Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842. Originally published by Edinburgh Printing & Publishing Co, Edinburgh, 1843.
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The principal acts of the general assembly, holden and begun at edinburgh, may 8, 1746.
I. Sess. 1, May 8, 1746, ante meridiem.—The Meeting of the General Assembly. (fn. 1)
Which day, after sermon by Dr William Wishart, Principal of the College of Edinburgh, Moderator of the last General Assembly, the ministers and ruling elders, commissioners from Presbyteries, burghs, and universities, to the General Assembly of this National Church, did convene in the Assembly-House, and after prayer by the said Principal Wishart the names of the said commissioners were read out from their several commissions, and a roll, made up by the sub-clerk, was laid before the Assembly.
II. Sess. 4, May 16, 1746, ante meridiem.—The King's Commission to Alexander Earl of Leven produced, and ordered to be recorded. (fn. 1)
This day, the General Assembly being convened, there was produced to them,
by the Right Honourable Alexander Earl of Leven, his Majesty's Commission, sealed
with the Seal appointed by the Treaty of Union to be kept and used in Scotland in
place of the Great Seal of Scotland, making and constituting him his Majesty's High
Commissioner and representative in this Assembly, which Commission being publicly read with all due honour and respect, was appointed to be recorded in the books
of Assembly; the tenor whereof follows:—
III. Sess. 4, May 16, 1746.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioner.
Right trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. The experience we have at all times had, and the fresh proofs you have given on occasion of the present unnatural Rebellion, of your steady attachment to our person and government, and of your zeal for the support of the Protestant succession, engage us to return you our hearty thanks; and we do most readily countenance with our royal authority your meeting at this time, not doubting but you will continue to give us marks of your loyalty and affection to us, by exciting the people under your charge to a due sense of the blessings they enjoy under our government, and to a just abhorrence of the pernicious designs of those who have endeavoured to overturn our most holy religion, to subvert the laws and constitution of this kingdom, and to introduce Popery and arbitrary power.
We have again made choice of our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin, Alexander Earl of Leven, to be our Commissioner, and to represent our person in this Assembly, who, from his known zeal for our service, his firm adherence to the true interest of his country, and the fidelity and prudence with which he has already discharged this important trust, we are persuaded will be acceptable to you. We do, on this occasion, repeat to you the assurances of our unalterable resolution to maintain the established Church of Scotland in the possession of all their just rights and privileges; and as we promise ourselves, by the blessing of Almighty God, that a speedy and effectual and will be put to the Rebellion, the peace and tranquillity of the country restored, and all our subjects again made happy, in the full enjoyment of their civil and religious rights; we have the firmest reliance on your doing every thing on your parts that may contribute to the attaining of these desirable ends. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
Given at our Court at St James's, the 30th day of April 1746, in the nineteenth year of our reign.
By his Majesty's command,
IV. Sess. 9, May 17, 1746.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
It is with unspeakable joy we received your Majesty's most gracious letter. As our attachment to your Majesty's person and government, and the Protestant succession in your royal family, is the effect of principle, duty, and interest, so your Majesty's great condescension, in taking notice of our conduct during the present wicked and unnatural Rebellion, and in putting so high an honour upon us, as to give us thanks for doing what we were unquestionably bound to do, we look upon as a great proof of that distinguishing goodness which makes so bright a part of your princely character. The security of our religion and liberty is so closely interwoven with the stability of your throne, that we can claim no merit when we fall in with our unquestionable duty.
The ready countenance which your Majesty is graciously pleased to give to our meeting at this time, cannot fail to animate us to give all possible, evidences of our unshaken loyalty and inviolable affection to your Majesty; and, particularly, by exciting the people under our charge to a due sense of the blessings they enjoy under the best government, together with a just abhorrence of the worst, and of all the pernicious designs which tend to subvert our holy religion and good laws, in order to introduce Popery and arbitrary power.
We esteem the choice your Majesty has again made of the Earl of Leven to represent your royal person in this Assembly, as another instance of your Majesty's goodness to the Church of Scotland. His known zeal for your Majesty's service; his firm adherence on all occasions to the true interest of his country, and especially during its late calamitous state; his great affection to this Church, and the many and recent proofs given of his eminent abilities for discharging this high trust, render your Majesty's choice of him most acceptable to us.
