Elliot Vernon
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in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
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This chapter provides a summary of the book’s main findings. Offering a narrative and analysis of the London presbyterian movement from the inside, the book has sought to complicate the common characterisation of London’s religious presbyterians as an arch-conservative or even ‘counter-revolutionary’ force which held back the parliamentarian revolution. The London presbyterians stood in the tradition of a mixed constitution based on ‘co-ordinate’ powers in Parliament and an ecclesiastical settlement. They remained committed to this as events took an unsustainably extreme  turn in the late 1640s and early 1650s. While the movement was a historical failure, that does not mean that it did not leave a legacy. In religion, the most obvious example is the worldwide use of the Westminster assembly’s confession of faith and its other confessional standards. In politics, we can point to the English culture of protestant dissent. Furthermore, the movement reveals important aspects of the nature of the British revolutions in particular and the religious culture of the early modern (and indeed modern) Anglophone world in general.

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