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Alexander Henderson
Author of the Covenants

Alexander Henderson was minister at Leuchars, near St Andrews, and then in St Giles in Edinburgh. He has been described as ‘easily the most important covenanting minister’ but he had not even been a Christian when he became a minister in 1612! He had to climb in a window to get into his new church building as the people had locked the door. However after going secretly to hear the famous Robert Bruce preaching (on John 10v1) he was converted. After this he became a strong defender of Presbyterianism and led the opposition to the Five Articles of Perth at the General Assembly of 1618.

Henderson wrote one of the three sections of the National Covenant of 1638, was Moderator of the Glasgow Assembly of the same year and ‘in the crucial few years that followed, his leadership cannot be overestimated’. His fellow minister Robert Baillie described him as ‘incomparably the ablest man of us all for all things’. Henderson was also the main author of the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 and one of the Scottish commissioners to the Westminster Assembly.

He died in Edinburgh in 1646 and was buried in Greyfriars kirkyard. He had been behind almost every important development in the Covenanting movement since 1637. At the General Assembly the following year, Baillie declared that Henderson ‘ought to be accounted by us and posterity, the fairest ornament, after John Knox, of incomparable memory, that ever the church of Scotland did enjoy’

Read more!
John Howie,
Alexander Henderson’ in The Scots Worthies (Edinburgh, 2001 [1775]), pp 288-97
BCW: Alexander Henderson
John Aiton – The life and times of Alexander Henderson (Edinburgh, 1836)
Henderson, Alexander
John Coffey,
‘Henderson, Alexander (c.1583–1646)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004


Alexander Henderson

Alexander Henderson
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