The repeated assurance of your Majesty's unalterable resolution to maintain the Church of Scotland in the possession of all her just rights and privileges, is a further proof of your Majesty's royal favour, and, under God, the great security against the invasions of those who are equally disaffected to the Crown and this Church. As we do entirely confide in the assurances your Majesty gives us, so they cannot but prompt us to exert ourselves in making all the returns of gratitude and duty in our power.
When we reflect upon the dismal scene of blood, rapine, and oppression, which so lately filled this land with horror; when we view our happy constitution, lately threatened with destruction, and our religion and liberty ready to be offered up victims to superstition and tyranny; and now have the happy prospect of seeing a speedy and effectual end put to the present Rebellion, the peace of our country restored, and your Majesty's subjects again fully possessed of their civil and religious rights; we cannot but offer our sincere and humble thanks to Almighty God, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for such inestimable blessings, and contribute every thing in our power for attaining these desirable ends. We must ascribe our present tranquillity, under the Divine Providence, to your Majesty's care, vigilance, and wise administration, and to the conduct and valour of your herioc son, Prince William Duke of Cumberland, our second deliverer, and restorer of those blessings procured us by another glorious prince of that name at the late happy Revolution.
Your Majesty having been graciously pleased, by your High Commissioner, to signify your royal intention of continuing your pious donation in order to reform the barbarous parts of our country, whereof some have lately made the most unworthy requital, engages us by the strongest ties to return your Majesty our most humble and hearty thanks, and to promise our continued care to manage this royal donation in such manner as may best answer the good ends proposed by your Majesty.
That your Majesty may be always under the Divine care, and long preserved for the defence of our holy religion, and the happiness of all your subjects;—that their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, with their issue, and all your royal family, may be highly favoured of God, and made public blessings to their country;—that Almighty God may make his Royal Highness the Duke an eminent instrument, under your Majesty, for repressing the insolence of arbitrary power and tyranny, and vindicating the liberties of Europe in general, and of your Majesty's dominions in particular;—that He may direct your councils, and prosper your Majesty's arms, both by sea and land, with remarkable success;—that a speedy end may he put to this unnatural Rebellion, peace and order restored, and the seeds of disloyalty may be for ever rooted out of the minds of your Majesty's subjects; and that the crown may descend in your royal Protestant line to latest posterity, are, and shall be, the hearty prayers of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most faithful, most obedient, and most loyal subjects, the Ministers and Elders met in the National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
John Lumsden, Moderator.
V. Sess. 6, May 19, 1746.—Congratulatory Address to his Majesty upon the Victory obtained by his Army, under command of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, over the Rebels in this Country.
TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
The humble Address of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Most gracious Sovereign,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, beg leave to approach your throne, with sincere expressions of our utmost detestation of the present wicked and unnatural Rebellion, to testify our unfeigned thanks to the Almighty, and to congratulate your Majesty on the happy success of your arms, by which we have the greatest hopes of seeing a solid and lasting peace quickly re-established in your kingdoms, and your loyal subjects restored to the full enjoyment of all their just rights and privileges.
The gloomy prospect lately set before our eyes, by the ungrateful disturbers of your Majesty's mild and just government, makes us reflect with horror on the pernicious plot contrived by the policy, and fomented by the power and interest, of the avowed enemies of our country, its religion, laws, and liberties, and of the balance of power in Europe.
It raises our astonishment and indignation, that any who have tasted of the manifold blessings of your indulgent administration, should have attempted to exchange their religion and liberty for tyranny and lawless power, superstition, and slavery; and, by violating the most solemn obligations of oaths, and ties of gratitude, become tools to the declared enemies of their native country.
Now, that we are, by the good providence of God, sheltered, under the protection of your auspicious government, from the storm that threatened our happy constitutition, we behold, with pleasure, the remarkable success of your Majesty's arms, under the wise conduct, and by the intrepid valour of your heric son the Duke, dispelling the could and defeating the rebels, who, hopeless of escaping the vengeance of your victorious arms, sink under their own confusion.
