The principal acts of the general assembly, holden and begun at Edinburgh, May 14, 1718.
Sess. 1, May 14, 1718.—Act appointing the King's Commission to John Earl
of Rothes to be Recorded.
The General Assembly, &c.
The King's most gracious Letter to the General Assembly, presented to them by his
Majesty's Commissioner, 14th May 1718.
George, R., &c.
Sess. 3, May 16, 1718.—The General Assembly's Answer to the King's most gracious
May it please your Majesty, &c.
Sess. 5, May 19, 1718—Act and Recommendation concerning a Fund for maintaining
the Indigent Widows and Orphans of Ministers.
The General Assembly, finding that it often falls out that many of the widows and
orphans of the ministers of this Church are brought into great straits, do judge it
necessary and laudable that some way be fallen upon for relief of such, they, in order
thereunto, did, and hereby do, seriously recommend to every minister in Scotland to
give and dedicate the tenth part of his stipend for one year, for the end foresaid, and
do appoint the same to be paid in, in money, and no otherwise, to the moderator of
each Presbytery, betwixt and the 15th day of May 1719 years, or betwixt and the
15th day of May 1721 years, with the ordinary annual rent thereof, from the said
15th day of May 1719 to the time that the same shall be paid; and if ministers do
not pay in their tenth part of their stipends for one year, at the times and in the terms
above mentioned, they discharge the Presbyteries and Synods to receive the same,
though afterwards offered; and appoints every Synod to nominate a responsible person
within their bounds, for receiving the same from the moderators of the Presbyteries.
2do, The General Assembly farther recommends to every minister hereafter to be
ordained or admitted within the bounds of any Synod, that he, within the space of
two years after his admission, pay in, in manner foresaid, the tenth part of one year's
stipend he is entitled to, by that admission, if he has not already paid into another
Synod; and the Assembly declares, that his relict and children shall be entitled to
a share of the fund in the Synod where the said minister paid, and not in that
where he late served, except he have contributed in that Synod also, which it is hereby
declared he is at liberty to do or not as he pleases. 3tio, The Assembly appoints
that the money collected in every Synod be turned into a stock, and that it be lent
out upon good security, and that only the yearly interest thereof be distributed, and
that the stock be kept entire; and if the annuall rent shall at any time happen to do
more than serve the exigencies of the widows and children in the Synod, they appoint
the said superplus annual rent to be added to the stock, in order to increase the fund.
4to, The Assembly appoints that the contributors in every Synod shall have the
management of what sums shall be collected and given for the ends foresaid, to the
widows and children of ministers who have several and contributed within their
bounds, and that none other shall have right thereto. 5to, That no ministers' widows
and children shall have any benefit from this fund, except their husband or father
have actually paid in the tenth part of their stipend for one year, and do instruct the
same. 6to, That no minister's widow shall have any title to this fund after they shall
be married to another husband, or children after their marriage, or being in case to
do for themselves, or be known to have a competency to subsist upon, or shall be
found unworthy thereof, by any unsuitable carriage; of all which, the contributors
within the bounds of every Synod are to be the judges. 7mo, That no widow or
child, entitled to a share of this fund, shall be allowed above ten pounds sterling yearly
thereof; and the Assembly hereby allows the contributors to give less, and in such
proportions as the fund will bear, and the circumstances of the persons require. 8vo,
If any other charitably disposed person, besides ministers, shall think fit to contribute
to this pious design, the Assembly hereby resolve and declare that they shall have a
vote and power in the management and distribution of the foresaid funds; provided
always, that their said contribution be not under ten pounds sterling money. 9no,
The Assembly hereby enacts and declares, that none shall have a vote or power in
the management and distribution of this fund, but such as have contributed thereto;
and for that end, they appoint that there be a meeting of those persons every Synod,
for ordering what concerns this matters; and the moderator of the Synods shall preside
in that meeting, and the clerk of the Synod shall be clerk thereto, if they have contributed; but if not, the General Assembly appoints others to be chosen preses and
clerk to the said meeting: And the Assembly hereby warrants and allows the said
contributors to appoint a committee of their own number to manage the concern of
this fund, in the intervals of the Synod's meetings; but it is hereby provided and declared, that the said committee shall have no power to dispose of any part of the
money; and they are hereby ordained to report an account of their actings to the
next meeting at the Synod. 10mo, The General Assembly hereby prohibit and discharge any distribution to be made but at the ordinary diets of the Synod; and do
appoint and declare, that the plurality of the meeting shall, by their vote, determine
any difference that may arise about the matter. 11mo, The Assembly hereby declares, that such Presbyteries as have already settled a fund for their widows and
children, shall be at liberty either to keep and manage the same by themselves, or to
join with the Synods, as they shall think best, provided that the quota of the Presbytery's said fund do extend to a tenth part of the whole stipends within the said Presbytery, and that they declare their resolution at the meeting of their Synod proceding
the year 1719. And, lastly, It is hereby provided and declared, that if any event unforeseen shall fall in, that may stop and hinder the execution of the above articles in
the manner that they are proposed, the premised shall be ordered and managed according to further rules and directions, to be given by the subsequent General Assemblies of this Church.
