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1.-CLAIM, DECLARATION, AND PROTEST,
ANENT THE ENCROACHMENTS OF THE COURT OF SESSION.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1842.-AOT XIX. .
Edinburgh, 30th May 1842. Sess. 17. 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 authorized 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 How 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” (ch. xxv. sec. 6); 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” (ch. xxiii. sec. 1); 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 ” (ch. xxiii. sec. 4); 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” (ch. xxx. sec. 1); 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” (ch. xxx. sec. 2) 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” (ch. xxiji. sec. 3):
AND WHEREAS this jurisdiction and government, since it regards only 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, and 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, recognized, 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 ap. proven 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” (1690, c. 5): to which Act the said Confession is annexed, and with it incorpo
rated 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 ” (1567, c. 7), 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 à patron should be refused to be admitted by the inferior ecclesias. tical 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.”
Thoird, 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" (1567, C 12. Fol. Edit.), 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" (1579, c. 69); and it is farther 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" (1581, c. 99); which other Act, and all the separate Acts therein recited, were again reviyed, 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. (1592, c. 116); which said Act (having been repealed in 1662) was revived, renewed, and confirmed by the before mentioned
statute of King William and Queen Mary (1690, c. 5). Fourth, The said Act of the twelfth Parliament of King James VI. ra.
tified and approved the General Assemblies, Provincial Synods, Presbyteries, and Kirk Sessions “appointed by the Kirk” (1592, c. 116), 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 (1567, c. 7), 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 (1584, c. 129), to extend over all persons his subjects, and “in all matters," shoulú “nuways be prejudicial nor derogate any thing 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 recognized 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. (1662, c. 1), imme
diately on his restoration to the throne, while it repealed the above recited Act of the twelfth Parliament of King James, and other relative Acts (1592. c. 116), at the same time acknowledged the supreme and exclusive nature of the jurisdiction thereby recognized to be in the Church, describing the said Acts, as Acts"Wy 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 kirk-sessions, 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.'