The History of Leith

November 16, 2011

INTIMATION AND EXAMINATION.

The first step in the proceedings was an intimation made from the pulpit. On 5th May 1642 this Minute occurs :—

” The quhilk day the ministers and sessions ordained yt intematione should be made out of pulpet ye nixt Lords day that ye comunione of ye bodie and blood of Chryst was to be selebrat the nixt twa Lords dayes that all micht be provyded quha mynded to communicat.” Another Minute on the same subject may be given. It is dated 25th October 1688, the year in which King James II. fled from England
and William of Orange became King in his stead. It is as follows :—•
” Notwithstanding it was appoynted ye last day yt ye sacrament of ye Lords Supper should have been intimate ye last Lords day yet it was thought fitt to be delayed because of ye reeling of the times untill affaires setle.”
The intimation having been made from the pulpit the minister and elders proceeded with the examination of the people. The position was not so simple as it is in practice nowadays, when the duty of the elder is to deliver his cards, and he often does not do any more ; while the communicant is free to make such preparations as he may think proper. Some of us, however, may be old enough to remember when the elder questioned us about the commandments and the catechism. This was the old way and the best way, and in the 17th century every one was required to know his creed and commandments whether he was communicating for the first time or any other time, and those who were found ignorant were debarred from the Tables along with any guilty of scandal or offence. Parents prepared their children and masters their servants; quarrels among neighbours were made up and enemies reconciled, and when all these things were done we may believe that the communions were able
to make an abiding impression upon the minds and the hearts of the people.

source-South Leith Records

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