Acts
1801

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Institute of Historical Research

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Church Law Society (editors)

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1843

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882-887

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'Acts: 1801', Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842 (1843), pp. 882-887. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=60203 Date accessed: 24 July 2014.


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The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 21, 1801

I. Sess. 1, May 21, 1801.—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 21, 1801.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.

George, R.
Right Reverend and well-beloved, we greet you well. It is your peculiar duty to provide for the preservation of pure religion, both in faith and morals, and to remember that the advancement of piety, and the practice of every Christian duty, at all times demand from you the greatest assiduity and care. But if these considerations are at any time entitled to more than ordinary attention, it is when notions and principles, equally destructive of the temporal and eternal welfare of those who entertain them, have been industriously propagated amongst all orders and degrees of men.

It is to the credit of those to whom the interests of Christianity are more peculiarly consigned, that the evil tendency of these notions and principles has been exposed, and that their progress has in a great degree been checked; but the experience of every day still serves to convince us that the slightest relaxation of those exertions (which Divine Providence has hitherto crowned with success) may be productive of the most fatal and ruinous effects; that the enemies of the Christian religion (like the enemies of social order) are always on the watch, and will not fail to profit by every advantage which lukewarmness or inadvertence may afford them, and that, therefore, the friends of piety and good morals still look up to you for that protection which they can most effectually receive from your unremitting vigilance and attention.

That these expectations will not be disappointed, your past conduct affords us a sufficient pledge; and we feel the fullest assurance, that that gravity and devotion of mind, that loyal attachment to our person, that tender concern for the welfare of the people committed to your charge, and that spirit of Christian love and charity towards each other, which have hitherto characterized your proceedings, will not be withdrawn from them, at a time when they are calculated to produce the best effects, and to avert the most disastrous evils.

The just rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland are objects of our especial care; and when we repeat the assurance of our firm resolution to maintain them unimpaired, we adjure you duly to consider the various important duties which it is incumbent upon you faithfully to discharge, and to reflect that not only the welfare of the establishment, and the interests of civil society, claim from every individual the strictest attention to his conduct, but that the very existence of religion itself may depend upon the precepts and example of its appointed ministers.

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; and it affords us the greatest satisfaction to reflect, that the sentiments, which we formerly expressed, of confidence in his zeal for the cause of religion, and for the peace and prosperity of the Church of Scotland, have been confirmed by the experience of another year; and that you will consequently continue to receive from his faithful services the most effectual co-operation and support in promoting the two great ends of religion, the glory of God and the welfare of mankind. And so we bid you heartily farewell.

Given at our Court of St James's the 12th day of May 1801, in the forty-first year of our reign.

By his Majesty's Command,
Portland.

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 23, 1801.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.

May it please your Majesty,
We have received, with the most sincere respect and gratitude, the very gracious letter with which your Majesty has been pleased to honour this meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Sensible that it is our peculiar duty to provide for the preservation of pure religion, and remembering that the advancement of piety, and the practice of every Christian duty, at all times demand from us the greatest assiduity and care, we feel that these considerations are entitled to more than ordinary attention, when notions and principles equally destructive of the temporal and eternal welfare of those who entertain them, have been industriously propagated amongst all orders and degrees of men. These notions and principles, we beg leave to assure your Majesty, it is our firm purpose steadily and uniformly to oppose; and we hope that our endeavours, combining with the efforts of all to whom the interests of Christianity are sacred, and aided by the blessing of the Most High, may still be effectual to expose their evil tendency, and check their progress.

In times like the present, when the enemies of religion (like the enemies of social order) are always on the watch, and will not fail to profit by every advantage which lukewarmness or inadvertence may afford them, we feel that the duties incumbent on us are unusually difficult and momentous. We are convinced that any relaxation of these exertions, which Divine Providence has hitherto crowned with success, may be productive of the most fatal and ruinous effects; and acting under the influence of this conviction, we shall study to afford to the friends of piety and good morals, every protection which can result from the vigilant discharge of the important duties which your Majesty has so earnestly recommended to our attention.

