George Gillespie On Ministerial Dress

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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
George Gillespie in a section discussing things that are "expedient" (that is helpful) has an interesting word concerning ministerial garb between Anglican and Presbyterian clergymen:

“Dr. Morton argues for the surplice that the difference of outward garments cannot but be held convenient for the distinguishing of ministers from laity in the discharge of their function. This convenience is as well seen to without the surplice. If a man having a black gown upon him be seen exercising the function of a minister, it is very strange if any man think it not sufficient to distinguish him from the laity.” – George Gillespie, “The English Popish Ceremonies”, pg. 82

Read more at the link.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
While there are bits that stand out in each of the four parts of Gillespie (and it is very important to understand the "expedience" of things for edification) my personal opinion is that the fourth part on the alleged indifference of the EPC edges out the others as the most important section (and based mostly on the three rules adduced). Obviously, length wise, section three on the unlawfulness of the EPC wins and is where folks will likely turn first; but the other sections (and 4 in particular as I say) should not be skipped, if one is into hopping around instead of reading straight through.
 

GloriousBoaz

Puritan Board Freshman
So is he basically saying: "So you think it is necessary to wear garb in order to distinguish yourself as a minister from the laity so all may know? Dear sir I believe you have done your job well, the moment you wore a black dress in public you certainly distinguished yourself from all other men."? lol
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
In polemics, one might argue ad hominem, according to the opponents' major premise, in order to show that his conclusion does not follow. In such a case it is not safe to assume the polemicist is positively advocating the point being made. In this case, though, it just happens to fit in with what we know concerning the nonconformists' attitude to ministerial dress.
 

GloriousBoaz

Puritan Board Freshman
Yeah I think we all understand that black gown = ministerial robe. But I am failing to track with his thought process and writing style. Is he, in a general sense equating, ministerial garb to dressing up like a woman because he believes the practice to be Romish? Also I am not familiar with Gillespie's teachings except the slight bit I have read here on PB (this is an invitation to try to persuade me to read him if in your opinion is that he is one of the best, and you can therefore make a shameless plug for him; I am always interested in learning from the best but time fails me to seek out the best in every sphere so it helps to get solid recommendations, background info, inspirational tid bits, etc Thanks!)
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Matthew can correct me; but the argument I think Gillespie is making is that if a plain preaching robe sufficiently id's the preacher, the superstitious surplice which the Puritans vehemently objected to being made to wear in the Church of E. was hardly necessary and certainly not "convenient" for the offense and controversy surrounding it. Gillespie is not a terribly hard slog, but not Fun with Dick and Jane either (and I dated myself; that was after my time in learning to read); but I think he's one of the essential early Presbyterian/Reformed authors to get one's mind around, particularly for Westminster Standards aficionados, given that he helped draft them. He's also fascinating; he wrote this book when in his early twenties. He had help; but still; it amazed everyone then; and I think still does. See naphtali.com for the book offer; but not tonight.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
One of the strengths of EPC is the firm stance of the author on the attained standards of the reformed church of Scotland. Gillespie did not argue on the basis of conjecture or personal opinion but always insisted on what had been accepted as tried and true. He also maintained that reformation must be more than an idea. It must entrench itself in the outlook and practice of the Church. Reformation ends not in contemplation, but in action! EPC has important things to say; matters of vital importance. Its contents will be very beneficial for anyone who desires to move beyond the conjectural faith which seems to characterise much of present day Christianity. As Chris has noted, it can sometimes be difficult to read, but its articulation of issues connected with the ministry and worship of the church is invaluable.

The Naphtali Press edition of EPC includes translations and notes which make the work more accessible to the reader. The 19th century edition can be very difficult to read because a thought which commenced in English will oftentimes be concluded in Latin. That difficulty has been removed in this edition.
 

GloriousBoaz

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey thanks for the info guys very much appreciate it, do you have a direct link to that book, or could you give me edition/copywrite/publisher info (I buy most my books off ebay, watching for them to become cheap; then I clean them up and restore them).
 
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