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recited, with the State, and her possession of the temporal benefits thereby secured to her for the advantage of the people, must, nevertheless, even at the risk and hazard of the loss of that connection and of these public benefits-deeply as she would deplore and deprecate such a result for herself and the nation-persevere in maintaining her liberties as a Church of Christ, and in carrying on the government thereof on her own constitutional principles, and must refuse to intrude ministers on her congregations, to obey the unlawful coercion attempted to be enforced against her in the exercise of her spiritual functions and jurisdiction, or to consent that her people be deprived of their rightful liberties :
THEREFORE, the General Assembly, while, as above set forth, they fully recognize the absolute jurisdiction of the Civil Courts in relation to all matters whatsoever of a civil nature, and especially in relation to all the temporalities conferred by the State upon the Church, and the civil consequences attached by law to the decisions, in matters spiritual, of the Church Courts,DO, in name and on behalf of this Church, and of the nation and people of Scotland, and under the sanction of the several statutes, and the Treaty of Union herein before recited, CLAIM, as of RIGHT, That she shall freely possess and enjoy her liberties, government, discipline, rights, and privileges, according to law, especially for the defence of the spiritual liberties of her people, and that she shall be protected therein from the foresaid unconstitutional and illegal encroachments of the said Court of Session, and her people secured in their Christian and constitutional rights and liberties.
And they DECLANE, that they cannot, in accordance with the Word of God, the authorized and ratified standards of this Church, and the dictates of their consciences, intrude ministers on reclaiming congregations, or carry on the government of Christ's Church, subject to the coercion attempted by the Court of Session as above set forth; and, that, at the risk and hazard of suffering the loss of the secular benefits conferred by the State, and the public advantages of an Establishment, they must, as by God's grace they will, refuse so to do: for, highly as they estimate these, they cannot put them in competition with the inalienable liberties of a Church of Christ, which, alike by their duty and allegiance to their Head and King, and by their ordination vows, they are bound to maintain, “ notwithstanding of whatsoever trouble or persecution may arise.”
AND they PROTEST, that all and whatsoever Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain, passed without the consent of this Church and nation, in alteration of or derogation to the aforesaid government, discipline, right, and privileges of this Church (which were not allowed to be treated of by the Commissioners for settling the terms of the union between the two kingdoms, but were secured by antecedent stipulation, provided to be inserted, and inserted in the Treaty of Union, as an unalterable and fundamental condition thereof, and so reserved from the cognizance and power of the federal Legislature created by the said Treaty), as also, all and whatsoever sentences of Courts in contravention of the same government, discipline, right, and privileges, are, and shall be, in themselves void and null, and of no legal force or effect; and that, while they will accord full submission to all such acts and sen
tences, in so far—though in so far only—as these may regard civil rights and privileges, whatever may be their opinion of the justice or legality of the same, their said submission shall not be deemed an acquiescence therein, but that it shall be free to the members of this Church, or their successors, at any time hereafter, when there shall be a prospect of obtaining justice, to claim the restitution of all such civil rights and privileges, and temporal benefits and endowments, as for the present they may be compelled to yield up, in order to preserve to their office-bearers the free exercise of their spiritual government and discipline, and to their people the liberties, of which respectively it has been attempted, so contrary to law and justice, to deprive them.
AND, FINALLY, the General Assembly call the Christian people of this kingdom, and all the Churches of the Reformation throughout the world, who hold the great doctrine of the sole Headship of the Lord Jesus over his Church, to witness, that it is for their adherence to that doctrine, as set forth in their Confession of Faith, and ratified by the laws of this kingdom, and for the maintenance by them of the jurisdiction of the office-bearers, and the freedom and privileges of the members of the Church from that doctrine flowing, that this Church is subjected to hardship, and that the rights so sacredly pledged and secured to her are put in peril; and they especially invite all the officebearers and members of this Church, who are willing to suffer for their allegiance to their adorable King and Head, to stand by the Church, and by each other, in defence of the doctrine aforesaid, and of the liberties and privileges, whether of office-bearers or people, which rest upon it; and to unite in supplication to Almighty God, that he would be pleased to turn the hearts of the rulers of this kingdom, to keep unbroken the faith pledged to this Church, in former days, by statutes and solemn treaty, and the obligations, come under to God himself, to preserve and maintain the government and discipline of this Church in accordance with his Word; or otherwise, that he would give strength to this Church-office-bearers and people to endure resignedly the loss of the temporal benefits of an Establishment, and the personal sufferings and sacrifices to which they may be called, and would also inspire them with zeal and energy to promote the advancement of his Son's kingdom, in whatever condition it may be his will to place them ; and that, in his own good time, he would restore to them these benefits, the fruits of the struggles and sufferings of their fathers in times past in the same cause; and, thereafter, give them grace to employ them more effectually than hitherto they have done for the manifestation of his glory.
2.-ADDRESS TO THE QUEEN
ON THE SUBJECT OF THE FOREGOING CLAIM OF RIGHT.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1842.-ACT XX,
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
We, your Majesty's most loyal, dutiful, and devoted subjects, the Ministers and Elders of the Church of Scotland, met in General Assembly, relying with undoubted confidence on the gracious assurance repeatedly vouchsafed to us of your Majesty's determination to maintain inviolate the government, worship, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church, humbly approach your Majesty, in order to lay before your Majesty a statement of the invasions which have recently been made on the said government, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church.
We deeply lament that the invasions of which we complain have proceeded from the Court of Session, to whose determinations, in their own province, we have ever yielded and inculcated implicit obedience.
We most respectfully submit to your Majesty's favourable consideration the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, which we have adopted with reference to this matter; wherein are fully set forth the legal and constitutional securities for the rights and privileges of this Church, and the encroachments thereon from which we desire to be protected.
