SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.—This was a document of date four to five years later than the national covenant, since the signing of which, Charles I. had broken with the English parliament, set up his standard at Nottingham (Aug., 1642), and from his various successes, it was thought he might finally be able to reinstate Episcopacy in Scotland. With some alarm on this ground, the Scotch willingly received overtures from commissioners deputed from the English parliament. Hopes were held out to the Scottish nation, that in the event of success against the king, the Presbyterian model should supersede the Episcopalian both in England and Ireland. Approving of a measure of this kind, the Scottish estates entered into what was called a solemn league and cove nant with the English parliament. One of the provisions of the bond of agreement was, that the Scotch should send an army into England against the king, which they did in Jan., 1644.
The solemn league and covenant was subscribed by many of all ranks in Scotland and England, including the assembly of divines at Westminster, was ratified by the general assembly at Edinburgh, Aug. 17, 1643, and the Scottish parliament, July 15, 1644; and subscribed by Charles II. at Spey, 1650, and Scoon, 1651. Like the national covenant, it has, till the present day, a place in the volume which comprehends the Westminster Confession of Faith of the church of Scotland. While the national covenant refers to the observance of the Presbyterian polity within Scotland alone, the solemn league and covenant is much more comprehensive. Those who subscribe it, setting out with a profession of attachment to the church of Scotland, are to endeavor to bring about a uniformity in religion and church-discipline in the three kingdoms; and further—" That we shall in like manner, without respect of persons, endeavor the extirpation of popery, prelacy (that is, church-government by archbishops, bish ops, their chancellors, and commissaries, deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and all other ecclesiastical officers depending on that hierarchy), superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found to be contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness, lest we partake in other men's sins, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues; and that the Lord may be one, and his name one, in the three kingdoms."
Such were the famous C., at one time enforced by civil penalties, and for which their adherents, under the name of covenanters, fought and suffered in Scotland, between the restoration and revolution, maintaining to the last that both C., notwithstanding cer tain recissory acts of parliament, were still binding on the whole nation. At the revo lution, the two C. were set aside, and cannot be said to have now any practical effect in any part of the United Kingdom. As above stated, they have a place in the volume which comprehends the Confession of Faith, but for what reason, it is difficult to say; for the church of Scotland does not make adherence to them oblig atory on either clerical or lay members. Certain Scottish and Irish dissenters. how ever, still profess attachment to the C., and on particular occasions renew their sub scription of them. See CAMETLONIANS. The obligations undertaken by the sovereign, and the modern acts of parliament abolishing religious tests on taking civil office, and admitting Roman Catholics, Non-conformists, and Jews to parliament, not to speak of public opinion, are totally at variance with the covenants. It is customary in popular lectures on the covenanters to overlook the fact, in compassion for their sufferings, that they contended for what is now quite adverse to the principles of religious toleration. Yet, in so far as the manful struggle in which they were concerned helped to accelerate the revolution, the history of the covenanters must ever be associated with that of civil and religious liberty. w.c.