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George Gillespie Refutes Roger Williams, the Donatists and Sectarianism

(The original spelling from the 1644 edition of Gillespie's Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty has been retained.)

Sects and Schismes are to be punished as well, though not as much as Heresy and Idolatry. There are degrees of faults, and accordingly degrees of punishments, Augustine wrote an Epistle to Bonifacius upon this occasion, to shew that the Donatists had nothing to doe with the Arrians, and so were not to be punished with such rigour and severity; yet he adviseth that moderate mulcts and punishments may be laid upon them, & that their Bishops or Ministers may be banished. In his 127 Epist. he intercedeth most earnestly with the proconsul of Africk, that he might not put to death the Donatists, but represse them some other ways. We have also a scripture example for punishing Sectaries who are not Hereticks. It is agreed among interpreters, there were in Iudah two sorts of high places, some on which God was worshipped, others on which idols were worshipped, & it is most manifest from 2 Chro.33.17. and from the reconciling of 2 Chro.15.17. with ch.14.3.5 the one sort was the high places of Idolatry, the other, the high places of wil-worship; yet the Priests of the latter, as well as of the former, were punished by Josiah, as Tostatus proveth from 2 Kings 23. and the text it self is clear, for he put to death the Priests of Samaria, who had sacrificed in the high places of Idolatry, vers.20. but as for those who sacrificed in the high places of wil-worship, because they sacrificed to the Lord only (as the word is, 2 Chron.33.17.) therefore Josiah did not put them to death, only he caused them to goe out of all the Cities of Judah, and to cease from the Priests office, so that they durst not come up to the Altar of the Lord at Jerusalem, only they were permitted to eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren, ver.8,9. which is parallel to that law, Ezek.44:10,11,12,13,14. a prophecy concerning the Christian Temple, and the times of the New Testament, which reacheth a blow to another silly and short-sighted evasion, used both in the Bloudy Tenent, and in M.S. to A.S. that all this coercive power exercised in the Old Testament was typicall, & therefore not imitable now in the New Testament. Whereunto I further reply, 1. The reason of all that coercive severity was morall and perpetuall, as was shewed before from Deut.13.11. Next, why did they not prove that it was typicall? shall we take their fancy for a certainty? They have neither Scripture nor Interpreters for it. 3. They confound the Judiciall lawes of Moses with the Ceremoniall, making the Judicatories and Justice typicall no lesse then the Ceremonies. 4. They doe utterly overthrow the investiture of Christian Princes and Magistrates with any power at all in matters of Religion, from the Old Testament. So that one may not argue thus: The godly Kings of Judah did remove the monuments of Idolatry and Superstition, therefore so should the Christian Magistrate doe. The most arrant malignant may answer in the word of Mr. Williams, chap.109. that the Civill power or State of Israel, so farre as it attended upon the spirituall, was meerly figurative: Or in the words of M.S. pag.51. There are two reasons very considerable why the Kings of Judah might be invested by God with a larger power in matters of religion, then Kings or Magistrates under the Gospel have any ground or warrant to claime from them. First, they were types of Christ (but by the way how doth he prove that Asa, Jehu, and Josiah were types of Christ?) which no King under heaven at this day is. Secondly, not the people onely, but the very land over which they ruled were typicall. 5. The punishment of persons was a part of their reformation, as well as the destruction of monuments, and why must we follow their example in the one, more then the other? If we smart under both their diseases, we must apply both their remedies, or neither.

Excerpted from: Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty by George Gillespie, pp. 11-12 (a SWRB rare bound photocopy [1644], reprinted 1996).

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FOR FURTHER STUDY:

GILLESPIE, GEORGE

Wholesome Severity Reconciled With Christian Liberty, or, The True Resolution of a Present Controversy Concerning Liberty of Conscience (1644)
One of our most rare and valuable resources. A masterpiece! Wholesome Severity was written during the sitting of the Westminster Assembly and demonstrates why Gillespie is considered one of the most influential Divines of the seventeenth century. Here we have the question stated (regarding liberty of conscience), the middle (or biblical) way between Popish tyranny and Schismatizing liberty approved, and also confirmed from Scripture, with the testimonies of Divines, yea of whole churches added to vindicate Christ's kingship (over the idolatry of the rule of an ill-informed, sinful conscience sitting in judgement upon the truth of the Word of God). The chief arguments of exception used in (Roger Williams) The Bloudy Tenet, The Compassionate Samaritane, M.S. to A.S. etc. are examined herein and Gillespie also deals with many of the thorny questions related to the abiding validity of the Old Testament judicial laws. Eight distinctions are added for qualifying and clearing the whole matter. In conclusion, a moving brotherly appeal is addressed to the five Apologists (Independents at the Assembly) for choosing accommodation rather then toleration. This is classic Scottish (covenanted) Presbyterianism at its best, a work that can be read over and over with increasing profit! This exceedingly rare essay is not found in Gillespie's Works or The Presbyterian Armoury, however it is also available on two cassettes for $4.77.
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $49.95-85%=7.49


