The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 17, 1798.
I. Sess. 1, May 17, 1798.—The King's Commission to David Earl of Leven and Melville
produced, and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 17, 1798.—The Kings's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly,
presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
Right Reverend and well-beloved, we greet you well. The experience of many
years authorises us to repose the fullest confidence in the wisdom of your counsels
and measures, and the temper of your minds, and calls upon us to repeat those assurances of our paternal affection towards you so justly due to your venerable body.
We are firmly persuaded, that our entire kingdom will derive the greatest advantages from the deliberations of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
At the same time, we trust that your proceedings will continue to be distinguished
by that gravity and calmness, by that loyal attachment to our person, by that love
for the people committed to your charge, and that spirit of Christian charity, one towards another, which cannot fail to confer dignity on yourselves, and to give authority to your decisions.
We recommend it to you, most earnestly, to persevere in your attention to the advancement of piety, and the practice of all Christian duties, both moral and positive;
to the preservation of sound doctrine, and the checking those loose notions, both in
faith and morality, which are the disgrace of these times, and which, unless timely
counteracted, must operate to the destroying of all good principles in the hearts of
men, to the dissolving all the bands of society, and to the provoking of the displeasure of Almighty God.
We have again constituted and appointed our right trusty and right well-beloved
cousin, David Earl of Leven and Melville, to be our Commissioner, and to represent our royal person in this Assembly. We know his ardent zeal for the great cause
of religion, and the steady regard which has ever filled his mind for the peace and
prosperity of the Church of Scotland, and, therefore, we do, with the greater satisfaction, repose in his faithful hands the execution of this important trust.
We avail ourselves of this fresh opportunity of assuring you of our full determination to maintain and preserve the Church of Scotland in the complete enjoyment of
all its just rights and privileges; and we do solemnly adjure you to reflect upon and
fulfil, conjointly and individually, all those various duties which the well-being of
the establishment, the interests of civil society, and religion itself, so forcibly, at this
awful moment, demand. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
Given at our Court at St. James's, the 11th day of May 1798, in the thirty-eighth
year of our reign.
By his Majesty's Command,
Addressed thus:— To the Right Reverend and Well-beloved, the Moderator,
Ministers, and Elders, of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
III. Sess. 3, May 19, 1798.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious
May it please your Majesty,
Your Majesty's most gracious letter to this meeting of the General Assembly of
the Church of Scotland was received with the highest respect.
The full confidence which your Majesty is pleased to repose in the wisdom of our
proceedings, and the renewed assurances of your paternal affection, are most endearing testimonies of your royal favour, and fill our minds with the warmest gratitude
to our beloved Sovereign.
The persuasion your Majesty has condescended to express of the great advantages
which will result to your entire kingdom from the deliberations of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, is a most powerful incitement to us, in all our
proceedings, to conduct ourselves with that gravity and calmness, and that loyal attachment to your sacred person; and to cultivate that love for the people committed
to our charge, and that spirit of Christian charity, one towards another, which will
best secure the dignity of our order, and give authority to our decisions.
Feeling, as we do, the atmost abhorrence of those loose notions, both in faith and
morality, which are the disgrace of these times; and animated by an ardent zeal to
counteract their pernicious influence, we listen, with profound reverence, to your
royal recommendation; and shall steadily persevere in our exertions for the preservation of sound doctrine, and for the advancement of genuine piety, and the
practice of all Christian duties, both moral and positive; in the humble hope that
we may thus prove the means of averting the displeasure of Almighty God, and of
promoting the happiness of your Majesty's subjects, by contributing to the maintenance of pure religion, of good government, and of social order.
Your Majesty's knowledge of the ardent zeal of the Earl of Leven and Melville in
the great cause of religion, and of his steady regard for the peace and prosperity of
the Church of Scotland, and the long and pleasing experience we have had of his
fidelity in the discharge of the duties of that high and important trust with which he
is now invested, render the re-appointment of him to represent your royal person peculiarly acceptable to this Assembly.
Your royal donation for propagating Christian Knowledge in the Highlands and
Islands of Scotland, we receive as a continued proof of your Majesty's paternal concern for the spiritual as well as temporal interests of your subjects; and we shall
study, by a wise and faithful application of it, to promote the pious and benevolent
purpose for which it is granted.
