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William of Orange
And the "Glorious" Revolution

William of Orange was a Dutch prince invaded England in 1688 in what became known as the ‘Glorious Revolution’. William and his wife Mary (the daughter of James VII became King and Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In Scotland, the 28 years of persecution in Scotland were now over. Just as Renwick] and the Covenanters had already done, the whole Scottish nation now rejected James’ right to be king over them. William and Mary were proclaimed King and Queen of Scotland in April 1689.

In 1690, the Church of Scotland was reorganised as a Presbyterian church once again. However the Revolution Church was a very different church than it had been before the persecution. The new church ignored the covenants. Men who had agreed to the indulgences and even persecuted the Covenanters were accepted as ministers and elders without repenting. The church was also Erastian because it accepted some control by the government, and the King had the power to call, postpone and stop General Assemblies.

The Covenanters, still meeting as the United Societies, therefore refused to join what they saw as a new church. Their three ministers (the most well-known of whom was Alexander Shields) handed in a protest to the General Assembly of the Revolution church, but it refused to discuss it. Despite this, the three of them joined the church. The Covenanters were left without a minister until John Macmillan joined them in 1706.

The Covenanters also protested against the Revolution state as well as the Revolution church, as it too ignored the covenants which the nation and parliament (not just the church) had signed. The new government also left in place the Recissory Act which had taken away all the laws since 1633 that had been passed in favour of Reformation. The acts condemning the covenants as illegal were also left in place. William not only established Episcopalianism in England and Ireland (which was against the Solemn League and Covenant) but declared that he was the head of those churches.

Further Reading:
J. G. Vos, The Scottish Covenanters (Edinburgh, 1998 [1940]), pp 138-58.
Ian B. Cowan, The Scottish Covenanters 1660-1688 (London, 1976), pp 137, 143-47.
Patrick Walker, Six saints of the Covenant, ed. D. H. Fleming (London, 1901 [1724-32]), ii, 254-62
Matthew Hutchison, The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland: its origin and history, 1680-1876 (Paisley, 1893), pp 81-114
Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland: Historical and Doctrinal (Glasgow, 1866 [1837, 1839]), pp 97-115, 118-120.
Reformed Presbyterian Testimony, Part II, Historical (Belfast, 1939) pp 87-92.
J. K. Hewison, The Covenanters (2 vols, 2nd edn, Glasgow, 1913), ii, 513-42
Geoffrey Holmes, The making of a Great Power, 1660-1722 (Harlow, 1993), pp 176-191.
DSCHT: Shields, Alexander; William II (III)
Tony Claydon, ‘William III and II (1650–1702)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2008
Michael Jinkins, ‘Sheilds, Alexander (1659/60–1700)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
Stewart, Kenneth, The Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Revolution Settlement
Stewart, Kenneth, The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the British Constitution and Scottish Independence


William of Orange
William of Orange

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