Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

AND they PROTEST that all and whatsoever acts of the Parliament . . . 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 . . . , -- as also, all and whatsoever sentences of courts in contravention of the same . . . are . . . void and null, and of no legal force or effect; and that, while they will accord full submission to all such acts and sentences in so far -- though in so far only -- as these may regard civil rights and privileges. . . . 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 . . . 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. . . .

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 . . . and for the maintenance by them of the jurisdiction of the office-bearers, and the freedom and privileges of the members of the Church . . . 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 office-bearers and members of this Church . . . to stand by the Church, and by each other, in defence of the doctrine aforesaid and of the liberties . . . 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 . . . ; or otherwise that he would give strength to this Church . . . to endure resignedly the loss of the temporal benefits of an establishment, and the personal sufferings and sacrifices to which they may be called. . . .

Source: The Principal Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Convened at Edinburgh, May 19, 1842 ( Edinburgh, 1842), pp. 35-48.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 87.


89
Protest to the General Assembly May 18, 1843

The men who formed the Free Church were not voluntarists; they prized a state church rightly constituted, but determined to abandon an unacceptable Establishment. As the Claim of Right did not convince Parliament, already sensitive to analogous issues raised by the Tractarians, the Disruption inevitably followed. At the opening meeting of the 1843 Assembly, Moderator David Welsh read the protest and led the withdrawal. The Scottish Free Church, immediately organized with Chalmers as moderator, won over a third of the ministers and influenced similar contests on the Continent, particularly among the Reformed.

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