Head Coverings in the Post-Reformation Era

Under Construction

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Subsection

Scottish Church
Gillespie & Rutherford

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Order of Contents

Historical Treatments  10+
Descriptions of Practice  10+
Confessions, Books of Discipline, National Commentaries  4

English
.     Reformers 2
.     Anglicans  16+
.     Puritans & Presbyterians  26+
.     Westminster Divines  6

Swiss  9
Italian  2
German  1
Dutch  6
French  3

Independents  1
New England Congregationalists  1
Ministers Covering their Heads Preaching  1


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Historical Treatments

On the Renaissance

With Numerous Pictures

Article

Brown, Frances Susanne – ‘Hats’  in Renaissance Magazine, vol. 17, issue 2 (March-April, 2012)

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Books

eds. Aries, Philippe & George Duby – A History of Private Life, III, Passions of the Renaissance  trans. A. Goldhammer  (Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 1987)  ToC

Time-Life – What Life was Like at the Rebirth of Genius: Renaissance Italy, AD 1400-1550  Ref  (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1997)  168 pp.  pictures throughout

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Article

Hills, Paul – ‘Titian’s Veils’  Ref  Art History, vol. 29, issue 5 (Nov, 2006), pp. 771-95

Titian (c. 1488/90–1576) was an Italian (Venetian) painter during the Renaissance, considered the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school.

Abstract: “Narratives of veiling and unveiling are central to the trajectory of Titian’s art…  Ever mindful of the tropes of Christ’s flesh as veil and hymen as veil, Titian brought together body, veil and paint…  Veils as a luxury commodity were a vital concern to the Venetian silk guild around 1510, yet they remained charged with significance beyond their mercantile value.”

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On the Tudor Era

Norris, Herbert – Tudor Costume & Fashion  (1997)  905 pp.  ToC

Cunnington, Phillis – Medieval & Tudor Costume  (Boston: Plays, Inc., 1968)  78 pp.  ToC  with many pictures throughout

Brooke, Iris – English Costume from the Early Middle Ages through the Sixteenth Century  (NY: Dover, 2000)  ToC  with many pictures throughout

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On the Post-Reformation

Time-Life

What Life was Like in Europe’s Golden Age: Northern Europe, AD 1500-1675  Ref  (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1997)  168 pp.  pictures throughout

What Life was Like in the Realm of Elizabeth: England, AD 1533-1603  Ref  (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1997)  168 pp.  pictures throughout

What Life was Like in the Jewel in the Crown: British India, AD 1600-1905  Ref  (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1999)  168 pp.  pictures throughout

What Life was Like During the Age of Reason: France, AD 1660-1800  Ref  (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1997)  168 pp.  pictures throughout

De Courtais, Georgine – Women’s Hats, Headdresses & Hairstyles: with 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern  (Dover Publications, 2006)

Tudor: 1485-1558
Elizabethean: 1558-1603
Stuart: 1603-1714

Wolfhal, Diane – ‘Household Help: Early Modern Portraits of Female Servants’  in Early Modern Women, vol. 8 (Fall, 2013), pp. 5-52  with many pictures

Petrovich, Christopher G. – ‘First Corinthians 11:2-16, Calvin & Reformed praxis’  Ref  Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 77, issue 1  (2015), pp. 111-33

Burghartz, Susanna

‘Covered Women? Veiling in Early Modern Europe’  Pre  Abstract  in History Workshop Journal, no. 80  (Autumn, 2015), pp. 1-32  with numerous pictures

This article is similar to Burghartz’s article immediately below.

“This article analyses the recodification of the covering of women from the Reformation to the Enlightenment, discussing and juxtaposing rich visual material, normative regulations and court cases…  Early modern costume books demonstrate the potential of the veil to map locally specific cultural differences manifested in dress.  Veiled women could stand for propriety, yet veils might also be read as a sign of lust, disorder and seduction.

Case studies of Reformation Basel and Zürich develop these broader findings in detail.  They show not only that the veil provided a screen onto which could be projected strangeness and danger, but also how in practice it marked women as respectable or dishonourable, rich or poor, married or unwed.  Furthermore, it was read as an index of morality and gained much attention in a fashion policy critical of luxury.  The veil was thus central to an identity politics preoccupied with social ordering, moral standards, and also fashion.”

ch. 8, ‘Moral Materials: Veiling in Early Modern Protestant Cities. The Cases of Basel & Zurich’  in Materialized Identities in Early Modern Culture, 1450-1750: Objects, Affects, Effects  (Amsterdam Univ. Press, 2021), pp. 369-410  with numerous pictures

Hyden-Hanscho, Veronika – ‘Invisible Globalization: French Hats
in Habsburg Vienna, 1650-1750′  Journal of European Economic History  (3 / 2016), pp. 11-54

“In the second half of the seventeenth century, the Viennese nobility
introduced French fashion as a consumption pattern for Austrian
elites.  Beaver and vicuña hats, made of raw materials from Canada,
Peru, West Africa, the Sudan and the Levant, were part and parcel
of the new French fashion.  French hats were globalized commodities appreciated throughout Europe, although the globalized nature
and composition of the product remained completely invisible.

This article considers Vienna as a remote area, far from the booming
and, in historiography, well-explored European Atlantic ports and
capitals, and investigates how Vienna participated in particular global
fashion trends.  Specifically, it focuses on the social and economic
impact of hats as a globalized consumer good on the local Viennese
market.  Based on an extensive analysis of archival sources, the article sheds light on consumption patterns of elites, practices of the
trade in hats, and the consequences of the globalized hat market
for local craft production.  The globalization of the hat market entailed the immigration of fully trained hatters.  Skilled craftsmen from
France and Italy introduced new processing methods in Vienna, but
this did not result in the dissemination of knowledge.  The continuing
demand for hats in Vienna stoked a large increase in imports of finished or semi-finished hats, which in turn fostered the emergence of new branches of activity for the accoutrement and selling of these
products.”

Bond, Katherine – ch. 7, ”Fashioned with Marvellous Skill’: Veils & the Costume Books of Sixteenth-Century Europe’  in Materialized Identities in Early Modern Culture, 1450-1750: Objects, Affects, Effects  (Amsterdam Univ. Press, 2021), pp. 325-69

Wikipedia

‘1500–1550 in Western European Fashion’

Women:  Hats & Headgear
Men:  Hairstyles & Headgear

‘1550–1600 in Western European Fashion’

Women:  Hairstyles & Headgear
Men:  Hairstyles & Headgear

‘1600–1650 in Western European Fashion’

Women:  Hairstyles & Headdresses
Men:  Hairstyles & Headgear

‘1650–1700 in Western European Fashion’

Women:  Hairstyles & Headgear
Men:  Hairstyles, Hats & Headgear

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On the 1700’s

Heffernan, Teresa – ch. 1, ‘Islam, the Enlightenment & the Veil’  in Veiled Figures: Women, Modernity, and the Spectres of Orientalism  Pre  (Univ. of Toronto Press, 2016), pp. 14-46  ToC


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Descriptions of Practice in the Post-Reformation

Order of

Quotes

Genevan Bible Notes
Pareus
Dutch Annotations
Durel
Hickman
Poole

Article – Muller


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Quotes Describing Practice in the Post-Reformation

Geneva Bible Notes  1599

On 1 Cor. 11, verse 4  The 1560 edition had similar notes in it, as cited by Richard Muller on this webpage.

“(3) By this he gathers that if men do either pray or preach in public assemblies having their heads covered (which was then a sign of subjection), they robbed themselves of their dignity, against God’s ordinance.

(b) It appears, that this was a political law serving only for the circumstance of the time that Paul lived in, by this reason, because in these our days for a man to speak bareheaded in an assembly is a sign of subjection.”

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Pareus:  Latin

on 1 Cor. 11:5, p. 547, lt col, A

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The Dutch Annotations  1637

On 1 Cor. 11, verse 4

“…namely, forasmuch as the uncovering of the head was then a sign of power and dominion, as on the contrary now at this day those that have power over others will keep their heads covered, and they that are under others will uncover their heads before them.”

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John Durel

A View of the Government & Public Worship of God in the Reformed Churches Beyond the Seas, wherein is showed their Conformity & Agreement with the Church of England, as it is Established by the Act of Uniformity…  (London, 1662), Introduction, pp. 32-34  Durel (1625–1683) was an Anglican, Erastian, clergyman and academic, here seeking to support the Anglican practices.

“34. In all Reformed Churches men use[d] to enter into the places of public worship with their hats off [is the claim, in accordance with the Anglican practice that the puritans rejected].  In France the women that are persons of quality unmask themselves.  And the devoutest sort both of men and women use[d] to kneel, and make a short prayer for God’s blessing on the service they come to perform, before they sit down; Yet the [Westminster] Directory (though it pretends conformity with them) prohibits these very things, which are likewise used upon the same occasions.

35. In some places all the people stand bare as long as they are in the Church, as in Hungary and Transylvania, where the Prince himself uses to be uncovered.  In others they stand bare only during the service, as at Geneva, where they are covered only at sermon.  In Poland and Lithuania they sing, and both read and hear the Scripture standing, and they beat their breast at the end of their prayers.

Everywhere they use to kneel at prayer [especially in the 1500’s]; and if all do not kneel when they may conveniently, it is scandalous.  It was ordered by the last National Assembly of the Reformed Churches of France held at Loudun, that all should be bare-headed whilst the office of baptism is read.  Which was not so much a new constitution as the renewing of an old one as may be seen in their Discipline, which will have those censured that shall not uncover themselves when sacraments are celebrated.  And although there is too much irreverence in the said Churches both at the administration of sacraments and at all other holy duties performed in the congregation, it is well known that it is against the mind of the ministers, who very often use to reprehend the people for this abuse, and exhort them to behave themselves more reverently in the house of God.

By which we may guess what judgement they would make of those of the presbyterian congregations, who never kneel [they rather generally stood at prayer in the 1600’s], and never uncover their heads, or only a little the top or one side of them at prayer…  And because this outward reverence is so slighted and almost laughed at by some, though great pretenders to reformation, I think it not amiss to transcribe here at length the very words of the Discipline established in the French Reformed Churches, by which may be seen how much they value it (ch. 10, article 1):

‘That irreverence shall be mended which is seen in many when they are present at Common Prayer in the Church, or at their private prayer in the family, not to uncover their head and not to bend their knees; a thing which is contrary to piety, gives suspicion of pride, and may offend the godly.  Wherefore the ministers shall be warned, as likewise the elders and heads of families, to watch carefully, that during the said prayers every one, without exception or acception of persons, do by these outward signs stifie the humility of their hearts, and of that inward homage which they yield unto God.’

36.  In the Churches of Lithuania and Polonia, where they have their hats on at sermon, they always put them off at the name of Jesus; and the women, if they be sitting, bow down their head; if they they stand, they make a curtsy.  The Reformed Church of Bremen [Germany] do the like.  And the same reverence was used at the naming of that holy name by a great many, though not by all, nor always, before the wars in the Palatinate [Germany], and no doubt but they do so still.”

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Henry Hickman

Bonasus vapulans [A Bull being Whipped], or, Some Castigations given to Mr. John Durell for Fouling Himself & Others in his English & Latin Book by a Country Scholar  (London, 1672)  Hickman (bap.1629-1692) was an English puritan who was ejected in 1662.

pp. 55-57

“Sixthly, He tells us page 32, That in all Reformed Churches men used to enter into the place of public worship with their hats off, which is as great an untruth, as ever dropped from writers’ pen, unless it be understood of places of public worship, whilst public worship is actually performed in them, and if it may be so understood, then the Presbyterians would hugely approve of it.

By the [Westminster] Directory it was enjoined that, all enter the assembly not irreverently, but in a grave and seemly manner: gravity and seemliness do include putting off the hat, which yet would be a ridiculous action, if a man should use it, as too many now a days do as oft as they go through the Church, though none be met for worship, and though they themselves intended no worship: nor does the Directory any where condemn the manner which Mr. Durell tells us has obtained among the French Ladies, viz. to unmask themselves when they come into the temple; provided they do not unmask themselves out of a vain or wanton design; if they should do so, they know by whom they are condemned.

[I but says Mr. Durell, the devoutest sort both of men and women, use[d] to kneel and make a prayer for God’s blessing, before they sit down, and this the [Westminster] Directory prohibits.]

Had he said that the devouter sort use a short prayer when they took no seats, and came to perform no service to God; then he had said something to excuse the actings of some among us. The peoples making a secret prayer before they sit down in their seats, is not forbidden by the Directory, unto all, or unto any, but these who come into the Church the public worship being begun, and whether it be more meet for such to betake themselves to their private devotions, or to join with the Assembly in that ordinance that is in hand, let the learned judge for they are wise.

Seventhly, All might have been spared that is brought, page 33, Of people’s standing bare in time of divine service, and at the administration of sacraments: In the very Church of Scotland all are uncovered at the administration of the sacraments; here in England men had left off to put on their hats in time of sermon (which Mr. Durell seems to distinguish from Service) had Mr. Calamy and others been hearkened to.

Eighthly, Above all, what need we be told, page 22, that Calvin wore a gown and a cap: Were not presbyterians accustomed so to do in the universities? Those sent down by the two Houses to Cambridge, did all of them preach in the University Church in their gowns, and in their hoods;”

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pp. 82-83

“[Durell:] ‘In all Reformed churches men use to enter into the places of public worship with their hats off.’

This is a most notorious — nothing being more usual in some Reformed churches than to pass through and through the places of worship, never stirring their hats: But if he would have the saying understood of men’s putting off their hats when they enter into the place of public worship, whilst the congregation is worshipping, then must this speech be placed where it is already placed, among the gentleman’s impertinencies.”

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pp. 85-86

The French ministers preach with their hats on: did ever [a] non-conformist say that they count it sinful in us to preach with our hats off? or did ever [a] non-conformist go about to bring the French mode into his church?

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pp. 125-26

“[Durell:] ‘There was a great irreverence at prayer in their congregations, very few kneeling, many not so much as putting off their hats, and of this,’ he says, he was an eye-witness.

…Into how many congregations he went where many did not so much as put off their hats in the time of prayer?  And whether he either saw or heard that the ministers of those churches did any way countenance that irreverence?  …For ought I know those in whom he observed this irreverence might be sectaries, who did more bitterly inveigh against presbyterians than against any other men whatever; perhaps also they might be episcopal-men, who designed to put an affront upon the presbyterians’ prayers: just as now some are observed to sit upon their breech all the time of pulpit-prayer, unless when just the Lord’s prayer is repeating, because forsooth pulpit-prayer is not allowed by the [establishing Anglican] Church, but only bidding of prayer.

