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Second Reformation General Overview/Background


The First Reformation had brought the light of the gospel to Scotland after the people had lived for many years in complete spiritual darkness. However, by the time of Andrew Melville, the freedom of the church was continually coming under attack from king James VI. James died in 1625 but he was replaced by his son Charles I, who continued to try and impose his authority on the church…


Charles’ attempts to make the Church of Scotland like the Church of England eventually brought a large-scale reaction from the Scottish people in 1637. When the dean of St Giles Cathedral attempted to read from the Book of Common Prayer for the first time, a woman called Jenny Geddes threw the stool she was sitting on at him and a riot broke out. The protests eventually led to the signing of the National Covenant, and, after Charles had reacted by trying to go to war, the Solemn League and Covenant. By signing these documents the people swore to oppose changes to the church that were against the Bible, and to further the work of reformation in Scotland, England and Ireland.

King Charles had provoked his English subjects as well as the Scottish Presbyterians, and in 1642 Civil War had broken out between the king and his English Parliament. In 1643, following the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, the Scots sent an army to help the Parliament. However they were horrified when the English executed Charles in 1649, and never accepted the authority of Oliver Cromwell], who ruled England, Scotland and Ireland as Lord Protector from 1653. Under Cromwell’s rule however there was peace, freedom to preach the gospel, and many people were converted.


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