The tables which he drew up from information obtained from all the presbyteries of Scotland were based on a system of actuarial calculation that supplied a precedent followed by insurance companies in modern times for reckoning averages of longevity.
In 1906 there were 569 congregations, arranged under 36 presbyteries, with 647 ministers.
From 1783 ten of the fourteen presbyteries in the General Synod had made subscription optional; the synod's code of 1824 left "soundness in the faith" to be ascertained by subscription or by examination.
Kirk-sessions and presbyteries are not named, but the principles are clearly laid down on which these institutions were to rest.
The presbyteries came quickly into existence; that of Edinburgh dates from 1580.