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, convened at Edinburgh, May 20, 1756.
I. Sess. 1, May 20, 1756.—The King's Commission to Charles Lord Cathcart produced, and ordered to be recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
II. Sess. 1, May 20, 1756.—The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his Majesty's Commissioners.
Right reverend and well-beloved, we greet you well. The frequent proofs you have given of your zeal and steadiness in promoting true piety, and the repeated experience we have had of your loyalty, attachment, and affection to our person and government, cannot but induce us most heartily to concur in your present meeting, and to countenance the same with our royal approbation and authority. And as we are persuaded that you will at all times, and more especially in the present juncture, be governed by, and are now come together with, the same good principles and dispositions, you may be assured of our firm resolution to protect the Church of Scotland, as by law established, and to maintain it in the full enjoyment of all its just rights and privileges.
We have had such proofs of the fidelity, prudence, and conduct of our right trusty and well-beloved Charles Lord Cathcart, that we have again thought fit to make choice of him to represent our person in this Assembly, not doubting, from the knowledge you have of his firm attachment to our person, family, and government, and of his zeal for the Church of Scotland, but that he will be most agreeable to you.
We have a thorough dependence, that your best endeavours will not be wanting, in whatever may contribute to the good and desirable end of advancing true piety and virtue, which is the chief intent of your present Assembly. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
Given at our Court at St James's, the 21st day of April 1756, in the twenty-ninth year of our reign.
By His Majesty's Command,
III. Sess. 3, May 22, 1756.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
We received your Majesty's most gracious letter with that respect and gratitude which we owe to the best of Sovereigns, under whose auspicious government we enjoy so many inestimable blessings.
Your Majesty's countenancing our present meeting with your royal approbation and authority, is one of the many evidences you have given of your regard for the prosperity of this National Church.
Nothing can do more honour to us than that your Majesty is graciously pleased to take notice of our zeal and steadiness in promoting true piety, and of our loyaity, attachment, and affection to your sacred person and government.
When we reflect upon the justice and mildness of your government, and the unwearied attention your Majesty has given to the prosperity of all who are so happy as to live under it, we have the greatest confidence and joy in the assurances of your Majesty's firm resolution to protect the Church of Scotland, as by law established, and to maintain it in the full enjoyment of all its rights and privileges: At the same time, it fills our hearts with gratitude to Almighty God, by whom kings reign, with an ardent zeal to support your Majesty's government; and with the warnest resolution to promote the same pious and loyal principles, wherever our infinence can reach; and, particularly, in the breasts of all those with whom we are more immediately concerned.
Your Majesty, in the present critical juncture, hath given such signal proofs of your fortitude and steadiness in the support of the rights and privileges of the crown of Britain, and of all, even its remotest subjects, against the attempts and usurpations of lawless power, that we consider ourselves as called upon, in a particular manner, to exert our utmost endeavours in defence of your Majesty's sacred person, and in support of that constitution and government which must be dear to us as men, Britons, and Protestants.
Your Majesty's renewal of your royal bounty for the reformation of the Highlands and Islands, and places where Popery and ignorance abound, we acknowledge with all thankfulness, and shall not fail to employ so pious a gift for promoting the important purposes for which it is most graciously bestowed.
The choice your Majesty has again been pleased to make of Lord Cathcart to represent your person in this Assembly, gives the highest pleasure to us, and to every member of the Church of Scotland.
The proofs your Majesty has had of his fidelity, prudence, and conduct; and the knowledge we have of his steady and firm attachment to your Majesty's person, family, and government, and of his regard and zeal for the rights and interests of the Church of Scotland, must render the choice of him most acceptable to us, and endear him to all who wish well to our present happy Establishment in Church and State.
We can, with great truth, assure your Majesty, that, as we are at this time met together in the National Assembly of this Church, our best endeavours shall be employed to promote the good and desirable end of advancing true piety and virtue, the great intent of our present meeting; studying to approve ourselves to Almighty God, and to justify the trust and confidence your Majesty is most graciously pleased to repose in us.
That he who is the King of kings may pour down his choicest blessings upon your
Majesty's person and family; that the crown may long flourish upon your sacred
head, and your precious life be preserved for a blessing to these realms; that that
wisdom which is from above may inspire all your councils, and that strength which
is Almighty may go forth with your arms; that God may abundantly bless his Royal
Highness George Prince of Wales, the Princess Dowager of Wales, the Duke, the
Princesses, and all the branches of your royal family; and that after a long and happy
reign upon earth, you may at last be received into that kingdom which cannot be
moved, are, and shall be, the sincere and 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 this National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
Patrick Cuming, Moderator.
