The Church of the Covenant 1637-1651
Imprint: John Donald
Release date: 2001-01-01
The troubles of mid-seventeenth-century Scotland were the final episode in a long revolutionary process which had begun more than a century earlier. The changes of the intervening years – most of them gradual and imperceptible – were barely visible but their cumulative impact was profound. Charles I inherited a social revolution; he found a society already transformed and a power structure still in the process of transformation. Scotland was inherently unstable, and the unending conflict between king, baron and churchman was therefore accentuated. The failure of the Canterburian solution left magnate to struggle with minister for control of the Church and thus for the substance of power in Scotland. The struggle was often obscured by war: the feudal magnates, bold in defence of the ancient liberties of the kingdom, patched up an uneasy alliance with the radical ministers pursuing a new order. The end of the First Civil War was merely the prelude to a new conflict, which left the Kirk triumphant for the time being and the state, albeit temporarily, its impotent servant. This poses vital questions. Who were the ministers and elders who ruled the Church of Scotland? What was the nature of the Scottish Revolution? This book draws on many sources to answer these questions.