Sacred Ceremonies Devised by Man are Forbidden Images.

Not open for further replies.


Staff member
This is a snippet from George Gillespie's English Popish Ceremonies on the what is forbidden in the Second Commandment. I hope to get my new edition of G out sometime this year.

Second Commandment: Sacred Ceremonies Devised by Man are Forbidden Images.

“What can be answered to that which the Abridgement propounds touching this matter? It is much less lawful (say those ministers) for man to bring significant ceremonies into God’s worship now than it was under the law. For God has abrogated his own (not only such as prefigured Christ, but such also as served by their signification to teach moral duties), so as now (without great sin) none of them can be continued in the church, no, not for signification.[SUP]1[/SUP] Whereupon they infer: If those ceremonies which God himself ordained to teach his church by their signification may not now be used, much less may those which man has devised.[SUP]2[/SUP]

“§6. Fourth, sacred significant ceremonies devised by man are to be reckoned among those images forbidden in the second commandment. Polanus says, that omnis figura illicita [every forbidden figure] is forbidden in the second commandment.[SUP]3[/SUP] The Professors of Leyden call it any image at all, whether conceived in the mind or made by the hand.”[SUP]4[/SUP]

I have shown elsewhere,[SUP]5[/SUP] that both in the writings of the fathers, and of formalists themselves, sacraments get the name of images; and why, then, are not all significant and holy ceremonies to be accounted images? Now, the second commandment forbids images made by the lust of man (that I may use Dr. Burges’s phrase);[SUP]6[/SUP] therefore it forbids also all religious similitudes, which are homogeneal [congruous] unto them. This is the inference of the Abridgement….” (George Gillespie, A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies, Part Three, Chapter Five, section 6, p. 230 in the forthcoming 2013 edition, D.V.).

1. Ministers of the Lincoln Diocese, An Abridgement (1617) 43. [An Abridgment of that booke which the Ministers of Lincoln diocess delivered to his Majestie. Being the first of an apologye for themselves and their brethren that refuse the subscription, and conformitie which is required [W. Jones Secret Press, 1605]. Reprint, An Abridgement of that Booke which the Ministers of Lincolne Diocess deliuered to His Maiestie upon the First Of December 1605. Being The first part of An Apologie for themselves and their Brethren that refuse the Subscription and Conformitie which Is required. Leiden: 1617.

2. Ames, Fresh Suite, p. 266 [Amsterdam: 1633]. [Gillespie cites the Abridgement from Ames’ Fresh Suit against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship.]

3. Syntagma Theol., lib. 6, cap. 10, p. 58, 59. [Amandus Polanus, German Reformed theologian (1561-1610). Cf. Syntagma Theologiae Christianae (Hanover, 1609), vol. 2, col. 2284A.

4. Synop. Pur. Theol., disp. 19, thes. 4. imaginem quamlibet, sive mente conceptam, sive manu effictam. [Professors at Leyden, Antonius Walæus (1573–1639), Andreas Rivetus (1572–1651), Antonius Thysius (1603–1665), John Polyander (1568–1646).Synopsis Purioris Theologiæ. Leyden: 1581. Cf. Edited by Herman Bavinck (Leiden: 1881) 163.]

5. Supra, cap. 4, sect. 9 [See English Popish Ceremonies (2013 forthcoming) 195.]

6. John Burges, Of the Lawfulness of Kneeling, p. 116 [sic page 115]. [This work is appended to An Answer Rejoined to that much applauded pamphlet A reply to Dr. Morton’s general defense of three nocent ceremonies (1631)].
Not open for further replies.