Ecclesiastical discipline in the Church of Scotland (1690-1730)

Graham, Ralph M (1964) Ecclesiastical discipline in the Church of Scotland (1690-1730). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The introductory chapter describes the civil penalties of the time. It discusses the discipline in the churches of Ireland and England at the same period, and the work of the societies for the Reformation of Manners. The eagerness of the ministers and the hostility of their distracters is compared with the acceptance and compliance of the people. Chapter one deals with the work that was done immediately after the re-establishment of Presbyterianism planning a uniform method of disciplinary procedures. Through Assembly, Commission and committee minutes we trace the writing and editing of the Form of Process to its adoption in 1707. After the adoption of the Form, the church did not their interest in discipline, end in chapter two we discuss their attempts to develop a more comprehensive set of rules for the use of the church in problems of discipline. Chapter three deals with the special relationship that existed between the civil and ecclesiastical courts of the day. It sketches the methods of cooperation used, and the work of the civil authorities in initiating new laws, in giving advice, and in enforcing the existing laws. It also deals with the passing of the Act of Toleration and its effect on church discipline. In the fourth chapter is contained a discussion of the general procedures that were used in all cases. It illustrates' the work of the elders in investigating scandals, and other methods of discovering offences. It also deals with the use of summons, witnesses, and the oath of purgation. It concludes with a description of the many forms which the judicatory's action on a case could take from the greater excommunication to absolving the party involved. Chapter five deals with the processes against swearers, with the variety of ways in which the Sabbath could be broken, how drunkenness led to multiple offences, of the name-calling and false accusations of slander, and the fact that the minister and his elders were often the objects of both slander and physical violence, of how the scandals for fighting were dominated by family and neighbourhood quarrels, of the various other lesser scandals such as dancing, Penny-weddings, "Leichwakes", and theft. Sexual scandals took up much of the churches time, and are dealt with in chapter six. Scandalous carriage, fornication and adultery are discussed along with a variety of other family and sexual concerns. The chapter describes their frequency and how they were disciplined by the church. The next chapter on "Charming and Withcraft" describes the superstitious customs, folk medicine and mental illnesses which were such enemies of the church of the day. The skills of the sorcerers and the penalties they incurred are discussed. Chapter eight illustrates how the ministers, elders and other church officials had to liver under a discipline even more rigid than that of the ordinary church member. The concluding chapter deals with the frequency of offences and of the common sense, justness, and leniency often demonstrated by the eccelesiastional courts. A short resume of the aims and accomplishment of discipline follows. There are three appendices and a selected bibliography. The first appendix gives the complete Form of Process. Appendix "B" gives additional church papers on discipline. Appendix "C" gives a series of tables which were the basis for the statistics used in the paper.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Stewart Mechie
Keywords: Religious history
Date of Award: 1964
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1964-73327
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56

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