We rely, with perfect confidence, on the fresh assurance of your Majesty's determination to maintain and preserve the Church of Scotland in the complete enjoyment of all its just rights and privileges. Deeply affected with the impressive charge
of our Sovereign, who, with paternal affection, solemnly adjures us to reflect upon
our sacred obligations, we pledge ourselves to your Majesty, that, through the help
of God, we will, both conjointly and individually, fulfil all those various duties which
the well-being of the establishment, and the interests of civil society and of religion
do, at this awful moment, so forcibly demand.
That the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may long preserve your sacred
person, direct your councils, and crown your undertakings with abundant success;
that He may bless our most gracious Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and
all the Royal Family; that there may never be wanting one of your royal house to sit
on the throne of these kingdoms to latest ages; and that, after a long, useful, and
happy reign, you may exchange an earthly for a heavenly crown, are, and shall be,
the sincere prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in
this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
William Taylor, Moderator.
IV. Sess. 5, May 22, 1798.—Address to his Majesty on the present Situation of Public
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of
the Church of Scotland met in the General Assembly, beg leave to embrace this
opportunity of approaching your throne, in order to express the sentiments which we
feel on occasion of the arduous contest in which this nation is engaged with a neighbouring hostile power.
During former times of tranquillity and peace, the ministers of this Church had
always studied to confirm the people under their charge in principles of loyalty
to your Majesty's person and government, and to inspire them with veneration for
that happy constitution, civil and sacred, with which we have long been blessed.
Now, when the day of trial is come, it is with the utmost satisfaction we behold the
happy effects of those sentiments which we have long endeavoured to instil. We
behold the great body of the people, in this country, united in zealous attachment to
your Majesty's government, and in resolute endeavours to defend their ancient
rights against every invader. We have the happiness of expressing to your Majesty
our firm persuasion, that the spirit of the country is now fully roused among all
ranks of men. They are sensible that all that is sacred to them as Christians, and
dear to them as men, is at stake; and that, in resisting their impious and ourtrageous
foes, they are not only defending a Sovereign whom they love and revere, and supporting a constitution under which they have long been happy, but defending, at the
same time, their own families, their persons, and property. We can assure your Majesty that, on our part, nothing shall be wanting to cherish these patriotic dispositions,
to stimulate the general ardour in the public cause, and to promote every measure
which the wisdom of your councils shall deem necessary for the security of the
We beg leave to congratulate your Majesty on the brilliant successes with which
it has pleased the Almighty already to bless your arms in various quarters.
Trusting to that gracious aid of Heaven, which has so often signally supported the
British throne, and defeated the attempts of unjust and violent enemies, we entertain
the firmest hopes that the insolent menaces of our present foes shall be completely
baffled, and that an honourable and lasting peace shall terminate the contest in which
your Majesty and the nation are now engaged.
That the God of battles may continue to bless your Majesty's fleets and armies;
that He may speedily give a check to the ambition and anarchy of those tyrannical
rulers who have disturbed the peace of so many surrounding nations; that He may
long preserve your Majesty's precious and important life, and still increase the lustre
and prosperity of your reign over a loyal and grateful people, shall ever be the fervent
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most dutiful, most faithful,
and most obedient subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in this
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
William Taylor, Moderator.
V. Sess. 6, May 23, 1798.—Act and Regulations respecting the Erection of Chapels of
The General Assembly, judging it expedient that no Chapel of Ease should be
erected without the knowledge and approbation of the General Assembly, unanimously did, and hereby do, ordain, that in future, if any petition shall be laid before
any Presbytery of this Church for the erection of a Chapel of Ease, the said Presbytery shall strictly observe the following regulations:—
"That in future, when a petition shall be laid before any Presbytery of this
Church for the erection of a Chapel of Ease, it shall lie upon the table till their next
ordinary meeting; and at that meeting, unless it shall appear to the Presbytery,
from the circumstances in which the petition is offered, that the erection of the said
Chapel of Ease is unnecessary and inexpedient, they shall cite the minister and kirksession of the parish within which the chapel is intended; and shall summon, by
edictal citation, the heritors of the parish; and if there is a burgh in the parish, the
magistrates of that burgh, to attend the next meeting of Presbytery, and to appear
for their interest in the subject of the petition, if they shall see cause: That such
Presbytery, after having heard the parties, shall sufficiently ascertain the circumstances on which the petition is founded,—the facts stated as reasons for the necessity or expediency of the chapel intended,—the general plan of the chapel itself,—
the estimate of the expense to be incurred in completing it,—the scheme laid down
for discharging the debts which it may be necessary to contract,—the plan on which
it is proposed to dispose of the collections to be made at the chapel,—the names and
designations of the persons in whom the property is to be vested,—the mode proposed for the election of the minister,—the stipend to be provided to him,—and the
security offered for the regular payment of the stipend. That such Presbytery shall
thereafter report the whole above mentioned circumstances of the case, from their
minutes, to the next meeting of the General Assembly, and shall not pronounce any
final judgment on the petition, till they shall have received the special directions of
the Assembly thereon;—and that it shall be competent for the petitioners, and for all
parties having interest, to be heard on the subject at the bar of the Assembly."
