R. Scott Spurlock
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Polity, discipline and theology
The importance of the covenant in Scottish presbyterianism, 1560–c. 1700
in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
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This chapter looks at the role of covenanting in the early modern Scottish presbyterian tradition in establishing ideas of Scotland as a godly nation. The chapter argues that the Scottish understanding of covenanting, based on deep roots in the Reformed theology of the Scottish Reformation, was deployed by clergy and theologians to argue that the Scots were a people in covenant with God similar to that of the biblical Jews. Such arguments were applied to argue that, even if not all Scots were the elect of God, the nation was still a godly nation. The chapter traces this idea through the Scottish Reformation into the Covenanter revolution of the late 1630s and 1640s. It explores the decline of the idea of national covenanting in face of the Cromwellian conquest and the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy and episcopal forms of church polity in the later seventeenth century.

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