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Edinburgh, to be a free Assembly of the Church of Scotland, or a lawful Assembly of the said Church, according to the true and original constitution thereof, and disclaim its authority as to matters spiritual; yet in respect of the recognition given to it by the State, and the powers in consequence of such recognition belonging to it, with reference to the temporalities of the Establishment, and the rights derived thereto from the State, hereby appoint a duplicate of this Act, to be subscribed by their Moderator, and also by the several ministers, members of this Assembly, now present in Edinburgh, for their individual interests, to be transmitted to the Clerk of the said ecclesiastical judicatory by law established, for the purpose of certiorating them that the benefices held by such of the said ministers, or others adhering to this Assembly, as were incumbents of benefices, are now vacant, and the said parties consent that the said benefices shall
be dealt with as such, and they authorise the Rev. Thomas Pitcairn and the Rev. Patrick Clason,
conjunct clerks to this their Ge
neral Assembly, to subscribe the joinings of the several sheets hereof. In testimony whereof these presents are subscribed, at Edinburgh, by the said whole parties in general meeting assembled, and the joinings of the several sheets by the said Rev. Thomas Pitcairn and the Rev. Patrick Clason, the conjunct clerks, as authorised as aforesaid, and along with the principal Act, duly executed and attested, which will be recorded in the books of Council and Session in due time, the 23rd day of May 1843 years, before these witnesses, Mr. John Hamilton, Advocate; William Fraser, Writer to the Signet; John Hunter, junior, Writer to the Signet; and the Rev. John Jaffray, preacher of the gospel, and Secretary to the Provisional Committee, Edinburgh. T, CHALMERs, Moderator.
PAPERS RELATIVE TO THE GENERAL AssBMBLY OF THE CHURCH of
Kensington, 17th June, 1842.
Sir, I have the honour to place in your hands in order to be submitted to the Queen, two Addresses to Her Majesty from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. I was requested to present these Addresses to Her Majesty, by the Moderator, in the usual form, at the close of the perusal of the Minutes of Assembly on Monday night, 30th ult, but I did not receive them until this morning.
I enclose copies of the letters which I have received from the Moderator to accompany the Ad
dresses, and also a copy of a letter from Principal Lee, Senior Clerk of the Assembly, explanatory of the delay which I have described. The Moderator first requested me to present the Address, referring to a document entitled the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, which is now sent with the Address. He then, without sitting down, requested me to present the Address against Patronage, which, at the time, he described as a Petition against Patronage. This description I have since been officially informed, was a mere clerical mistake on the part of the Moderator. He ought to have described it as an Address: but I am satisfied that he acted entirely from mistake, and not from any want of respect to Her Majesty. Upon the Moderator making this request to me, I answered in common form, “I shall have the honour of transmitting this Address to Her Majesty; likewise the Petition.” I then added, “but I desire to be distinctly understood that in so doing I express no approbation.” My answer has been duly entered in the Minutes of Assembly, according to an extract with which the Senior Clerk of Assembly has furnished me. I have, &c. BUTE. Edinburgh, 30th May, 1842.
