The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 21, 1807
I. Sess. 1, May 21, 1807.—The King's Commission to Francis Lord Napier produced,
and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 21, 1807.—The King'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. Having had full and continued proof the sufficiency and fidelity of our right trusty and well-beloved Francis
Lord Napier, that he is a person every way qualified for rightly managing and discharging the duties of our Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of
Scotland, we have thought fit again to nominate and appoint him to represent our
royal person at the approaching meeting of your venerable body. We dobut not that
this our choice will be acceptable to you, and that it will be considered by you as
affording an undeniable proof of the sense which we entertain of that attachment to us
which you have not ceased to manifest, and of the laudable exertions with which you
have constantly promoted the accomplishment of those objects which, through a faithful and approved Commissioner, we have heretofore thought it our duty to recommend
to your special care. We rest assured, that the same attachment and the same exertions will still prevail among you, and that the happiness which has been experienced
by all ranks of people, under the blessings of an invaluable constitution, may still
continue to be felt. We are confident you will inculcate among those committed to
your care the indispensable necessity of a due submission to the laws, and a just
veneration for all constituted establishments and authorities. And that we may not
be wanting in that encouragement which we have not failed to afford to those who
labour to establish, upon a firm and sure basis, those blessings which, under DivineProvidence, we are now permitted to enjoy, we repeat to you our unalterable attachment to the Christian religion, and the unceasing regard which we entertain for the
peculiar privileges of our Church of Scotland; and we are persuaded, that by the
zealous endeavours of our representative to support its rights, and by the continual
care and watchfulness of you its appointed pastors, those principles of true religion
and piety will grow up and be established among you, upon which alone the welfare
and the happiness of them can be surely founded. It there be other principles, which
some have not feared to trust to and to teach, be assured that such men have
been blinded by the delusive novelties of false philosophy; and that although the
enemies of God's Holy Word should increase your labours, and multiply the difficulties with which you have to contend, the doctrines of true religion, inculcated by
your precepts, and sanctioned by your exemplary practice, will confound and put
them to shame. To you we commit, with confidence, the great and sacred trust of
watching over the morals of our people throughout an extensive and important part
of our United Kingdom. To your guidance we still anxiously look to lead them in the
paths of righteousness. We have seen, with increasing joy, the example afforded by
your own wisdom and virtue, constantly teaching them to bear up against all the
dangers and difficulties which have surrounded them; and we remain in the full
persuasion, that the wholesome doctrines of the Gospel, which you will not fail to recommend, will again support them in the hour of trial. Well-beloved, we recommend you most earnestly to God's holy blessing and protection, and heartily did you
Given at our Court at St James's, the 14th day of May 1807, in the forty-seventh
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 23, 1807.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious
May it please your Majesty,
Your Majesty's most gracious letter to this General Assembly of the Church of
Scotland hath been received with the strongest feelings of resplect and gratitude.
The renewed appointment of Francis Lord Napier to represent your royal person
in this Assembly we regard as a most acceptable proof of your Majesty's approbation and favour. Our experience of the ability with which he executes the duties of
his high trust, and of his zeal for maintaining the privileges of the Church of Scotland, have secured to him our respectful and cordial attachment.
The approbation which your Majesty is pleased to express of our exertions in promoting the objects which, on former occasions, your paternal wisdom has recommended to our care, while it excites our gratitude, and strengthens our affection
towards your Majesty, will animate our endeavours to perpetuate the happiness which
hath long been experienced by all ranks of people under the blessings of an invaluable constitution. We will inculcate among those committed to our care the indispensable necessity of a due submission to the laws, and a just veneration for all
constituted establishments and authorities. We acknowledge, with thankfulness and
joy, the encouragement afforded by your Majesty to all who labour to establish, upon
a firm and sure basis, those blessings which, under Divine Providence, are enjoyed in
this happy land. And we rely with the fullest confidence on the assurance which
your Majesty is pleased to renew, of your unalterable attachment to the Christian
religion, and of your unceasing regard for the peculiar privileges of the Church of
Scotland. Under the sanction of your royal authority, and the blessing of that Divine
Master whom we serve, we trust that success will crown our exertions to disseminate
hose principles of true religion and piety on which alone our national welfare can
ecurely rest. It there be other principles which some have not feared to trust to and
to teach, we are well assured that such men have been blinded by the delusive novel
ties of a false philosophy; and although the enemies of God's Holy Word may increase our labour, and multiply the difficulties with which we have to contend, we
trust that, through the influence of Divine grace, we shall be enabled to prevail against
them, by showing, out of a good conversation, our works with meekness of wisdom.
We feel all the importance of the trust reposed in us by your Majesty, and all the
value of that praise with which your Majesty is graciously pleased to honour us; and
we pray earnestly to Almighty God, that he would fit us to lead our people in the
ways of righteousness, and to support them by the wholesome doctrines of the Gospel in the hour of trial.
We entreat your Majesty to accept our humble acknowledgments for your continued attention to the religious interest of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
It shall be our endeavour to apply your royal bounty, so as most effectually to premote the object for which it is bestowed.
That Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may protect your Majesty's person, and prosper your government;—that He may bless abundantly our
gracious Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all the members of your
illustrious House;—that He may long continue to us the blessings which we enjoy
under your Majesty's anspicious regin; and that He may bestow upon you hereafter
a crown of glory, are the prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithfuly, most obedient,
and most loyal subjectgs, the Ministers and Elders met in this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
James Sheriffs, Moderator.
