The National Covenant (1638); or, Confession of Faith (of the Kirk of Scotland)
The National Covenant, a Scottish Presbyterian document,
was primarily authored by John Craig (1580), Alexander Henderson and Archibald
Johnstone of Wariston (1638). Craig drafted the first section (also known as
the King's Confession); Johnston (a Covenanter, lawyer, Scottish representative
at the Westminster Assembly, and later a martyr for the cause of Christ)
produced the the second section, demonstrating the legal establishment of the
Reformation in Scotland; and Henderson made application to the present
time in the third section.
This covenant was composed in opposition to the "policies of Charles I. Written in the context of the riots resulting from the imposition of 'Laud's Liturgy' in 1637 and the King's refusal to receive the petitions of supplicants for redress, the National Covenant was an appeal... to defend the true Reformed religion, and to decline the recent innovations in worship decreed by the King." (Dictionary of Scottish Church History, p. 620).
Furthermore, it was "an assertion by the Kirk of freedom from royal or state control, a personal oath of allegiance to Jesus Christ, the only Head of the Church, the King of kings, and a dedication of life to him. It stemmed directly from God's covenant of grace, was in the succession of those earlier bonds the Scots had made with God for his people's defence and deliverance, and represented a call in the Pauline sense to 'conduct themselves a citizens.'"
This covenant (and the Solemn League and Covenant described below) are still binding on all true Presbyterians (because the one true church is viewed by a God as one moral person throughout history) and the hearty and steadfast renewal of these faithful documents would constitute a mighty means toward modern reformation, seeing that much of the contemporary church and all modern states have set themselves "against the Lord, and against his anointed" (Ps. 2:2); excepting, maybe, the African state of Zambia, which seems to be presently reforming, but not yet covenanted to the Lord.
If you want to understand Presbyterianism these two covenant documents (the National and the Solemn League and Covenant) offer as much light as any others we know of. They are inextricably linked to the Westminster standards, historical testimony and the covenanted reformation. Some still believe that they will once again be renewed on an international basis near the beginning of the millennium, in preparation for the days when the "earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9). With this sentiment we wholeheartedly concur!)
The Solemn League and Covenant by Alexander Henderson and others (Mid seventeenth-century reprint of the covenant between England, Scotland, Ireland and the LORD Jesus Christ.
The Westminster Divines, the national parliaments, the national "Presbyterian/Puritan" churches and [most of] the people of the British Isles swore to uphold this covenant - some signing it with their own blood. William M. Hetherington, in his History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines [p. 134], calls The Solemn League and Covenant, "the wisest, the sublimest, and the most sacred document ever framed by uninspired men." It was certainly a long way ahead of its time and it continues to bind the moral person [civil and ecclesiastical] in all those nations which descended from the civil and ecclesiatical constitutions which bound the original covenanters.
Some, even today, still regard the Solemn League and Covenant as a foretaste of the millennial blessings that will encompass the Earth in the future. "Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him" [Ps. 72:11].) And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD [Isa. 2:2-5]).
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