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, taking into consideration the solemn circumstances in which, in the inscrutable Providence of God, this Church is now placed; and that, notwithstanding the securities for the government thereof, by General Assemblies, Synods, Presbyteries, and Kirk-sessions, and for the liberties, government, jurisdiction, discipline, rights and privileges of the same, provided by the statutes of the realm, by the constitution of this country, as unalterably settled by the Treaty of Union, and by the oath, “inviolably to maintain and preserve the same,” required to be taken by each Sovereign at accession, as a condition precedent to the exercise of the royal authority;—which securities might well seem, and had long been thought, to place the said liberties, government, jurisdiction, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church beyond the reach of
danger or invasion;–these have been of late assailed by the very Court to which the Church was authorised to look for assistance and protection, to an extent that threatens their entire subversion, with all the grievous calamities to this Church and nation which would inevitably flow therefrom ; —did, and hereby do solemnly, and in reliance on the grace and power of the Most High, resolve and agree on the following Claim, Declaration and Protest: That is to say:— Whereas it is an essential doctrine of this Church, and a fundamental principle in its constitution, as set forth in the Confession of Faith thereof, in accordance with the Word and law of the most holy God, that “there is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ; ” and that, while “God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be, under Him over the people, for his own glory, and the public good, and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword;" and while “it is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honour their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority for conscience sake, from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted;" and while the magistrate hath authority, and it is his duty, in the exercise of that power which alone is committed to him, namely, “ the power of the sword,” or civil rule, as distinct from the “power of the keys,” or spiritual authority, expressly denied to him, to take order for the preservation of purity, peace, and unity in the Church, yet “The Lord Jesus,
as King and Head of his Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of Church officers distinct from the civil magistrate; ” which government is ministerial, not lordly, and to be exercised in consonance with the laws of Christ, and with the liberties of his people: And whereas, according to the said Confession, and to the other standards of the Church, and agreeably to the Word of God, this government of the Church, thus appointed by the Lord Jesus, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate or supreme power of the State, and flowing directly from the Head of the Church to the office-bearers thereof, to the exclusion of the civil magistrate, comprehends, as the objects of it, the preaching of the Word, administration of the sacraments, correction of manners, the admission of the office-bearers of the Church to their offices, their suspension and deprivation therefrom, the infliction and removal of Church censures, and, generally, the whole “power of the keys,” which, by the said Confession, is declared, in conformity with. Scripture, to have been ‘ committed’ to Church officers, and which, as well as the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments, it is likewise thereby declared, that “the civil magistrate may not assume to himself: ” And whereas this jurisdiction and government, since it regards o spiritual condition, rights, and privileges, doth not interfere with the jurisdiction of secular tribunals, whose determinations as to all temporalities conferred by the State upon the Church, as to all civil consequences attached by
law to the decisions of Church courts in matters spiritual, this Church hath ever admitted, and doth admit, to be exclusive and ultimate, as she hath ever given and inculcated implicit obedience thereto : And whereas the above-mentioned essential doctrine and fundamental principle in the constitution of the Church, and the government and exclusive jurisdiction flowing therefrom, founded on God's Word, and set forth in the Confession of Faith and other standards of this Church, have been, by diverse and repeated Acts of Parliament, recognised, ratified, and confirmed;—inasmuch as, First.—The said Confession itself, containing the doctrine and principles above set forth, was “ ratified and established, and voted and approven as the public and avowed Confession of this Church,” by the fifth Act of the second Session of the first Parliament of King William and Queen Mary, entituled, “Act ratifying the Confession of Faith, and settling Presbyterian Church Government : ” to which Act the said Confession is annexed, and with it incorporated in the statute law of this kingdom. Second.—By an Act passed in the first Parliament of King James VI., entituled, “Of Admission of Ministers: of Laic Patronages,” it is enacted and declared, “That the examination and admission of ministers within this realm be only in the power of the Kirk, now openly and publicly professed within the same; ” and, while the “presentation of laic patronages” was thereby “reserved to the just and ancient patrons,” it was provided, that if the presentee of a patron should be refused to be admitted by the inferior ecclesiastical authorities, it should be lawful for the patron “to appeal to the General Assembly of the whole realm, by whom the cause being decided, shall take end as they decern and declare.” Third.