An Illegal Conventicle. Covenanters in a Glen, Painting by Alexander Carse

A covenant is a contract between God and the people.

In 1557 a group of Protestant nobles opposed to Mary marrying the Roman Catholic Dauphin of France, signed a covenant to state that they would promote the ‘blessed work of God and his Congregation against the Congregation of Satan’, the former being the Protestants and the latter the Catholics.

The doctrine was regarded as the first bond of the Lords of the Congregation of Christ.

Among the covenant’s signatories were the Earls of Argyll, Morton, Glencairn and John Erskine of Dun. Whether God put his signature to the contract is not clear.