excuses of such as have not attended, and to censure them who
have been absent without sufficient cause.
VI. Sess. 10, May 17, 1742, ante meridiem.—Act and Overture about the Manner of
Licensing Probationers. (fn. *)
The General Assembly, taking into their serious consideration the danger that
ariseth to this Church, and to the souls of people, by licensing any to preach the
Gospel who are not duly qualified, according to the rules laid down in the Holy Scriptures; and considering that the several Acts made by former General Assemblies lie
so scattered in many separate articles, at great distance from one another, that the
directions therein given are in danger of being overlooked by Presbyteries: Therefore, the General Assembly renew all former Acts, and strictly ordain them to be
observed by Presbyteries in all time coming, in manner following, viz.:—
1mo, That no Presbytery admit any person to probationary trials but such as are
found to be of good report, of sufficient learning, sound principles, of a pious, sober,
grave, and prudent behaviour, and of a peaceable disposition, and well affected to the
government in Church and State; and of whom they have sufficient grounds to conceive that they shall be useful and edifying in the Church; and that careful inquiry
be made thereanent; and that, without respect of persons, such as are esteemed to be
light and vain in their behaviour, imprudent, proud, worldly-minded, or unacquainted
with the power of practical godliness, be kept back from that sacred work.
2do, That none be admitted to trials, in order to be licensed, but such as have
attended the profession of divinity for six years, or have closely followed the study of
divinity and of the languages for that space, at least, after they have passed their full
course of philosophy at the College; and that the usual school degrees be inquired
after, and made proficiency therein, in case their circumstances did not allow them to
attend the profession; though it were to be desired they should attend the profession
of divinity much of that time. But this shall not be extended to students having the
Irish language, providing, that before any Presbytery license such students within
six years, they first consult the Synod of the bounds.
3tio, The General Assembly, considering the reproach that may be brought on religion in general, and particularly on this Church, by the unworthy behaviour of
such as follow the study of divinity, do earnestly recommend to the Presbyteries,
professors of divinity, and ministers and members of this Church, to keep a watchful
eye on such students during the said six years. And, further, that when any student comes to attend the profession of divinity in any university, he shall produce to
the Professor, and to the minister of the parish where he is to reside during the
time of his attendance on the profession, a testimonial from the minister from whence
he comes; and, when he leaves the profession, he shall carry back testimonials from
the minister of the parish, of his grave and suitable behaviour becoming his character,
and from the Professor, testifying the same; and also his regular attendance on the
diets of the profession, and the time he has attended. And when any Profesor of
Divinity shall think fit to recommend a student, in order to probationary trials, his
testimonials shall bear not only his proficiency in his studies, but his judgment of his
moral and Christian character; and that, in his opinion, such an one may be useful
and edifying in the work of the ministry, on producing whereof, the Presbytery,
after due consideration, shall admit him or not, as they shall see cause.
4to, The General Assembly do appoint and ordain, that no Presbytery admit any
student to probationary trials, except such as have resided within their bounds for
the space of six years, or do produce to them sufficient testimonials from the Presbyteries in whose bounds they have lived, or for the most part resided, expressly, that
it is the desire of these Presbyteries that these students should be entered upon
trials. And such students as come from abroad shall produce satisfying testimonials
from the professors under whom they studied, and the time of their being abroad
shall be accounted a part of the said six years; but none of these students shall be
entered upon trials for the space of a whole year after they come to Scotland.
5to, When any student is proposed to a Presbytery, in order to be taken on trials,
the proposal shall lie on the table till the next ordinary meeting, before they give
judgment therein, that diligent inquiry may be made, and information had concerning the said student's qualifications and behaviour; and the Presbytery shall be
alone both when the proposal is made and judged on. And the General Assembly
recommends to all students to take all opportunities of cultivating an acquaintance
with the ministers of the Presbytery where they reside; and, particularly, during
the said interval, they are hereby appointed to attend such of the ministers as shall
desire to discourse with them in private.
6to, When the Presbytery, after serious inquiry and mature deliberation, shall
agree to take the proposed candidate on trials, before his entry thereto, the General
Assembly appoints them, by themselves, or a committee of their number, to take a
private and previous trial of the progress he has made in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages; in the study of philosophy, and his knowledge in divinity, theoretical, polemical, and practical, especially such points as shall be matter of the present
debates and controversies; his acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures, and what impression he has of religion on his own soul; his knowledge of the constitution of the
primitive Christian Church, and also of our own, and of the government and discipline thereof; and of his spiritual wisdom to deal with the several sorts of persons he
may have to do with, namely, Atheists, despisers of religion, careless and secure persons, weak and tender consciences, and others, wherein the great difficulty of the
pastoral charge lies; and, particularly, anent his ends and intentions in entering upon the preaching of the Gospel; and that they appoint three or four of their number for managing the said trials. And the General Assembly further appoint the
several Presbyteries concerned to take special care that these trials be not managed
in an overly and superficial manner, but as in the sight of God and our Lord Jesus
Christ, the alone King and Head of his Church; and either to reject or delay to
further trial such as are found not sufficiently qualified.
7mo, The General Assembly appoints the same method to be observed, and trials
to be taken in all the above particulars, before any Presbytery recommend a student
to pass trials in another Presbytery; and that the student so recommended shall
not be entered on trials in any other Presbytery, until he has resided at least
half a year within their bounds.
