The Reformation in Scotland

The Reformation in Scotland

It is perhaps offering a hostage to fortune to allege that the man in the street probably knows little of Presbyterianism or the Scottish Reformation. The emergence of evangelism and a Protestant creed in Scotland was not an overnight event, however; nor did it originate solely with the fervour of John Knox fresh from Geneva. The Roman form of Christianity was spread throughout the land by Augustine. In the fifteenth century small core groups such as the followers of John Wyckcliffe, the Lollards ,were making contact with one another, while in Scotland there was cross-border contact with English Protestants.

He was the catalyst that brought about action to establish a Protestant church in Scotland and therein Presbytery. Thirdly, the French influence in the affairs of Scotland was broken. In a very narrow sense the Reformation of religion in Scotland was all over by the autumn of But there were other changes which bore an equally important part in the Reformation. These were the social and economic changes that had gathered pace through the latter part of the sixteenth century earlier in Europe.

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The Scottish Reformation was the process by which Scotland broke with the Papacy and developed a predominantly Calvinist national Kirk (church), which was. The History of the Reformation in Scotland is a five-volume book written by the Scottish reformer, John Knox, between and

The other great force, the nobility, were becoming more servile to the Crown as they found they could no longer subsist on their estates. Across the land as a whole the need for cash — money was becoming a reality. The changing structures of business, organisation and improvements in methods, on the other hand saw the economy expanding, along with peoples expectations, and a new social order had emerged in which the artisans and merchants controlled the Town Councils. The support of the townspeople was critical to the reform of religion, and decisive to its immediate implementation.

The resulting civil war between the forces of the king and those of Parliament was hardly just a religious struggle between Arminians and Calvinists, but conflict over religion played an undeniably large role in bringing about the Puritan Revolution. As Protestantism split, so did English society. A majority of the Puritan clergy of England probably would have accepted a modified episcopal church government.

Because both groups had support in Parliament, the reform of church government and discipline was frustrated. Dissent within the assembly was negligible compared with dissent outside it. Pamphlets by John Milton , Roger Williams , and other Puritans pleaded for greater freedom of the press and of religion. Such dissent was supported by the New Model Army , a Parliamentarian force of 22, men led by Sir Thomas Fairfax —71 as commander in chief and Oliver Cromwell — as second in command.

Late in the victors feared that the Westminster Assembly and Parliament would reach a compromise with the defeated Charles that would destroy their gains for Puritanism. In December Parliament was purged of members unsatisfactory to the army, and in January King Charles was tried and executed. The Independent clergyman John Owen guided the religious settlement under Cromwell. Such was the basis for a pluralistic religious settlement in England under the Commonwealth in which parish churches were led by men of Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist , or other opinions.

Jews were permitted to live in England, but Roman Catholics and Unitarians were not allowed to hold religious views publicly. Voluntary associations of churches were formed, such as the Worcestershire Association, to keep up a semblance of order among churches and pastors of differing persuasions.

In the upheaval brought on by the wars, radical groups appeared that both challenged and advanced the Puritan vision of the New Jerusalem. The Levellers a republican and democratic political party in the New Model Army in and interpreted the liberty that comes from the grace of God freely offered to all through Christ as having direct implications for political democracy.

In , the Diggers agrarian communists planted crops on common land—first at St.

Puritanism under the Stuarts (1603–49)

In the same year, the Fifth Monarchy Men an extreme Puritan millennialist sect , presented their message of no compromise with the old political structure and advocated a new one, composed of saints joined together in congregations with ascending representative assemblies, to bring all men under the kingship of Jesus Christ.

As distinct units these groups were short-lived. A more enduring group was founded by George Fox —91 as the Society of Friends , or Quakers, which pushed the Puritan position against popery to its logical conclusion by rejecting the need for ministers, sacraments, or liturgy in the church. Puritanism had never been a monolithic movement, and accession to power generated factionalism. The limits of the Puritan spirit showed clearly in the widespread persecution of the Quakers. After the death of Cromwell, chaos threatened, and in the interest of order even some Puritans supported the restoration of Charles II as king.

They hoped for a modified episcopal government, such as had been suggested in by the archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher — Such a proposal was satisfactory, however, to many Episcopals, Presbyterians, and Independents. These Puritans were outmaneuvered, however, by those who favoured the strict episcopal pattern.