I write it with grief, but I must write it, I never in any congregations where I have been observed so much irreverence as I have observed in those in which there is the greatest abundance of such as always pretended a love to the English [Anglican] liturgy; particular stories I might relate…”

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Matthew Poole

Annotations on 1 Cor. 11

v. 4

“At this day the Mahometans (or Turks) speak to their superiors covered, and so are covered also in their religious performances.

The custom with us in these western parts is quite otherwise; the uncovering of the head is a sign or token of subjection: hence ministers pray and preach with their heads uncovered, to denote their subjection to God and Christ: but yet this custom is not uniform, for in France the Reformed ministers preach with their heads covered; as they pray uncovered, to express their reverence and subjection to God, so they preach covered, as representing Christ, the great Teacher, from whom they derive, and whom they represent.”

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Article Describing the Practice of the Post-Reformation

Richard Muller – Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2, pp. 489-90

Muller quotes the Genevan Bible Annotations, Matthew Pool, John Lightfoot and Francis Roberts for the cultural view.


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Confessions, Books of Discipline & National Bible Commentaries

Order of

Augsburg Confession
Tetrapolitan / Sueveland
Nassau
French Reformed
Dutch Annotations
English Annotations
Westminster Confession

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Augsburg Confession  1530

Article 7, sections 15-18  in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 6th ed. (Baker, 1931), vol. 3, pp. 68-69  Also in Peter Hall, Reformed Confessions, 16th section, pp. 400-401  For the widespread, qualified, receiving of this confession by the reformed, see Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1 in location.

“What is, then, to be thought of the Lord’s day, and of like rites of temples [churches]?  Hereunto they [ours] answer, that it is lawful for Bishops or Pastors to make ordinances, whereby things may be done in order in the Church; not that by them we may merit grace, or satisfy for sins, or that men’s consciences should be bound to esteem them as necessary services, and think that they sin when they violate them, without the offense of others.  So Paul ordained, ‘that women should cover their heads in the congregation’ (1 Cor. 11:6); ‘that the interpreters of Scripture should be heard in order in the Church’ (1 Cor. 14:27), etc.

Such ordinances it behooveth the churches to keep for charity and quietness’ sake, that one offend not another, that all things may be done in order, and without tumult in the churches (1 Cor. xiv. 40 and Phil. ii. 14), but so that consciences be not burdened, so as to account them as things necessary to salvation, and think they sin when they violate them, without offense of others; as no one would say that a woman sins if she went into public with her head uncovered, provided it were without the offense of men.”

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Tetrapolitan or Sueveland Confession 1530

Ch. 14, ‘Of Human Traditions’  in ed. Peter Hall, The Harmony of Protestant Confessions (London, 1842), pp. 436-7; also in ed. James Dennison Jr., Reformed Confessions, 1.156.  This is considered the first reformed confession, agreed to by four Swiss cities.

“For such [traditions] as agree with the Scripture, and were ordained for good manners and the profit of men, although they be not word for word expressed in the Scriptures, nevertheless in that they proceed from the commandment of love, which ordereth all things most decently, they are worthily to be accounted rather of God than of man.

Of this sort were those set down by Paul, that women should not pray in the Church bareheaded, nor men with their heads covered; that they who are to communicate together should tarry one for another: 1 Cor. 11:5; 10:7,33, that no man should speak with tongues in the congregation without an interpreter; that the prophets without confusion should deliver their prophecies to be judged by them that sit by, 1 Cor. 14:28,29.

Many such the Church at this day, for good cause, observes, and upon occasion also makes new; which whoso refuses, he despises the authority, not of men, but of God, whose tradition it is, whatsoever is profitable.  For, ‘whatsoever truth is said or written, by his gift it is spoken and written, who is truth,’ as St. Augustine has godly written.  But oftentimes there is disputing about this; what tradition is profitable, what not: that is, what does set forward godliness, what does hinder it.  But he that shall seek nothing of his own, but shall wholly dedicate himself to the public profit, he shall easily see what things are agreeable to the law of God, what are not.”

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Nassau Confession  1578

as in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions, 3.519-20  This was a reformed confession.

“The Bending of the Knees and Other Outward Gestures during Prayer

Thus it should be a matter of Christian freedom as to whether, when in the public assembly or at home one says his prayer, he does so standing, sitting, or kneeling.

Such bodily demeanor is neither prescribed nor forbidden as a thing necessary, though these are not simply to be condemned when they are done without superstition and without hypocrisy.

St. Paul thinks of hands lifted up when he discourses in 1 Tim. 2[:8, conflated with 1 Cor. 11:4]: ‘I will that men pray with uncovered heads and lifting up holy hands.’

The performance or omission of all these gestures is in itself no rendering of worship to God.  God has no pleasure in pharisaic simulation, which only makes an external pageant of these gestures or holds a gesture to be efficacious by reason of the external deed.

But then where the heart is in a right posture towards God…  the modest and Christian gestures which it will find for itself are not to be despised.”

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The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France  1559

Ch. 10, Canons 1-2  in ed. John Quick, Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, vol. 1, p. xliii  See also the Synod of Figeac, ch. 3, section XXX, p. 132 and the Synod of Montaubanch, Synod 13, ch. 3, section 15, p. 160

“Canon 1:  That great irreverence, which is found in diverse persons, who at public and private prayers do neither uncover the heads, nor bow their knees, shall be reformed, which is a matter repugnant to piety, and giveth suspicion to pride, and does scandalize them that fear God. Wherefore all Pastors shall be advised, as also Elders and heads of families, carefully to oversee that in time of prayer all persons without exception or acceptation, do evidence by those exterior signs the inward humiliation of their hearts, and of that homage yielded by them unto God, unless anyone be hindered from doing so by sickness or otherwise; the judgment which shall be remitted to the testimony of their own particular consciences.

Canon 2:  …Every one shall be advertised to bring with them their Psalm-Books unto those Assemblies; and such as through contempt of this holy Ordinance do forbear the having of them, shall be censured, as also those, who in time of singing, both before and after Sermon, are not uncovered, as also when the Holy Sacraments are celebrated.”

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The Dutch Annotations  1637

On 1 Cor. 11

v. 2

“‘and keep the institutions’ [Gr. ‘traditions’, or ‘deliverings-over’, whereby then are understood as he himself afterwards declares, some ordinances of his, not which are artilces of faith, but which concerned the outward form which ought to be observed in the assemblies and exercise of God’s worship]…”

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v. 4

“…’or prophesies’ [or reads and expounds the writings of the prophets in the assemblies, 1 Cor. 14:3, 29, etc….  or he that hears such expositions in the congregations] ‘having (ought) on his head’ [namely, any covering, as is long hair, v. 14, or a hat, veil or the like, v. 7, as the gentiles used to worship their idols with covered heads.  See Virgil, Aeneid 3, Sucton, in Vitell.]…

…namely, forasmuch as the uncovering of the head was then a sign of power and dominion, as on the contrary now at this day those that have power over others will keep their heads covered, and they that are under others will uncover their heads before them.  But in all these things, we must always have the respect to the use of divers times and countries, and what is honorable and edifying therein, 1 Cor. 14:40, Phil. 4:8.”

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The English Annotations  (1645) on 1 Cor. 11

“V. 2. …and keep the ordinances]  By the word [Greek] in the original, which signifieth traditions, he meaneth…  particular ordinances of comeliness, and good order, which belong to ecclesiastical policy, which afterward were called canons.

V. 10. power on her head]  That is, a vail or covering, in token of her husband’s power and authority over her; or a kind of warrant or pass to go abroad with credit and honesty: for there was no necessity of vailing or covering their head within doors, but if they went abroad without their vail, they were counted light and wanderers, like unto run-away servants, or soldiers that have no pass to show from their masters or captains…

because of the Angels]  Some by the angels understand the pastors of the congregations, who are termed angels, Mal. 2:7 and Rev. 1:20, and that the apostle draws his reason to enforce women’s modest carriage from the reverend respect the women ought to show, esepcially in the Church, to these angels of the Churches.  Others take angels here in the proper sense for the coelestial spirits, which alwayes attend upon Christ their Head, and are present in the congregation of the faithful, and are offended at all disorders and uncomeliness which may be used there…

V. 16. if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom]  Either the meaning is, We have no such custom for women to pray uncovered; or, we have no such custom or the Churches of God to contend about matters of this nature, but willingly and cheerful to obey those that have the oversight of us in the Lord.”

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Westminster Confession of Faith  1645

ch.1, Of the Holy Scripture, section 6

“VI.  …there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.[o]

[o] 1 Cor. 11:13,141 Cor. 14:26,40


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England

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Reformers

William Tyndale

The Obedience of a Christian Man, and how Christian Rulers ought to Govern  in The Whole Works of W. Tyndall, John Frith & Doctor Barnes, Three Worthy Martyrs & Principal Teachers of this Church of England, Collected & Compiled in One Tome Together…  (d. 1536; London, 1573), pp. 128-29

“Paul…  his traditions were the Gospel of Christ and honest manners and living, and such a good order as becomes the doctrine of Christ.  As that a woman obey her husband, have her head covered, keep silence, and go womanly and christianly apparelled: that children and servants be in subjection: and that the young obey their elders, that no man eat but he that labours and works, and that men make an earnest thing of God’s Word, and of his holy Sacraments: and to watch, fast, and pray, and such like, as the Scripture commands.  Which things he that would break were no christian man…

There were also certain customs alway which were not commanded in pain of hell or everlasting damnation, as to watch all night, and to kiss one another: which as soon as the people abused, then they brake them.  For which cause the bishops might break many things now in like manner. Paul also in many things which God had made free, gave pure and faithful counsel without tangling of any man’s conscience, and without all maner commanding under pain of cursing, pain of excommunication, pain of heresy, pain of burning, pain of deadly sin, pain of hell, and pain of damnation.  As thou mayst see. 1 Cor. 7.”

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Hugh Latimer

Sermons by Hugh Latimer…  (d. 1555; Parker Society, 1844), pp. 253-54


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Anglicans

Order of

1600’s

Bayly
Downame
Andrewes
Mayer
Jones
Richardson
Hall
1648 Account
L’Estrange
Nicholson
L’Estrange
Annand
Sherlock
Thomas
Hale
Hopkins
Edwards

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1600’s

Lewis Bayly

The Practice of Piety  3rd ed.  (1613), ‘Rules to be observed in Singing of Psalms’  Bayly (d. 1631) was an Anglican bishop.

As you sing uncover your heads (1 Cor. 11:4), and behave yourselves in comely reverence as in the sight of God, singing to God in God’s own words; but be sure that the matter make more melody in your hearts (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) than the music in your ear…”

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George Downame

An Abstract of the Duties Commanded, and Sins Forbidden in the Law of God  (London, 1620), no page number

“Concerning the circumstances belonging to God’s worship, and the ceremonies therein to be used, we are to follow the general rules of God’s Word, namely, that all things be done

          • To edification. 1 Cor. 14:26
          • Decently. 1 Cor. 11:13; 1 Cor. 14:40
          • According to order. 1 Cor. 14:40″

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Lancelot Andrewes

The Pattern of Catechistical Doctrine at Large, or a Learned & Pious Exposition of the Ten Commandments…  (d. 1626; London, 1650), 2nd Commandment, ch. 7, pp. 215, 217

“1. …The apostle tells us there must be nudatio capitis, our heads must be uncovered.  The wearing of a cap, pileo donari, among the Romans, was peculiar to free men only, and an hieroglyphic of honor, for once if a man cepisset pileum, he was free, and when he laid aside his cap, he was said deponere magnificentiam, to lay aside his honor and privilege whereby he was distinguished from a servant.

So then, as servants are to be uncovered in their master’s service, so are we to be in God’s: and therefore Saint Paul (in the place before cited) tells us that it is a shame for a man to have his head covered at that time.

But in this point corruption is crept into our Church.  Instead of humbling ourselves by prostration and kneeling, we are pleased to sit at our ease, and that in a proud manner: instead of the depositio magnificentiae, et nudatio capitis, kneeling and uncovering our heads, we sit, and with our heads covered too; this is not to enquire, at least not to imitate, the days of old…  This sedentary prayer and proud fashion of covering the head cannot be warranted by any text in Scripture.”

.

John Mayer

A Commentary upon All the Epistles of the Apostle Saint Paul...  (London, 1631), on 1 Cor. 11  Mayer (1583–1664) was an English clergyman, who, it appears, conformed at 1662.

vv. 4-5

“The man in praying or prophesying is prescribed here to be uncovered on his head, but not at all times, the woman to be covered both then and at all times.  And why should it be thus?  Because there ought to be a distinction between these two sexes, as in their apparell, so in other symbols ordained as signs of either sex, of which sort this is one, for a man to have his head unveiled, and for a woman to have it veiled….

…Now it is not to be thought that any covering being upon the head, as a little cap for the necessity of warmth, is against this ordinance, but such as whereby the distinction set betwixt man and woman is taken away, and a confusion is brought in, for althought there be something on the head for necessity, yet it is uncovered in the sense here spoken of.

.

Question 2

“Chrysostom shows that it was the manner of the heathen Grecians to come to prayer covered thus, and Beza alleges Plutarch speaking of the Romans, that they worshipped their gods being covered and bowing their heads.  Wherefore it was necessary for the apostle to admonish them hereof, there being some doubtless, who notwithstanding the order before settled at Corinth, did cleave to this their superstitious manner still…

Here is no ground then for being bareheaded in the congregation, as some imagine, nor yet for the preachers being bareheaded, but that he may wear a little cap to defend him from the cold, as Calvin allows, or a hat, where the order of the Church is such in token of authority, as Beza contends, and is the manner of the French Church, because howsoever it was then, now it is a sign of authority amongst men to be covered, and of subjection to be uncovered.  The only thing to be gathered hence is that all should be held with such reverence of the public place, as that they should do nothing unseemly there, of what sex or condition soever they be.”

.

Question 4

“…Which, as I take it, is to be understood of any time of her coming abroad.  But this kind of covering is not used in these cold countries, but instead thereof hats, or other dresses, a difference being yet still retained, in that the woman’s cover upon her head is fixed, but the man moves his in salutation and for reverence at any time…

But this as has been already touched out of Beza, holds not but in such countries where to sit with the hat off argues authority, and to be covered, subjection; In these parts it is contrariwise, and therefore our preaching uncovered does not seem to be grounded upon this, but rather to have been taken up in reverence to God…  And upon the like reason men are appointed to hear the Word of God read being uncovered, and to follow the same order at the preaching of the Word is most commendable in all, that are not constrained by their bodily infirmity to cover.  Only I say it is altogether from the purpose of this place to teach a necessity of so doing.”

.

