The story of the Scottish Covenanters goes back to the belief and behavior of James the First. James was the first king over the United Kingdom. Before his arrival in London, the kingdoms of Scotland and England were independent of one another and boasted their own kings and laws. They had, throughout their history, battled with one another, yet somehow had survived.
At the time of the Reformation the Scottish people had signed and sealed the constitution of Scotland declaring that Presbyterianism would be the religion of Scotland. This meant that neither King nor Bishop nor Pope would reign over the Church in Scotland. The King determined that it must change.
The Reformation had been a support for human freedom in every dimension, religious and civil. Andrew Melville had, at an audience at Falkland Palace, Scotland grasped King James the Sixth by the arm and said, “There are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland. There is Christ Jesus the King, and his kingdom the church, whose subject King James the Sixth is, and in whose kingdom not a king nor a lord, nor a head but a member. And, Sir, when you were in your swaddling clothes, Christ Jesus rang freely in this land in spite of all his enemies."
The National Covenant was signed and sealed in Grey Friars Churchyard on the 28th February, 1638, by scholars, preachers and humble patriots. Some signed in their blood such was their desire and devotion. This covenant was then reproduced, sent throughout the land and was sincerely and whole-heartedly endorsed. Thus begins fifty years of the bullet, the boot, the scaffold and the hangman’s noose.
Lord Warriston said, “Christ lives and reigns alone in His Church, and will have all done therein according to His Word and will...He has given no supreme Headship over the Church to any Pope, King, or Parliament whatsoever.” This is what Charles Stuart was about to learn…
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