We are encouraged to apply ourselves, with the most unwearied zeal and assiduity, to the accomplishment of this great object, by the confidence which your Majesty is pleased to repose in us; and while we have a proper sense of the difficulties with which the friends of religion and good order have to contend, we are grateful to Almighty God, that we are blessed with a Sovereign whose example and authority are uniformly employed to enforce the sanctions of religion, and give weight to the admonitions of its teachers. We trust that, both as individuals, watching over the people under our care, and as an Assembly, consulting for the general interest of the Church of Scotland, we shall ever maintain that sacred sense of religious obligation; that loyal attachment to your Majesty's person and government; that tender concern for the welfare of the people committed to our charge; and that spirit of Christian love and charity towards each other, which have hitherto recommended us to your royal protection, and which your Majesty has condescended to mention with approbation.

We rely, with entire confidence, on your Majesty's gracious assurance, that the just rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland are objects of your especial care, and that it is your resolution to maintain them unimpaired. That your Majesty has deigned to admonish us with such affectionate zeal, of the various and important duties incumbent on us, we consider as a renewed proof of that warm concern for the interests of religion, and the prosperity of your people, which has rendered your Majesty so justly dear to all good men. We are sensible that in the manner in which these duties are discharged, the welfare of the establishment, the interests of civil society, and the influence of religion, must, in a great measure, depend; and we take the liberty to assure your Majesty that, both by our precepts and our example, we shall ever study to promote the interests of religion and virtue, and to diffuse among the people under our care sentiments of attachment to our happy constitution, loyalty to your Majesty's person and government, and zeal for the public good.

The representation of your royal person in our General Assemblies we regard with the highest respect, as the symbol of that union between Church and State which tends to give stability to both. We receive as a testimony of your paternal regard for the interests of the Church of Scotland, the appointment of the Earl of Leven and Melville as your Majesty's Commissioner in this Assembly. His approved loyalty to your Majesty; his warm zeal for the cause of religion; his hereditary attachment to the Church of Scotland, and his tried fidelity in the high office with which your Majesty has again been pleased to invest him, give us the fullest confidence that we shall continue to receive from his faithful services the most effectual co-operation and support, in promoting the two great ends of religion, the glory of God and the welfare of mankind.

Your Majesty's donation of L.1000, for the propagation of Christian Knowledge in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, we have received with the most sincere gratitude; and it shall be our care to employ this mark of your royal munificence for promoting, in the most efficacious manner, the pious purpose for which it is bestowed.

That Almighty God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may protect your Majesty's person and prolong your reign;—that He may bless the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family;—that He may direct your councils, and prosper your administration;—that He may continue with us the inestimable advantages which we enjoy under your Majesty's mild and equitable government, and transmit them as an inheritance to future generations; and that, after a long and happy reign over a free, a loyal, and a religious people, He may receive you into those mansions where the just inherit an unfading crown, are the fervent 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 Ritchie, Moderator.

IV. Sess. 3, May 23, 1801.—Address to his Majesty on the present Situation of Public Affairs.

May it please your Majesty,
We, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland met together in the General Assembly, beg leave to approach your throne with the warmest sentiments of thankfulness to God, and of affection to your Majesty, which your recovery from a late dangerous sickness can raise in the minds of dutiful subjects, who have so long enjoyed the blessings of your mild and auspicious administration.

It is with much satisfaction, that we can assure your Majesty of the steady loyalty and attachment of the great body of your Majesty's subjects in this part of the United Kingdom to your Majesty's person and government, of the strong sensation of alarm which they felt on your Majesty's late illness, and their unfeigned joy on your restora tion to health. At the same time, we gladly bear testimony to their patient endurance of all the hardships of the late uncommon scarcity, which could be equalled only by the generous exertions of the superior ranks for their relief.

When we consider the unprecedented state of war and desolation, of fear and alarm, into which Europe has been thrown, by the daring ambition and unjust usurpations of France; the repeated and audacious attempts she has made to corrupt the minds of your Majesty's subjects in their principles of religion and loyalty, and the implacable rage with which she has persisted in her enmity to the British Empire, we contemplate with the highest admiration the steadiness and magnanimity of your Majesty's councils and conduct amidst the wreck of so many states; and we return thanks to Almighty God, for having inspired your Majesty with such unshaken fortitude and persevering wisdom.