GILLESPIE, GEORGE

The Works of George Gillespie (2 vol.)
Gillespie was one of the Scottish commissioners to the Westminster Assembly. One of the great 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 per-sonal 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 -- many of which are being resurrected in our day by writers like James Jordan (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 (answered in the negative); 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!
(Two Volume Rare Bound Photocopy Set) $99.95-65%=34.98


RUTHERFORD, SAMUEL

A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience (1649 edition.)
Rutherford's Free Disputation, though scarce, is still one of his most important works with maybe only a few copies of the actual book left in existence. Though Rutherford is affectionately remembered in our day for his Letters, or for laying the foundations of constitutional government (against the divine right of kings) in his unsurpassed Lex Rex, his Free Disputation should not be overlooked for it contains the same searing insights as Lex Rex. In fact, this book should probably be known as Rutherford's "politically incorrect" companion volume to Lex Rex. A sort of sequel aimed at driving pluralists and antinomians insane. Written against "the Belgick Arminians, Socinians, and other Authors contending for lawlesse liberty, or licentious Tolerations of Sects and Heresies," Rutherford explains the undiluted Biblical solution to moral relativism, especially as it is expressed in ecclesiastical and civil pluralism! (Corporate pluralism being a violation of the first commandment and an affront to the holy God of Scripture). He also deals with conscience, toleration, penology (punishment), and the judicial laws, as related to both the civil and ecclesiastical realms. Excellent sections are also included which address questions related to determining the fundamentals of religion, how covenants bind us, the perpetual obligation of social covenants (with direct application to the Solemn League and Covenant and the covenant-breaking of Cromwell and his sectarian supporters), whether the punishing of seducing teachers be persecution of conscience, and much more. Walker adds these comments and context regarding Rutherford's Free Disputation, "The principle of toleration was beginning to be broached in England, and in a modified shape to find acceptance there. Samuel Rutherford was alarmed, or rather, I should say, he was horrified, for he neither feared the face of man or argument. He rushed to the rescue of the good old view... It is not so easy to find a theoretical ground for toleration; and Rutherford has many plausible things to say against it. With the most perfect confidence, he argues that it is alike against Scripture and common sense that you should have two religions side by side. It is outrageous ecclesiastically, it is sinful civilly. He does not, however, take what I call the essentially persecuting ground. He does not hold that the magistrate is to punish religion as religion. Nay, he strongly maintains that the civil magistrate never aims at the conscience. The magistrate, he urges, does not send anyone, whether a heretic (who is a soul murderer--RB) or a murderer, to the scaffold with the idea of producing conversion or other spiritual result, but to strengthen the foundations of civil order. But if he gives so much power to the king, he is no lover of despotism withal: the king himself must be under law. To vindicate this great doctrine is the object of another book, the celebrated Lex Rex; of which it has been said by one competent to judge, that it first clearly developed the constitutionalism which all men now accept" (Theology and Theologians..., pp. 11-12). In our day Francis Schaeffer, and numerous others, have critiqued many of the problems found in modern society, but most have spent little time developing explicitly Biblical solutions especially regarding the theoretical foundations that Rutherford addresses here. Rutherford's Free Disputation provides a detailed blueprint for laying the foundations that must be laid before any lasting, God-honoring solutions will be found. Furthermore, Rutherford and his writings were the enemies of all governments not covenanted with Christ. This book will give you a very clear picture as to why "the beast" (civil and ecclesiastical) has reserved his special hatred for such teaching. As Samuel Wylie noted "[t]he dispute, then, will not turn upon the point whether religion should be civilly established... but it is concerning what religion ought to be civilly established and protected, -- whether the religion of Jesus alone should be countenanced by civil authority, or every blasphemous, heretical, and idolatrous abomination which the subtle malignity of the old serpent and a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, can frame and devise, should be put on an equal footing therewith" (Two Sons of Oil: or, The Faithful Witness For Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural Basis, softcover). Can our generation swallow Rutherford's hard, anti-pluralistic, Covenanter medicine, poured forth from the bottle of the first commandment, without choking on their carnal dreams of a free and righteous society divorced from God (and His absolute claims upon everyone and everything)? Not without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit -- that is for sure! In summary, this book answers all the hardest questions theonomists (and their wisest and best opponents) have been asking for the last 20-30 years (and these answers are much more in depth than any we have seen in the last couple of millennia [less about a century to account for the apostles]). As the reader will discover, Rutherford was a wealthy man when it came to wisdom (and much advanced theologically), and those who take the time to gaze into the King's treasure house, as exhibited in this book, will find that they are greatly rewarded. Furthermore, because of its uncompromising stand upon the Word of God, this book is sure to be unpopular among a wicked and adulterous generation. However, on the other hand, it is sure to be popular among the covenanted servants of King Jesus! This is one of the best books (in the top five anyway) for advanced study of the Christian faith. We have now obtained an easy-to-read, amazingly clear copy of this very rare, old treasure. Great price too, considering that a copy of the 1649 edition, containing this quality of print, would likely cost upwards of $1000 on the rare book market -- though it is unlikely you would ever see a copy for sale!
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $199.95-90%=19.99


RUTHERFURD, SAMUEL

The Covenant of Life Opened: or, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (1655 edition.)

