Acts: 1765

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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'Acts: 1765', in Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1842, (Edinburgh, 1843) pp. 758-762. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section

The principal acts of the general assembly, convened at Edinburgh, May 23, 1765.

I. Sess. 1, May 23, 1765.—The King's Commission to John Earl of Glasgow produced, and ordered to be recorded.

The General Assembly, &c.

II. Sess. 1, May 23, 1765.—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 with the highest satisfaction that we embrace every opportunity of renewing to you those testimonies of our paternal affection, which your duty and loyalty to us and our government, and your steady attention to the great concerns of religion and virtue, deserve at our hands. It is from the experience we have had of your prudence, candour, and moderation, those constant attendants of a truly Christian spirit, that we gladly support the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, and this present meeting in particular, with our royal countenance and authority.

We need not recommend the avoiding of all contention and unedifying debates, to those who have no other object in their view than the suppressing licentiousness, immorality, and vice; and who are actuated by no other zeal than that which tends to the advancement of true religion, and, consequently, to the general peace and happiness of society.

No religion can be sincere which does not require a conscientious discharge of the duties it prescribes. No government can be steady which is not founded on maxims of public liberty, under the influence and restriction of wholesome laws. The purity of the Christian faith is distinguished by the first;—the happiness of the British constitution is derived from the second. It is by infusing into the minds of the people committed to your care those civil and religious principles, so essential to their happiness, both here and hereafter, that you will be effectually entitled to our favour.

We have again appointed our right trusty and right well-beloved cousin, John Earl of Glasgow, to represent our royal person in this Assembly. You, who have already experienced his affection for you, will be sensible of our attention to you in this choice. We need not assure you that the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, as by law established, will always meet with our support in the full enjoyment of their rights and privileges; and with such conviction on your part, we have no doubt but that this meeting will be concluded with the same unanimity, harmony, and brotherly affection, which have distinguished any former Assembly. And so we bid you heartily farewell.

Given at our Court at St James's, the 20th day of April 1765, in the fifth year of our reign.

By his Majesty's Command,

III. Sess. 3, May 25, 1765.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious Letter.

May it please your Majesty,
Your Majesty's most gracious Letter to this General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was received with the highest respect and gratitude. We are deeply sensible of the honour done us by your Majesty's approbation of the past conduct of the Church of Scotland. Our hearts are sensibly affected with the tender concern your Majesty expresses for the interests of religion and virtue, and the encouragement you give us to pursue the ends of our office; and it is our steady purpose to improve the advantages of our happy situation.

Your Majesty has been pleased to point out to us the great objects of our attention and zeal, which ought to be ever in our view, and we should be unworthy of your royal favour, and of the countenance of Almighty God, if we should allow ourselves to be turned aside from these, and should fail in exerting our endeavours for the advancement of true religion, for the restraint of every species of vice and immorality, and of that licentiousness of spirit which is so much to be guarded against in a tide of national prosperity, and under so mild and gentle a government.

As we are entrusted with the office of explaining and enforcing a religion, the sole tendency of which is to prepare mankind for inconceivable happiness in another life, by teaching them to pursue their duty and true interest in this present state; and as we act under the protection of a Prince devoted to the worship and obedience of God, and under a constitution of government formed for maintaining the rights and liberties of mankind, we shall be utterly inexcusable if we do not, to our utmost ability, pursue those great and noble ends with stedfastness and ardour. Placing, therefore, our humble confidence in Him from whom every good and perfect gift doth come, we are determined to cultivate in our own hearts, and in the hearts of those committed to our care, such principles of religion and public liberty as tend to produce the peace of society, and the happiness of mankind, in this life and in the life to come; in the prosecution of which purposes, we rest assured, under your Majesty's protection, of the full enjoyment of the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland.

With the warmest gratitude of heart, we offer up our prayers to God for your Majesty's happy recovery from your late indisposition; and, at the same time, permit us, Great Sir, to make our most thankful acknowledgments to your sacred Majesty, for the late instance you have been pleased to give, with such magnanimity of spirit, of your paternal affection, in proposing a method for securing the future peace and happiness of these nations, in the view of an event, which we fervently pray to God we may never see.

We most gratefully acknowledge your Majesty's royal donation for promoting Christian knowledge in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, as a renewed proof of your Majesty's zeal for the best interests of your subjects; and we shall be careful to apply it in such a manner as may most effectually contribute to the accomplishment of your Majesty's pious and charitable design.

The approved zeal and fidelity of the Earl of Glasgow in your Majesty's service, our experience of his abilities for the discharge of so high a trust, his exemplary regard for religion, his warm affection to this Church, and his many amiable qualities and Christian virtues, make your Majesty's choice of him, to represent your royal person in this Assembly, most acceptable to this whole Church.

That the King of heaven and earth may long preserve your Majesty the guardian of liberty, and the patron of piety and virtue, to your people;—that he may render your administration prosperous;—that he may pour down his best blessings on your. Royal Consort, our most gracious Queen; that God may bless his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and all your Royal Family; that one of your royal progeny may, to latest ages, reign over a free and loyal people;—that, after a long and happy life on earth, you may enjoy the glorious crown of immortality, are, and ever shall be, 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 National Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Signed in our name, in our presence, and at our appointment, by
James Oswald, Moderator.

IV. Sess. ult., June 3, 1765.—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.

V. Sess. ult., June 3, 1765.—Commission to some Ministers and Ruling Elders for discussing Affairs referred to them.

The General Assembly, &c.

VI. Sess. ult., June 3, 1765.—The General Assembly's Address to the King, anent the new Erections in the Highlands.

May it please your Majesty,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the ministers and elders met in the National Assembly of the Church of Scotland, humbly beg leave to approach your throne, in behalf of our fellow-subjects residing in the more remote corners of this part of the United Kingdoms. With the deepest concern we behold many of them labouring under gross ignorance, or deluded by dangerous errors, which render them insensible to those blessings, religious and civil, which the inhabitants of the other parts of your Majesty's extensive dominions enjoy under your auspicious reign.

To communicate to the inhabitants of the Highlands and Islands a more perfect knowledge of true religion, and to inspire them with just sentiments concerning our happy constitution, we have always considered as objects worthy of our most serious attention; and we are confident that every measure, calculated for attaining such important ends, will not only merit your Majesty's approbation, but receive such countenance from your royal authority as may be necessary towards carrying it into execution. Animated by these hopes, the General Assembly of this Church, held in the year 1761, thought it their duty to lay before your Majesty the report of commissioners, who had been appointed by the preceding General Assembly to visit the Highlands and Islands, and to inquire into the state of religion in those parts; and, at the same time, they humbly suggested to your Majesty, that if you should be pleased to continue the royal donation, which you have annually made to this Church for reformation of the Highlands and Islands, such alteration might be made in the terms of the grant as to permit a part of it to be applied towards the erection of new parishes, with fixed pastors, in different parts of those countries, as the most effectual method for instructing and reforming the people.

The gracious reception which your Majesty was pleased to give to that application hath encouraged us to lay before you the report of a reverend minister, who, in obedience to the appointment of last General Assembly, visited several parts of the Highlands and Islands, the state of which the former commissioners had no access to inspect. Although we are fully satisfied that the labours of the missionaries and catechists, which your Majesty's royal bounty enables us to employ in the Highlands and Islands, are attended with good effects, we are persuaded that the erecting of new parishes, in different parts of those countries, would be productive of more certain and permanent advantages. But as the sum granted annually to the Church does not enable us to carry on both these plans in that vigorous manner with which we would wish to prosecute your Majesty's pious intentions, and promote the happiness of our fellow-subjects, we, with all humility, suggest to your royal wisdom, that some part of the rents and produce of those estates, which, by a statute made in the 25th year of his late Majesty, were annexed inalienably to the Crown, may be applied towards erecting parishes in those places of the Highlands and Islands where to your Majesty they shall appear to be most wanted. By that statute the rents and produce of these estates are declared to be applicable to the purposes mentioned in it, or "in such manner as his Majesty, his heirs, or successors, should, from time to time, by warrants under his or their sign manual, be pleased to direct, to the purposes of civilizing the inhabitants of said estates, and other parts of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the promoting amongst them the Protestant religion, good government, industry, manufactures, and the principles of duty and loyalty to his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, and to no other use or purpose whatsoever."

From our certain knowledge of the state of the Highlands and Islands, we beg leave to assure your Majesty, that the application of some part of the rents and produce of these estates, in the manner we have humbly proposed, will greatly conduce to promote the salutary purposes which the legislature had in view; and we have such confidence in your Majesty's paternal tenderness towards all your people, that we are persuaded it will appear to you an object highly worthy of your royal consideration.

That it may please Almighty God long to continue the blessing of your Majesty's reign, and that the principles of true religion and virtue, with a firm attachment to our invaluable constitution, may, under your gracious government, be diffused into every part of your extensive dominions, is the earnest prayer 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
James Oswald, Moderator.

VII. Sess. ult., June 3, 1765.—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, on Thursday the 22d of May, in the year 1766.

Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
George Wishart, Cls. Eccl. Scot.

Overture anent Transmission of all the former Overtures.

(Same three Overtures as were transmitted in 1764.)