Great Sir, it affords us the highest satisfaction to observe, that notwithstanding the calamities of our country, and the traitorous practices of too many of our infatuated countrymen, the ministers of this Church have, by Divine grace, manifested a firm, zealous attachment to your Majesty's person and government; and as it is our duty, so it is our unalterable resolution, to persevere in our loyalty to your Majesty, and steady adherence to the Protestant succession in your royal family; and it shall be cur constant prayer to God, that he may unite the minds of all your subjects into a just sense of the happiness they enjoy under the best of kings.
May the same Providence that has hitherto preserved your secred person and protected your dominions, continue to watch over your Majesty and your royal family, for a blessing to all Prostestant Churches, and the peculiar happiness of your subjects.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
Jo. Lumsdhn, Moderator.
VI. Sess. 7, May 20, 1746.— Congratulatory Letter to his Royal Highness William Duke of Cumberland.
That the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has met at this time in a state of peace and security exceeding our greatest hopes, is, under God, owing to his Majesty's wisdom and goodness, in sending your Royal Highness, and to your generous resolution in coming to be the deliverer of this Church and nation. We might, therefore, be justly charged with ingratitude to the glorious instrument of Divine Providence, if we neglected to pay your Royal Highuess our most humble and thankful acknowledgments for that happiness we enjoy.
As, for some months past, the many fatigues you endured, and the alarming dangers you ran, in pursuing an ungrateful and rebellious crew, filled our minds with the greatest pain; so the complete victory now obtained over them by the bravery of your Royal Father's troops, led on by your wise conduct, and animated by your heroic example, gives us the highest joy.
Every loyal subject, every sincere lover of the religion, laws, and liberty of his country, is ready to express his just gratitude to your Royal Highness, by whom these inestimable blessings are preserved to us. The Church of Scotland are under peculiar obligations to offer their most thankful acknowledgements to Almighty God, who has raised you up to be the brave defender of your Royal Father's throne, the happy restorer of our peace, and, at this time, guardian of all our sacred and civil interests.
The many instances of your favourable regard to the ministers of the Church of that entire confidence you have placed in us, ever since this part of Scotland, and of that entire confidence you have placed in us, ever since this part of Great Britain has been blessed with your presence, must for ever excite us to give the strongest proofs that we have not been unworthy of that countenance you have been pleased to give us, and of that trust with which you have honoured us.
That the Lord of Hosts, who has hitherto covered your head in bloody battles,
may still guard your precious life amidst those dangers to which you may be yet exposed, in leading armies against the common invaders of the liberties of Europe, and
crown you with the same glorious success over our enemies abroad which you have
obtained over traitors at home;—that your illustrious name, so dear to us, may be
transmitted still with greater glory to latest posterity;— and that you may share at last
in that enternal happiness and glory, bestowed by the Divine mercy, in a distingnished
manner, upon those who have been eminent examples of virtue, and the happy instruments of
communicating public blessings to mankind, are, and shall be, the prayers of,
May it please your Royal Highness, your most obliged, most obedient, and most humble servants, the Ministers and Elders met in a General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, presence, and at our appointment, by
Jo. Lumsden, Moderator.
VII. Sess. 9, May 22, 1746.— Act and Overture about the Licensing Probationers for the holy Ministry.
VIII. Sess. 9, May 22, 1746.— Act and Recommendation about the Manner of Singing of Psalms.
The General Assembly do recommend to private families, that in their religious exercises, singing the praises of God, they go on without the intermission of reading each line; And do recommend to schoolmasters in the several parishes that they be careful to instruct the youth in singing the common tunes.
IX. Sess. 9, May 22, 1746.— Act for Reprinting an Abbreviate of the Laws against Profaneness and Immorality.
The General Assembly appoint, that the abbreviate of the laws and Acts of Parliament against profaneness and immorality be reprinted, and copies thereof sent to the several ministers of this Church, to be read from the pulpits of their respective churches.
