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August 2nd 1618

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The Five Articles

To John Knox and his followers, it had appeared that Presbyterianism was to become and remain the dominant force in all branches of Scottish life. This was not a prospect that appealed to King James 6th and as he became more experienced and powerful he used his influence to curb the power of the more extreme Presbyterians.

Bishops were re-introduced, appointed by and answerable to the Crown. By threats and bribery, the General Assembly was curbed of its more independent members. Finally, in 1618 on Jamesí instructions the Assembly met in Perth to pass the so-called Five Articles. There was to be kneeling at Communion; Private Communion in cases of necessity; Private baptism in like cases; Observation of the great Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter and Confirmation by the Bishops.

The Articles inspired opposition and dismay and to many in Scotland it seemed one more step, and a large one at that, on the road back to Popery. The trouble was that James, like the other Stewarts, believed in the divine right of Kings and the Presbyterian ministers believed in the divine origin of Presbyterianism.

The conflict was not to be resolved until the end of the century when the last Stewart king, James 7th, had been driven from Scotland.

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