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A new Act of Uniformity was passed on May 19, , by the Cavalier Parliament that required reordination of many pastors, gave unconditional consent to The Book of Common Prayer , advocated the taking of the oath of canonical obedience, and renounced the Solemn League and Covenant. Between and when the act was enforced on August 24, , almost 2, Puritan ministers were ejected from their positions.

The Conventicle Act of punished any person over 16 years of age for attending a religious meeting not conducted according to The Book of Common Prayer. The Five Mile Act of prohibited any ejected minister from living within five miles of a corporate town or any place where he had formerly served. There were conferences with sympathetic bishops and brief periods of indulgence for Puritans to preach, but fines and imprisonment were frequent. Consequently, Puritanism became a form of Nonconformist Protestantism. Charles, who converted to Roman Catholicism on his death bed, had steered a course through the turmoil among the various religious factions, but his successor and openly Catholic brother, James II —88 , could not.

This new unity brought about the Glorious Revolution —89 , establishing William and Mary on the throne. The last attempt at comprehension failed to receive approval by either Parliament or the Convocation under the new rulers. The Puritan goal to further reform the nation as a whole was transmuted into the more individualistic spiritual concerns of Pietism or else the more secular concerns of the Age of Reason. A decade before the landing of the Mayflower in Massachusetts, a strong Puritan influence was established in Virginia.

Leaders of the Virginia Company who settled Jamestown in believed that they had a covenant with God, and they carefully read the message of their successes and failures. His strict application of laws disciplining the colony probably saved Jamestown from extinction in , but he also earned a reputation as a tyrant. Puritan clergy saw an excellent opportunity for their cause in Virginia.

In New England , however, the Puritans had their greatest opportunity. Between and the Massachusetts Bay Colony was developed as a covenant community. Governor John Winthrop stated the case in his lay sermon on board the Arbella:. Thus stands the cause between God and us; we are entered into covenant with Him for this work; we have taken out a commission; the Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles…Now if the Lord shall be pleased to hear us and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our Commission, [and] will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it.

The Scottish Reformation

Unlike the Separatists he held the Church of England to be a true church, though blemished; and unlike the Presbyterians he held that there should be no ecclesiastical authority between the congregation and the Lordship of Christ. Inspired by Thomas Cartwright, the Puritans of the Bay Colony fashioned the civil commonwealth according to the framework of the church. Only the elect could vote and rule in the commonwealth. The colony prospered; thus it seemed evident that God was blessing Puritan performance. As a result the leadership could not take kindly to those who publicly criticized their basic program.

Hence Roger Williams in and Anne Hutchinson in were banished from the colony even though they could declare their experience of the work of grace. More troublesome than these dissenters were persons such as Mary Dyer. She and other Quakers who returned again and again after being punished and banished were finally hanged. It was difficult for the state to keep the church pure. Fearing that the Westminster Assembly, established by the Parliament to reform the church, would impose a new form of church government on them, churches from the four Puritan colonies—Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut , and New Haven—met in a voluntary synod in They adopted the Cambridge Platform , in which the congregational form of church government was worked out in detail.

The standard for church membership came into question when it was found that numbers of second-generation residents could not testify to the experience of grace in their lives. This resulted in the Half-Way Covenant of and that permitted baptized, moral , and orthodox persons to share in the privileges of church membership except for partaking of communion.

Late in the 17th century it was apparent to all that the ideal commonwealth was not being maintained.

The Salem witch trials and hangings took place in during a period of declining confidence in the old ideal. Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven were not the only variations on the main theme of realizing the holy commonwealth in America. When Penn became owner of this vast tract of land, he saw it as a mandate from God to form an ideal commonwealth. Maryland, which had been established under Roman Catholic auspices , soon had a strong Puritan majority among its settlers.

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Indeed, there was no colony in which Puritan influence was not strong, and one estimate identifies 85 percent of the churches in the original 13 colonies as Puritan in spirit. The History of the Reformation in Scotland is a five-volume book written by the Scottish reformer , John Knox , between and In during the Scottish Reformation , the leaders of the Protestant nobility, the Lords of the Congregation , asked Knox to write a history of the movement.

This short pamphlet became the second book of the History. In Knox continued writing the rest of the History while in Kyle in Ayrshire. By this time he probably had completed drafts of the third book which chronicles the events leading up to the arrival of Mary, Queen of Scots in Scotland. Knox mainly worked on the first and fourth books during this time.

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The first book covers the period from the beginnings of the Scottish Reformation up to The fourth book recorded the events from August to June The fifth book first appeared in an edition published by David Buchanan a relative of the Scottish historian George Buchanan in