On June 1 1679, many Scottish Covenanter families gathered as they would on any other Sunday, to worship God freely. As Presbyterian worship and theology (which was not Presbyterian but Christian) was banned by the English overlords away in the south, the Scots worshiped in conventicles or field meetings. Throughout this time, the English mercilessly persecuted the Scottish Presbyterians with murder, rape, and theft. They imposed severe taxes on them, much akin to the unjust taxes that were imposed on American colonists, and severely punished those who did not pay.
These Covenanters, who would rather face death than disobey the Word of God, met in a coventicle at Drumclog, a field in Lanarkshire, southwest Scotland. Reverend Thomas Douglas preached the sermon for the day while the families gathered to listen. The men of the coventicle were armed in case of an attack and were quite ready to defend their families and love for Christ from the English persecutors. A force of English dragoons, led by “Bluidy Clavers” or John Grahame of Claverhouse, approached the coventicle and prepared to assault them. The Covenanters were told by their pastor, “Ye have got the theory, now for the practice. ” The Covenanter men, armed with muskets and pitchforks, about 200 strong with 40 mounted men took their defense on the boggy land of Drumclog. Because of the boggy ground, the English could not get close enough to attack the Scots without being bogged down. The Scots, led by William Cleland, attacked the line of dragoons from around the side of the bog and routed the English. This was a great victory for the Covenanters but it was shortlived for they were crushed in battle at Bothwell Bridge three weeks later. However, the Lord was with the Scots that day of battle on Drumclog and insured the safety of the women and children who worshipped at Drumclog by his kind Providence.
It is interesting to note that I know this story from a novel called King’s Arrow by Douglas Bond. This is the second book out of a fantastic trilogy about the Covenanters called Crown & Covenant Series. Bond has the battle of Drumclog in this book and shows how the Scots trusted their Savior even through the battle. A must-read book even for older readers. But let no man forget how the Lord used ordinary men to bring glory to his name even in battle on a Sabbath.