IV. Sess. 4, May 24, 1756.—The General Assembly's Address to his Majesty, on Occasion of his Declaration of War against the French King.
Most gracious Sovereign,
Your Majesty's just resentment of the encroachments of the French in America has compelled that nation to throw off the mask of peace, under which they have carried on designs so pernicious to Great Britain. Hostilities are begun in Europe; war is now declared; France has invaded Minorca, and threatens with invasion the British Isles.
In this critical situation of public affairs, we, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, met in the National Assembly, think it our duty to express our deep concern for the general welfare, and our affcctionate regard for a prince who is the guardian of liberty, and the father of his people; and we heartily embrace this opportunity of giving your Majesty assurances which cannot fail of being acceptable to your benign disposition—authentic assurances of the loyalty of the people of Scotland.
The members of this Established Church, who make so great a majority of the inhabitants of North Britain, are universally fervent in their zeal for your Majesty's person and family. Devoted of old to the best of causes, religion and liberty, the Presbyterians early fixed their hearts and hopes on the House of Hanover, by whose succession alone religion and liberty could have been preserved. The happy experience of almost half an age, during the reign of your Majesty, and your royal father, have demonstrated the wisdom of our ancestors, and confirmed the present generation in their loyalty and love to your illustrious House.
Nor is it less from our certain knowledge of the present spirit, than of the ancient principles of the Church of Scotland, that we can venture to assure your sacred Majesty, that, in no part of your dominions the zeal of the subjects may be more safely relied on; for never was the affection of this nation to their prince so manifest as at this juncture. Roused by the approach of danger, the hearts of your people, most gracious Sovereign, are more than ever yours; and should that danger come, which may the Providence of God avert, it will be found, Great Sir, that your government will be supported in this part of the united kingdom, by the zeal and courage of your most faithful people, who hold nothing so dear as religion and liberty, and esteem nothing so glorious as loyalty to a prince by whom religion and liberty are held sacred.
We beg leave to assure your Majesty, that in our sphere we shall make it our great care to cultivate these good and happy dispositions in your people; and shall endeavour to make it manifest that we have nothing so much at heart as the glory of God, the honour of your Majesty, and the support of your government.
That matual love and confidence may still subsist between your Majesty and your
subjects; that the God of battles may bless your fleets and armies with success; and
that a race of kings of your royal line, lovers of religion, liberty, and their country,
may always sway the sceptre of these lands, is the fervent prayer of,
May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's most dutiful, most faithful, and most obedient subjects, 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
Patrick Cuming, Moderator.
V. Sess. 9, May 29, 1756.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.
The General Assembly, &c.
VI. Sess. ult., May 31, 1756.—Act appointing a solemn National Fast.
Whereas our Sovereign, in defence of Great Britain and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, has declared war against France, the formidable enemy of the religion and liberties of our country: And whereas the Almighty, in former times, has done great things for these nations; has bestowed upon them inestimable privileges; and, in the day of danger, when our fathers cried unto God, he heard from heaven, raised up deliverers, and saved, according to his manifold mercies; and still continues to distinguish us beyond all nations, blessing us with the best religion, and best of governments.
Yet, notwithstanding all this goodness showed to these nations, just cause there is to lament that we have not learned wisdom from our dangers, nor gratitude from our deliverances; that we have not duly prized nor improved our advantages; but as God has multiplied his favours upon us, we have multiplied our transgressions against the God of heaven; and too visible it is, that infidelity, luxury, vice, and profaneness, have widely diffused their contagion, and infected this nation.
From this aggravated guilt we have reason to dread that God may be provoked to depart from us; to deliver us a prey into the hands of our enemies; and, by an inclement season, to blast the fruits of the earth, and break the staff of bread in our land; thus visiting us, for our iniquities, with the desolating calamities of war and famine.
