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The name given to the subscribers (practically the whole Scottish nation) of the two Covenants, the National Covenant of 1638 and the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643.

Though the covenants as national bonds ceased with the conquest of Scotland by Cromwell, a number continued to uphold them right through the period following the Restoration, and these too are known as Covenanters.

James had sowed the wind, and Charles I was soon to reap the whirlwind.

Charles' very first action, his "matching himself with the daughter of Heth", i.e., France (see Leighton, "Sion's Plea against Prelacy" quoted by Gardiner, "Hist. 1884, VII, 146), aroused suspicion as to his orthodoxy, and in the light of that suspicion every act of his religious policy was interpreted, wrongly we know, as some subtle means of favoring popery.

James now adopted that policy which was to be so fruitful of disaster;he determined to re-introduce episcopacy in Scotland as the only possible means of brining the clergy to submit to his own authority.

He had already gone some way towards accomplishing his object when his accession to the English throne still further strengthened his resolve.

He first tried to draw together the two separate representative institutions in Scotland — the Parliament, representing the king and the nobility, and the General Assembly, representing the Kirk and the majority of the nation — by granting the clergy a vote in Parliament.

Owing, however, to the hostility of clergy and nobility, the scheme fell through.

James had always been careful to keep the nobles on his side by lavish grants of the old church lands.His wisest course would have been to annul the hated Five Articles of Perth, which to Scotchmen were but so many injunctions to commit idolatry.In spite of concessions, however, he let it be known that the articles were to remain (Row, Historie of the Kirk of Scotland, p.By the Act of Revocation, which passed the Privy Seal, 12 October, 1625 (Privy Council Register I, 193), Charles I touched the pockets of the nobility, raised at once a serious opposition, and led the barons to form an alliance with the Kirk against the common enemy, the king.It was a fatal step and proved "the ground-stone of all the mischief that followed after, both to this king's government and family (Balfour, Annals, II, 128).340; Balfour, Annals, II, 142; Privy Council Register, N. Further, he took the unwise step of increasing the powers of the bishops ; five were given a place in the Privy Council; and the Archbishop Spottiswoode was made President of the Exchequer and ordered as Primate to take precedence of every other subject.This proceeding not only roused the indignation of Protestants, who in the words of Row, considered bishops "bellie-gods", but it further offended the aristocracy, who felt themselves thus slighted.It was, therefore, perhaps no mere chance that made the Scottish nation, under the guidance of John Knox and later Andrew Melville, adopt that form of Protestantism which was, in its doctrine, farthest removed from Rome, to which their French regents adhered, and which in its theory of church government was most democratic.Presbyterianism meant the subordination of the State to the Kirk, as Melville plainly told James VI at Cupar in 1596, on the famous occasion when he seized his sovereign by the sleeve and called him " God's silly vassal".Nor could a church where the ministers and their elders in the kirk assemblies judged, censured, and punished all offenders high or low, craftsman or nobleman, be pleasing to an aristocracy that looked with feudal contempt on all forms of labour.Both noble and king were therefore anxious to humble the ministers and deprive them of some of their influence.