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Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638$
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David George Mullan

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198269978.001.0001

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Political and National Divinity

Political and National Divinity

(p.244) 8 Political and National Divinity
Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638

David George Mullan

Oxford University Press

Presbyterianism favoured limited monarchy, rejecting any form of human absolutism in state, church, and family. However, in the period covered by this book, they were generally political conservatives, and up until the eve of the National Covenant had little to say about advocating rebellion, though they did uphold the Melvillian notion of the two kingdoms in which church and state, while inseparably linked, also tended to different areas of human interest, meaning that when the king tried to interfere with sermon content and liturgy, there was bound to be trouble. Scotland was favoured by God, and defection from the truth would lead inexorably to God's departure from the land—a theme counterbalanced by covenantal notions, again nourished by the Hebrew Bible, that God would at least spare a remnant, so that Scotland's future, while dire, was not without all hope. There was similarly a deep tension in that political change must be effected by the lesser magistrates, the nobility—a caste of men who had for decades shown themselves generally to favour personal advantage over religious loyalty.

Keywords:   covenants, limited monarchy, nobility, two kingdoms

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