William Jones

A Commentary upon the Epistles of Saint Paul to Philemon, & to the Hebrews...  (London, 1635), on Heb. 9:1, pp. 327-28

“Sundry religious ordinances are appointed in the New Testament: that there should be every Lord’s Day a collection for the poor: that the man being after a more excellent manner the image of God should pray bare-headed, not being ashamed to show his head, but having a kind of headship over the woman; and the woman should cover her head, when she prays…  no Christian Church can consist without some external rites and ceremonies, which if they be not repugnant to the Word of God, are to be observed by us, as these ordinances of religion were by the Jews.

…In these indifferent things which in their owne nature are neither good, nor evil, we must not contend, breaking the peace and unity of the Church.”

.

John Richardson

Choice Observations & Explanations upon the Old Testament…  which are Additionals to the Large Annotations made by some of the Assembly of Divines…  (d. 1654; London, 1655), on Lamentations, p. 425  Richardson (1580-1654) was an English bishop of the Church of Ireland.

“Many signs of lamentations are expressed here.  Which from
hence and other Scriptures may more fully be gathered thus: Sighing, mourning, mournful songs, weeping, howling, fasting,
changing of the garments, mourning women, Jer. 9:17; 2 Chron. 35:25; Amos 5:16, rending of the clothes, wearing black
and sackcloth, sitting on the ground and keeping silence, lying
prostrate upon the ground, sitting, lying, covering, rowling, wallowing in ashes, in dust and ashes, casting up dust, ashes, earth upon them and their heads, spreading and wringing the hands, laying the hands upon the head, smiting with the hand, stamping with the feet, hanging down the head, uncovering the head and bare, and again in some ages, the covering the head, covering head and face too, as our close mourners, covering the upper lip, bare-foot, shaving the head and beard, making baldness, plucking off the hair, beating the breast, printing marks upon the flesh, tearing it, cutting it.”

.

Joseph Hall

The Shaking of the Olive-Tree, the Remaining Works of that Incomparable Prelate Joseph Hall…  (d. 1656; 1660), ‘The Women’s Vail: or a Discourse concerning the Necessity or Expedience of the Close-Covering of the Heads of Women…  upon 1 Cor. 11:10, Occasioned by an offence unjustly taken at a Modest Dress’, p. 237

“…here are rules of order for the outward fashion of praying and prophesying; these may be as variable as the other are constant, it is no more possible to fit all Churches and countries with one form than to fit all bodies with one suit, or all limbs with one size….

They, exercising these manly functions, presumed to take upon them manly fashions; whereas therefore bare-headedness was in Corinth, as also in all Greece and Rome a token of honor and superiority, and covering the head a token of subjection; these forward women u­surp upon the fashions of their husbands, and will have their faces seen as well as their voices heard;”

.

A Plain & Familiar Explication (by way of Paraphrase) of all the hard texts of the whole divine Scripture of the Old & New Testament  (London, 1633), on 1 Cor. 11, p. 221-22

…to admonish you of some indecent fashions that are used in the congregation by those of both sexes; For whereas covering of the head is commonly taken for a sign of subjection, and the uncovering of it, a sign of power, and superiority; it is contrarily used amongst you;…

It is an immodest fashion in the wanton dames of Corinth that they go abroad in public places without any veil or covering on their heads; if they will needs take up this manish fashion of going uncovered, let them be shaven also…

…let it be sufficient answer for him that we have no such customs of immodesty and indecency, nor any other of the Churches of Christ, so as he shall be singular in this his opinion.”

.

1648

Athenæ Oxonienses  (London, 1691-1692), vol. 2, p. 757  The event in the account is from 1648, just before King Charles I’s execution.  Harrison may have been an Independent, in connection with the army and the Rump Parliament.

“…that after the King [Charles I] had continued at Winds for some days…  he conveyed him in a coach thence to St. James’s, in order to his trial; at which time Harrison was with him in the said coach, with his head covered, talked with little or no reverence to him:”

.

L’Estrange, Hamon

The Alliance of Divine Offices, exhibiting all the Liturgies of the Church of England since the Reformation as also the late Scotch Service-Book [1637], with all their Respective Variations: and upon them all Annotations, Vindicating the Book of Common-Prayer from the Main Objections of its Adversaries…  (London, 1659), Annotations upon ch. 11, p. 317

“The trifling objection of the abuse of this psalm [psalm 121], by the woman’s usual coming in a vail is easily answered, by affirming that the Church, as she does not forbid, so neither does she command any such habit, but leaves it as an indifferent thing; and if the woman, who has an arbitrary power in this concernment, think fit to come forth vailed, that is, better armed against the cold, her act cannot constitute a ceremony of the Church, and so the Church not chargeable with the abuse.”

.

William Nicholson

An Apology for the Discipline of the Ancient Church: intended especially for that of our Mother, the Church of England: in Answer to the Admonitory Letter lately published  (London, 1659), 3rd Part, section 6, pp. 187-8

“To cover or uncover the head in these places in the time of divine service is a ceremony; and therefore if the observation or non-observation of ceremonies be a superstition, he that uncovers not his head may be as superstitious as he who is bare-headed…

…the other looks upon those plain words of the apostle, ‘Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head:’ and thinks he is obliged to it, as indeed he is, till the meaning of the text be otherwise cleared to him.

The question then ought to be this, whether a man ought to be covered in the service of God?  If uncovered, why do you jear at our bare-heads?

If covered, why do you [Independents] not keep your own rule, but sit covered at one part of service, and uncovered at another? covered when a chapter is read and expounded; covered all the time of sermon…  and yet uncovered again, at the singing of a psalm, at your extemporary prayers before and after sermon, at the administration of the sacraments.  Tell me what privilege you have to dispense with this ceremony in one part of divine service more than another; Let it then be but considered who it is that speaks from heaven unto us, that in voce hominis tuba Dei, that it is God that speaks by man’s mouth, that the message is his, and man only the ambassador to deliver it; and then I think no man deserves a scoff that hears it with a bare head.

When some of your party [of the Independents] were pressed with this argument, at last they came to this result that there was a necessity for all men to keep on their hats all the time of divine actions, more particularly at the time of the celebration of the sacrament.  For this act was a right significant to the communicants of their table-honor and fellowship with Christ; also, that the minister at the celebration must be uncovered, and that in sign of his service to the communicants as the Lord’s much honored children, sitting covered when they eat of their father’s meat.”

.

Joseph Hall

The Shaking of the Olive-Tree, the Remaining Works of that Incomparable Prelate Joseph Hall…  (London, 1660), The Women’s Vail, or a Discourse concerning the Necessity or Expedience of the Close-Covering of the Heads of Women…  Occasioned by an offence unjustly taken at a Modest Dress, pp. 241-42

“I see some religious, and well affected women carried away with Erroneous opinions concerning this point; whose tender consciences have been abused by the mis-interpretations of some ignorants to be drawn to hold that this covering must be absolute; and total, and perpetual, so as if any hair at all be seen, it is a violation of this charge and their duty; to which purpose they urge that verse 15 as a full commentary upon this text, that the hair was given the woman for a covering; and upon this ground they are apt to censure them who take liberty to expose any of their hair, though never so moderately to others view…

That I may therefore lay some grounds of this my just determination, know first that in the use of garments and these outward appendances of the body there is much latitude and variety according to the several guises of nations, and degrees of persons: there are countries the extremity of whose cold climate is such that it is no boot to bid both sexes be covered, yea muffled up, for their own safety; there are others so scorching that will hardly admit of any covering either for head or body; there are some whose hair is so large, that is able to hide them, there are others whose curled heads are alike short in both sexes, and give no advantage to the covering of either: he that made these differences of climates and people has not thought fit to confine them to one universal rule, only contenting himself with a general prescription of decency which in all countries must be regulated according to the custom or convenience of the place.

For certainly these sacred ceremonies must follow the rule of the civil, for that which is held a token of subjection to our princes and other superiors, in all countries is so used in the service of the King above all gods: the Turks and all Mahumetans therefore not uncovering their heads to their Bashaes, or their Grand Lord; keep their heads covered in their devotions: and only by bowing or prostration testify their humble subjection to God.  The French Divines preach with their hats on, ours uncovered; both pretend good reason; and custom for these contrary fashions; neither are either of them to be censured as faulty, and exorbitant: and with us we hold the head uncovered if the hat be off, though the cap be on: others make no difference if there be ought at all on the head.”

.

William Annand

Fides Catholica, or, The Doctrine of the Catholic Church in Eighteen Grand Ordinances…  (London, 1661), ch. 1, question 6, p. 82  Annand (1633–1689) was born and educated in Scotland (Unviersity of Aberdeen, 1649) and took another degree at Oxford in 1655.  He was ordained by an Irish bishop and wrote the following as an Anglican minister against the English puritans upon the restoration of King Charles II.  He then served as a Scottish mninister from 1663-1689.

“But beware that you take not decent or comely ceremonies for essential parts of worship.  The apostle urging women in the Church of Corinth to be covered, 1 Cor. 11:6, that which they might think was too much preciseness in him (for we may be apt to suppose he discontented them that did otherwise) was decent in his eyes, and commanded to be done; but not making it a point of worship, nor pressing it upon them as part of God’s service, declares that ceremonies may be used in, but ought ever to be differenced from the worship performed.

In brief, whatever Ceremony of what nature or kind soever that is enjoined, that is not contrary to the Word of God, and by the officers of the Church thought comely to be used, as tending to make that worship then used to be the more reverenced and esteemed by the performers, is not to be opposed.  This age discovers, what a disrespect, contempt, undervaluinig thoughts most men have (even good men in a great measure) of the house of God, table of God, service of God and servants of God, since decent and comely ceremonies were banished from the Church of God: and where such ceremonies are enjoined, and thou separatest, thou art guilty of renting the seamless coat, there being no cause for making that separation justifiable.”

.

William Sherlock

A Discourse about Church-Unity being a Defence of Dr. Stillingfleet’s Unreasonableness of Separation…  (London, 1681), ch. 2, section 2, p. 34  Sherlock was an Anglican bishop writing against Owen and Baxter.  He here seeks to show an inconsistency in their views and practice, on their terms (though he wrongly interprets them).

“What command have they [Owen & Baxter, etc.] for…  the ministers preaching with their hats off, and the people’s hearing with their hats on?…  (for religious institutions must not vary with the custom of the countries).”

.

Samuel Thomas

Animadversions upon a Late Treatise, entitled, The Protestant Reconciler…  (London, 1683), section 8, pp. 110-12

“I rather think, with the learned [Louis] Cappellus [d. 1658], that this apostolical prescript or canon of good order was founded upon some civil custom then obtaining among the Corinthians and elsewhere; from whence he concludes that according to the difference of several countries, such an habit and deportment is to be used in divine service which is commonly used to express reverence and decency in conversation.

.

Matthew Hale

The Judgment of the Late Lord Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale, of the Nature of True Religion…  (London, 1684), pt. 2, p. 30

“…yet it is certain that the immediate apostles of Christ did set certain orderly observances in the Church for decency’s sake: and it was justly allowable: As concerning the order of the exercise of their supernatural gifts, concerning women’s speaking in the Church, concerning men’s being covered in the Church, and women vailed, concerning the manner and order of receiving the Sacrament, and the like.”

.

Ezekiel Hopkins

An Exposition on the Ten Commandments with other Sermons…  (London, 1691), 5th Commandment, pp. 285-6

“And in token of this subjection the apostle tells us, 1 Cor. 11:10, that the woman was to have power over her head, because of the angels.  Which place, especially the latter clause of it, is diversly interpreted.  But I think all agree in this, That this power which they were to have on their heads was a veil or covering, which at other times, but most especially in the congregation, women ought to wear on their heads; and which in the primitive times covered not only their heads, but all their face, as a guard to their modesty, and a screen to keep off loose and wanton eyes.

And this veil is called power, to signify that they were under the power and authority of their husbands.  But the men were uncovered in their assemblies, as the apostle tells us, verse 4, to signify that they had nothing over them, but were superior to all visible creatures, and subject only unto God.  This power, or veil, women were to wear because of the angels…  But either by angels are meant the ministers of the Church, before whom they are to show modesty and bashfulness; or else perhaps the celestial angels, who are always present and attending in the assemblies and congregations of the faithful; and therefore women should not do anything unbecoming and unseemly before them:

Or lastly, because the angels themselves do reverence Christ, who is their head, and in token of their subjection unto him, are said to veil and cover their faces: And therefore women also in token of their subjection to their husbands, who are their heads, as Christ is of the Church, should likewise cover their heads and faces with a veil.  So we find Gen. 24:65. that when Rebekah saw Isaac coming towards her, she took a veil and covered herself, as a sign of her subjection to him.”

.

John Edwards

An Enquiry into Four Remarkable Texts of the New Testament which Contain Some Difficulty in Them…  (Cambridge, 1692), The 2nd Text Inquired into, 1 Cor. 11:14, pp. 135-36

“He lets them know that both these kinds of disorders are repugnant to the institution of God and the dictates of reason.  But especially the latter of these practises is confuted here by an appeal to nature, which is a comprehensive topic, and you may understand by it the general dictate of natural reason, and the particular law of nature concerning distinction of sexes, as also usage and custom, which is a second nature…

In a word, a man must not be like a woman either as to her veil and covering or as to her long and dressed hair, because he is taught otherwise by the law of reason, and by that of the sex, and even by the practice and custom of the soberest part of the world, which are all comprised in the large extent of the word ‘nature’ in this place of the apostle.”

.

A Discourse concerning the Authority, Style & Perfection of the Books of the Old & New-Testament with a Continued Illustration of Several Difficult Texts of Scripture throughout the Whole Work  (London, 1693), ‘Of the Style of the Holy Scriptures’, ch. 4, pp. 132-33  See also pp. 241-44.

“…in 1 Cor. 11:6, ‘if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn’: If she lays her vail aside and appears in the public assemblies without a covering, then I say, ‘let her also be shorn or shaved’, let her hair be cut close to the skin, let her go like some of the cropped philosophers among the Stoics.

Not that he would have her do so, but only by this sarcastic way of speaking he signifies that one is as decent as the other.  It is as disgraceful to be uncovered as to be shaved: for ’twas the laudable custom then in the Christian churches for the women to be vailed, and it was disgraceful and reproachful for any of that sex to appear bare-faced in the time of worship.”


.

.

English Puritans, Presbyterians, etc.

Order of

1500’s

Cartwright
Rainolds
Travers
Whitaker

1600’s

Perkins
Ames
Hildersham
Edwards
Mede
London Presbyterians
Troughton
Leigh
Firmin
Manton
Clarke
Trapp
Jeanes
Bagshaw
Hickman
Cradock
Baxter
Beverly
Poole
Henry
Knatchbull

1700’s

Gill


.

.