X. Sess. 9, May 22, 1746.— Act about the Office-bearers in this Church and others, concerned in the Rebellion.
The General Assembly do appoint the several Presbyteries duty to inquire into the behaviour of the office-bearers in this Church during the late unnatural Rebellion, and to commence and carry on the proper processes against offenders; and, in case of difficulty, to take the advice of the Synod of the bounds, or Commission of the General Assembly. And the Commission is hereby instructed to receive, cognoses, and finally determine, in any reference or appeal that may be brought before them from Synods or Presbyteries, with respect to persons that may be accused of having been guilty in the said Rebellion. And the Assembly recommend to ministers and Presbyteries to call before them all others that may have been guilty as aforesaid, and to censure them according to the degrees of their offence, and as they shall judge for edification; and that ministers and Presbyteries take care that all teachers of youth within their bounds be qualified in terms of law, and that Presbyteries inquire concerning this at ministers, and Synods at Presbyteries, at their privy censures.
XI. Sess. 9, May 22, 1746.— Act and Overture about Processes against Probationers for the Ministry. (fn. 2)
The General Assembly agreed to transmit to the consideration of the several Presbyteries the last clause of the 9th Act of the last General Assembly, which appoints that the rules of the Form of Process, Chap. vii., with respect to informations against ministers of this Church, be extended to probationers; and Presbyteries are enjoined to send up their opinion thereupon to the next General Assembly; and, in the mean time, the Assembly appoint that the same have the force of an Act.
XII. Sess. 9. May 22, 1746.— Act and Recommendation for keeping Registers of the Dead.
The General Assembly do recommend to and appoint the several kirk-sessions to have a register, in which they shall record the names of every person dying within their respective parishes, and interred in their ordinary burying-places, and the times of their death.
XIII. Sess. 9, May 22, 1746.— Act against Profaneness and Immorality.
The General Assembly, taking into their most serious consideration how much profaneness and immoralities of all sorts abound, to which we ought to impute all our troubles and national calamities; and considering, on the other hand, the many most gracious deliverences wrought for us, particularly by the late victory; and that these various providences loudly call on all ranks (after such public judgments and deliverances) to exert themselves, suitably to their several stations, to promote public reformation; the Assembly judge it highly seasonable, at this juncture, to revive the various Acts of former Assemblies against profaneness and immoralities; and particularly, the 11th Act of Assembly, 1697, which "seriously recommends to ministers and members of kirk-sessions, from a true zeal for God, to hold hand to the delating, informing against, and punishing of all profanc transgressors, without respect of persons, by civil punishments, conform to the Acts made in that behalf; and that they record their diligence in their session-books, that the same may be seen by their Presbyteries, who are hereby required to make inquiry therein at their visitations." And the Assembly further appoints, that the abstract of the laws against profaneness and immoralities be reprinted, and that all kirk-sessions provide themselves with copies thereof, and have meetings at stated times, on purpose to consider of the most proper methods for obtaining the execution of these laws; and that ministers frequently preach sermons, on purpose to persuade and direct Christians in general to contribute their endeavours, according to their several stations, and to take the best methods to strengthen one another's hands in this important work; and that Presbyteries and Synods inquire (at the diet of privy censures) into the diligence of ministers and sessions in this matter. And the Assembly instruct their Commission to have under their view, the Act of Parliament of Great Britain, now preparing, against profane swearing and cursing, and other Acts formerly made; and to frame a proper Act against vice and immorality, and to point out some of the proper expedients for discouraging it, and promoting true religion and godliness.