IV. Sess. 3, May 23, 1807.—Address to his Majesty on the present arduous Situation
of Public Affairs. (fn. *)
Most gracious Sovereign,
May it please your Majesty to accept the humble expression of the dutiful and
loyal sentiments with which the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland presome to approach their gracious Sovereign.
It is the happiness of your people that, during an auspicious regin of forty-seven
years, the conduct of your Majesty has been uniformly governed by the principles
which placed the House of Brunswick upon the throne of these realms; and the
ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, attached to those principles from
conviction, as well as by their habits and institutions, recollect with peculiar satisfaction, that your Majesty has exhibited the brightest example of a sacred regard to the
Protestant reformed religion. While, in the series of indulgences to Roman Catholic
subjects, which have marked your Majesty's reign, we recognize the enlightened
operation of a mild and tolerant spirit, we have always found your Majesty the faithful guardian of the Protestant establishment. We have lately seen the fences of that
establishment upheld by the firm and dignified exercise of the constitutional preogative of the crown, and feeling the security which all our rights and privileges derive
from the solicitude with which your Majesty discharges the duties of the Sovereign of
a free people, we unite with our fellow-subjects in offering the affectionate tribute
justly due to the royal cares for the public Welfare.
In recollecting your Majesty's uniform zeal for the interest of religion, justice, and
humanity; the many public measures for the promotion of these great interest by
which your Majesty's reign has been distinguished, and the exalted character which,
under your Majesty's government, the British nation has acquired; it is with heartfelt satisfaction that we congratulate your Majesty on the final abolition of the African
Slave Trade, which had so long polluted the commerce, and tarnished the honour of
the British name. We feel, in common with the great body of our fellow-subjects,
that the Act of the last Session of Parliament, which prohibited the further importation of slaves into the West India Colonies, will ever be regarded as one of the most
splendid events of your Majesty's reign; and while it proclaims to the world the
justice of the British character, will send the tidings of peace and benevolence to the
injured natives of Africa.
We watch with anxiety, but without dismay, the progress of the interesting events that
distinguish the times in which we live. We lament the calamities of war, but we have the
consolation of thinking, that although the inordinate ambition of our enemy renders the
prologation of the arduous contest indispensably necessary for the security and honour
of the British empire, the resources of the country are not exhausted, and the spirit of
the people is unbroken. While we hear with admiration and gratitude of the gallant
achievements of your Majesty's forces by sea and land, we behold all around us submitting patiently to the burdens and sacrifices to which the voice of their country calls
them; and we account it our bounden duty to exert all our influence in cherishing
that true patriotism which unites all orders of men in the national defence.
That the God of battles may bless your Majesty's arms;—that the wisdom and
vigour of your Majesty's councils may contine to establish your throne in the hearts
of your subjects; and that the British sceptre may, till the latest posterity, be swayed
by Prineces of your Illustrious House, formed by your example to maintain the liberties, and to possess the confidence of a grateful people, are the earnest prayers of,
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
James Sheriffs, Moderator.
V. Sess. 9, May 30, 1807.—Commission of the General Assembly to certain Ministers and
Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, &c.
VI. Sess. 9, May 30, 1807.—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.—(The Act is the same as that of last year.)
VII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1807,—Overture respecting the Licensing of Probationers.
VIII. Sess. ult., June 1, 1807.—Act anent Printing Commissions.
[The General Assembly, upon report of their Committee appointed to prepare an
enactment for printing Commissions, approve of the following enactment for printing
the Commissions from Presbyteries and Burghs. But in regard that the Forms of
Commissions from the several Universities differ in some respects from one another,
judged it best to continue them on their present footing.]
Whereas various invonvenience have been found to arise from the present usage
of the Church, with respect to the mode of making out commissions to the members
The General Assembly enact and appoint, that in future all commissions from
Presbyteries and Burghs shall be printed by the printer to the Church, under the
superintendent of the clerks of Assembly, aggreeably to the forms now authorised by
the General Assembly, with necessary blanks for names, designations, dates, and
qualifications—[Here must be narrated in a note the qualifications of Elders of
Burghs;]—and the expenses of the same defrayed out of the funds of the Church.
That a sufficient number of said blank commissions shall be forwarded by the clerks
of Assembly to all clerks of Presbyteries and Burghs, as soon as said commissions
can be printed; and that they shall be supplied by the clerks of Assembly with copies
of the same from time to time, as occasion may require, upon making a demand to
That although every commission from a Presbytery must contain the names of all
the persons chosen to represent that Presbytery, the Assembly nevertheless enact,
that it shall be competent for each of said delegates to require from the Presbytery
a regularly attested copy of the commission, which the said Presbytery must furnish,
upon the same being demanded in due time. It being understood, that only one copy
of the attested commission, from each Presbytery, shall be required by the Assembly
in making up the roll of its members; provided always, that if a commission shall
have been given into the clerk for the that purpose, in any respect defective or erroneous, it shall be competent for any other of the delegastes from that Presbytery to give
in another commission from his Presbytery, if he any has, which, if accurate, shall be
And as it may sometimes happen, that the clerks of Presbyteries, more especially
of such Presbyteries as are situated in remote parts of the country, may not be in
possession of such printed commissions as may be wanted, the Assembly appoint, that
in all such cases the commission shall be written out according to the forms and usage
of the Church previous to the date of this enactment.
IX. Sess. ult., June 1, 1807.—Overture respecting the Ordination of Elders.
(see Act 10th, 1816.)
X. Sess. ult., June 1, 1807.—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 19th day of May
Extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
Andrew Duncan, Cl. Eccl. Scot.