Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33

(Parliament of Scotland, 1649, Second Session,)


Act anent securing of the Covenant, Religion, and peace of the Kingdom.

7. February 1649.

TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.

On what conditions should Christians admit a man to exercise authority over their nation?  Is his religion relevant, or irrelevant?  Should his past offences put him under an obligation to make a public declaration of repentance?  Can he be expected to dedicate himself to religious purposes while ruling in the civil realm?

For many in our day these questions seem to have no place at all, while yet there are others who have an honest desire to know the truth, perceiving that the past two hundred years of history and its secularized societies have brought forth some very bitter fruits.  Really, it is remarkable how previous generations would have taken their answers to these questions directly from the Bible, while in our day, too many are even afraid to consider what the Bible might say.

In Scotland, in the 1640’s, these questions would have received very ready answers.  Men put their life “on the line,” endeavoring to follow through with Biblical answers to these questions, which would undoubtedly provoke the ire of hypocrites.  This brief act of Parliament will demonstrate their approach to such matters.  Since that time, this piece of legislation has often been cited by Reformed Presbyterians to illustrate our own practice in opposing the deeds of those who have presumed to set in places of national authority men who lack the qualifications necessary to act as public servants, and as powers “ordained by God.”


THE Estates of Parliament, Taking to their most serious consideration the unhappy differences between their late Soveraign and these Kingdoms, caused by the evil counsells about him, unto the great prejudice of Religion, and the long disturbance of the peace of these Kingdoms: As likewise the manifold Acts of Parliament and fundamentall constitutions of this Kingdom anent the Kings Oath at his Coronation, which judging it necessary, that the Prince and the People be of one perfect Religion, appointeth that all Kings and Princes who shall Reign and bear Rule over their Realms shall at their Coronation or receipt of their Princely Authority, solemnly swear to observe in their own persons, and to preserve the Religion as it is presently established and professed, And rule the people committed to their charge according to the will of God revealed in his Word and the loveable constitutions received within this Kingdom, And do sundry other things which are more fully expressed therein, And withall pondering their manifold solemn obligations, to endeavour the securing of Religion, and the Covenant before and above all worldly interests: Therefore they do Enact, Ordain and Declare, That before the Kings Majestie who now is, or any of his Successors shall be admitted to the exercise of his Royall Power, he shall by and attour the foresaid Oath, assure and declare by his Solemn Oath under his Hand and Seal, his allowance of the National Covenant, and of the solemn League and Covenant and Obligation to prosecute the ends thereof in his station and calling; And that he shall for himself and his Successors, consent and agree to Acts of Parliament, enjoining the Solemn League and Covenant, and fully establishing Presbyterian Government, the Directory of Worship, Confession of Faith and Catechisms as they are approven by the General Assembly of this Kirk and Parliament of this Kingdom in all his Majesties Dominions, And that he shall observe these in his own practise and Family, And that he shall never make opposition to any of these, or endeavour any change thereof.

It is also Declared, Enacted, and Ordained, that before the King who now is be admitted to the exercise of his Royall power, he shall leave all Counsell and Councellors prejudiciall to Religion, to the Nationall Covenant, and to the Solemn League and Covenant, {38} And give satisfaction to the Parliament of this Kingdom, as it is now constitute in what further shall be found necessary for the setling of a happy and durable Peace, preservation of the Union between the Kingdoms, and for the good of the Crown, and for his own Honour and Happiness; And shall consent and agree that all matters Civil be determined by the Parliaments of this Kingdom, and all Ecclesiastick matters by the Generall Assembly of this Kirk, For the which ends the Estates of Parliament are resolved to make their humble and earnest addresses to his Majestie with all possible expedition, All which they finde themselves bound to prosecute, and resolves not to recede therefrom, but to see the same really performed.

Likeas, the Estates of Parliament discharges all the Lieges and Subjects of this Kingdom to procure or receive from his Majestie any Commissions, Patents, Honours, Offices or gifts whatsomever, untill his Majestie give satisfaction as said is, under the pain of being Censured in their persons and estates, as the Parliament, or any having power from them shall judge fitting.

And if any such Commissions, Patents, Honours, Offices or gifts shall be procured or received by any of the Subjects of this Kingdom before such satisfaction; the Parliament Declares and Ordains all such Commissions, Patents, Honours, Offices or gifts, and all that shall follow thereupon, To be void and null.

[ Text according to the “Acts Done and Past in the Second Session of the second Triennal Parliament of our Soveraign Lord Charles the I., etc. Edinburgh, Printed by Evan Tyler, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. Anno. 1649.” Pages 37-38. ]