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While novelist Robin Jenkins asserted in 1997 that "football has taken the place of religion in Scotland," Christianity played a crucial role in Scottish history. The Presbyterian faith broke forth from the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches to take centre stage in a battle whose implications far exceeded religious doctrines. Not only did the struggles of the Reformation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries radically alter Scottish society, they also profoundly shaped the country's national character. While on a tour of Scotland, the English poet William Wordsworth took note of the Scotsman's religious austerity:

"The Scottish Church, both on himself and those
With whom from childhood he grew up, had held
The strong hand of her purity; and still
Had watched him with an unrelenting eye.
This he remembered in his riper age,
With gratitude, and reverential thoughts."

~ William Wordsworth [The Excursion]

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