VI. Sess. 8, May 25, 1798.—Overture respecting the course of University Education to be
observed by Students, previous to their entering the Divinity Hall. (fn. *)
Whereas it has been represented, that students intended for the holy ministry do
sometimes hurry over their course of philosophy in two sessions of the university,
it is overtured, that it be recommended to students, previous to their entering a
Divinity Hall, to study literature and philosophy at a university during a course of
five complete sessions, in the following order, viz.:—
Session 1st, Humanity or Latin, with the elements of Greek in the first Humanity
and Greek classes.
Session 2d, Latin and Greek, in the higher Humanity and Greek classes, with
the elements of Mathematics.
Session 3d, Logic, with Greek and Mathematics in the higher classes.
Session 4th, Session 5th, Natural and Moral Philosophy, but not both in the same session;
together with Latin again, or Greek, or Mathematics, in one or more
of the higher classes.
But that it shall be expressly enacted, that no Professor of Divinity shall admit
any student into the Divinity Hall, until he produce certificates of his having studied
at a university during three complete sessions, in the following classes, viz.:—Logic,
together with Greek in the higher Greek class, and Natural and Moral Philosophy;
it being, in this case, understood that such students are well grounded in Latin and
the elements of Greek, previous to their entering the University.
VII. Sess. 9, May 26, 1798.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and
Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, &c.
VIII. Sess. 9, May 26, 1798.—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 for that end.
The General Assembly, &c.
IX. Sess. ult., May 28, 1798.—New Overture respecting the Licensing of Probationers.
X. Sess. ult., May 28, 1798.—Overture respecting the Attendance of Students on the
XI. Sess. ult., May 28, 1798.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be held
within the New Church Aisle of Edinburgh, on Thursday, the 23d day of May 1799.
Extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
Andrew Dalzel, Cls. Eccl. Scot.
Sess. 7, May 24, 1798.—Regulations adopted by the General Assembly, 1798, for a
new Gaelic Chapel in the City of Glasgow.
I. That the property of the house shall, for behoof of the congregation, be vested
in Donald Munro, merchant, John Macintosh, manufacturer, and the other petitioners, trustees and managers of said chapel, and their successors in office.
II. That the house shall be used only as a Chapel of Ease, and that it shall not
be competent to elect any minister or preacher to officiate therein but a licentiate of
the Church of Scotland, or a person who is an ordained minister according to the
rules of this Church; and who, before his ordination or admission, shall produce a certificate of his having taken the oaths to government, according to law; and that the
minister of the Chapel of Ease shall be under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery
within whose bounds the chapel lies, subject to censure or deposition by the Presbytery, and not removeable but according to the rules of the Church relating to ministers on the Establishment; and that the congregation which meets in said chapel
shall remain subject to the jurisdiction of the Church of Scotland, and her different
III. That the funds arising from the seat-rents shall be under the management of the
said Donald Munro, John Macintosh, and the other trustees and managers of the said
chapel, and their successors in office, and shall be applied, in the first place, to the
payment of the minister's stipend, precentor, and church-officer; and that, if there is
any overplus, it shall be converted into a sinking fund, out of which, as soon as the
present debt of the chapel shall be paid, the stipend of the minister may, from time to
time, be augmented.
IV. That the conduct of the managers, in the administration of the funds of the
chapel, shall be under the inspection and control of the Presbytery of Glasgow;
and, if the Presbytery shall see cause to summon them, the managers shall attend the
Presbytery, upon a citation of ten free days.
