Skip to main content

Reformed Covenanter: 'Alexander Henderson on the original Covenanters’ respect for the King’s majesty'


As they have done and suffered much for vindicating and maintaining the liberty of their Religion, that what belongeth unto God may be rendered unto God; So do they desire, that according to the rule of righteousness, each man have his own, and above all men, That the things which are Caesar’s be rendered unto him, and to give him that which is God’s were a wronging both of God and Caesar. They have ever been willing to taxes and to pay subsidies above that which they were able. They join with the inward reverence of their hearts, external honour and obedience in all things lawful.

They pour forth their prayers to God in private and public, for all blessings spiritual and temporal upon his Royal Person and Government, and upon his Progeny; and for the same blessings upon the Queen’s Majesty, especially that God by his Spirit would give unto her the knowledge and love of the truth. They long for her conversion as an happiness to herself, and a means of great happiness to the King, to their Children, and to all their Subjects.

And, that the Lord may answer their prayers, they think it incumbent to the Church of England, nor can any bond whatsoever oblige them to the contrary, to use the best and most powerful means, and would most willingly in all humility, love and respect, join their endeavours for that blessed end. And as they thus present their best desires and prayers, so are they ready to sacrifice their lives to God for his Majesty’s good, and in their hearts are grieved that their loyalty, which they account their no small glory, should have been called in question.

Neither is this all. But moreover they do acknowledge that his Majesty, as supreme Magistrate, hath not only charge over the Common-wealth, but doth watch and hath inspection over the Church and Church matters, but in a civil way. Vos Episcopi in Ecclesia (saith Constantine) Ego extra Ecclesiam Episcopus à Deo constitutus sum. And therefore that he is, by his high calling and place, Custos utrius{que} tabulae, to command the precepts of the first table as well as of the second table to be obeyed: That he is Vindex Religionis by his sword, as the Spirit of God in Scripture is Iudex, and the Church is Index: That he hath power to turn the constitutions of the Church into Laws, and to confirm them by the civil sanction in Parliament: That he may constrain all his subjects to do duty in matters of religion, and may punish the transgressors: That when debates arise about Religion, he hath power to call the Assemblies of the Church, to be present and civilly preside in them, and to examine their constitutions, that he may discern of them both as a Christian caring for his own soul, and as supreme Magistrate watching over his people: and that he may do all things which can prove him to be a kind and careful nursing Father.

They account all that is vomited out to the contrary, [as, that they liked Anarchy better then Monarchy, and that they would turn a Kingdom into a democracy,] to be but the fictions and calumnies of the malicious enemies of God and his truth; not unlike the lies which were devised against the Christians of old: their consciences, their words, writings, and actions, even then when the world did put the worst constructions upon them, were witnesses of the integrity of their hearts.

They do still hold that there can be no antipathy betwixt one ordinance of God and another. By him Princes do reign, and he hath also appointed the Officers and Government of his own house. They do desire nothing more then that the Son of God may reign, and that with and under the Son of God, the King may command, and they, as good subjects to Christ and the King, may obey.

Alexander Henderson, The government and order of the Church of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1641), pp 65-68.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Testimony of Thomas Stoddart Executed in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket on 12 August, 1685

Posted at Jardine's Book of Martyrs : Thomas Stoddart was executed in the Grassmarket on 12 August, 1685. Matthew Bryce , David Law and Gavin Russell were hanged alongside him. ‘Men, Brethren, And Fathers, Hearken,—I being to take my farewell of the world, I leave this my dying testimony, according to the form of the Christians of old; I having like the same ground for it that he had who used that word; that was Stephen; who was condemned, because he spoke blasphemous words against the law and the temple. So, because I will not adhere to, nor approve of their laws, which now have power in their hands, they condemned me to die, though they could not witness so much against me for speaking against them, and they never essayed to prove the sentence upon me, which now I shall study in a word to give you an account of. And first, I received my sentence of banishment, and then notwithstanding of that I was committed to the justices to abide the assize, and they passed upon me th

Scottish Covenanters Index

Editor's Note: I am pleasantly surprised to discover this index page for "Scottish Covenanters" at ancestry.com . I hope you will find it helpful. For Christ's Crown & Covenant, Angela Somers-Wittman Posted at ancestry: About Scottish Covenanters Index In the 17th century conflict arose between Church and State in Scotland. Those who remained steadfast in their Presbyterian beliefs and refused to take an oath to the king saying that he was the head of the church became known as Covenanters. They believed that Christ was the head of the church and were punished for this belief. Many were forced to pay the ultimate price for this by laying down their lives. The Royalists and Dragoons, who were seeking their lives, chased the Covenanters from glen to glen, especially in the Lowlands. If anyone was found hiding them, they suffered imprisonment and/or death as well. This punishment was not just reserved for the strong and healthy -- children and the eld

Scottish Covenanters: 'THE PRINCIPLES FOR WHICH THEY CONTENDED'

Posted at Log College Press: Reformed Presbyterian minister David McAllister’s Poets and Poetry of the Covenant is a worthy homage to the heroic faith of the Scottish Covenanters in verse, which we have highlighted on this blog previously, but its prose introduction should not be overlooked. It is a helpful overview of what the Covenanters stood for, and what inspired so many powerful poetic tributes. Let us briefly sketch the leading principles for which the heroes and martyrs of these songs of the Covenant contended: I. The supreme authority of God's Word in all the relations of human life. In the church, as one of their own number said, "they took their pattern, not from Rome, not even from Geneva, but from the blessed Word of God." They held that the state was bound to regulate all its affairs by the same law of ultimate authority. The Bible was to them a national as well as an ecclesiastical law-book. Kings and noblemen and lowlier citizens were all under its

Covenanters and Slavery - Part One: RPCNA - Abolitionists

By Angela Wittman While researching the history of the (RPCNA) Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America and abolition of slavery, I found these excerpts from on-line resources which report the RPCNA's history of the abolition of slavery officially began in the year 1800: Perhaps the most enduring change during the 19th century involved participation in social reform movements. One cause favored by the denomination was the abolition of slavery , beginning officially in 1800, when members were prohibited from slave owning and from the slave trade. Enthusiastically supported by most members, the denomination took a strong stance against the Confederacy and faithfully supported the North in the Civil War , as Reformed Presbyterians enlisted to fight against the "slaveholders' rebellion." Abolition was a major factor in the decline of the denomination's South Carolina and Tennessee congregations: most members there, finding it hard to be abolitionists in