8vo, The General Assembly do also appoint and ordain that, the above space of
six years being expired, and testimonials produced, and previous trials taken in
manner above directed, the Presbytery, before they prescribe any part of public
trials, shall write letters to all the Presbyteries within the bounds of the Synod, three
months at least before the sitting of the Synod, acquainting them with their design; and, at the next meeting of the Synod, they shall also acquaint the Synod
thereof, and obtain their special advice and judgment in that particular; and that
the members of the said Presbytery and Synod may be ripely advised thereanent,
the General Assembly appoints the said letters to be duly and carefully transmitted
to the several Presbyteries, and that intimation thereof be publicly made at the
second diet of the Synod, to lie on the table till another diet, and then particular inquiry be made whether any person have any thing to object against the students
being entered on trials for preaching the Gospel.
9no, The General Assembly recommends to Presbyteries, that, before any student
is entered on trials, the engagements required by Act 10, Assembly, 1711, of such as
are to be licensed, be read to them; and that the Presbytery take promise of them
that they will subscribe to and punctually observe the same, in case the Presbytery
see cause to license them; and that this promise be recorded in their books.
10mo, The General Assembly appoints the public probationary trials of students,
who are to be licensed probationers, to be these following, viz.: 1mo, The public catechetic trials to be renewed in presence of the Presbytery on all the heads mentioned
in the previous trials, and that previously to all the other parts of public trials; 2do,
A homily in English on a Scripture text; 3tio, An exegesis in Latin, on a controverted head of divinity, and sustaining a thesis and dispute thereon; 4to, An exercise
and addition; 5to, A lecture on a large portion of Scripture; 6to, A popular sermon
on a particular text of Scripture; 7mo, A trial on chronology and Church history,
especially the history of our own Church. Lastly, Interpreting a portion of the Old
Testament in Hebrew, and of the New in Greek, ad aperturam libri.
11mo, The General Assembly judging it fit that the same method should be followed in all Presbyteries, as to questions put to and engagements taken of probationers when licensed; and that the said probationers should not only give sufficient
proof of their piety, literature, and other good qualifications for the sacred ministry,
but also come under the strictest engagements to adhere to and maintain the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this Church, do, therefore, enact and
appoint that the questions appointed by Act 10, 1711, be put to all such as pass
trials; and, likewise, that they shall subscribe the formula set down in the said Act,
before they be licensed to preach the Gospel. And the General Assembly strictly
prohibits the licensing any person whatsoever, who shall not give explicit and satisfying answers to these questions, and subscribe the said formula, and discharges any
Presbytery to make use of any other questions or formula.
12mo, When any Presbytery who, with the Synod's allowance, has entered, or who
is about to enter a student on trials, shall receive a letter from any Presbytery, showing
their dissatisfaction with the student entered, or to be entered on trials, and giving
relevant grounds for the same, which they offer to verify to the Presbytery at their
next meeting, the said student shall not be licensed until the matter be tried. And
the General Assembly appoints Presbyteries who shall receive such letters anent students, from any other Presbytery, to write a return with the first post after their meeting, acquainting them of their next diet.
13mo, The General Assembly, considering that some persons, who, upon application to the judicatories of this Church, have not been admitted on trials, or have not
been found fit and worthy to be licensed to preach, do yet retire out of the bounds
of this Church, where they are not so well known, in order to enter upon trials, and
after they have been licensed do not recommend themselves by a holy life and ministerial conversation, to the reproach of the Church of Scotland, where they were
educated: Therefore, the General Assembly do hereby inhibit and discharge all
young men, educated in this Church, or students of divinity, to go to foreign places,
and offer themselves to trivals for licence to preach the Gospel, without testimonials
and recommendations from their Presbyteries as above directed. And further, order
and appoint that no student whatsoever, coming from abroad, shall be allowed to
preach within this Church, as one of our probationers, until it appear documented
that they have followed the study of divinity for six years after their finishing their
course of philosophy, and until they undergo anew their catechetic trials, and come
under the engagements, and sign the formula appointed by the 10th Act, Assembly,
1711, and it appear by their licence, that the said probationers have been licensed
by a regularly constituted Presbytery or classical meeting.
14mo, For the better observation of this Act, it is particularly recommended to
the Professors of Divinity to communicate the contents thereof to their students,
in a public meeting annually, at such time in the month of January as to them seem
most convenient. And all Presbyteries and Synods are peremptorily appointed to
observe the same in all its parts. And it is strictly enjoined, that the visitors of
Presbytery-books make strict inquiry how the several Presbyteries do observe the
The General Assembly do appoint, that the above overture have the force of an
Act for the space of one year from this date; and do order that all Presbyteries shall
read this Act when they are about to take any young man on trials, and shall, in the
licences they grant, express the particular trials the candidate has passed in terms
of this Act; and if the Presbytery shall not report any material objections or alterations to the next Assembly thereupon, this Assembly are of opinion that the next
General Assembly may fitly pass the same into a standing Act.
VII. Sess. 10, May, 1742, ante meridiem.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling
Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, &c.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 17, 1742.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for Refor
mation of the Highlands and Islands, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty
for that end.
The General Assembly do hereby nominate, commission, and appoint, the Rev.
Mr Thomas Tullideph, Principal of St Leonard's College, at St Andrews, their Moderator, &c. (The Act proceeds in the same terms as that of the immediately
IX. Sess. ult., May 17, 1742, post meridiem.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General
The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be held in
this place, upon the second Thursday of May next, being the 12th day of that month,
in the year 1743.
The General Assembly was concluded with prayer, and singing of the 133d Psalm
throughout, and pronouncing the blessing.
Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
William Grant, Cls. Eccl. Scot.