Covenant, Solemn League and
Covenant, Solemn League and There were several covenants drawn up in Scotland having regard to the maintenance of the Reformed or Presbyterian religion in that country. The First Covenant was subscribed in Edinburgh Dec. 3, 1557, the mass of signers being known as the Congregation, and the nobility and leading subscribers as the Lords of the Congregation (q.v.). They petitioned the government for liberty of worship. Being met with dissimulation and treachery, a Second Covenant was signed at Perth, May 31, 1559, wherein the subscribers bound themselves to mutual assistance in defense of their religious rights. The appeal was made to arms, and the aid of queen Elizabeth of England was called in to counteract the French troops invited by the Papal party. On the death of the queen-mother in 1560, the French troops were withdrawn, and Parliament, being left at liberty, ordained the Presbyterian as the Established Church of Scotland. In 1638 the National Covenant was subscribed over all Scotland with great enthusiasm. This was not only a repetition of the former covenants, but contained, moreover, a solemn protest against prelacy.
The Solemn League and Covenant was a compact entered into in 1643 between England and Scotland, binding the united kingdoms to mutual aid in the extirpation of popery and prelacy, and the preservation of true religion and liberty in the realm. It was drawn up by Alexander Henderson, approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Aug. 17, ratified by the Convention of Estates, and accepted and subscribed Sept. 25 by the English Parliament and the Westminster Assembly (q.v.). In 1645 it was again ratified by the Scottish General Assembly, together with the Directory for Worship framed by the Westminster Assembly. Although Charles I would not approve of it, Charles II engaged by oath to observe it, a promise which he broke upon the first opportunity. The Scottish Parliament of 1661, in the interest of the king, established the royal supremacy, annulled the Solemn League and Covenant, and absolved the lieges from its obligations. The "Covenants" have a place in the volume which comprehends the Westminster Confession of Faith (Scottish edition), but for what reason it is difficult to say, for the Church of Scotland does not make adherence to them obligatory on either clerical or lay members. Certain Scottish and Irish dissenters, however, still profess attachment to the covenants, and on particular occasions renew their subscription to them. — Hetherington, Hist. of Church of Scotland; McCrie, Sketches of Ch. Hist.; Rudloff, Geschichte der Reformation in Schottland (Berlin, 1853, 2 vols.). SEE CAMERONIANS; SEE PRESBYTERIANS, REFORMED; SEE SCOTLAND, CHURCH OF.