1500’s

Thomas Cartwright

A Reply to an Answer made of Mr. Doctor Whitgift against the Admonition to the Parliament  (1573), To the next section beginning at the 79 page and holding on until the 82 page, p. 141

“There is greater difficulty than Mr. Doctor [Archbishop Whitgift] mentions in the words of St. Paul, where he says a woman praying or prophesying ought to be vailed and have her head covered, in which words it seems that the apostle lisences a woman to prophesy so that she do it with her head covered

But to him that shall diligently consider the place, it shall appear that the women of Corinth did pass the bounds of modesty and of shamefastness two ways, whereof one was that they came into the congregation contrary to the custom of those countries with their heads and faces uncovered: another was that they also took upon them to speak in the congregation, both which faults St. Paul condemned…”

.

William Fulke

Confutation of the Rhemish Testament…  (1582; NY: 1834), on 1 Cor. 11:2, 16, p. 202  Fulke (1538–1589)

“2. Paul’s traditions which he delivered, were either concerning matters of doctrine and faith, which are perpetual, and they be all expressed in the Scriptures, or else of ceremonies which are mutable by authority of the church, according to time, places, and persons, observing the general rules prescribed by the Apostle, that all things be done in order and comeliness, and to edification.

16. Paul saith, the apostles and church have no such custom to be contentious. Chrysostom, homily 27, in Epistle X. Cor. for matters of external order, yet does he give reasons for that order of covering women’s heads.  By whose example the preachers are likewise to endeavour to satisfy by reason both men and women, that hurnbly desire their resolution for quiet of their conscience, and not to beat them down with the club of custom only.  For so the apostle does not.”

.

John Rainolds

The Sum of the Conference between John Rainolds and John Hart [a Romanist] touching the Head and the Faith of the Church  (London, 1584), ch. 8, p. 581

“Besides, you mistake him [Tertullian] if you think he meant by the name of ‘tradition’ a tradition of the apostles.  For whatsoever custom not written in the scripture was kept by the faithful, that, because it was delivered by some body from whom the use thereof was taken, he says it came in by tradition.  In so much that he affirms it both of Jewish customs before the apostles, as that their women covered their faces with vails…”

.

Walter Travers

A Defence of the Ecclesiastical Discipline ordained of God to be used in his Church…  (1588), pp. 123-4

“…and consider the reason of such rules and commandments, which carries in it the light and the life of the commandments.  For where that reason holds not, there are we free from the commandment; but where the reason is in force, there are we no less bound to the substance and effect of such particular commandment than they were.  So if there could be like reason as caused that commandment to the disciples, we were in such case to keep it, and where the same offence is justly to be feared in eating of meats forbidden, as was then and may be in many like cases now and to the end, there that order of the apostles binds.

As for the last place out of the 1 Cor. 11, if he look better upon it, he shall find that the apostle grounds that order there prescribed upon so general and necessary reasons of the ordinance of God, the glory of our Savior Christ, the regard of angels, and the voice of nature, and the custom of all the Churches, as he has taken his level far amiss to leave it at liberty, whether a man keep it or no: provided that he understand the apostle’s meaning aright: which is that men and women, especially being present in the public assemblies of the church, should carry the mark of their creation, agreeable to the sex whereof they were: the woman wearing upon her head a vail or kerchief, or such other attire (according to the lawful custom of their country and place of abode) as declares her sex and subjection to man by such coverture of her head.  And the man, by not wearing any such attire upon his head as is proper to womankind, but by want of any such upon his head, show the glory of Christ, and the honor that in the order of creation is bestowed upon men.

Therefore notwithstanding his caution or anything here alleaged to the contrary, it remains firm and stable that the constant and perpetual examples of the Churches, the orders, rules, and commandments of our Savior Christ and of his apostles, both for the points of doctrine to be believed, and also for such as are to be obeyed and practiced in the public government of the Church, and in the private life of eueryone, do bind the conscience of all the people of God to keep and to obey them: yea the most particular rules, the like case and reason being in us that was in them to whom they were given.”

.

William Whitaker

A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine & Stapleton  (1588; Cambridge: Parker Society, 1849)

p. 549

“…if [1 Cor. 11:2 speaks] of indifferent ceremonies, it is still farther from touching us.  For these may be changed, provided only the reason and end be preserved; nor are they necessary, as is plain from the place before us.

For the apostle speaks of that modesty which women ought to observe in the congregation, and of that decency also which is required in men when they frequent religious meetings and assemblies.  He desires men to pray with uncovered, women with covered heads: which injunctions are not of a perpetual obligation; for they are not now observed even by the papists themselves, so as to make it plain that all churches are not bound to the same ceremonies.”

.

p. 559

“…but he [Paul] says that the church has no such custom as that any man should be contentious, but rather that all should preserve the common peace.  But if any one be contentious, he is a stranger to the church of God…

he says, that the churches of God have no custom of allowing any man to be contentious.  Thus he represses contentious spirits by the authority of the church, and does not confirm the dogma by mere custom.  Now that custom of avoiding contention in the church is abundantly sanctioned by testimonies of scripture.”

.

1600’s

William Perkins

A Godly & Learned Exposition or Commentary upon the Three First Chapters of the Revelation…  (d. 1602; London, 1606),

ch. 1, pp. 69-70

“2nd Point.  …whereby we have good light for the expounding of a place in Paul, 1 Cor. 11:10, saying, that the woman ought to have power over her head, that is, be covered, because of the angels.  Whereby ‘angels’ may well be understood the preachers and ministers of the Gospel.  And the reason of that precept may be this:

Among the Corinthians the covering of the head was not as it is with us, a token of preeminence and superiority, but a sign of subjection.  And therefore the apostle would have the women of Corinth, when they came into the congregation, to have their heads covered, according to the custom of their country in other assemblies, to signify their submission and reverence unto the ministry of the Gospel.”

.

ch. 3, p. 187

“The worship of God, must be expressed with seemely, meet, and convenient gesture.  The word translated ‘worship’, signifies doing of reverence with bowing of the body and knee: and therfore it is not an indifferent thing, but necessary, to use convenient gesture in God’s worship, that thereby the grace and humility of the heart may be expressed.  The angels that stand before the throne of God, have two wings to cover their feet, and two to cover their faces: thereby testifying their reverence to God’s majesty; In this point also many come short: for as the common complaint is, the manner of many is to lie snorting and sleeping under men’s elbows at sermons, and in the time of prayer to sit unreverently with their heads coveredThese things ought not to be: for God is Lord of body and soul, and ought to be worshipped with both.”

.

William Ames

A Reply to Dr. Morton’s General Defence of Three Nocent [Noxious] Ceremonies….  ([Amsterdam] 1622), ch. 3, section 28, ‘The Covering & Uncovering of the Head at Divine Service’, pp. 48-54

“… it was a civil or­der of decency, used as well out of God’s worship, as in it…

…there is in man’s superiority a kind of resem­blance of God’s sovereignty: and so there is also, as Calvin obser­ves, in omni principatu, in all superior power: so that this makes covering and uncovering, no more a religious significant ceremo­ny than the upper seat of a heathen magistrate sitting in judge­ment: for by that seat is signified a superiority, in which there is some image of God’s sovereignty…  And the apostle does show plainly that the vail he speaks of was of the same nature with long hair.  So that, by the Defence’s reason, men’s short, and women’s long hair, must be accounted religious mystical ceremonies.

…it was required that they should be observed in holy assemblies.  But 1. it was not only required in God’s pub­lic worship, but also as Calvin upon the place grants…  ‘in any grave meeting of men and women.’  And Institutes, bk. 4, ch. 10, section 29…  ‘whensoever they go into pub­lic places.’  2. It was not instituted primarily and principally for God’s worship.  If it were, I ask, when and by whom?  Paul surely did not institute a new ceremony in this place: for v. 14, he grounds his admonition upon nature, as Calvin well expoun­ds it, upon a received use and ancient custom in those parts: which some through lightness began unseemly to transgress.

…it is indifferent in the general na­ture of it; yet at that time, and in that place, they sinned that did otherwise, even before Paul or any of their overseers gave them charge about it.

Lastly (says he), it is worthy our inquiry to learn how far other Churches may be directed by this example?  I answer, so far just as the apostle’s rule stretches, 1 Cor. 14:40, ‘Let all things be done comely.’”

.

A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in Worship  (1633), ch.3, section 28, ‘Concerning Women’s Veils, 1 Cor. 11’, pp. 345-50

“…the vail was neither apostolical, nor merely of human institution, nor of instituted signification, nor yet appropriated unto God’s worship: but a civil order of decency, used as well out of God’s worship as in it.”, p. 345

“The Replier said it was a civil order of decency, expressing the immediate end, which it had as well in, as out of worship, which will well bear this conclusion: that it was no more religious than women’s proper apparel, long garments, etc. (to which Chrysostom upon 1 Cor. 11) compares the vail, as one part to another, or their shoes, or slippers are.”, p. 345

“…it [the veil] did declare, or argue a good thing, as indeed all civil apparrel of modest fashion does.”, p. 346

“…yet I never heard all modest apparel called a mystical religious ceremony.”, p. 346

” this indeed was required in every grave meeting of men and women: but not primarily and principally instituted for God’s worship.  Paul surely did not institute them for new ceremonies, but only urged the Corinthians not to neglect them, as being natural.”, p. 349

“I may well again repeat (as justified) the Replier’s conclusion: Seeing the Defense could find but three examples of human ceremonies in all the New Testament, and none of those there can be showed to be of mystical signification, or appropriated only to God’s worship, or of human institution, the Prelates may be ashamed…”

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Nicholas Byfield

A Commentary: or, Sermons upon the Second Chapter of the First Epistle of Saint Peter…  (London, 1623), on v. 13, pp. 588-90 & 594  Byfield was an Anglican minister that had practical, puritan characteristics, but here takes an Anglican view on ceremonies.

“I will set down a catalogue of inventions of men used for religious ends, and uses without any commandment of God, and that both before the Law, and under the Law, and under the Gospel.

The apostle Paul used…  The womens coverings, 1 Cor. 11.  The Love-feasts:  The holy kiss.”

“Such ceremonies as had signification put upon them were notwithstanding lawful, as is manifest by the consideration of most of those ceremonies mentioned before; the altar by Jordan, the cup used at the Passeover, the cover on the heads of women, and the love-feasts with the holy kiss: and so had all the Jewish ceremonies.”

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Arthur Hildersham

The Doctrine of Fasting & Prayer, & Humiliation for Sin Delivered in Sundry Sermons...  (London, 1633), Sermon 3 (1625), pp. 50-51

“We must understand that in these civil things that might be decent and fit in one country (and consequently commanded of God) which in another country is utterly undecent, and consequently forbidden.  It was a great sin among the Corinthians for a woman to come into the congregation with her head uncovered, that is, without a vail to cover her whole head, 1 Cor. 11:5.  In our congregations (because it is undecent) it were a sin for a woman to come so attired.  In which respect, though we have oft in the New Testament mention of fasts both public and private, of sackcloth used in them, we have no mention at all.”

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Thomas Edwards

Reasons against the Independant Government of Particular Congregations: as also Against the Toleration of such Churches to be Erected in this Kingdom…  (London, 1641), reason 6, p. 31  Edwards was an English presbyterian.

“…so the people [the Independent sectaries] for a great part of them be dangerous and insufferable, heady, refractory, proud, bitter, scornful, despisers of authority, who though but a few comparatively, and the laws standing, have attempted not to suffer the public prayers to be prayed, but what with singing, what with clapping on of hats in times of prayer…”

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The First & Second Part of Gangræna, or a Catalogue & Discovery of Many of the Errors, Heresies, Blasphemies & Pernicious Practices of the Sectaries of this Time…  (London, 1646), Catalogue, ‘Some Passages in the Prayers of the Sectaries’, pp. 56-57.  See also the Third Part, New & Further Discovery, ‘A Passage sent in a letter dated June 16, 1646…’, p. 96

“8th Practice.  In some parish-churches where the sectaries are put in, they have put down all singing of psalms…  and will not suffer the parishes to enjoy any singing of psalms; and in other places, they begin to put down all prayer in the public assemblies, and to say there must be only discoursing and preaching; and in places where they cannot prevail to shut out singing of psalms, they in a contemptuous manner clap on their hats in the time of singing of psalms, and having been pulled off, put them on again; yea in prayer also many of them keep on hats.”

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Joseph Mede

Diatribae Discourses on Diverse Texts of Scripture  (London, 1642-1648), Discourses on Diverse Texts of ScriptureSermon on 1 Cor. 11:5, pp. 182-83

“…(as that sex is prone to follow the fashion) and accordingly cast off their veils, and discovered their faces immodestly in the congregation, and thereby (as the apostle speaks) dishonored their heads; that is, were unseemly accoutred, and dressed on their head: which he proves by three Arguments; partly from nature, which having given women their hair for a covering, taught them to be covered, as a sign of subjection; the manner of this covering being to be measured by the custom of the nation:

Lastly, by an argument à pari, from men, for whom even themselves being judges, it would be an uncomely thing to wear a vail, that is, a woman’s habit; so by the like reason, was it as uncomely for a woman to be without a vail, that is, in the guise and dress of a man.  And howsoever the devils of the gentiles, sometimes took pleasure in uncomeliness, and absurd garbs and gestures; yet the God whom they worshipped with his holy angels, who were present at their devotions, loved a comely accommodation, agreeable to nature and custom, in such as worshipped him. For this cause therefore (says he) ought a woman to have a covering on her head, because of the angels.

Lastly, he concludes it, from the example and custom both of the Jewish and Christian Churches, neither of which had any such use, for their women to be unvailed in their sacred assemblies: If any man (says he) be contentious, (that is, will not be satisfied with these reasons) let him know, that we, (that is, we of the circumcision) have no such custom, nor the Church of God. For so, with St. Ambrose, Anselm, and some of the ancients, I take the meaning of the apostle to be in those words.”

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Sundry London Presbyterian Ministers

Intro

While the below quote on a superficial reading may seem to suggest that the London presbyterian ministers were advocating, and likely practicing, head-coverings for ladies in public worship, per the light of nature and 1 Cor. 11, the quote actually does not say that, and there are reasons to doubt this interpretation from the larger historical context of the English presbyterianism.

The authors in the quote speak in the past tense regarding the time during the New Testament era, without expressly making application to later times or their own time.  In the paragraphs after this quote, in the larger context, the authors clearly encompass within ‘the light of nature’, positive, societal and civil practices, and arguments from analogy, or inference, therefrom.

Hence, it is very possible that the English presbyterians at that time and in that local context were not practicing, or even advocating, by a direct argument from 1 Cor. 11, or from the simple and pure, universal light of nature, that women wear head coverings in the public worship of the Church, and that men remain uncovered for the same.  Given that the volume was a consensus document, and intended to be a public mouthpiece for the London presbyterians, and for the truth more universally, it may be very much doubted that they were intending to explicitly declare and bind by moral force such a particular practice on all the churches for their own time, especially given the regional diversity of natural, societal customs in the British isles and beyond.