—By an Act passed in the same first Parliament, and renewed in the sixth Parliament of the said King James VI., entituled, “Anent the jurisdiction of the Kirk,” the said Kirk is declared to have jurisdiction “in the preaching of the true Word of Jesus Christ, correction of manners, and administration of the holy sacraments; ” and it is further declared “ that there be no other jurisdiction ecclesiastical acknowledged within this realm, other than that which is and shall be within the same Kirk, or that flows therefrom, concerning the premises:” which Act, and that last before-mentioned, were ratified and approven by another Act passed in the year 1581, entituled, “Ratification of the Liberty of the true Kirk of God and religion, with confirmation of the laws and Acts made to that effect of before; ” which other Act, and all the separate Acts therein recited, were again revived, ratified, and confirmed by an Act of the twelfth Parliament of the said King James VI., entituled, “ Ratification of the Liberty of the true Kirk,” &c.; which . Act (having been repealed in 1662) was revived, renewed, and confirmed by the before-mentioned statute of King William and Queen Mary. Fourth.-The said Act of the twelfth Parliament of King James VI. ratified and approved the General Assemblies, Provincial Synods, Presbyteries, and Kirk Sessions “appointed by the Kirk,”
and “ the whole jurisdiction and discipline of the same Kirk; ” cassed and annulled “all and whatsoever acts, laws and statutes, made at any time before the day and date thereof, against the liberty of the true Kirk, jurisdiction and discipline thereof, as the same is used and exercised within this realm ; ” appointed presentations to benefices to be directed to Presbyteries, “with full power to give collation thereupon, and to put order to all matters and causes ecclesiastical within their bounds, according to the discipline of the Kirk, providing the foresaid Presbyteries be bound and astricted to receive and admit whatsoever qualified minister, presented by His Majesty or laic patrons” (the effect of which proviso and of the reservation in the Act of the first Parliament of King James VI., above mentioned, is hereinafter more fully adverted to); and farther declared that the jurisdiction of the Sovereign and his Courts, as set forth in a previous Act, to extend over all persons his subjects, and “in all matters,” “should noways be prejudicial nor derogate anything to the privilege that God has given to the spiritual office-bearers of the Kirk, concerning heads of religion, matters of heresy, excommunication, collation, or deprivation of ministers, or any such like essential censures, grounded and having warrant of the Word of God; ” by which enactment, declaration and acknowledgment, the State recognised and established as a fundamental principle of the constitution of the kingdom, that the jurisdiction of the Church in these matters was “given by God" to the office-bearers thereof, and was exclusive, and free from coercion by any tribunals holding power or authority from the state or supreme civil magistrate. Fifth.--The Parliament holden by King Charles II., immediately on his restoration to the throne, while it repealed the above recited Act of the twelfth Parliament of King James and other relative Acts, at the same time acknowledged the supreme and exclusive nature of the jurisdiction thereby recognised to be in the Church, describing the said Acts, as Acts “by which the sole and only power and jurisdiction within this Church doth stand in the Church, and in the general, provincial, and Presbyterial Assemblies, and Kirksessions,” and as Acts “which may be interpreted to have given any Church power, jurisdiction, or government to the office-bearers of the Church, their respective meetings, other than that which acknowledgeth a dependence upon, and subordination to, the sovereign power of the King, as supreme.” Sixth.-The aforesaid Act of King William and Queen Mary, —on the narrative that their Majesties and the estates of Parliament conceived “it to be their bounden duty, after the great deliverance that God hath lately wrought for this Church and kingdom, in the first place, to settle and secure therein the true Protestant religion, according to the truth of God’s Word, as it hath of a long time been professed within this land; as also the government of Christ's Church within this nation, agreeable to the Word of God, and most conducive to true piety and godliness, and the establishing of peace and tranquillity within this realm,"— besides ratifying and establishing Vol. LXXXV.
as aforesaid the Confession of Faith, did also “establish, ratify, and confirm the Presbyterian Church government and discipline; that is to say, the government of the Church by Kirk-sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies, ratified and established by the 116 Act of James VI., Parliament 12, anno 1592, entituled, “Ratification of the liberty of the true Kirk,' &c., and thereafter received by the general consent of this nation, to be the only government of Christ's Church within this kingdom ; ” and revived and confirmed the said Act of King James VI. And whereas, not only was the exclusive and ultimate jurisdiction of the Church courts, in the government of the Church, and especially in the particular matters, spiritual and ecclesiastical, above-mentioned, recognised, ratified, and confirmed,—thus necessarily implying the denial of power on the part of any secular tribunal, holding its authority from the Sovereign, to review the sentences of the Church courts in regard to such matters, or coerce them in the exercise of such jurisdiction;–but all such power, and all claim on the part of the Sovereign to be considered supreme governor over the subjects of this kingdom of Scotland in causes ecclesiastical and spiritual, as he is in causes civil and temporal, was, after a long continued struggle, finally and expressly repudiated and cast out of the constitution of Scotland, as inconsistent with the Presbyterian Church government established at the Revolution, and thereafter unalterably secured by the Treaty of Union, with England; by the constitution of which latter kingdom, differing in this [2 Gl