(Rare Bound Photocopy) $199.95-90%=19.99


ROBERTS, WILLIAM L.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (1853)
A manual of instruction, drawing from such notable authors as William Symington and J.R. Willson, presenting "arguments and facts confirming and illustrating the 'Distinctive Principles'" of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Chapters deal with: "Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in general;" Christ's exclusive Headship over the Church;" "The Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of God in the Church;" Civil Government, the Moral Ordinance of God;" Christ's Headship over the Nations;" "The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ;" The Word, or Revealed Will of God, the Supreme Law in the State;" "The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to acknowledge and support the True Religion:" "The Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ:" "The Right and Duty of Dissent from an immoral Constitution of Civil Government;" "The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligations of Religious Covenants;" "The Application of these Principles to the Governments, where Reformed Presbyterians reside, in the form of a Practical Testimony;" and finally "Application of the Testimony to the British Empire." A most important book, as we approach (possibly) the end of the great apostasy and will be in need of preparing for the dawning of the glorious millennial blessings to come; the days prophesied in which the church "shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings" (Isa. 60:16).
(Rare bound photocopy) $29.95-70%=8.99 (US funds)


REFORMED PRESBYTERY

Act, Declaration, And Testimony, For The Whole Of The Covenanted Reformation, As Attained To, And Established In, Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt The Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive. As, Also, Against All The Steps Of Defection From Said Reformation, Whether In Former Or Later Times, Since The Overthrow Of That Glorious Work, Down To This Present Day (1876)
Upholds the original work of the Westminster Assembly and testifies to the abiding worth and truth formulated in the Westminster family of documents. Upholds and defends the crown rights of King Jesus in church and state, denouncing those who would remove the crown from Christ's head by denying His right to rule (by His law) in both the civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Testifies to the received doctrine, government, worship, and discipline of the Church of Scotland in her purest (reforming) periods. Applies God's Word to the Church's corporate attainments "with a judicial approbation of the earnest contendings and attainments of the faithful, and a strong and pointed judicial condemnation of error and the promoters thereof" (The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness, Dec. 17/93, p. 558. Write for a sample of this highly recommended publication at: P.O. Box 131, Pottstown, PA, 19464, USA). Shows the church's great historical victories (such as the National and Solemn League and Covenant, leading to the Westminster Assembly) and exposes her enemies actions (e.g. the Prelacy of Laud; the Independency, sectarianism, covenant breaking and ungodly toleration set forth by the likes of Cromwell [and the Independents that conspired with him]; the Erastianism and civil sectarianism of William of Orange, etc.). It is not likely that you will find a more consistent working out of the principles of Calvinism anywhere. Deals with the most important matters relating to the individual, the family, the church and the state. Sets forth a faithful historical testimony of God's dealings with men during some of the most important days of church history. A basic text that should be mastered by all Christians.
$19.95-70%=5.99