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The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1645; 1654), pt. 1, ch. 3, ‘…a Divine Right by the True Light of Nature’

“2. Because the Spirit of God and of Christ in the New Testament is pleased often to argue from the light of nature in condemning of sin, in commending and urging of duty, as in the case of the incestuous Corinthian; “It is reported commonly, that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles” (who had only the light of nature to guide them), 1 Cor. 5:1.

In case of the habits [garments] of men and women in their public church assemblies, that women’s heads should be covered, men’s uncovered in praying or prophesying.  “Judge in yourselves, is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man hath long hair, it is a shame to him? but if a woman have long hair it is a glory to her,” etc., 1 Cor. 11:13-15.  Here the apostle appeals plainly to the very light of nature for the regulating and directing of their habits in church assemblies; and thus, in case of praying or prophesying in the congregation in an unknown tongue (unless some do interpret), he strongly argues against it from the light of nature, 1 Cor. 14:7-11, and afterwards urges that women be silent in their churches, from the natural uncomeliness of their speaking there, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church, 1 Cor. 14:34-35.”

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William Troughton

Scripture Redemption, Restrained & Limited, or an Antidote Against Universal Redemption in Ten Reasons or Arguments deduced from plain Scripture...  (London, 1652), Introduction, n.p.  Troughton (1614?–1677?) was an English clergyman probably ejected at the Restoration.

“10. They [sectaries] do ordinarily disturb and interrupt the faithful ministers of Christ, in public preaching and prayer, putting on their hats in prayer time…”

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Edward Leigh

A System or Body of Divinity…  (London, 1654), 9th Book, of the Moral Law, ch. 3, 2nd Commandment, p. 772

“Three things about the worship of God are to be considered:

1. The kinds of it…
2. The parts of it…
3. There are certain circumstances and solemnities for the manner of celebrating those parts and kinds:  Now the two former must be expressely commanded. The later must not be forbidden nor condemned, only a thing of solemnity is changed into a part when a religious necessity is imposed upon it, and a spiritual efficacy conceived to be annexed unto it, as appears in the priests garments in the Law.  Thus for example: Prayer is a kind of God’s worship; the confession of sins, petition and thanksgiving for benefits be parts of this kind of worship, and so are the person to whom, and the person in whose name necessary things for the matter of the worship.

But now, whether I pray in such or such a place, whether with eyes lift up or cast down, whether kneeling or standing, whether with mine head covered or uncovered, these are certain points of solemnity, as it were adjuncts of the exercise.  And here it is sufficient, that I use no such circumstance as is condemned, nor neglect any that is commanded; but if I do esteem it a matter of religious necessity to Godward…  I do now turn the circumstance into a part of worship, and seeing it is not from God, of false worship.”

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Annotations upon all the New Testament, Philological & Theological…  (London, 1654), on 1 Cor. 11

v. 4

“…for the covering with a veil was a sign of subjection…  the women in the oriental parts, with a veil, covered the whole head and face.  Paul speaks not of such a covering of the head as French pastors use in prophesying, when the upper part of the head is covered, the glory and majesty of the countenance still appearing.”

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v. 5

“The Christian women appeared open, and in public uncovered, from a phantastical imitation of the she-priests and prophetesses of the gentiles when they showed their idols, as their Pythiae, Bacchae, or Menadae, and the like, who used when they uttered their oracles or celebrated the rites and sacrifices of their gods, to put themselves into a wild and extatical guise, having their faces discovered, their hair disheveled etc.  The Corinthian women conceiting themselves, when they prayed or prophesied in the Church, to be acting the parts of the priests, or celebrating sacrifice, were so fond as to imitate them and accordingly cast off their veils, and discovered their faces immodestly in the congregation, and thereby dishonoured their head, that is, were unseemly accontred and dressed on their head. Master Mede on 1 Cor. 11.5, vide [see] Grotius.¹

¹ In Tertullian’s time, those that professed virginity, took upon them to sit with their faces unveiled in the Church, taking it for a privilege of their rank to disclaim the subjection of the sex, and profess freedome.  This is the occasion of his book, De velandis virginibus.  Thorndike, Of the Service of God at Religious Assemblies, ch. 6 [p. 190], see more there.”

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v. 10

“Among the Corinthians the covering of the head was not as it is with us, a token of preeminence and superiority, but a sign of subjection (Mr. [William] Perkins on Revelation); therefore the apostle would have the women of Corinth, when they came into the congregation, to have their heads covered, to signify their submission and reverence unto the ministry of the gospel.”

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Giles Firmin

Stablishing against Shaking: or a Discovery of the…  Deluded People called, Quakers…  (London, 1656), p. 22  Firmin was an English clergyman with Independent, puritan leanings.

“Honor is but the expressing of the inward respect we bear to persons by outward signs, speeches and gestures; without the outward signification of it thus, no man can tell who is honored: and as is the custom of the nation, so we express this, whether by uncovering the head, bowing the body, etc.”

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Thomas Manton

A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes on the Epistle of Jude…  (London, 1658), verse 9, Question & Answer 4, pp. 371-2

“2. To behave ourselves as those that do expect this help, not tempting God, not grieving the angels; We should take heed how we carry ourselves in regard of this honorable attendance; our sins and vanity offends them, as it does God…

Angels are pure and holy creatures that still abode in the truth; pride, lust, and vanity is very offensive to them, especially impurities and undecencies in God’s worship, about which they have a special attendance; therefore the apostle bids the women to cover their heads because of the angels, 1 Cor. 11:10, their fashion being to come into the congregation with loose dishevelled locks, he minds them of the presence of the angels: We may use a like argument to women to cover their naked breasts, now their immodesty is grown so impudent as to out-face the ordinances of God.”

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A Fourth Volume containing One Hundred & Fifty Sermons on Several Texts of Scripture in Two Parts: part the First Containing LXXIV Sermons...  (London, 1693), Several Sermons upon Titus 2:11-14, Sermon 8, 3rd Branch, Sobriety in Apparel, p. 78

“(4) …1 Tim. 2:9.  And therefore the leaving the breasts naked, in whole or in part, is a transgressi∣on of this rule; they uncover their nakedness which they should vail and hide, especially in God’s presence: as the apostle says, 1 Cor. 11:10, ‘The woman ought to have power on her head, because of the angels.’  In the assembly there you meet with angels and devils; angels to observe your garb and carriage, and devils to tempt you; therefore be covered because of the angels.

Yet usually women come hither with a shameless impudence into the presence of God, men and angels.  This is a practice that neither suits with modesty nor conveniency; nothing can be alleged for it but reasons of pride and wantonness; it feeds your own pride and provokes lust in others.  You would think they were wicked women that should offer others poison to drink; they do that which is worse, lay a snare for the soul, uncover that which should be covered; lest you provoke others of your rank to imitate your vanity, if they should not by the fear of God be guarded from unclean thoughts and filthy desires.”

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Several Discourses tending to Promote Peace & Holiness among Christians...  (London, 1685), A Description of the True Circumcision, p. 128

“The carnal Christian is all for uncovering the head
and bowing the knee, but takes no care of the heart;”

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Samuel Clarke

Medulla Theologiæ, or, The Marrow of Divinity contained in Sundry Questions & Cases of Conscience, both Speculative & Practical  (London, 1659), p. 112

“Question.  But if we see a fashion used in other countries that we like, may we not take it up?

Answer.  No…  Paul taxes it as a great disorder in the Corinthians that men wore long hair, and women went uncovered, 1 Cor. 11.13-14.”

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John Trapp

Commentary on 1 Corinthians, ch. 11

“Ver. 2. And keep the ordinances ] Gr. the traditions or doctrines by word of mouth. These are, 1. Dogmatic, concerning faith and practice, 2 Thess. 2:15 ; 2 Thess. 2:1-17 . Ritual; and these again are, 1. Perpetual, as that of the manner of administering the two sacraments. 2. Temporary, as that of abstaining from certain meats, Acts 15:28-29 . And those other pertaining to the observing of external order and decency in Church assemblies. And of these the apostle here speaketh. (Sclater)

Ver. 4. Dishonoureth his head]  As they accounted it then and there.  In other places it is otherwiseThe French preach covered.  The Turks neither kneel nor uncover the head at public prayer, as holding those postures unmanly.  Several countries have their several customs.  Basiliades, duke of Muscovy, showed himself a tyrant in nailing an ambassador’s hat to his head, for not uncovering it before him.”

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Henry Jeanes

Uniformity in Human Doctrinal Ceremonies ungrounded on 1 Cor. 14:40, p. 79  in  A Second Part of the Mixture of Scholastical Divinity...  (Oxford, 1660)  Jeanes was an English presbyterian.

“…suppose the 〈◊〉 of churches in a city meet at nine of the clock for God’s 〈◊〉, and in the country parishes adjoining, where many people live at a great distance from their churches, they meet at ten or half an hour after nine, nay in the same church at one and the same time [as they have feed animals, etc. and can’t leave sooner], whilst the Word of God is read or preached, those that sit in seats may have their heads uncovered, and those that stand in allies may keep on their hats the whole sermon〈◊〉, because the crowd or throng may render it inconvenient to keep them off.

Now in both these instances there is not uniformity in the same circumstances, and yet there may be order observed, and confusion may very well, notwithstanding, be avoided in all the parts of God’s worship and service.”

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Edward Bagshaw

The XXIV Cases concerning things Indifferent in Religious Worship Considered…  (London, 1663), The Grand Case Considered, I. Touching Things Inexpedient, pp. 41-42

“The testimonies of Cyprian, Ambrose, Augustine, are easily answered, in a few words: They speak not of mystical rites, or significant ceremonies, but of some civil external usages gotten into worship; different in diverse places; as Socrates [the early Church, ecclesiastical historian] tells us of many, in his time, as in observation of Easter or Lent: in receiving the Lord’s Supper at evening or morning, standing or sitting, etc.  Such an usage in Reformed Churches, is, that somewhere the ministers preach with heads covered, otherwhere, bare-headed, and many the like: In such things, those ancients advise to conform to the usages of the places where they come: but surely, would never have wise people to comply in things inexpediently sinful, in worship, in any place.”

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Henry Hickman

Bonasus vapulans [A Bull being Whipped], or, Some Castigations given to Mr. John Durell for Fouling Himself & Others in his English & Latin Book by a Country Scholar  (London, 1672)  Hickman (bap.1629-1692) was an English puritan who was ejected in 1662.

pp. 55-57

“Sixthly, He tells us page 32, That in all Reformed Churches men used to enter into the place of public worship with their hats off, which is as great an untruth, as ever dropped from writers’ pen, unless it be understood of places of public worship, whilst public worship is actually performed in them, and if it may be so understood, then the Presbyterians would hugely approve of it.

By the [Westminster] Directory it was enjoined that, all enter the assembly not irreverently, but in a grave and seemly manner: gravity and seemliness do include putting off the hat, which yet would be a ridiculous action, if a man should use it, as too many now a days do as oft as they go through the Church, though none be met for worship, and though they themselves intended no worship: nor does the Directory any where condemn the manner which Mr. Durell tells us has obtained among the French Ladies, viz. to unmask themselves when they come into the temple; provided they do not unmask themselves out of a vain or wanton design; if they should do so, they know by whom they are condemned.

[I but says Mr. Durell, the devoutest sort both of men and women, use[d] to kneel and make a prayer for God’s blessing, before they sit down, and this the [Westminster] Directory prohibits.]

Had he said that the devouter sort use a short prayer when they took no seats, and came to perform no service to God; then he had said something to excuse the actings of some among us. The peoples making a secret prayer before they sit down in their seats, is not forbidden by the Directory, unto all, or unto any, but these who come into the Church the public worship being begun, and whether it be more meet for such to betake themselves to their private devotions, or to join with the Assembly in that ordinance that is in hand, let the learned judge for they are wise.

Seventhly, All might have been spared that is brought, page 33, Of people’s standing bare in time of divine service, and at the administration of sacraments: In the very Church of Scotland all are uncovered at the administration of the sacraments; here in England men had left off to put on their hats in time of sermon (which Mr. Durell seems to distinguish from Service) had Mr. Calamy and others been hearkened to.

Eighthly, Above all, what need we be told, page 22, that Calvin wore a gown and a cap: Were not presbyterians accustomed so to do in the universities? Those sent down by the two Houses to Cambridge, did all of them preach in the University Church in their gowns, and in their hoods;”

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pp. 82-83

“[Durell:] ‘In all Reformed churches men use to enter into the places of public worship with their hats off.’

This is a most notorious — nothing being more usual in some Reformed churches than to pass through and through the places of worship, never stirring their hats: But if he would have the saying understood of men’s putting off their hats when they enter into the place of public worship, whilst the congregation is worshipping, then must this speech be placed where it is already placed, among the gentleman’s impertinencies.”

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pp. 85-86

The French ministers preach with their hats on: did ever [a] non-conformist say that they count it sinful in us to preach with our hats off? or did ever [a] non-conformist go about to bring the French mode into his church?

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pp. 125-26

“[Durell:] ‘There was a great irreverence at prayer in their congregations, very few kneeling, many not so much as putting off their hats, and of this,’ he says, he was an eye-witness.

…Into how many congregations he went where many did not so much as put off their hats in the time of prayer?  And whether he either saw or heard that the ministers of those churches did any way countenance that irreverence?  …For ought I know those in whom he observed this irreverence might be sectaries, who did more bitterly inveigh against presbyterians than against any other men whatever; perhaps also they might be episcopal-men, who designed to put an affront upon the presbyterians’ prayers: just as now some are observed to sit upon their breech all the time of pulpit-prayer, unless when just the Lord’s prayer is repeating, because forsooth pulpit-prayer is not allowed by the [establishing Anglican] Church, but only bidding of prayer.

I write it with grief, but I must write it, I never in any congregations where I have been observed so much irreverence as I have observed in those in which there is the greatest abundance of such as always pretended a love to the English [Anglican] liturgy; particular stories I might relate…”

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Samuel Cradock

The Apostolical History, containing the Acts, Labors, Travels, Sermons, Discourses, Miracles, Successes & Sufferings of the Holy Apostles…  (London, 1672), ch. 6, section 7, pp. 171-2  Cradock (1621?–1706) was an English presbyterian.

“And so he proceeds to answer their next query, which concerned decent behavior of men and women in Church-assemblies…  so the man, being inferior to Christ, is yet above the woman, being her head.  From which they may understand that order in Church-assemblies is to be observed.