V. That the present managers shall supply any vacancy that may happen in their
number during the space of five years; that at the end of every five years there shall
be a new election of managers, by the same persons, and in the same manner, as shall
hereafter be directed in the case of the election of a minister.
VI. That the managers shall be liable and give security for the minister's stipend,
which shall be payable half-yearly or quarterly, as may be most convenient for the
VII. That the minister's stipend shall not be under seventy pounds sterling yearly.
VIII. That collections be made regularly at the chapel-doors, or in the chapel, and
that the sum arising therefrom shall be, bona fide, paid into the hands of the treasurer
of the General Sessions of Glasgow, and applied by them for the support of the poor
of the said city.
IX. That the minister first chosen is to be elected by a majority of the managers,
and all future elections shall be made only by those who possess seats in the chapel;
and to prevent all confusion and faction, those of each pew shall name one of their
number, on the day preceding the election, who shall vote for the minister; and the
name of the person so nominated, with the number who occupy the pew, shall be immediately given in to the managers; provided always, that where a whole seat is set
to one sitter, for himself, or his family, or others, he alone shall have the vote for such
pew; that previous to any election the managers shall cause intimation to be made
to be congregation in the chapel of the time fixed for the election, at least ten days
previous to the time so fixed, that, in the meantime, the vote for each pew, where
there are more sitters than one, shall be vested in one person. That the preses of the
managers for the time being shall preside at such election, and the candidate having
the majority of votes shall be preferred, and certified by the said preses; in consequence of which, the reverend Presbytery shall be requested to proceed to his trials
and ordination or admission, according to the rules of the Church. That in any future
vacancy, if no day of election shall be fixed by the managers within the space of six
months, then it shall be in the power of the Presbytery to fix a day of election, by
giving due previous intimation to the congregation of the said chapel.
X. That previous to the election a list of candidates, not exceeding five in number, shall be laid before the Presbytery of Glasgow.
XI. That when a vacancy happens in the Chapel of Ease, it shall be reported to the
Presbytery by the minister of the parish. That during the vacancy the managers shall
apply to the Presbytery of Glasgow, and shall have power, with consent of the Presbytery, to employ any minister or preacher of the Established Church to supply the
XII. That no candidate who is a probationer shall preach in said chapel before
having laid his licence and other certificates before the Presbytery of Glasgow, and
obtained their approbation; and no ordained minister, before he has produced to the
Presbytery a certificate of his ordination from the Presbytery to which he belongs.
XIII. That the election of a new minister, when reported to the Presbytery, shall
be accompanied with a letter of acceptance from the person elected, with a renewal
of the security for payment of the stipend.
XIV. That after the candidate preferred is admitted and ordained a minister, it
shall be lawful for him to perform all ministerial services for the members of his own
congregation; particularly, to perform every part of public worship in his own pulpit, to which he shall have an exclusive right under the authority of the reverend
Presbytery; to marry after legal proclamation of banns, and to baptize after legal
XV. That upon a certificate of the moral character of the persons applying to be
admitted to the Sacraments from members of the parochial sessions to which they
belong, the minister may dispense the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
to the people who shall attend his ministry in the chapel, according to the Word of
God, and the Standards and practice of this National Church.
XVI. That as often as the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper shall be dispensed in
said chapel, a sum not exceeding one hundred pounds Scots shall be allowed, from
the collections made on these occasions, for communion-elements, &c.
XVII. That the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper shall be administered in the
chapel on the same day in which that ordinance is dispensed in the parish churches
of Glasgow; and that, during a vacancy, the minister to preside on that occasion shall
be appointed with the consent of the minister of the parish in whose bounds the
XVIII. That as this chapel is intended for the accommodation of those who speak
Gaelic only, or chiefly, seats shall be set to persons of this description only. That for
the same reason, the service shall be performed in Gaelic in the forenoon of every
Lord's Day; and that on occasion of dispensing the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper,
the sermons shall all be in Gaelic.
Note.— There is bound up with the original edition of the Acts of 1798 a "Warning and Admonition
to the people of Scotland by the Commission of the General Assembly, March 1, 1798," issued on the
occasion of the French Revolution. It will appear in the Appendix.—Ed. 1843.