Gillespie was one of the Scottish commissioners to the Westminster Assembly. He was one of the greatest theologians of all time -- almost singlehandedly steering this august Assembly at certain points. As Hetherington notes, "in all those debates no person took a more active part, or gained more distinction than George Gillespie," though he was the youngest man there. Furthermore, Hetherington calls him a "genius of the highest order," and writes that his work "dazzled and astonished his countrymen." He "held an undisputed position among the foremost of the distinguished men by whose talents and energy the Church of Scotland was delivered from the prelatic despotism" of that day.
This rare work contains Gillespie's personal notes during the Westminster Assembly and A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies. A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies is a rare classic on Reformed worship, taking on all the arguments related to the use of man-made ceremonies in worship. Burned by the Prelates (Episcopalians) just after it first appeared in 1637, this masterful defense of the regulative principle has yet to be answered (by those that oppose God's sovereignty in worship). It ably, and in a detailed manner, refutes the old errors of Prelacy and Romanism in worship -- many of which are being resurrected in our day by writers like James Jordan, Steve Schlissel and John Frame (and others abandoning historic Presbyterian [i.e. Biblical] worship).
Gillespie's practical "Treatise of Miscellany Questions," contains 22 chapters. Topics dealt with range from: whether prophets and prophesying continued beyond the primitive church (which Gillespie answers in the affirmative); whether a sound heart and an unsound head can consist together; what are heresies and what is their purpose; are infants to be baptized; should the civil government attach a negative sanction to not swearing to the Solemn League and Covenant (against one aspect of Theonomy); etc. These Works also contains a memoir of Gillespie's life and writings, written by Hetherington, Gillespie's sermons before the house of commons, and much more!
Contains the following works by George Gillespie:
- "A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies, 1637"
- "111 Propositions Concerning the Ministry and Government of the Church, 1644"
- two of Gillespie's sermons, preached before the House of Common (1644), and the House of Lords (1645)
- George Gillespie's answers to Coleman which defends Presbyterian polity against Erastianism
The table of contents from George Gillespie's Dispute Against The English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded On The Church Of Scotland follows:
- Author's Preface
The First Part. Against The Necessity Of The Ceremonies.
- Chapter I. That Our Opposites Do Urge The Ceremonies As Things Necessary
- Chapter II. The Reason Taken Out Of Acts XV. To Prove The Necessity Of The Ceremonies, Because Of The Church's Appointment, Confuted
- Chapter III. That The Ceremonies Thus Imposed And Urged As Things Necessary, Do Bereave Us Of Our Christian Liberty, First, Because Our Practice Is Adstricted
- Chapter IV. That The Ceremonies Take Away Our Christian Liberty Proved By A Second Reason, Namely, Because Conscience Itself Is Bound And Adstricted
- Chapter V. That The Ceremonies Take Away Christian Liberty, Proved By A Third Reason, Viz., Because They Are Urged Upon Such As, In Their Consciences, Do Condemn Them
- Chapter VI. That The Ceremonies Take Away Christian Liberty Proved By A Fourth Reason, Viz., Because They Are Pressed Upon Us By Naked Will And Authority, Without Giving Any Reason To Satisfy Our Consciences
- Chapter VII. That Festival Days Take Away Our Liberty, Which God Hath Given Us, Proved; And First Out Of The Law
- Chapter VIII. That Festival Days Take Away Our Christian Liberty, Proved Out Of The Gospel
- Chapter IX. Showing The Weakness Of Some Pretences Which Our Opposites Use For Holidays
The Second Part. Against The Expediency Of The Ceremonies.