…having any covering on his head, that is, having his head and face covered, he dishonors himself, and does an indecent thing against the liberty and dignity of his sex, it being a sign of shame and infamy for a man to have his head covered, but was a sign of power and dominion (in that country) to have his head, and face bare and uncovered…

…He further appeals to the common custom of those countries, and demands of them whether it would not be uncomely for men to wear long and dishevelled hair, like women, to whom nature has given long hair for an ornament and a covering, and so to be a token to them of their subjection.”

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Richard Baxter

A Christian Directory: a Sum of Practical Theology and Cases of Conscience  Buy  (1673), pt. 3, Christian Ecclesiastics, Question 136, ‘How shall we know what parts of Scripture precept or example were intended for universal, constant obligations, and what were but for the time and persons that they were then directed to?’, pp. 893-4

“On the other side, narrow and temporary precepts and examples:  1. Are void of all these foresaid [universal and perpetual] characters;  2. They are about materials of temporary use;  3. Or they are but the ordering of such customs as were there before, and were proper to those countries;  4. And many speeches are plainly appropriated to the time and persons;  5. And many actions were manifestly occasional, without any intimation of reason or purpose of obliging others to imitation.

So the women’s veil and the custom of kissing each other as a token of love, and men’s not wearing long hair, were the customs of the country there ordered and improved by the apostles about sacred things, but not introduced into other countries that had no such custom.”

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A Paraphrase on the New Testament with Notes, Doctrinal and Practical...  (1685), on 1 Cor. 11, n.p.

“4. It being the custom then to cover the faces of those that were put to any great shame, a man that shall vail his head and face does thereby take reproach unto himself.

5.  …As custom makes it a shame to her to be shaven, so also to be unvailed.  (Note, that this was a changeable custom, and is contrary now with us).

13. The signification of being uncovered, being by custom a note [of] superiority, judge in yourselves whether such be decent for a woman at the church’s prayers.

14. And when common custom has made the wearing of hair at length the note of the female sex, does not nature itself tell you, that it is a shame for a man to be so like a woman? (when God forbids us so much as to be clothed as women, to confound the sexes, which must needs be visibly di∣stinguished).

15. But use tells us that for women to let their hair grow out at length is a signification of modesty, as a kind of covering, and so is decent to them.

16. But if any will contentiously dispute against what I say, though I would make no greater a matter of such things than the nature of them requires, let this answer suffice to resolve sober minds: The custom of all the Churches is against women’s being uncovered, as an unseemly thing; and you should not easily be different from all the Churches in a matter which depends on the signification of an action, which use and common opinion must interpret.  We that must be as concordant as we can, must not affect dissimilitude.”

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Thomas Beverly

The Principles of Protestant Truth & Peace in Four Treatises…  (London, 1683), pp. 39-40

“1. Indifferent Things are far below the scale of divine institutions, though these institutions are but positive, and not of eternal goodness and righteousness.

All the appointments of God and Christ are lifted up into that state the divine appointment designs them to; and shall, if used according to those appointments, be made efficacious to those ends for which they are appointed, according to the effectual working of that power and grace from which they received their original: So that they do make us better, they do commend us to God, if we observe the will and law of God concerning them; and we are the worse in the sinful neglect of them, according to the degree of neglect.

2. They are not of the scale of those things, wherein that order, of which God, by the very laws of rational nature is the author, stands; and not of confusion; so that though this order runs, or ought to run along, and conduct all human actions, and so is not in itself a point of religion; yet when it is applied to religious services and actions, does indeed commend our religious actions and services to God, and the contrary is an evil.

3. Of the same account is that euschemonia, or decency of religious actions, required by God before Himself, and before the holy angels, of which the apostle discourses; ‘Every man praying with his Head uncovered, dishonoureth his head;’ every Woman praying so, ‘ought to have a covering on her head, because of the angels;’ such a distinction of sexes being founded in nature; and in what is beyond nature, the grave customs of ages and places, carry a great weight of determination.”

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Matthew Poole

Annotations on 1 Cor. 11

v. 2

“and keep the ordinances:  …The word signifies anything that is doctrinally delivered, or taught men, whether it concerns faith or manners.  It is thought, that in this text it doth not signify what the apostle had delivered to them with respect to faith, or their moral conversation, but with respect to matters of order, because such is the next instance which the apostle mentioneth, about praying or prophesying with the head covered, or uncovered; and undoubtedly any precepts of that nature from one guided by an infallible Spirit ought to be observed.  The apostle doth not command them to keep any traditions, which others should to the end of the world deliver to them, he only praiseth them for keeping those which he had delivered.”

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v. 4

“Having his head covered; i.e. with a hat or cap, or such covering of the head as is in use in the country wherein he lives.  It is not to be understood of the natural covering of the head, which is our hair; nor yet of any other covering which is necessary for the preservation of life and health; but such a covering as he might spare, and is ornamental to him according to the fashion of the country…

Dishonoureth his head;  …Interpreters rightly agree, that this and the following verses are to be interpreted from the customs of countries; and all that can be concluded from this verse is, that it is the duty of men employed in divine ministrations, to look to behave themselves as those who are to represent the Lord Jesus Christ, behaving themselves with a just authority and gravity that becometh his ambassadors, which decent gravity is to be judged from the common opinion and account of the country wherein they live.  So as all which this text requires of Christian ministers, is authority and gravity, and what are external ludications of it.

Our learned Dr. Lightfoot observeth, that the Jewish priests were wont in the worship of God to veil their heads; so that Christian ministers praying or prophesying with their heads covered, Judaized, which he judgeth the reason of the apostle’s assertion. The heathens also, both Romans and Grecians, were wont to minister in their sacred things with their heads covered. Some think this was the reason why the Christians used the contrary gesture; but the apostle’s arguing from the man’s headship, seemeth to import that the reason of this assertion of the apostle was, because in Corinth the uncovered head was a sign of authority.  At this day the Mahometans (or Turks) speak to their superiors covered, and so are covered also in their religious performances.

The custom with us in these western parts is quite otherwise; the uncovering of the head is a sign or token of subjection: hence ministers pray and preach with their heads uncovered, to denote their subjection to God and Christ: but yet this custom is not uniform, for in France the Reformed ministers preach with their heads covered; as they pray uncovered, to express their reverence and subjection to God, so they preach covered, as representing Christ, the great Teacher, from whom they derive, and whom they represent.

Nothing in this is a further rule to Christians, than that it is the duty of ministers, in praying and preaching, to use postures and habits that are not naturally, nor according to the custom of the place where they live, uncomely and irreverent, and so looked upon.  It is only the general observation of decency (which cannot by any be created, but ariseth either from nature, or custom, and prescription) which this text of the apostle maketh to be the duty of all Christians; though as to the Corinthians, he particularly required the man’s ministering in sacred things with his head uncovered, either to avoid the habit or posture used by Jews and pagans; or for the showing of his dignity and superiority over the woman, (whom we shall by and by find commanded to pray or prophesy covered), or that he represented Christ who was the Head of the church.  The uncovering of the head being with them as much a sign of subjection, as it is with us of superiority and pre-eminence.”

.

v.6

For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn:  …yet she is under the law of nature to do no such grave and solemn actions in such a rude manner, that from the light of nature, or the common account of all that live in that place, she should be judged to be irreverent and brutish in her religious action.

From this text a question hath been started: Whether Christian women may lawfully go without any other covering upon their heads than their hair?

I must confess, I see not how such a question can have any bottom in this text, where the apostle is not speaking of women’s ordinary habiting themselves, but only when they prayed and prophesied, and (if I mistake not) when they ministered in prayer and prophecy (as was said before). We now have no such prophetesses; so as I think that question about the lawfulness of women’s going without any other covering upon their heads than their hair, must be determined from other texts, not this, and is best determined from circumstances; for God having given to the woman her hair for a covering and an ornament, I cannot see how it should be simply unlawful; accidentally it may, from the circumstances of pride in her heart that so dresseth herself, or lust and wantonness in others’ hearts; or other circumstances of ill designs and intentions in the woman so dressing herself.”

.

v. 10

“because of the angels.  …and so it teaches us, that the good angels, who are ministering spirits for the good of God’s elect, at all times have a special minstration, or at least are more particularly present, in the assemblies of people for religious worship, observing the persons, carriage, and demeanour; the sense of which ought to awe all persons attending those services, from any indecent and unworthy behaviour.”

.

v. 14

“‘nature’ here some understand the law of nature, according to which it would have an intrinsic evil in it, which it is plain it has not; for then neither must the Nazarites have used it (as they did), neither would it be lawful for the sake of men’s health or life.  Others understand by nature the law of nations; but neither is this true, for in many nations men wear hair at the utmost length.  Others understand common sense, or the light and judgment of that natural reason which since the fall is left in man; but this must be the same in all men, and we know that all men do not judge this shameful.

Others therefore by nature here understand a common custom, which (as they say) maketh as it were a second nature; so the term is taken, Rom. 11:24; but it cannot so signify here; for there neither is, nor ever was, such a universal custom in any place, that none in it wore long hair.  Others by nature here understand natural inclination; but neither can this be the sense, for there is in some men, as well as in women, a natural propension and inclination to wear their hair at excessive lengths.

Others here by nature understand the difference of the sex, as they take this word to be used, Rom. 1:26; the distinction of the sexes teaches us this: and this seems to be the most probable sense of this text.  The apostle arguing, that as the male and female sex are artificially distinguished by garments, and it was the will of God they should be so, so they should also be distinguished by the wearing of their hair; and it was no less shame for a man to wear his hair like a woman, than to wear garments like a woman.”

.

v. 15

“given her her hair for a covering.  There have been books written about the lawfulness or unlawfulness of men’s wearing long hair, and the due or undue lengths of men’s hair, the substance of which were too much to transcribe here. That which in these verses seems to be commended to us, as the will of God in this matter, is:

1. That men and women should so order their hair, as by it to preserve the distinction of sexes.

2. That men should not wear their hair after the manner of women, either dishevelled, or curled, and tricked up about their heads, which speaks too much of an unmanly and effeminate temper, much more was what became not Christians. And if this be forbidden men, as to the use of their own hair, they stand concerned to consider whether it be lawful for them thus to wear and adorn themselves with the hair of other men and women.”

.

v. 16

“We have no such custom, of women’s praying or prophesying with their heads uncovered, or men’s praying or prophesying with their heads covered; or we have no such custom of contending for these little frivolous things;

neither any of the churches of God; and good Christians, in their practices, ought, in things of this nature, to have an eye and regard to the custom of their own church, and also of other Christian churches. Thus the apostle closeth this discourse, and proceedeth in the next verses to tax other abuses which were crept into this famous church.”

.

Matthew Henry

Commentary on 1 Cor. 11

“The misconduct of their women (some of whom seem to have been inspired) in the public assembly, who laid by their veils, the common token of subjection to their husbands in that part of the world

it must be observed that it was a signification either of shame or subjection for persons to be veiled, or covered, in the eastern countries, contrary to the custom of ours, where the being bare-headed betokens subjection, and being covered superiority and dominion…

Now, believe evil angels will be sure to mix in all Christian assemblies, therefore should women wear the token of their shamefacedness and subjection, which in that age and country, was a veil…

He [Paul] sums up all by referring those who were contentious to the usages and customs of the churches, v. 16. Custom is in a great measure the rule of decency.  And the common practice of the churches is what would have them govern themselves by.  He does not silence the contentious by mere authority, but lets them know that they would appear to the world as very odd and singular in their humour if they would quarrel for a custom to which all the churches of Christ were at that time utter strangers, or against a custom in which they all concurred, and that upon the ground of natural decency.

It was the common usage of the churches for women to appear in public assemblies, and join in public worship, veiled; and it was manifestly decent that they should do so.  Those must be very contentious indeed who would quarrel with this, or lay it aside.”

.

Norton Knatchbull

Annotations upon Some Difficult Texts in all the Books of the New Testament  (Cambridge, 1693), on 1 Cor. 11:10, pp. 196-200  Knatchbull (1602–1685) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1640 and 1679.

“And truly this argument of theirs seems to me very preposterous, as if they meant to tie two extremes together without a medium.  For who with reason can affirm: Because a man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man, etc. Therefore ought a woman to wear a veil or a hood on her head, by an argument fetched from the moral Law of their creation?  Truly I have often heard that the whole Law of God was to be known by the discourse of reason, and was called moral…  But whoever could from the dictate of reason know that a woman, because she was made of man and for man, ought therefore to wear a veil or hood on her head, especially in the Church?

That she is therefore inferior to her husband, and that therefore she ought to be subject unto him, is not abhorrent from the discourse of reason; and because she is for that cause subject to her husband, reason dictates she ought to acknowledge it, but by what means or sign she should do it in the Church or elsewhere, custom seems only to have taught, especially in Christian churches, as the apostle intimates in this place.

For we read not of any such custom in the Old Testament.  Rebecca truly might (which they instance for an example), when she came near to Isaac, Gen. 24:65, take a veil and cover herself, as well for modesty as for reverence.  But Judah thought Thamar to be an harlot because she covered herself with a veil, Gen. 38:14-15.  So that from the beginning the covering of a veil was no certain sign of subjection…”

.

1700’s

John Gill

Exposition of the Whole Bible, on 1 Cor. 11

v. 4

“‘Having his head covered’; which, it seems, was the custom of some of them so to do in attendance on public worship: this they either did in imitation of the heathens (Macrob Saturnal. bk. 3, ch. 6; Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. bk. 2, ch. 14, 19 & 22), who worshipped their deities with their heads covered, excepting Saturn and Hercules, whose solemnities were celebrated with heads unveiled, contrary to the prevailing customs and usages in the worship of others; or rather in imitation of the Jews, who used to veil themselves in public worship, through a spirit of bondage unto fear, under which they were, and do to this day; and with whom it is a rule (Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, ch. 5, sect. 5)…  but it seems that a different custom had now prevailed; now from this Gentile or judaizing practice, the apostle would dissuade them…

.

v. 5

“‘with her head uncovered’.  It may seem strange from whom the Corinthian women should take up this custom, since the Jewish women were not allowed to go into the streets, or into any open and public place, unveiled (Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, c. 24. sect. 12).  It was a Jewish law, that they should go out nowhere bare-headed (T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 72. 1): yea, it was reckoned scandalous and ignominious to do so.  Hence it is said, שגלוי הראש גנאי להם, “that uncovering of the head is a reproach” to the daughters of Israel (R. Sol. Jarchi in Numb. v. 19):…

So that their it should seem that these Corinthians followed the examples of the Heathens: but then, though it might be the custom of some nations for women to go abroad bare headed; yet at their solemnities, where and when they were admitted, for they were not everywhere and always, they used to attend with their heads veiled and covered (Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 4. c. 17)…

‘for that is even all one as if she were shaven’; to be without a veil, or some sort of covering on her head, according to the custom of the country, is the same thing as if her head was shaved;…”

.

v. 6

“‘For if the woman be not covered’.  That is, if her head is not covered with some sort of covering, as is the custom of the place where she lives.”