Amidst the splendid achievements of your Majesty's reign, permit us to say, that we admire and rejoice in none more than in your most fortunate completion of a legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland, a measure of state so long wished for with anxiety by the wise, and which, whether we consider its magnitude, the difficulty of its accomplishment, or the great and important effects it is likely to produce, must stand recorded in the annals of the world as a masterpiece of human policy, and a lasting monument of your Majesty's paternal wisdom. The experience which your Majesty's subjects, in this part of the United Kingdom, have had, for nearly a century past, of the happy consequences of a similar measure, entitles them to look forward with joyful expectation to no distant period, when the United Empire in general, and the neighbouring Island in particular, shall reap the full fruits of your Majesty's wise and magnanimous councils.

While we congratulate your Majesty on having so happily increased the energy and security of your dominions by this memorable act of union, we rejoice in having, at the same time, an opportunity of expressing our fervent gratitude to Almighty God for the success with which he has crowned your Majesty's arms. We consider those victories achieved in the Baltic and Egypt, as having added new splendour to the conduct and valour of your Majesty's naval and military forces; and we trust that, by the blessing of Heaven, they may be the means of opening the eyes of those nations, who, deluded or overawed, have tamely yielded to the haughty mandates of an ambitious and arrogant power, of terminating speedily the horrors of war, and of leading to a general peace, which may secure the just rights of contending nations, and restore to the world concord and tranquillity.

Your Majesty, we humbly hope, will not consider it as unbecoming or unseasonable, if we mingle with our joy for the victory in Egypt, our regret for the death of the good and gallant hero, Sir Ralph Abercromby, under whom it was achieved. We unite with the rest of our fellow-subjects in feeling that, by his death, your Majesty's service and kingdom have sustained a signal loss. But this General Assembly has, at the same time, peculiar motives to indulge a tender interest in his fate, as one who was a member of our Church, and whose name stands on the roll of our present Assembly. The nation will raise a monument to his valour—it is our melancholy duty to record and attest to posterity his virtue.

That Almighty God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may protect your Majesty's person, direct your councils, and render your administration prosperous;—that He may bless our gracious Queen, their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family; and that, after you have reigned long with felicity and wisdom over a free, grateful, and happy people, He may bestow on you that crown of righteousness that fadeth not away, are the earnest 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 Ritchie, Moderator.

V. Sess. 8, May 29, 1801.—New Overture respecting the Licensing of Probationers.

(Re-transmitted.)

VI. Sess. 9, May 30, 1801.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.

The General Assembly, &c.

VII. Sess. 9, May 30, 1801.—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.

VIII. Sess. 9, May 30, 1801.—Order and Injunction of the General Assembly to the Presbyteries of the Church, concerning Teachers and Schoolmasters.

The General Assembly find, from the report of their committee, that fifty Presbyteries of this Church have sent up reports of their obedience to the order of last Assembly, concerning teachers and schoolmasters; that many of those Presbyteries, probably from the circumstance of not having received in due time a printed copy of the order, have not complied with all the injunctions contained in it; and, in particular, have failed in taking trial of the qualification of private teachers, and in transmitting a copy of their report to the sheriff of the country; and that twenty-eight Presbyteries have not yet reported their obedience.

The General Assembly being satisfied from the report of their committee, that the order of last Assembly has produced the most beneficial and important effects in various districts of this Church, unanimously agree to renew the order of last Assembly in all its parts; peremptorily enjoin those Presbyteries who have not yet obeyed the order to send up reports to next Assembly; enjoin those Presbyteries whose reports do not come up to the terms of the order, to cause it to be read at their first ordinary meeting, to proceed without delay to supply the deficiencies of their former procedure, and to report their obedience to next Assembly: And recommend to those Presbyteries whose reports are complete to continue their laudable attention to this important object; and to report to next Assembly any new facts relative to teachers and school masters that may arise within their bounds during the ensuing year. And the General Assembly appoint their clerks to cause separate copies of this resolution to be printed, together with copies of the order of Assemblies, 1799 and 1800, relative to this matter; and to transmit copies thereof to the moderator of each Presbytery of this Church, to be laid by him before the Presbytery at their first ordinary meeting after receiving the same.

IX. Sess. ult., June 1, 1801.—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 20th day of May 1802.

Extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
Andrew Dalzel, Cls. Eccl. Scot.



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