DiLELLA, FRED

Aletheia
Aletheia is the Greek word for TRUTH and this book is addressed specifically tois ekezetousi ten aletheian (i.e. to those who are diligently seeking the truth). It explains why the modern church is in such a mess, why it seems so powerless, and why there is little visible unity (or even a general consensus as to what the Scripture teaches) among Christians in our contemporary setting. It also demonstrates that this has not always been the case by tracing the "footsteps of the flock" in opposition to the group that led to the major defections from Reformation attainments (which almost all contemporary churches have followed). This defection is shown to have brought God's covenant curse not only upon the church, but upon the defecting nations also -- and this curse still hangs over our (corporate) heads today. DiLella explains the basis of covenanting and proves from Scripture that covenants entered into by our forefathers (such as the Solemn League and Covenant) on behalf of the moral person (i.e. the constituted and ongoing government, whether civil or ecclesiastical; cf. David Scott's rare bound photocopy Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, pp. 70, 195f., 285f.) continue in force to this day. Furthermore, he shows how the Protesters (Covenanters) and their battle in the seventeenth century with the Resolutioners, is still impacting both the church and the state because of the very bonds that were transacted (in that day) between the Covenanting churches or nations and God. This is used to prove why God has a controversy with the backslidden modern church and with contemporary Christ rejecting nations, who have not repented of these national sins of "truce-breaking." DiLella pays special attention to the United States (as a covenant breaking nation) and those churches which trace their roots to the Reformation. In one section it is shown how America's British roots morally obligate the USA (and Canada) to the Solemn League and Covenant. In fact, it is noted that "in Boston, in 1644, the colonists with uplifted hands en masse publicly and solemnly swore their oath of subscription to the Solemn League and Covenant." Moreover the colonist's ministers often preached of this obligation and even the USA congress, as late as 1744, "officially announced and laid claim to all their rights, privileges, and provisions as English citizens." Anyone familiar with Scripture will understand how covenants bind posterity, even if they are just transactions between man and man, much less man and God, as these British covenants were (which still bind both the USA and Canada by virtue of our British roots). "Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto" (Gal. 3:15). This is further illustrated in the following quotation from the Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (by William Roberts, see the whole chapter "The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligation of Religious Covenants" for more proof), "Another instance in which posterity is recognized in covenant obligation is found in Joshua 9:15. This covenant was made between the children of Israel and the Gibeonites. Between four and five hundred years after that time, the children of Israel are visited with a very severe famine, in the days of David. 2 Sam. 21:1. And it is expressly declared by the Lord that, "It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." And at the same time, v. 2, that very covenant is recognized, and the breach of it is stated, as being the formal reason of the divine displeasure. Now, had it not been for this covenant, the extirpation of the Gibeonites would not have been imputed to Israel as a thing criminal; for they were comprehended in Canaanitish nations, which God had commanded them to root out" (pp. 139-140). The ongoing "moral personality" of the state (or church) is also illustrated throughout Scripture when national leaders (and prophets) confess the sins of their fathers and attribute these sins to the then present wrath of God upon the corporate entity [as with Judah's great Reforming king, Josiah, in 2 Chron. 34:21; see also Neh. 9:2, Dan. 9:16, etc.]). Of course the book deals with much more (including democracy vs. theocracy, tolerationism vs. the first commandment, unity vs. schism, establishments vs. voluntaryism, real subscription [to the WCF] vs. false and truncated subscription, pretended liberty of conscience vs. biblical liberty of conscience, the bride of Christ vs. the whore of Babylon, true worship vs. idolatry, Cromwell vs. the Covenanters, the revolution [of 1688] vs. covenanted uniformity, etc.). Originally written as a modern Covenanter's plea to a minister that was leaving the PCA, this is an easy reading, yet most valuable and practical, look at history and the truth of Christ as it comes to bear directly upon each one of us alive today. It is a one-of-a-kind, modern writing, overflowing with Scriptural and historic proof for each assertion, and we consider it one of the most important books written in this century!
(Rare bound photocopy) $14.95 - 67% = 4.93 (US funds)


McFEETERS, J.C.

Sketches of the Covenanters
Stirring accounts of sacrifice and martyrdom for the Reformed Faith that will bring tears to eyes of all but the backslidden. Follows the chain of events which gave Scotland two Reformations and a Revolution. Knox, the National Covenant, the Westminster Assembly, the Field Meetings, and much more is covered. The history of great battles for Christ and His royal rights are recounted in this moving history book. Sheds much light upon the warfare with the dragon for true liberty. One of our best history books, highly recommended!
(Rare bound photocopy) $39.95-75%=9.99 (US funds)


REFORMED PRESBYTERY

An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion, Adopted by the Community of Dissenters, etc.
Defends the inescapable necessity of creeds and confessions, while promoting a fully creedal church membership. Shows how the law of God obliges all Christians "to think the same things, and to speak the same things; holding fast the form of sound words, and keeping the ordinances as they have been delivered to us" (Col. 3:13). After laying some basic groundwork, this book proceeds to defend the six points of the "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion Agreed Upon by the Reformed Presbytery." These six points are the most conservative and comprehensive short statements of consistent Presbyterianism you will likely ever see. Besides the obvious acknowledgement of the alone infallible Scriptures, the Westminster Standards, and the divine right of Presbyterianism, these points also maintain the perpetual obligation of our Covenants, National and Solemn League, the Renovation of these covenants at Auchensaugh in 1712, and the Judicial Act, Declaration and Testimony emitted by the Reformed Presbytery. In short, this book sets forth adherence to the whole of the covenanted reformation, in both church and state, as it has been attained by our covenanting forefathers.
(Rare bound photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.98


For a magazine faithful to Gillespie's thought and teaching:

The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness [magazine]

E-mail The Original Covenanter at: 103331.1673@compuserve.com
Mail: c/o Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church P.O. Box 131, Pottstown, PA 19464 USA Subscription: $15/yr. USA or $25/yr. International Or request a free sample issue today.

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