Sess. 12, May 23, 1718, post meridiem.—Commission to some Ministers and Elders
for discussing divers Matters referred to them.
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, taking into their consideration
that there are divers weighty affairs which they cannot overtake, do nominate and
appoint their reverend brethren, Messrs William Wisheart, Principal of the College
of Edinburgh, their Moderator, &c., to be Commissioners of the General Assembly, to
the effect after mentioned, with power to the said persons, &c. (The powers are
the same as those given to the Commission of last years; and a clause is inserted renewing the instructions of 1717, and appointing them to stand in full force.)
Sess. 15, May 26, 1718.—Act discontinuing the extraordinary Correspondence with the
Synod of Angus and Mearns.
The General Assembly, finding that the Assembly, held anno 1710, by their 7th
Act did appoint the Synods of Lothian and Tweedale, Perth and Stirling, Fife and
Aberdeen, to send correspondents to the Synod of Angus and Mearns; and that the
said correspondence is, by the said act, appointed to continue until the Assembly
shall see cause to alter it: And the Assembly considering, that now, in the good Providence of God, the churches within the said Synod are generally planted, so that
the reasons which moved the Assembly to enjoin the said extraordinary correspondence have thereby ceased: Therefore, the General Assembly did, and hereby do,
continue the extraordinary correspondence appointed by the said act only for one
year next ensuring, declaring, that thenceforth the said extraordinary correspondence shall cease, and the foresaid four Synod shall be freed of the burden thereof, unless, upon application from the Synod of Angus and Mearns to subsequent
Assemblies, they shall see cause to continue or renew the same.
Sess. 15, May 26, 1718—Act for the better dispatching the Business of Assemblies.
The General Assembly, finding that their business is much retareded by parties
having references, appeals, and complaints, to lay before the Assembly, their not
giving them timeously in to the Committee for Bills; and that by such delays the
Assembly is often necessarily obliged to commit several of their weighty affairs to
their Commission, which were more power to be judged by themselves: Therefore,
they do hereby appoint and ordain all references, appeals, and complaints, that
shall be made in time coming to the General Assemblies of this Church, to be
lodged in the clerk's hands on or before the second or third days of the Assembly's meetings, that thereby they may timously have a full view of all their work,
and may be able to judge what things are of the greatest weight, and are necessary to be dispatched by themselves, if they cannot overtake the whole; with certification, that all appeals or complaints not lodged in the clerk's hands within the
time foresaid, shall be held as deserted and fallen from, and shall not thereafter be
received, unless upon the first opportunity the parties concerned make it appear to
the Assembly, that insuperable difficulties did withhold them from lodging the same
in manner above set down. And the General Assembly enjoins the clerks of the
several judicatories to transmit to the clerk of Assembly within the time foresaid,
all references made by the respective judicatures to the General Assembly.
Sess. ult., May 27, 1718.— Act concerning the Presbytery of Auchterarder.
The General Assembly, finding that the Assembly, held anno 1717, did condemn
a proposition emitted by the Presbytery of Auchterarder, and referred to their Commission, to call the brethren of that Presbyter before them, to give an account what
they meant by the said proposition; and that they having compeared before the
Commission, and represented what they intended by it, the Commission agreed to
accept of the sense they offered, declaring always, that however sound and orthodox
they were in their meaning, and what they intended by that proposition, yet they
had expressed it in words very unwarrantable and exceptionable; and the Commission did admonish them and discharge them to use that expression in time coming;
and the brethren of Auchterarder did engage to observe this their prohibition. The
General Assembly approves of the actings of the said Commission in this matter;
and, for the vindication of the brethren of the Presbytery of Auchterarder, they appointed these presents to be printed among their public acts.
IX. Sess. ult., May 27, 1718.— Act Regulating Elections of Members of the General
The General Assembly, finding it necessary, for the good and safety of the Church,
that the General Assemblies be rightly constituted, do, therefore, resolve and appoint,
that in all time coming no commission from any Presbytery, burgh, or university, to
their representatives in the General Assemblies of this Church, shall be sustained,
but such as are in the terms of the Acts of the General Assembly, made for regulating elections of members of Assemblies, particularly the 5th Act of the General Assembly, 1694, entitled, " Act anent the Representation of Presbyteries in the General Assemblies;" Act 6th of the General Assembly, 1698, entitled, "Act for punctual sending of Commissioners to the General Assemblies, and their Attendance during the Sitting thereof;" and the 6th Act of the General Assembly, 1704, entitled,
"Act anent Commissions to the General Assembly, and their subscribing the Confession of Faith, which are hereby renewed." And the General Assembly appoints
Presbyteries not only to elect their full number of commissioners, but also to be
careful to choose such persons as probably can attend. And the Assembly appoints
that Presbyteries who send not up their full number of commissioners, and persons
commissioned, who either come not up, or are absent from any of the diets of Assembly, be censured, unless relevant excuses for them be laid before and be admitted
by the General Assembly: And further, the General Assembly does resolve, and
peremptorily enact and appoint, that in all time coming, no commission whatsoever,
for any ruling elder, or ruling elders, to sit as members of the General Assemblies of
this Church, be sustained, but such as shall bear particularly that they have signed
the formula prescribed by the 11th Act of the General Assembly, 1694, unless the
said elders do either instantly subscribe it in presence of the Assembly, or a committee appointed by them, or do instruct that they have already subscribed the same;
and to prevent all inconveniences of this sort in time coming, the General Assembly
appoints that all Commissions after they are written out and extracted, and before
they be put in the hands of the commissioners, be first read in the presence of the
Presbytery, and be revised by them, and that it be attested by the moderator or clerk
of the Presbytery upon the said Commissions that this was so done: And suchlike,
the General Assembly has resolved, until the matter concerning commissions from
burghs be further thought upon, and hereby do resolve, appoint, and ordain, that,
in the meantime no commissions from royal burghs to their representatives in Assembly shall be sustained, but such as shall be consented to and approven, not only
by the ministry and kirk-sessions of the burgh, as is resolved by the Act of Assembly,
July 15, 1647, but also by the Presbytery of the bounds within which the burgh
lies; and upon which it shall be attested, both by the Kirk-session and Presbytery
foresaid, that the person or persons therein named are elders lawfully ordained, and
have signed the formula above mentioned; and likewise, that they are either residenters in the burgh, or heritors in the burgh, or in the bounds of the Presbytery
where the burgh lies, or that they have formerly resided and officiated as elders in
the said burgh or Presbytery. And, lastly, The General Assembly extends the time
limited by the foresaid 6th Act of the General Assembly, 1698, for choosing commissioners from Presbyteries, to those that shall hereafter be sent from royal burghs.
X. Sess. ult., May 27, 1718.— Act concerning the larger Overtures for Discipline.
The General Assembly, considering the necessity of having a complete system of
rules for the procedure of the judicatures of this Church in matters of discipline, and
that the framing of this is one of the most proper works of the General Assemblies
of this Church, from which they have been long diverted by other incidental things,
and not having time now to overtake this necessary work, the General Assembly do
revive the 17th Act of Assembly, 1707, and the 16th Act of Assembly, 1710, and
again appoints the several Presbyteries who have not sent up their remarks upon the
larger overtures, to transmit them to the Clerk of the Commission, betwixt and
their meeting in August next, or November at farthest; and they appoint letters to
be written by their Commission, at their first meeting, to each Presbytery for this
effect; and ordains their Commission, at their said first meeting, to appoint a committee to class and put in order the remarks upon those overtures which are already
come up, and those which shall be sent up; that upon the report of this Commission,
the next General Assembly may be ready to enter upon this necessary work. And
the General Assembly recommends it to the several Presbyteries to send up such
members to the next General Assembly as may be most in case to help forward this
XI. Sess. ult., May 27, 1718.— Act appointing the Diet of the next General Assembly.
The next General Assembly of this National Church of Scotland is appointed to
be held at Edinburgh, the second Thursday of May next to come, in the year of
our Lord 1719, being the 14th day of that month.
This General Assembly was concluded with prayer, and singing of the 122d Psalm,
from verse 6th to the close, and pronouncing of the blessing.
Collected and extracted from the Records of the General Assembly, by
Jo. Dundas, Cls. Eccl. Scot.