XIV. Sess. 10, May 22, 1746, post meridiem.— Act for a Thanksgiving.
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, taking into their serious consideration the surprising deliverance a good and gracious God has been pleased to bestow upon us in this land, from the late wicked and unnatural Rebellion, carried on by an infatuated party amongst ourselves, and supported and encouraged by the Popish powers abroad, the declared enemies of our peace and happiness, and of the liberties of Europe; which Rebellion, if it had succeeded, would at once have stripped us of our religion and liberty, and subjected us to the cruel yoke of Propery and arbitrary power. And the Assembly, considering how God has thus mercifully interposed for us, when we were most unworthy of the least favour from his bountiful hand, being a people laden with iniquity, and highly ungrateful to him for former deliverances of this kind, and particularly for the late glorious and never to be forgotten Revolution, and the continued peace and tranquillity we have enjoyed since; do judge it their duty to call all ranks and degrees of persons in this National Church to stir up their souls, and all that is within them, to bless and praise the God of our salvation for this and all his wonders of mercy that he has wrought for us, both formerly and of late; and to give unto the infinitely wise God the glory of his free and underserved goodness; taking shame and confusion of face unto ourselves, because of our highly aggravated iniquities; searching and trying our ways, and turning again to the Lord, from whom we have deeply revolted, as the only way to secure to ourselves the continuance of those blessings we are presently possessed of. And the General Assembly do seriously call and exhort all within this Church, to join, with their humble and hearty thanksgiving, earnest prayers to the God of all grace, to turn us to himself, in his dear Son, our only propitiation, and to one another in the ways of truth and holiness: That he would eminently bless, and long preserve our only rightful Sovereign King George, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all the royal family: That he would, in a remarkable manner, protect and defend his Royal Highness the Duke, who, under God, has at this time been the instrument of our deliverance: That he would kindly direct and influence the public councils of the nation at this critical conjuncture; give success to his Majesty's arms, and those of his allies, by sea and land, against the enemies of our religion and liberties, and of the peace of Europe: That he would assist and enable all ranks and degrees of persons within this Church to make a right improvement of the mercies bestowed upon us: That he would, in his infiuite mercy, continue to give us favourable weather, and at last crown the year with his goodness; and, above all, that he would give us grace to fear him and serve him, inclining our hearts to obey his voice, that he may not be provoked to turn and do us hurt, after all the great good he hath done us. And the General Assembly appoints the said thanksgiving to be observed in all the parishes within this National Church, upon the fourth Thursday of June next; and that humble application be made to his Majesty for his royal sanction, in order to the more effectual and due observation of the said day. And the Assembly further appoints, that this their Act be read from the pulpits of all the parish churches within Scotland, upon the Sabbath day immediately preceding the foresaid fourth Thursday of June, with suitable exhortations to the people.
XV. Sess. ult., May 23, 1746.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for Reformation of the Highlands and Islands, and for Managing his Majesty's Royal Bounty for that end.
The General Assembly, &c.
XVI. Sess. ult., May 23, 1746.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, &c.
XVII. Sess. ult., May 23, 1746.—Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
The next General Assembly of this National Church is appointed to be held in this place, upon the first Thursday of May next, being the 7th day of that month, in the year 1747.
The General Assembly was concluded with prayer, and singing the 133d Psalm throughout, and pronouncing the blessing.
Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
George Wishart, Cls. Eccl. Scot.
May 22, 1746.— Overture about the Psalmody.
The General Assembly, considering that the several Presbyteries have not transmitted to this Assembly their observations upon some pieces of sacred poesy, under the title of "Translations and Paraphrases of several Passages of Sacred Scripture," which had been remitted to their consideration by the last General Assembly, do therefore remit the same to the further consideration of the several Presbyteries, that they may report their opinion thereof to the next General Assembly.
Letter from his Royal Highness William Duke of Cumberland to his Grace the Commissioner.
The following letter not having come to hand till after the rising of the General Assembly, could not be printed among the public Acts, but it is here subjoined by direction of the committee for revising the minutes.
Inverness, May 21, 1746.
My Lord Commissioner,
The meeting of the venerable the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland furnishes an occasion I have wished for, of expressing publicly the just sense I have of the very steady and laudable conduct of the clergy of that Church, through the whole course of this most wicked, unnatural, and unprovoked Rebellion.
I owe it to them in justice to testify, that, upon all occasions, I have received from them professions of the most inviolable attachment to his Majesty's person and government, of the warmest zeal for the religion and liberties of their country, and of the firmest persuasion that these blessings could not be preserved to the nation but by the support of his Majesty's throne, and of the succession in his royal family; and, in support of the sincerity of their professions, I have always found them ready and forward to act, in their several stations, in all such affairs as they could be useful in, though often to their own great hazard; and of this I have not been wanting to give due notice from time to time to his Majesty.
I must desire your Grace to assure the venerable the General Assembly of the very sincere acknowledgment I shall always feel for the particular marks of good-will and affection I have received every where from the clergy, of my regard and esteem for their body, and of my good wishes for all its members.
I heartily wish success to the good work you are upon for the service of his Majesty, and the true benefit of his faithful subjects. I am,
My Lord Commissioner,
Your Grace's most affectionate Friend,
Directed thus—To his Grace the Lord Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh.