Voetius, Gillespie and Wholesome Severity

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Another thread brought to PB's attention the famed Gisbert Voetius. The man is fascinating and his various collection of works need to be translated. I read some on Voet some years back and used him as interesting and possible support for George Gillespie's authorship of Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty. I presented other more weighty evidence on this discussion. See an extract below from the PDF ebook: The Anonymous Writings of George Gillespie (Naphtali Press, ebook, 2001) 18-23.
From "WHOSE SEVERITY? Was George Gillespie the Author of Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty?"
2. One author cited in Wholesome Severity not often used by Gillespie is Gisbert Voetius (or Voet).{49} However a reference to one of Voet´s publications in Wholesome Severity is interesting. After the epistle to the reader, the opening sentences are (Infra, page 64):
Concerning this question there are three opinions: two extremes, and one in the middle. So it is resolved not only by Dr. Voetius, in his late disputations, De Libertate Conscientia, but long before by Calvin, in his refutation of the errors of Servetus, where he disputes this very question, whether Christian judges may lawfully punish heretics.
This reference may serve as some additional evidence supporting Gillespie authorship of Wholesome Severity. Gisbert Voet (1589-1676) was a professor of theology at Utrecht for about forty years until his death.{50} In addition to regular classes, Dr. Voet held Saturday debate sessions where students learned to dispute or defend the theses proposed by their professor. Voet´s redactions of many of these debates, containing the theses and its defense, were published periodically, and all or at least many of these publications were collected and republished into works such as Disputationes Selectae, in five volumes from 1648 to 1669, and Politica Ecclesiastica, in four volumes from 1663 to 1676.{51} De Libertate Conscienciae was one of these published theses or disputations.
It was no doubt difficult to get publications in a timely fashion from Holland, but the Scots commissioners to the Westminster Assembly had an advantage. Robert Baillie´s cousin, William Spang, was minister to the Scots Kirk in Campveir. The two were constantly exchanging publications back and forth. Baillie would send Spang his own and other´s of the commissioners publications, as well as other books published in London, and he would request titles Spang could get in that country. In particular Baillie was interested in the publications of Voet and had evidently been receiving some of the published Saturday debates from Spang: {52}
{June 2d, 1643} "œI confess I am verie evill satisfied with Voetius´s Theses of Presbyterie and Synods." "œI wish you {would} send to the Colledge Voetius´s Theses, and all that comes from that man or your divines there."
{London, December 7th {1643}} "œVoetius de Episcopus et Presbyteris, send it over."
During the Westminster Assembly, it is clear from the Letters and Journals of Robert Baillie, that both the Presbyterians and the Independents were actively seeking approval of their respective ecclesiastical views from theologians on the continent, and Voet in particular.{53} Baillie himself made several informal appeals on behalf of the Presbyterians through Spang. He urged Spang to encourage men such as Voet and Rivet to write in support of Presbyterian positions, as Apollonius had done:{54}
{May 31st 1644} "œWill neither Rivett nor Voetius follow the example of brave Apollonius? Do your best in this."
{July 5th, 1644} "œHold on Apollonius. I wish Voetius ingaged."
{July 12th, 1644} "œI wish againe and againe, that Appollonius and Voetius were moved to write."
Baillie also desired that these same divines would write against the broad toleration that was espoused by many of the sects in London at the time. Baillie informed Spang of this serious error, mentioning John Goodwin, the author of M.S. to A.S., as the leading proponent.{55}
{August 10th 1644} "œThe sectaries books press most in a universal libertie for all religions: If Apollonius, Voetius, or any other, intend to assist us, let them not delay."
Some months later, on November 1, 1644, Baillie noted that a new book by Apollonius was coming off the press, and he liked very well the bit of the preface he had seen. This book would seem to have filled a great need to have something from Holland in reply to the Independent´s Apologetical Narration (1644).{56} However, at the same time Baillie noted with alarm the rumor that Voet was going to publish his approval of Cotton´s Keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven.{57} The need was great for the Presbyterians to display some support from Voet. Meantime, Gillespie had already published Faces About against John Goodwin by October 21st, and Dialogue by October 30th.{58} These both were opposed to the broad toleration espoused by Goodwin and others. Faces About prompted a rebuttal attributed to Hezekiah Woodward{59} and Gillespie in reply and to expand on his views would have been working on Wholesome Severity about this time as it´s imprimateur date is December 16th. Baillie could easily have obtained Voet´s theses on liberty of conscience from Spang and provided it to Gillespie.{60} This reference to Voet right at the beginning of Wholesome Severity, seems to fit the need to counteract some of the support Voet appeared to give the Independents.
In a December 6th letter to Spang, Baillie notes that Apollonius´s new book with a prefatory letter from his classis was presented before the Westminster Assembly and very well received. With the appearance of Apollonius´s book and Gillespie´s Wholesome Severity with it´s reference to Voet´s De Libertate Conscientia, Baillie no longer mentions the need for Voet or others to appear in print on the issue of toleration and for Presbyteries and Synods. Baillie does not mention Voet again until April 25, 1645, at which point he is concerned that he and others write against Erastianism, and later in that year and in 1646, that they write against Antinomianism and Anabaptism.{61} All of these facts are quite supportive of Gillespie authorship of Wholesome Severity.
{49} Gillespie twice cites Voet´s Desperata causa papatus, novissime prodita a Cornelio Jansenio"¦(Amstelodami, 1635) in his Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland (1641), in part one, chapter 9 and 10. In Aaron´s Rod Blossoming, he cites "œDr. Voetius, in his Politica Ecclesiastica, especially his Disputationes de Potestate et politia Ecclesiarum (Armoury edition, p. 78) and "œabove all, Dr. Voetius Select. Disput. Ex Poster. Part Theol., disp. 14. An Christas qua Mediator sit Adorandus"¦" (p. 107).
{50}I am indebted to Arie W. Blok, who provided English translations of several passages from Dutch sources containing information about Voet, his work and theological views. These were: Heinrich Heppe, Geschichte des Pietismus und der Mystik in der Reformierte Kirche, Namentlich der Niederlande, "Gisbertus Voetius" (Leiden {Leyden} E.J. Brill, 1879). Bibliographisch Lexicon: Geschiedenis Van Het Nederlandse Protestantisme {Biographical Lexicon: History Of Dutch Protestantism}, "Voetius, Gisbertus (Gijsbert Voet)".
{51} Gisbert Voetius, Selectae disputationes (Ultrajecti, 1648-1669). A researcher with whom the author has been in contact, could not find De Libertate Conscientia, in the microfilm of this work (at least not under that title). So at this writing it is unclear if this particular paper was republished in the later collection. Collections of debates were published before this time, and it is one of these publications which Gillespie had in hand and was referencing. However, these are rare, and the author has not discovered a list of these earlier publications and their contents.
{52} Letters & Journals, 2.65, 72, 115.
{53} Ibid, 2.115, 240.
{54} Ibid, 2.189, 202.
{55}Ibid, 2.180-181, 183-184. Goodwin was the target of more than one of Gillespie´s anonymous tracts, as also he was the target of Goodwin. Ibid, For Mr. Spang, August 10th {1644} 2.218.
{56} The editor of Baillie´s letters notes: "œWilliam Apollonius, minister of Middleburgh, in Zealand, and author of a work, Jus Majestatis circa Sacra, published at Mediob"¦Zeland. 1642, 8vo. His Consideratio quarundam Controversiarum ad Regimen Ecclesiae spectantium, quae in Angliae regno hodie agitantur, Lond. 1644, 8vo. Is the work to which Baillie refers." 2.246. A translation was published the next year, A consideration of certaine controversies at this time agitated in the kingdome of England : concerning the government of the church of God / written at the command and appointment of the Walachrian Classis, by Guilielmus Apollonii, ... and sent from the Walachrian churches, to declare the sense and consent of their churches, to the Synod at London, Octob. 16, 1644, stilo novo. ; translated out of Latine, according to the printed copy (London, 1645).
{57} Ibid, 2.240.
{58}As stated earlier, George Thomason noted on the title pages that he obtained a copy of Faces About on October 21, 1644 and of Dialogue on October 30, 1644.
{59} As you were, or, A reducing, if possibly any, seduc´t ones, to facing about, turning head, front against God, by the recrimination, so intended, upon Mr. J.G., Pastor of the church in Colmanstreet, in point of fighting against God / by an unworthy auditor of the said ... Iohn Goodwin (1644).
{60} As mentioned above, Gillespie did cite some of Voet´s Disputationes in his Aaron´s Rod Blossoming, and no doubt could have obtained these through Baillie.
{61} Ibid, 2.265, 372.

[Edited on 12-26-2005 by NaphtaliPress]

[Edited on 12-26-2005 by NaphtaliPress]
 
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