Story of the Scottish Covenanters by James D. Douglas

James Dixon Douglas [1922-2003], Light in the North. The Story of the Scottish CovenantersDr. James D. Douglas’s contribution to the Paternoster Church History series on the Story of the Scottish Covenanters has never been reprinted. The digital rights were never transferred to the Publisher and, despite extensive inquiries, I have been unable to trace the author’s literary executor. I have decided, therefore, to go ahead and place this volume on-line in the hope that anyone who has any knowledge of the copyright holder would make contact with me.

James Dixon Douglas [1922-2003], Light in the North. The Story of the Scottish Covenanters. Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1964. Hbk. pp.220. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Foreword
  • Preface
  1. Introduction
  2. The Church Under Charles I
  3. The Early Covananting Writers
  4. Developments the Commonwealth
  5. The Restoration and the First Martyrs
  6. Presbyterianism Outlawed
  7. The First Revolt
  8. The First and Second Indulgences
  9. The Second Revolt
  10. The Killing Time
  11. The Revolution Settlement
  12. Covenanters Overseas
  13. Conclusion


  1. The King’s Confession, 1580 [1581]
  2. The National Covenant, 1638
  3. The Solemn League and Covenant, 1643
  4. Oath Required by the Test Act, 1681
  • Bibliography
  • Index

From the Dustjacket

The Story of the Scottish Covenanters has a significance far beyond that of a local squabble in a provincial backwater in the seventeenth century. Limited though it was in space and time, it focussed attention upon a crucial issue which the Christian Church has had to face thoughout its history, and which is as acute today as ever it was.

That issue, as anotehr Scottish historian, Dr. Stuart Walker, has shown in The Growing Storm, the second volume in the Paternoster Church history, was not he question as to whcih form of Church order and government was the most apostolic – episcopacy, presbytery, independency, or any other form. The issue in the so-called “Dark Ages”, as in seventeenth century England and Scotland, was nothing less than the Crown Rights of Christ the Redeemer to be King of His people, Master of His household, and Lord of His Church. On that rock the mediaeval papacy foundered; that same rock was to bring shipwreck to Mary Queen of Scots and Charles I, to cost James II his throne, and to shatter the Stuart dynasty.

This issue Dr. Douglas keeps clearly before him in this timely and important book. Here is no fulsome adulation of the Covenanters, as if they had no faults. Still less as they written off as ignorant meddlers in matters too high for them, or pig-headed obscurantists refusing to face facts. Both sides are painted “warts and all”, and in the light of the principle that was at stake the protagonists on both sides are revealed as the men they were and are remembered for the work they did.

Samuel Rutherford & His Contemporaries

Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)The following rare public domain article is now available for free download in PDF:

Prof. W.G. Blaikie [1820-1899], “Some Preachers of Scotland. Samuel Rutherford and His Contemporaries,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1842 (August 17th 1889): 517-520.

Samuel Rutherford, and His Contemporaries

Professor W. G. Blaikie, D.D., LL.D.

Whatever may be thought of the great preachers of Scotland in the covenanting period, it is certain that, judged by the present standard of manners and culture, they stood in the foremost rank among the scholars of their time. Samuel Rutherford, for example, at the close of his own studies at the University of Edinburgh was appointed one of its regents or professors—a striking proof of his abilities and attainments. A similar distinction was conferred on two of his contemporaries, David Dickson and Robert Blair, by the Uni¬versity of Glasgow.

On leaving Edinburgh, Rutherford became Minister of Anwoth in the Stewartry of Kirkcud-bright. The church lies in a hollow, embosomed in wood, and seems the very ideal of a country church. Gordon of Earlston, afterwards Viscount Kenmure, was one of -the landowners, a man of eminent godliness and of a family most attached to the church. Rutherford’s first sermon was from John ix. 39—rather a strange text: “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

In the very first years of his ministry he had a sharp lesson in the school of affliction. His wife suffered from a most painful illness. For thirteen months before her death she was in almost constant agony, crying out at night in paroxysms of pain. Among his people Rutherford was a marvel of diligence. Up at three in the morning, he had done much work among his books before the day had well begun. It was said of him that he was “always praying, always preaching, always visiting families, always visiting the sick, always catechising, always teaching in the school, always writing treatises, always reading and studying.” The fervour of his preaching was remarkable—the earnestness with which he preached Christ. Many came from great distances to his church. So earnest was he for the good of his people that he could say: “My witness is in heaven, your heaven would be two heavens to me, and your salvation two salvations.” And of his prayers: “There I wrestled with the angel and prevailed. Woods, trees, meadows and hills are my witnesses that I drew one fair match between Christ and Anwoth.”

But the enemy could not but try to sow tares in so goodly a field. In 1636, nine years after his settlement, he was called before the High Commission Court on account of his non-con¬formity to the Episcopal government of the church, and banished from Anwoth. His Patmos was Aberdeen, then conspicuous for its zeal in the opposite cause. Here many of the “Letters” were written by which he is so well known. Two years later, he returned to his beloved Anwoth; but next year he was removed to St. Andrew’s, where he became Professor of Divinity and Principal of St. Mary’s. He had now no pastoral charge, but it is said that before accepting the chair, he bargained that he should be allowed to preach somewhere every Sunday, so much did he delight to proclaim the love of God in Christ.

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