The National Assembly of the Church of Scotland, in this important crisis, when we have much to fear from our enemies, and more from our own follies and heinous transgressions, do, therefore, most seriously call and exhort all to the duties of solemn fasting, humiliation, and prayer, upon such a day as his Majesty shall please to appoint; the Assembly having made humble application to him to name the day, and interpose his royal authority for the due observation thereof; and they do earnestly obtest persons of all ranks, as they tender the favour of Almighty God, and the welfare of these nations, to humble themselves, with penitent and contrite souls, in the sight of that God who, dwelling in his high and holy place, dwelleth also with them who are of contrite and humble hearts, to confess and forsake their sins, imploring, through Jesus Christ, grace and mercy from the Father of mercies; beseeching the Divine Majesty to revive among us a spirit of primitive integrity, piety, and virtue; that we may be inspired with reverence of the Almighty, loyalty to our Sovereign, love and zeal for our constitution, civil and religious; that there may be one mind and one heart in us all; that every heart may be warm with the love of our country, and every hand cheerfully employed in her service: And if, in the Providence of God, we shall be called to appear in the defence of the Protestant religion, and our national privileges, that in so noble a cause we may act a part becoming our characters, as Protestants and free Britons; may be of good courage, and may play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God.
The Assembly further enjoins, that in the day of public prayer, supplications be offered to the God of heaven, that he may bless our Sovereign King George, long preserve his valuable life, direct his councils, establish his throne in righteousness, and that he may continue to reign in the hearts of a free and happy people; that God may bless their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales, the Princess Dowager of Wales, the Duke of Cumberland, the Princesses, and all the royal family: That God may give wisdom to our counsellors, conduct to our commanders, and strength to those who turn the battle from our gates; that our trust and confidence being placed not in an arm of flesh, but in the Lord Jehovah, in whom there is everlasting strength, he, the Righteous Governor of the universe, may favour our righteous cause; the Lord of Hosts may go forth with our fleets and armies, protect those in the day of battle who expose their lives for our safety, and crown their arms with victory and success; that God, who setteth bounds to the sea, stilleth the raging of its waves, and the tumults of the people, would make this expensive and dangerous war speedily to terminate in a safe and honourable peace; that the God of nature, whom all the elements obey, would send such weather as will cherish the fruits of the earth, that our pastures may be clothed with flocks, and our valleys covered over with corn; that our land may yield her increase, and the year at length be crowned with the Divine goodness; that we, enjoying the blessings of peace and plenty in all our borders, and, being delivered by the Almighty from the hands of our enemies, may serve our God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our lives; that the beauty of the Lord our God may be upon us, and glory, the glory of civil and religious liberty, may ever dwell in our land. And the Assembly enjoins all ministers to intimate this Act from their pulpits upon the Lord's Day immediately preceding the day that shall be appointed by his Majesty for the observation of the fast, and to excite the people to their duty by suitable exhortations.
VII. Sess. ult., May 31, 1756.—Act and Recommendation of the General Assembly respecting Irish Bursaries.
The General Assembly, taking into their consideration repeated representations that have been made of the great scarcity of preachers and students in divinity, having the Irish language, by which means many parishes in the Highlands and Islands, where the English is not generally understood, are likely to become destitute of the means of religious knowledge, and several parishes already vacant, particularly where Popery abounds, cannot be supplied for want of persons capable of preaching to them in that language which they are acquainted with, did, therefore, agree, that the former laudable practice, of giving bursaries to students having the Irish language, be revived; and the General Assembly do hereby, in so far, repeal the 7th Act of the Assembly, 1737, superseding that practice; and do earnestly recommend to every minister of this Church to pay in, from year to year, to the clerk of his Presbytery, three shillings sterling; and appoint the money, so collected, to be transmitted to William Ross, clerk to the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, before the second day of February each year; and that the foresaid money be applied for educating students for the ministry, having the Irish language, in such manner as the General Assembly of this Church shall judge most proper. And the Assembly ordains that every student that shall be trained for the ministry in the Highlands and Islands, upon the fund to be raised for this purpose, shall, when he comes to be settled as a minister, preach every Lord's Day in English, as well as in the Irish language: And it is recommended to all the ministers now settled in those parts to do the same. And they are hereby appointed to do everything in their power, with the assistance of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and other friends of our country, religion, and government, to have as many good schools as may be in that part of the kingdom, so as the English tongue may spread the faster, till it be universally understood and spoken.
VIII. Sess. ult., May 31, 1756.—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.
IX. Sess. ult., May 31, 1756.—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 third Thursday of May next, being the 19th day of that month, in the year 1757.
Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
George Wishart, Cls. Eccl. Scot.
Sess. 5, May 25, 1756.—Overture anent Ministers making Agreements with their Heritors concerning the extent of their Stipends.
(See Act 6th, 1759.)
Sess. 5, May 25, 1756.—Overture anent the more speedily Supplying of Vacancies.
(See Act 7th, 1759.)