.

 v. 10

“The Greek word εξουσια more properly signifies the power she had of putting on and off her covering as she pleased, according as times, places, and persons; made it necessary:”

.

v. 14

“‘Doth not even nature itself teach you’.  By nature is either meant, the law and light of nature, reason in man, common sense, or rather custom, which is second nature; and which, in this case, must be restrained to the Greeks and Jews; for though among the Grecians the men cut their hair, and did not suffer it to grow long, as also did the Jews, yet there were many nations who did not (Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 5. c. 18. Servius in Virgil. Aeneid. l. 10. prope finem), even at that time, observe such a rule or custom; but as the Jews and Greeks were the persons chiefly, if not solely, known to the Corinthians, the apostle signifies that the usages of these people might direct and inform them in this matter:”


.

.

Westminster Divines

Order of

1600’s

Featley
Cawdrey
Cawdrey & Palmer
Greenhill
Gouge
Lightfoot

.

Daniel Featley

The English Annotations  (1645) on 1 Cor. 11  Featley wrote the comments on Paul’s epistles, and was an episcopalian, Westminster divine.  This work was often known as The Westminster Annotations as 6 of the 11 contributors were Westminster divines.

“V. 2. …and keep the ordinances]  By the word [Greek] in the original, which signifieth traditions, he meaneth…  particular ordinances of comeliness, and good order, which belong to ecclesiastical policy, which afterward were called canons.

V. 10. power on her head]  That is, a vail or covering, in token of her husband’s power and authority over her; or a kinde of warrant or pass to go abroad with credit and honesty: for there was no necessity of vailing or covering their head within doors, but if they went abroad without their vail, they were counted light and wanderers, like unto run-away servants, or soldiers that have no passe to show from their masters or captains…

because of the Angels]  Some by the angels understand the pastors of the congregations, who are termed angels, Mal. 2:7 and Rev. 1:20, and that the apostle draws his reason to enforce women’s modest carriage from the reverend respect the women ought to show, esepcially in the Church, to these angels of the Churches.  Others take angels here in the proper sense for the coelestial spirits, which alwayes attend up∣on Christ their Head, and are present in the congregation of the faithful, and are offended at all disorders and uncomeliness which may be used there…

V. 16. if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom]  Either the meaning is, We have no such custom for women to pray uncovered; or, we have no such custom or the Churches of God to contend about matters of this nature, but willingly and cheerful to obey those that have the oversight of us in the Lord.”

.

Daniel Cawdrey

Vindiciæ clavium: or, A Vindication of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, into the Hands of the Right Owners...  (London, 1645), ch. 6, pp. 57-58

“I answer: that for men to pray or prophesy with their heads covered, or with long hair, and women uncovered, were things in their own nature indifferent (unless you make it necessary, as a moral duty for men to pray or prophesie uncovered, and women contra; which no interpreters upon that text do) and yet the apostle enjoins the Corinthians so to do…

…in the use of things indifferent; whereas there are at least five [rules] to that purpose: And by the same reason, that the apostle enjoins men to keep decency, he enjoins to keep order; and so other rules, concerning things indifferent.  Does not the apostle complain of disorder in the Corinthians preaching covered? yet the contrary order was not necessary, but in itself indifferent.”

.

Daniel Cawdrey & Herbert Palmer

Sabbatum Redivivum: or, The Christian Sabbath Vindicated  (London, 1645), fourth part, ch. 1, ‘The Lord’s Day is of Divine Institution’, p. 463  Irregular page numbering  Westminster divines

“Divine Apostolical Institutions (that we may draw to our purpose) were again of two sorts:

First, variable, or temporary, which were such injunctions as were prescribed, either for some special ends, as that law for abstaining from blood, and things strangled, Acts 15:1, for avoiding offence to the Jews, or to some special nations, or persons, as agreeable to the customs of those places and times, as that of women being vailed in the congregations, and some other the like.

Secondly, invariable and perpetual: such as concerned the whole Church:

This distinction we received from that learned and Professor [John Prideaux, d. 1650];”

.

William Greenhill

An Exposition of the Five First Chapters of the Prophet Ezekiel…  (London, 1645), on Eze. 1:23, p. 171  Greenhill was an Indpendent; Independents tended to be Biblicists.

“5.  …Women are to be vailed in the assemblies, because of the angels, 1 Cor. 11:10, to show their reverence and subjection to them being present; and angels are covered, to show their reverence and subjection unto Christ; it’s an honor to the angels, that in reverence to them the women are to be vailed; and it’s a great honour to Christ, that angels reverence and adore Him.”

.

Article

An Exposition continued upon the 14th-19th Chapters of the Prophet Ezekiel...  (London, 1651), on Eze. 16:10-13, ‘Covered thee with silk’, pp. 158-9

.

William Gouge

A Learned & Very Useful Commentary on the Whole Epistle to the Hebrews…  (London, 1655), ch. 12, §135, ‘Of serving God reverendly’, p. 388  Gouge (1575–1653) was a Cambridge scholar, lecturer and Westminster divine, here reflecting the Anglican view.

“3. Such [persons] as openly proclaim their want [lack] of reverence, by their outward irreverend, unbeseeming gestures, which are stately coming into the assembly of God’s people, even when they are serving of God, with their hats on their heads, sitting at prayer, casting their eyes this way and that way…”

.

John Lightfoot

Hebrew & Talmudical Exercitations upon 1 Corinthians, ch. 11

v. 4

“Having his head covered; which, it seems, was the custom of some of them so to do in attendance on public worship: this they either did in imitation of the heathens,¹ who worshipped their deities with their heads covered, excepting Saturn and Hercules, whose solemnities were celebrated with heads unveiled, contrary to the prevailing customs and usages in the worship of others;

¹ Macrob Saturnal. l. 3. c. 6. Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 14. & 19. & 22. s Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 5. sect. 5. t T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 20. 1.

Or rather in imitation of the Jews, who used to veil themselves in public worship, through a spirit of bondage unto fear, under which they were, and do to this day; and with whom it is a rule that

“a man might not stand and pray, neither with his girdle on, ולא בראש מגולה, nor with his head uncovered; nor with his feet uncovered.”

Accordingly it is said t of Nicodemus ben Gorion,

“that he went into the school grieved, and נתעטף, “veiled himself”, and stood in prayer;”

and a little after that

“that he went into the sanctuary and “veiled” himself, and stood and prayed;”

though the Targum on Judges 5:2 suggests,

“that the wise men sit in the synagogues, בריש גלי, “with the head uncovered”, to teach the people the words of the law;”

and on Judges 5:9 has these words,

“Deborah in prophecy said, I am sent to praise the Scribes of Israel, who when they were in tribulation did not cease from expounding the law; and so it was beautiful for them to sit in the synagogues, “with the head uncovered”, and teach the people the words of the law, and bless and confess before the Lord;”

but it seems that a different custom had now prevailed; now from this Gentile or judaizing practice, the apostle would dissuade them by observing, that such an one that uses it, “dishonoureth his head”;…”

.

v. 6

“For if the woman be not covered]  That is, if her head is not covered with some sort of covering, as is the custom of the place where she lives.”

.

v. 10

“For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head]…  The Greek word εξουσια more properly signifies the power she had of putting on and off her covering as she pleased, according as times, places, and persons; made it necessary:”

.

v. 14

“Doth not even nature itself teach you]  By nature is either meant, the law and light of nature, reason in man, common sense, or rather custom, which is second nature; and which, in this case, must be restrained to the Greeks and Jews; for though among the Grecians the men cut their hair, and did not suffer it to grow long, as also did the Jews, yet there were many nations¹ who did not, even at that time, observe such a rule or custom; but as the Jews and Greeks were the persons chiefly, if not solely, known to the Corinthians, the apostle signifies, that the usages of these people might direct and inform them in this matter:

¹ Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 5. c. 18. Servius in Virgil. Aeneid. l. 10. prope finem.”


.

.

Swiss Reformed

Order of

1500’s

Zwingli
Pellikan
Genevan Bible Notes
Calvin
Beza
Faius

1600’s

Bucanus
Diodati
Turretin


.

1500’s

Ulrich Zwingli

Latin

On 1 Cor. 11, ‘Every man prophesying’, p. 473 (bot)  in Annotations on the Evanglical History of our Lord Jesus Christ...  (Zurich, 1529)

“Surely he prescribes not laws perpetual and immutable, but teaches mores and honesty.”

.

Konrad Pellikan

Latin

p. 240 (top) on 1 Cor. 11:4  in Commentaries on All the Apostolic Epistles…  (Zurich, 1531)

Pellikan (1478-1556) was German, but spent most of his reformed life in Basel, Switzerland.  Pellikan repeats what Zwingli says and adds a bit to it.

“Surely he prescribes not laws perpetual and immutable, but teaches mores and honesty.”

.

Geneva Bible Notes  1599

On 1 Cor. 11, verse 4  The 1560 edition had similar notes in it, as cited by Richard Muller on this page.

“(3) By this he gathers that if men do either pray or preach in public assemblies having their heads covered (which was then a sign of subjection), they robbed themselves of their dignity, against God’s ordinance.

(b) It appears, that this was a political law serving only for the circumstance of the time that Paul lived in, by this reason, because in these our days for a man to speak bareheaded in an assembly is a sign of subjection.”

.

John Calvin

Institutes Of The Christian Religion  (Westminster Press), bk. 4, ch. 10, sections 29-30, pp. 1207-8  Need to get context

“…that arrangement which takes away all confusion, barbarity, obstinacy, turbulence, and dissension.

There are examples of the first sort in Paul: that profane drinking bouts should not be mingled with the sacred supper of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:21-22), and that women should not go out in public with uncovered heads (1 Cor. 11:5).  And we have many others in daily use, such as: that we pray with knees bent and head bare

[Calvin implicitly distinguishes that female covering in Paul’s time was a normal social propriety for appearing in public.  Greek and Roman men on the other hand, went uncovered in public.  In Reformation Geneva, men normally wore hats in public, but then uncovered for prayer.]

But because He did not will in outward discipline and ceremonies what we ought to do (because He foresaw that this depended upon the state of the times, and He did not deem one form suitable for all ages), here we must take refuge in those general rules which He has given, that whatever the necessity if the church will require for order and decorum should be tested against these…

Lastly, because He has taught nothing specifically, and because these things are not necessary to salvation, and for the upbuilding of the church ought to be variously accommodated to the customs of each nation and age, it will be fitting (as the advantage of the church will require) to change and abrogate traditional practices and to establish new ones.”

.

Commentary on 1 Cor. 11,

v. 2

“He passes on now to another subject-to instruct the Corinthians what decorum ought to be observed in the sacred assemblies…

Thus Paul, the first founder of the Corinthian Church, had also framed for its regulation pious and seemly enactments — that all things might be done decently and in order, as he afterwards enjoins, (1 Cor. 14:40).”

.

v. 3

“…however, he does not disturb civil order or honorary distinctions, which cannot be dispensed with in ordinary life. Here, on the other hand, he reasons respecting outward propriety and decorum — which is a part of ecclesiastical polity…”

.

v. 4

“Let us, however, bear in mind, that in this matter the error is merely in so far as decorum is violated, and the distinction of rank which God has established, is broken in upon.  For we must not be so scrupulous as to look upon it as a criminal thing for a teacher to have a cap on his head, when addressing the people from the pulpit. Paul means nothing more than this — that it should appear that the man has authority, and that the woman is under subjection, and this is secured when the man uncovers his head in the view of the Church, though he should afterwards put on his cap again from fear of catching cold.  In fine, the one rule to be observed here is το πρέπον — decorum If that is secured, Paul requires nothing farther.”

.

v. 12

“‘Doth not even nature itself’  He [Paul] again sets forth nature as the mistress of decorum, and what was at that time in common use by universal consent and custom—even among the Greeks—he speaks of as being natural, for it was not always reckoned a disgrace for men to have long hair.  Historical records bear, that in all countries in ancient times, that is, in the first ages, men wore long hair. Hence also the poets in speaking of the ancients, are accustomed to apply to them the common epithet of unshorn.  It was not until a late period that barbers began to be employed at Rome—about the time of Africanus the elder.

And at the time when Paul wrote these things, the practice of having the hair shorn had not yet come into use in the provinces of Gaul or Germany.  Nay more, it would have been reckoned an unseemly thing for men, no less than for women, to be shorn or shaven; but as in Greece [Corinth] it was reckoned an unbecoming thing for a man to allow his hair to grow long, so that those who did were remarked as effeminate, he [Paul] reckons as nature a custom that had come to be confirmed.”

.

Theodore Beza

The New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, translated out of Greek by Beza, with Brief Summaries & Expositions upon the Hard Places...  (1599), on 1 Cor. 11

v. 1

“…he begins notwithstanding with a general praise of them, calling those particular laws of comeliness and honesty, which belong to the ecclesiastical policy, ‘traditions’: which afterward they called ‘canons’.”

.

v. 4

“Hereof he gathers that if men do either pray or preach in public assemblies having their heads covered (which was then a sign of subjection)…”

“It appears that this was a politic law serving only for the circumstances of the time that Paul lived in, by this reason, because in these our day, for a man to speak bare-headed in an assembly, is a sign of subjection.”

.

A Clear & Simple Treatise on the Lord’s Supper  (RHB, 2016), p. 113

“We are accustomed to testify without hesitation that this reverence–even if it principally resides in the attitude of the heart of a person who, with a certain righteous dread, regards God as present with Him, a heavenly banquet as present, and the angels as present–nevertheless is also present in the external elements [signis].  I mean things like kneeling during common prayers, an uncovered head, and properly greeting those from whose hand we receive the mysteries–in a word, in our whole deportment and demeanor.  And anyone who behaved differently would not leave without a severe rebuke.”

.

Theodore Beza & Anthony Faius

Propositions & Principles of Divinity Propounded & Defended in the University of Geneva by certain students of divinity there, under Mr. Theodore Beza & Anthonis Faius, professors of divinity (Edinburgh, 1591), pp. 251-2

“6. …Some [apostolic traditions] are concerning the rites and the good order of the Church; as that touching the blood of things that were strangled, the covering of women’s heads, that men should not be covered in the time of prayer, and such like.

7. Those things, which are concerning the substance of doctrine [e.g. Lord’s Supper], are to be perpetually observed in the Church: but as for the things which apertain to outward rites, they in consideration of diverse circumstances, as of time, place and person, may be changed: yet so, as regard be always had (which must be generally observed in all indifferent things) unto that which makes most for the glory of God and the edification of the Church.”

.

