Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Decline, Revival and the Ulster Plantation under James VI/I and Charles I

1567 Mary's conduct and unprincipled marriage relationships alienate the nation and lead to her abdication. Her infant son proclaimed James VI of Scotland.

The nation governed by regents till 1578. The Protestant Regent, the Earl of Moray, assassinated in 1570 (Jan. 23). Morton, Regent from 1572-8, attempts to remove the freedom and independence of the Church of Scotland by introducing “Tulchan Bishops” into her government.

1574 The Church, leaderless since the death of Knox in 1572, is revived by the return of Andrew Melville from the Continent.

1578 James VI, aged twelve, begins to exercise his monarchy and governs through unprincipled courtiers. The Court and Church engage in a struggle which continues till 1638 over the right of the Church to govern her affairs inde­pendently of the civil powers. (James's hostility. to Presbyterianism arose from his ambition to be regarded as head of the Church. He aimed to retain the pre-Reforma­tion episcopal organization (without the Roman faith) and by means of bishops to control the Reformed Church and her General Assemblies. In the next century the Stuarts attempted to overthrow the whole Presbyterian constitution. )

1580 The Protestant leaders pledge themselves to support the Reformed doctrine and discipline in The National Covenant.

1584 The Black Acts. The Court party predominating, Parlia­ment overturns the independence of the Church by ordain­ing that no ecclesiastical assembly is to be held without the King's consent and that all ministers are to acknowledge the bishops as their ecclesiastical superiors.

1592 The legislation of 1584 repealed and the Presbyterian discipline re-established. James, controlled temporarily by the force of public opinion, professes to be a true Presbyterian.

1596 The National Covenant renewed. A revival of religion and a remarkable General Assembly at Edinburgh. (This was sunshine before a storm and proved to be the last true General Assembly till 1638.)

1603-18 James VI (James I of England from 1603) establishes bishops by royal authority, packs and bribes General Assemblies, exiles the leading Presbyterians and by the Articles of Perth (1618) seeks to conform Scottish worship to the pattern of the Anglican church.

1606 First Scots plantation in Ulster.

1607-10 Gaelic Earls flee Ulster in the North of Ireland (1607), and James I begins the Plantation of Ulster (1610) with loyal British subjects, the majority of whom were lowland Scots or English Puritans. Ulster would also be blessed with Huguenot, Waldensian and German Reformed refugees in its early post-Reformation period.

1613-34 “Prescopacy” ­– Various Scottish Presbyterian and English Puritan preachers come to Ulster where they exercise their ministry within the Episcopalian Church of Ireland without compromising their principles, due to the tolerance of a number of the Irish bishops.

The ‘Reformed’ Irish Articles are adopted by the Church of Ireland in 1615. These were authored by the godly Archbishop Ussher and were to have a profound influence on the Westminster Standards.

The success of the Presbyterian ministers in Ireland was to lead to opposition by the bishops and their eventual ejection.

1625-34 “The Sixmilewater Revival” – Many of the Scots in Ulster were the “scum of the earth”, but a great revival broke out in East Antrim through the preaching of Robert Blair and others, and the character of Ulster was changed. This was fuelled by regular meetings for fellowship amongst the Presbyterian ministers and inter-congregational celebrations of the Lord’s Supper.

1625-30 “The Irvine and Kirk o’ Shotts Revivals” – This dark period broken by a series of powerful revivals in Scotland, as the movement of the Spirit in Ulster travels across the Irish Sea, particularly under the preaching of David Dickson at Irvine and Stewarton (1625-30), and John Livingston at Kirk o’ Shotts – where about 500 people ascribed their conversion to one sermon (June 21, 1630). “One of the largest manifestations of the Spirit that hath been seen since the days of the apostles.” Many of the minsters involved in the Sixmilewater Revival were also involved in the Kirk o’ Shotts Revival.

Charles I, who succeeded to the thrones of England and Scotland in 1625, pursues his father's anti-Presbyterian policy with renewed vigour, spurred on by Archbishop Laud.

1636 The first attempted emigration of Presbyterians from Ireland on the Eagle Wing, in emulation of the Pilgrims’ exodus from religious persecution.

1637 Charles attempts to introduce a liturgy composed by Laud into the Church of Scotland. It is rejected in Edinburgh and throughout the country. Jenny Geddes flings her famous stool at the Dean of Edinburgh in the High Kirk, Edinburgh.


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