We fully rely on your Majesty's determination to uphold and maintain the government, discipline, rights, and privileges of this Church; and while we cannot, in accordance with the dictates of our conscience, and our views of the Word of God, submit to the coercion attempted over us in the exercise of our spiritual functions by the said Court, and must refuse to do so, even at the hazard of the loss of the temporal advantages we at present enjoy, we earnestly trust that such measures may be directed by your Majesty as will preserve to us the peaceable possession of those rights and privileges secured to us by statute and solemn treaty.
Given at Edinburgh, this 30th day of May 1842, by your Majesty's
most faithful, obedient, and loyal subjects,
D. WELSH, Moderator.
BY THOSE COMMISSIONERS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPOINTED TO MEET ON 18TH MAY 1843, BY WHOM THIS ASSEMBLY
GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1843 -ACT I.
At Edinburgh, and within a large Hall at Canonmills,
the 18th day of May 1843 years. Sess. 1. The Commissioners to the General Assembly of the Church of Scot
land, appointed to have been holden this day, having met in St Andrew's Church, the Ministers and Elders, Commissioners thereto, whose names are appended to the Protest then and there made, and hereinafter inserted, having withdrawn from that place, and having convened in a large Hall at Canonmills, in presence of a great concourse of Ministers, Elders, and People, and having duly constituted themselves in the name of the Head of the Church, and appointed the Rev. Dr Chalmers to be their Moderator, the Protest above mentioned was produced and read, and thereafter
ordered to be recorded as follows:We, the undersigned Ministers and Elders, chosen as Commissioners to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, indicted to meet this day, but precluded from holding the said Assembly by reason of the circumstances hereinafter set forth, in consequence of which a Free Assembly of the Church of Scotland, in accordance with the laws and constitution of the said Church, cannot at this time be holden
CONSIDERING that the Legislature, by their rejection of the Claim of Right adopted by the last General Assembly of the said Church, and their refusal to give redress and protection against the jurisdiction assumed, and the coercion of late repeatedly attempted to be exercised over the Courts of the Church in matters spiritual by the Civil Courts, have recognised and fixed the conditions of the Church Establishment, as henceforward to subsist in Scotland, to be such as these have been pronounced and declared by the said Civil Courts in their several recent decisions, in regard to matters spiritual and ecclesiastical, whereby it has been held inter alia,First, That the Courts of the Church by law established, and members
thereof, are liable to be coerced by the Civil Courts in the exercise of their spiritual functions; and in particular in the admission to the office of the holy ministry, and the constitution of the pastoral relation, and that they are subject to be compelled to intrude ministers on reclaiming congregations in opposition to the fundamental principles of the Church, and their views of the Word of God, and
to the liberties of Christ's people. Second, That the said Civil Courts have power to interfere with and in
terdict the preaching of the gospel and administration of ordinances
as authorized and enjoined by the Church Courts of the Establish
ment. Third, That the said Civil Courts have power to suspend spiritual cen
sures pronounced by the Church Courts of the Establishment against ministers and probationers of the Church, and to interdict their
execution as to spiritual effects, functions, and privileges. Fourth, That the said Civil Courts have power to reduce and set aside
the sentences of the Church Courts of the Establishment deposing ministers from the office of the holy ministry, and depriving probationers of their licence to preach the gospel, with reference to the spiritual status, functions, and privileges of such ministers and probationers-restoring them to the spiritual office and status of which
the Church Courts had deprived them. Fifth, That the said Civil Courts have power to determine on the right
to sit as members of the supreme and other judicatories of the Church by law established, and to issue interdicts against sitting and voting therein, irrespective of the judgment and determination
of the said judicatories. Sixth, That the said Civil Courts have power to supersede the majority
of a Church Court of the Establishment, in regard to the exercise of its spiritual functions as a Church Court, and to authorize the minority to exercise the said functions, in opposition to the Court
itself, and to the superior judicatories of the Establishment. Seventh, That the said Civil Courts have power to stay processes of dis
cipline pending before Courts of the Church by law established, and
to interdict such Courts from proceeding therein. Eighth, That no pastor of a congregation can be admitted into the
Church Courts of the Establishment, and allowed to rule, as well as to teach, agreeably to the institution of the office by the Head of the Church, nor to sit in any of the judicatories of the Church, inferior or supreme--and that no additional provision can be made for the exercise of spiritual discipline among the members of the Church, though not affecting any patrimonial interests, and no alteration introduced in the state of pastoral superintendence and spiritual
discipline in any parish, without the sanction of a Civil Court. All which jurisdiction and power on the part of the said Civil Courts
severally above specified, whatever proceeding may have given occasion to its exercise, is, in our opinion, in itself inconsistent with Christian liberty, and with the authority which the Head of the
Church hath conferred on the Church alone. AND FARTHER CONSIDERING, that a General Assembly, composed, in accordance with the laws and fundamental principles of the Church, in part of commissioners themselves admitted without the sanction of the Civil Court, or chosen by Presbyteries composed in part of members not having that sanction, cannot be constituted as an Assembly of the Establishment without disregarding the law and the legal conditions of the same as now fixed and declared ;
AND FARTHER CONSIDERING, that such commissioners as aforesaid would, as members of an Assembly of the Establishment, be liable to be interdicted from exercising their functions, and to be subjected to civil coercion at the instance of any individual having interest who might apply to the Civil Courts for that purpose;
AND CONSIDERING FARTHER, that civil coercion has already been in divers instances applied for and used, whereby certain commissioners returned to the Assembly this day appointed to have been holden, have been interdicted from claiming their seats, and from sitting and voting therein; and certain Presbyteries have been, by interdicts directed against