The Westminster Divines on Social Covenanting

The works of the Westminster divines below have been mainly categorized according to historical events for the sake of clarity, but you will find the Biblical arguments for, and benefits of, social covenanting throughout their writings.

 

 

Order of Contents

Scottish National Covenant  1638
At the Original Swearing of the SL&C  1643
The SL&C Defended
Against the SL&C
The Covenanters
At Renewals of the SL&C
Closer Observance to the SLC
Pertaining to Civil and Church Issues
The Engagement  1647-50
Covenant Breaking
Separation from Covenant-Breakers?
Obedience to the Civil Government

 

 

 

Related to the Scottish National Covenant  1638

Henderson, Alexander – The Protestation of the Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Borrowes, Ministers, and Commons; subscribers of the confession of faith and [National] covenant, lately renewed within the kingdom of Scotland, made at the Mercate Crosse of Edinburgh, Sept. 22, immediately after the reading of the proclamation, dated Sept. 9, 1638, 1638

Henderson, Alexander – The Answers of Some Brethren of the Ministry to the Replies of the Ministers and Professors of Divinity in Aberdeen concerning the late [National] Covenant, 1638

 

 

At the Original Swearing of the Solemn League and Covenant (SL&C)  1643

Caryl, Joseph – The Nature, Solemnity, Grounds, Property and Benefits of a Sacred Covenant;  Together with the duties of those who enter into such a covenant. Delivered in a sermon at Westminster, at the public convention (ordered by the House of Commons) for the taking of the Covenant, by all such, of all degrees, as willingly presented themselves, upon Fri., Oct. 6, 1643 ToC

Henderson, Alexander – Two Speeches Delivered Before the subscribing of the Covenant, the 25th of Sept. at St. Margarets in Westminster, the one by Mr. Philip Nye, the other by Mr. Alexander Henderson, 1643

Nye, Phillip and Henderson, Alexander – Two Speeches Delivered Before the subscribing of the Covenant, the 25th of Sept. at St. Margarets in Westminster, the one by Mr. Philip Nye, the other by Mr. Alexander Henderson, 1643

Nye, Phillip – An Exhortation to the Taking of the Solemn League and Covenant for reformation and defense of religion, the honor and happiness of the king, and the peace and safety of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland ToC  1643

Nye, Phillip – The Excellency and Lawfulness of the Solemn League and Covenant, Set forth in a speech, or exhortation to the House of Commons and reverend assembly of ministers at their taking the said Solemn League and Covenant ToC  1643

 

 

The SL&C Defended

Baillie, Robert – A Review of the Seditious Pamphlet Lately Published in Holland by Dr. Bramhell, pretended Bishop of London-Derry, entitled, His Fair Warning Against the Scots’ Discipline.  In which, his malicious and most lying reports, to the great scandal of that government, are fully and clearly refuted.  As also, the Solemn League and Covenant of the three nations justified and maintained, 1649 ToC

Marshall, Stephen and Nye, Philip – A Letter from Mr. Marshall and Mr. Nye, appointed assistants to the commissioners of Scotland to their brethren in England, concerning the success of their affairs there, partly concerning the Covenant, 1643, 4 paragraphs, both Marshall was a presbyterian, Nye was an independent; both were English

 

 

Against the SL&C

Featley, Daniel – The League Illegal.  Wherein the Late Solemn League and Covenant is Seriously examined, Scholastically and Solidly Confuted, [Followed by] his speech before the Assembly of Divines [and] Dr. Featley’s sixteen reasons for Episcopal Government  Featley was an Episcopalian and hence sympathetic with the King against Parliament

 

 

The Covenanters

Hoyle, Joshua – Jehoiadah’s justice against Mattan, Baal’s priest: or The Covenanters’ justice against idolaters.  A Sermon preached upon occasion of a speech uttered upon Tower-Hill. Wherein you may find his likeness to Mattan rather than to Christ. His place in John 11:48 charged upon himself. The weakness of the choice of his text. How great cause we have to give thanks, 1645

 

 

At Renewals of the SL&C

Ashe, Simeon – Religious Covenanting Directed, and Covenant-Keeping persuaded: presented, in a Sermon, Jan. 14, 1645. Upon which day the Solemn League and Covenant was renewed by them and their officers, with prayer and fasting, at Michael Basing-shaw, London ToC

Calamy, Sr., Edmund – The Great Danger of Covenant Refusing and Covenant-Breaking, a sermon preached before the Common Council of the city of London, Jan. 14, 1645, upon which day the Solemn League and Covenant was renewed by them, 1646

 

 

To a Closer Observing of the SL&C

Palmer, Herbert – The Glass of God’s Providence Towards his Faithful ones held forth in a sermon preached to the two Houses of Parliament, Aug. 13, 1644, being an extraordinary day of humiliation: wherein is discovered the great failings that the best are liable unto, upon which God is provoked sometimes to take vengeance: the whole is applied specially to a more careful observation of our late covenant, and particularly against the ungodly toleration pleaded for under pretense of liberty of conscience, 1644

Various Ministers – A Vindication of the Ministers of the Gospel In, and about London, from the Unjust Aspersions Cast Upon Their Former Actings for the Parliament: As If They Had Promoted the Bringing of the King to Capital Punishment. With a Short Exhortation to Their People to Keep Close to Their Covenant, 1648

Of the 58 persons who signed their names to this document, the following 17 were Westminster divines: 