- Chapter I. Against Some Of Our Opposites, Who Acknowledge The Inconveniency Of The Ceremonies, And Yet Would Have Us Yield To Them
- Chapter II. Against Those Of Our Opposites Who Plead For The Ceremonies As Things Expedient
- Chapter III. That The Ceremonies Are Inexpedient, Because They Are Preparatives For Greater Evils
- Chapter IV. That The Ceremonies Are Inexpedient, Because They Hinder Edification
- Chapter V. That The Ceremonies Are Inexpedient, Because They Are Occasions Of Injury And Cruelty
- Chapter VI. That The Ceremonies Are Inexpedient, Because They Harden And Confirm The Papists
- Chapter VII. That The Ceremonies Are Inexpedient, Because They Disturb The Peace Of The Church
- Chapter VIII. That The Inexpediency Of The Ceremonies, In Respect Of The Scandal Of The Weak, May Be Plainly Perceived. Twelve Propositions Touching Scandal Are Premitted
- Chapter IX. All The Defences Of The Ceremonies, Used To Justify Them Against The Scandal Imputed To Them, Are Confuted
The Third Part. Against The Lawfulness Of The Ceremonies.
- Chapter I. That The Ceremonies Are Unlawful, Because Superstitious, Which Is Particularly Instanced In Holidays, And Ministering The Sacraments In Private Places
- Chapter II. That The Ceremonies Are Unlawful Because They Are Monuments Of By-Past Idolatry, Which Not Being Necessary To Be Retained, Should Be Utterly Abolished, Because Of Their Idolatrous Abuses: All Which Is Particularly Made Good Of Kneeling
- Chapter III. That The Ceremonies Are Unlawful, Because They Sort Us With Idolaters, Being The Badges Of Present Idolatry Among The Papists
- Chapter IV. That The Ceremonies Are Idols Among The Formalists Themselves; And That Kneeling In The Lord's Supper Before The Bread And Wine, In The Act Of Receiving Them, Is Formally Idolatry
- Chapter V. The Fifth Argument Against The Lawfulness Of The Ceremonies Taken From The Mystical And Significant Nature Of Them
- Chapter VI. That The Lawfulness Of The Ceremonies Is Falsely Grounded Upon The Holy Scripture; Where Such Places As Are Alleged By Our Opposites, Either For All The Ceremonies In General, Or For Any One Of Them In Particular, Are Vindicated From Them
- Chapter VII. That The Lawfulness Of The Ceremonies Cannot Be Warranted By Any Ecclesiastical Law, Nor By Any Power Which The Church Hath To Put Order To Things Belonging To Divine Worship
- Chapter VIII. That The Lawfulness Of The Ceremonies Cannot Be Warranted By Any Ordinance Of The Civil Magistrate; Whose Power In Things Spiritual Or Ecclesiastical Is Explained
- Digression I. Of The Vocation Of Men Of Ecclesiastical Order
- Digression II. Of The Convocation And Moderation Of Synods
- Digression III. Of The Judging Of Controversies And Questions Of Faith
- Digression IV. Of The Power Of The Keys, And Ecclesiastical Censures
- Chapter IX. That The Lawfulness Of The Ceremonies Cannot Be Warranted By The Law Of Nature.
The Fourth Part. Against The Indifferency Of The Ceremonies.
- Chapter I. Of Our Opposites' Pleading For The Indifferency Of The Ceremonies
- Chapter II. Of The Nature Of Things Indifferent
- Chapter III. Whether There Be Anything Indifferent In Actu Exercito
- Chapter IV. Of The Rule By Which We Are To Measure And Try What Things Are Indifferent
- Chapter V. The First Position Which We Build Upon The Ground Confirmed In The Former Chapter
- Chapter VI. Another Position Built Upon The Same Ground
- Chapter VII. Other Positions Built Upon The Former Ground
- Chapter VIII. That The Ceremonies Are Not Things Indifferent To The Church Of Scotland; Because She Did Abjure And Repudiate Them By A Most Solemn And General Oath
- Chapter IX. A Recapitulation Of Sundry Other Reasons Against The Indifferency Of The Ceremonies
Contains George Gillespie's "A Treatise of Miscellany Questions;" "Notes of Debates and Proceedings of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster (February 1644 to January 1645)" and more.
A section from volume two of The Works of George Gillespie is entitled, "Whether it be lawful, just, and expedient, that the taking of the Solemn League and Covenant be enjoined by the Parliament upon all persons in the kingdom under a considerable penalty."
This is chapter 16 of "A Treatise of Miscellany Questions," pp. 85-88, and gives important insights in Second Reformation thought among the Covenanters who attended the Westminster Assembly.