Cornelius Burges
William Gouge
Edmund Stanton
Thomas Temple
George Walker
Edmund Calamy
Jeremiah Whitaker
Daniel Cawdrey
William Spurstowe
Lazarus Seaman
Simeon Ashe
Thomas Case
Nicholas. Proffet
Thomas Thorowgood
Edward Corbet
Henry Roborough
John Wallis

 

 

As the SL&C Pertains to Civil and Church Issues

Dury, John – A Case of Conscience Resolved: Concerning Ministers’ Meddling with State matters in Their Sermons, and how Far They are Obliged by the Covenant to Interpose in the Affairs of Civil Government, 1649

Gillespie, George – Male Audis or An answer to Mr. Coleman his Malè dicis: Wherein the repugnancy of his Erastian doctrine to the word of God, to the Solemn League and Covenant, and to the ordinances of Parliament: also his contradictions, tergiversations, heterodoxies, calumnies, and perverting of testimonies, are made more apparent than formerly. Together with some animadversions upon Master Hussey his Plea for Christian magistracy: showing, that in diverse of the aforementioned particulars he has miscarried as much, and in some particulars more then Mr. Coleman, 1646

Gillespie, George – Nihil Respondes: or, A discovery of the extreme unsatisfactoriness of Master Coleman’s piece, published last week under the title of A brotherly examination re-examined, Wherein, his self-contradictions: his yielding of some things, and not answering to other things objected against him: his abusing of Scripture: his errors in divinity: his abusing of the Parliament, and endangering their authority: his abusing of the Assembly: his calumnies, and namely against the Church of Scotland, and against myself: the repugnancy of his doctrine to the Solemn League and Covenant, are plainly demonstrated, 1645

Palmer, Herbert – The Glass of God’s Providence Towards his Faithful ones held forth in a sermon preached to the two Houses of Parliament, Aug. 13, 1644, being an extraordinary day of humiliation: wherein is discovered the great failings that the best are liable unto, upon which God is provoked sometimes to take vengeance: the whole is applied specially to a more careful observation of our late covenant, and particularly against the ungodly toleration pleaded for under pretense of liberty of conscience, 1644

 

 

As the Scottish National Covenant (1638) pertained to the Engagement (1647-1650)

Dury, John – Considerations Concerning the Present Engagement: whether it may Lawfully be Taken, Yea or No?  1650

Dury, John – Just Re-Proposals to Humble Proposals.  Or An impartial consideration of, and answer unto, the Humble Proposals, which are printed in the name of sundry learned and pious divines concerning the Engagement which the Parliament has ordered to be taken.  Showing, how far those proposals are agreeable to reason, to Christianity and to policy.  How the proposers thereof may receive satisfaction therein, in all these respects.  Hereunto are added, The Humble Proposals themselves; because they are not currently to be found, 1650

Dury, John – Objections against the taking of the Engagement answered. Or, Some scruples of conscience which a godly minister in Lancashire did entertain against the taking of the engagement resolved by John Dury, wherein the chief mistakes of weak consciences about the matter of the engagement are in a friendly way discovered and rectified by scripture-grounds and right reason and published for the satisfaction of others who may be scrupled in the same kind ToC

Dury, John – Conscience Eased: or, the Main Scruple which has Hitherto Stuck Most with Conscionable Men, against the taking of the Engagement removed.  Where amongst other things is shown, first, how far the oath of allegiance, and the National League and Covenant are obligations; either in their legal intents unalterable or at this time no more binding and alterable.  Secondly, How far in a free people the subordinate officers of the state have a right to judge of the proceedings of a king in that state.  Thirdly, how Zedekiah’s case in breaking his oath to the king of Babylon and our case in making use of our freedom from the oath of allegiance and supremacy to the king of England, do differ  ToC

Gillespie, George – An Useful case of conscience discussed and resolved concerning associations and confederacies with idolaters, infidels, heretics, or any other known enemies of truth and godliness, Whereunto is subjoined a letter written by him to the commissioners of the General Assembly in the time of his sickness, together with his testimony unto this truth written two days before his death, 1649

 

 

Covenant Breaking

Calamy, Sr., Edmund – The Great Danger of Covenant Refusing and Covenant-Breaking, a sermon preached before the Common Council of the city of London, Jan. 14, 1645, upon which day the Solemn League and Covenant was renewed by them, 1646

Arrowsmith, John – The Covenant Avenging Sword Brandished Buy

Case, Thomas – The Quarrel of the Covenant, with the pacification of the quarrel. Delivered in three sermons on Lev. 26:25 and Jer. 50:5 ToC

 

 

Separation from Covenant-Breakers?

Nye, Phillip – A Case of Great and Present Use whether we may Lawfully hear the now conforming ministers who are re-ordained and have renounced the Covenant and some of them supposed to be scandalous in their lives, considered and affirmatively resolved ToC

 

 

Obedience to the Civil Government

Rouse, Francis – The Bounds and Bonds of Public Obedience, or, A vindication of our lawful submission to the present government, or to a government supposed unlawful, but commanding lawful things likewise how such an obedience is consistent with our Solemn League and Covenant: in all which a reply is made to the three answers of the two demurrers, and to the author of The grand case of conscience, who profess themselves impassionate Presbyterians

 

 

 

 

Related Pages

All of the Writings of the Westminster Divines by Topic

All of the Writings of the Westminster Divines Online

All of the Writings of the Westminster Divines Available for Purchase

The Westminster Assembly

Social Covenanting

Against Separatism