1600’s

William Bucanus

Institutions of Christian Religion Framed out of God’s Word, & the Writings of the Best Divines…  (1602; London, 1606), Commonplace 43, ‘Of the Power & Authority of the Church…’, ‘Show some examples of those laws which were appointed, or those traditions which were to be made by the Church, or these Ecclesiastical constitutions delivered by word of mouth’, p. 580

“Such as these, that…  we must pray kneeling and bare-headed…  and other such like: which according to their genus or kind, that is, such a decency commaunded to us all, are divine, but according to their special form, they are human and changeable.”

.

John Diodati

Pious Annotations, upon the Holy Bible...  (1643), on 1 Cor. 11

“V. 3. But I]  a new precept or renewed by the apostle, concerning common civility for habit [wearing of garments] namly that women in public assemblies of the church should be covered, and men should have their heads uncovered by reason that in those places and times, the covered head was sign of subjection and an uncovered head contrary wise of liberty; and command wherefore that they might keep in the church that degree amongst sexes which God had established, they were to observe such signs and marks thereof as were used by the common consent of nations.  See Gen. 20:16 and 24:65…

V. 10. To have power] as who should say to go forth in public in a modest and civil manner for this necessity of women’s covering the head took place but only out of doors, and not within doors.  And if they went abroad without a vail they were reputed as debauched women, like run away servants or soldiers that have not their master’s or captain’s pass…”

.

Francis Turretin

Institutes, vol. 2, 11th Topic, The Law of God, 14th Question: The Lord’s Day, p. 95

“Although certain ordinations of the apostles (which referred to the rites and circumstances of divine worship) were variable and instituted only for a time (as the sanction of not eating blood and of things strangled [Acts 15:20]; concerning the woman’s head being covered and the man’s being uncovered when they prophesy [1 Cor. 11:4, 5]) because there was a special cause and reason for them and (this ceasing) the institution itself ought to cease also;

still there were others invariable and of perpetual observance in the church, none of which were founded upon any special occasion to last only for a time by which they might be rendered temporary…”


.

.

Itallian

Order of

Vermigli
Diodati

.

1500’s

Peter Martyr Vermigli

The Common Places  (d. 1562; London, 1583)

ch. 4, ‘Of Ecclesiastical Laws…’, p.42

“Wherefore let it be set down that it is lawful for the Church to make to itself either canons or lawes, or decrees, or statutes, or call them by what name thou wilt.  For the Church is a company, and must be ruled by the Word of God, especially because it belongs to the salvation thereof, and to the worshiping of God.  But there be other things which belong only unto outward discipline.  For there is need of certain outward bonds, to the end that the fellowship of the people may be retained.

So the apostle decreed that women ought to pray with the head covered, and men uncovered.  And the apostles in the Acts, decreed that we should abstain from blood, from strangled, and from things dedicated unto idols.  And always in councils after they had done with doctrine, they began to entreat of discipline.  Finally so did all the fathers as Tertullian, Origen, Basil, Augustine and Jerome.  The end of these laws must be edifying and good order.  But for so much as they be not of necessity, they may be changed according to the times and places.”

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Theological Epistles, Epistle to John Hooper, pp. 119-20

“How can we deprive the Church of this liberty that it may not signify some thing by her actions and rites, the same being done, without placing any worship of God therein, modestly and in few things, so as the people of Christ be not burthened with ceremonies, and that better things be not letted [prevented].

But you will say [with respect to a white vestment], let them [ministers] show themselves to be angels, let them not signify it.  I heare what you say.  But the self same might have been answered unto Paul when he decreed unto the Corinthians that the woman should have her head covered, and the man uncovered, for he only urges a reason of the signification.  For any man of the Church of Corinth might have answered: let the man show himself to be head of the woman, and let the woman in her deeds and life show herself to be subiect unto the man, let them not contend to show this by signs.  But the apostle saw this also to be a profitable thing, that we should not only live well, but that also we should by words and tokens be admonished of our duty.  But and if hereby there be given an occasion of error unto the weak, let them be warned how they should believe these indifferent things, let them be taught by sermons that they judge not the worshipping of God to consist herein.”

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1600’s

John Diodati

Pious Annotations, upon the Holy Bible...  (1643), on 1 Cor. 11

“V. 3. But I]  a new precept or renewed by the apostle, concerning common civility for habit [wearing of garments] namly that women in public assemblies of the church should be covered, and men should have their heads uncovered by reason that in those places and times, the covered head was sign of subjection and an uncovered head contrary wise of liberty; and command wherefore that they might keep in the church that degree amongst sexes which God had established, they were to observe such signs and marks thereof as were used by the common consent of nations.  See Gen. 20:16 and 24:65…

V. 10. To have power] as who should say to go forth in public in a modest and civil manner for this necessity of women’s covering the head took place but only out of doors, and not within doors.  And if they went abroad without a vail they were reputed as debauched women, like run away servants or soldiers that have not their master’s or captain’s pass…”


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German Reformed

David Pareus

Latin

pp. 545 (lt top) & 546 (rt mid)  in Commentary on the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians  in Part 2 of the Theological-Exegetical Works  (d. 1622)


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Dutch Reformed

Order of

1500’s

Erasmus
Hyperius

1600’s

Leiden Professors’ Synopsis
Dutch Annotations
Maetz
Voet


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1500’s

Erasmus

The Second Tome or Volume of the Paraphrase of Erasmus upon the New Testament…  (London, 1549), on 1 Cor. 11, pp. xxx-xxxi

“Hence forth will I now touch certain points what I would have in your common assemblies observed and kept, and what I would were avoided, that in them nothing be done either unorderly, or contentiously, or riotously…  One thing more must I tell you, which is yet of no great importance, nor [is] much weighty, but such as may, if the time and place so require, be changed…

Lesse hurt were it, if ye in such poynts agreed, since they be but externe matters, nor make so much to the furtherance of Gospel-like godliness.”

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Andreas Hyperius

The Practise of Preaching, otherwise called the Pathway to the Pulpit… (London, 1577), ch. 13, p. 170

“…the apostle expostulates…  Ch. 11, against the custom whereby men prayed in the sacred assembly with their heads covered, and women with their heads bare.”


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1600’s

The Synopsis of True Theology (1625; Brill, 2016), Disputation 36, ‘On the Religious Practice of Invocation’, Antonius Walaeus presiding, p. 431

“And while men pray with their heads uncovered, women do so with covered head, according to the apostle’s instruction (1 Corinthians 11:4).”

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The Dutch Annotations  1637

On 1 Cor. 11:4

“…namely, forasmuch as the uncovering of the head was then a sign of power and dominion, as on the contrary now at this day those that have power over others will keep their heads covered, and they that are under others will uncover their heads before them.  But in all these things, we must always have the respect to the use of divers times and countries, and what is honorable and edifying therein, 1 Cor. 14:40, Phil. 4:8.”

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Carolus Maetz

Latin Article

A Forest of Eminent Questions: Philological, about Antiquity, Philosophical, a True & Most Able View of Theology (Utrecht, 1650), ch. 24

Of the use of headcoverings amongst the Corinthians, and the practice of prostitutes and young men and women among them, pp. 244 bot -253

Of headcoverings and calotis [beautiful ears?] of ministers, pp. 258-62

Maetz appears to take the customs as cultural and not universally binding or necessary.  Maetz (1597-1651) was of Flemish lineage and a professor of theology at Utrecht.

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Gisbert Voet

Section 3, 6th Problem, ‘What of the Covering of Women in the Churches (1 Cor. 11)?’, pp. 475 bot. – 476  in ch. 8. ‘Questions on Some Rituals in Particular…’  in Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1  (Amsterdam, 1663-1676), Pt 1, Bk. 2, ‘Of Ecclesiastical Things, or Acts & Exercises’, Tract 1, ‘Of Formularies, or Liturgies & Rituals’, ch. 1, ‘Of Formularies, or Liturgies’

“It is not a rite indifferent, nor a sacred ecclesiastical ordinance, but a common one, by which out of a natural decorum it ought to obtain everywhere and ordinarily, where and however often women come together in some assembly or go out in public.  That being, moreover, a covering or sheltering of the head, even [tum] natural, that is, the hair, or in addition [tum] something put on.  Of that is put forth in verse 6 [14], ‘Doth not nature teach…’”, pp. 475-6


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France

Order of

Discipline of the Reformed Churches
Eudes
On L. Cappel

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The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France  1559

Ch. 10, Canons 1-2  in ed. John Quick, Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, vol. 1, p. xliii  See also the Synod of Figeac, ch. 3, section XXX, p. 132 and the Synod of Montaubanch, Synod 13, ch. 3, section 15, p. 160

“Canon 1:  That great irreverence, which is found in diverse persons, who at public and private prayers do neither uncover the heads, nor bow their knees, shall be reformed, which is a matter repugnant to piety, and giveth suspicion to pride, and does scandalize them that fear God. Wherefore all Pastors shall be advised, as also Elders and heads of families, carefully to oversee that in time of prayer all persons without exception or acceptation, do evidence by those exterior signs the inward humiliation of their hearts, and of that homage yielded by them unto God, unless anyone be hindered from doing so by sickness or otherwise; the judgment which shall be remitted to the testimony of their own particular consciences.

Canon 2:  …Every one shall be advertised to bring with them their Psalm-Books unto those Assemblies; and such as through contempt of this holy Ordinance do forbear the having of them, shall be censured, as also those, who in time of singing, both before and after Sermon, are not uncovered, as also when the Holy Sacraments are celebrated.”

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Morton Eudes

Catholic Traditions, or a Treatise of the Belief of the Christians of Asia, Europa & Africa in the Principal Controversies of our Time…  (London, 1609), Question 42, Annotation  Eudes was a Romanist.

p. 215

“…for in the East countries, the custom is to bow their heads in saluting one another, as they do put off their hats in France…”

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p. 217

“The custom in these parts [in France] is, to put off the hat, when in public acts the king is named: Moreover the Protestants [Anglicans] in England do ordain that men put off their hats at sermons when they hear the name of Jesus.

In like manner all countries haue their customs: that which is ridiculous and superstitious in one place, is held and esteemed comely and religious in another.  The most expedient way would be, instead of calling one another idolaters and heretics, to exhort one another charitably to do all to edification, to avoid the appeareance of evil and excess, and not to scandalize the infidels and unbelievers.”

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On Louis Cappel

As narrated by Samuel Thomas, Animadversions upon a Late Treatise, entitled, The Protestant Reconciler…  (London, 1683), section 8, pp. 110-12 Louis Cappel (d. 1658)

“I rather think, with the learned Cappellus, that this apostolical prescript or canon of good order was founded upon some civil custom then obtaining among the Corinthians and elsewhere; from whence he concludes that according to the difference of several countries, such an habit and deportment is to be used in divine service which is commonly used to express reverence and decency in conversation.

(He, that will see the different customs of nations in this matter, both in and out of sacred uses, may consult Grotius and Cappellus at large on the place.)”

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On the English & Dutch Independents

Quotes

Robert Baillie

A Dissuasive from the Errors of the Time, wherein the Tenets of the Principal Sects, especially of the Independents, are Drawn together in one Map  (London, 1645)

ch. 4, ‘The carriage of the Independents in Holland, at Roterdam & Arnhem’, p. 82

“I have heard also one of their doctors [of the Independents] deliver it as his opini∣on that it was expedient for the minister in preaching to have his head covered, and the people in time of preaching [for the people] to sit uncovered:  But in the holy Communion, that it was expedient the minister should celebrate that sacrament uncovered unto the people covered.

I do not deny my suspicion of the spirit of these men, who are not affraid in so short a time to vent such a multitude of strange novelties.”

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ch. 6, ‘An Enumeration of the Common Tenets of the Independents’, pp. 122 & 149

“But their [the Independents’] main difference from all the Reformed, and greatest consonancy with the Brownists [separatist Independents], is in this, that as they teach all outward signs of worship in the time of the celebration to be idolatry [such as the societal customs the Scots practiced], and hereupon declare the necessity of all men who will follow the example of the first communicants, to keep on their hats all the time of this holy action; so likewise the Independents begin to teach their disciples;

For however at Amsterdam this day the named doctrine be not fully practised, the men there covering their heads in the time of the celebration, but every one uncovering, during the time of their own personal participation of the elements, yet we are now taught at London that covering is most requisite at the time of participation.

That this act is a rite significant to the communicants of their table-honor and fellowship with Christ, also that the minister in all his celebrati∣on must be uncovered, and that in sign of his service to the communicants as the Lord’s much honored children, [who are] sitting covered when they eat of their Father’s meat.†

† I have heard some of their chief men discourse publicly enough to this purpose.”


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On the New England Congregationalist Puritans

John Cotton

Biblica Americana, America’s First Bible Commentary, vol. 9 (†1652; Tubingen: Siebeck, 2018), p. 265  on 1 Cor. 11:4

“He prescribes not a rule necessary every where to be observed; but accommodates himself unto the custom then observed among the Corinthians.  It is admirably expounded by Alting…

Almost all Christians have observed the canon of the apostle.  Not because the uncovering of the head is counted a token of reverance; for with a very great part of the world it is not so to this day.  But as my [Herman] Witsius thinks, Videtur potius perinere ad libertatem Novi Testamenti [This seems to more pertain to the liberty of the New Testament].”

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The True Constitution of a Particular Visible Church, Proved by Scripture…  (London, 1642), p. 5

“Question:  How is the public worship of God to be ordered and administred in the Church?

Answer:  All the members of the Church, being met together as one man in the sight of God are to join together in holy duties with one accord, the men with their heads uncovered, the women covered.”

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Singing of Psalms a Gospel-Ordinance…  (London, 1650), ch. 10, ‘Of the Manner of Singing’, pp. 58-59

“…that such godly men as have been desirous of reformation, and most zealous against human inventions in the worship of God, they always intended such human inventions in the worship of God as had no warrant but the wit and will of man, not such as had warrant either from consequence of Scripture, or light of nature, or civil custom.

For a woman to cover her head in time of public prayer, or prophesying, and for a man to uncover his head, the apostle warrants both from the light of nature and the custom of the churches, 1 Cor. 11:4 to 16.

The kiss of love in holy assemblies was warranted, not by divine institution (for then it were a sin in us to neglect it now), but by occasion of civil custom in those nations; where, it being usual in their civil assemblies to greet one another with a kiss of love, the apostles do not disallow the use of it in holy assemblies, but only require the sincerity and holiness of the love expressed in such kisses, 1 Cor. 16:20; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14.  These apostles did not believe in this point, as you do, that God never betrusted corrupt nature, to frame anything in God’s worship to his praise.”

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Some Treasure Fetched out of Rubbish: or, Three Short but Seasonable Treatises…  (London, 1660), p. 3

“3. Necessary and decent; either always, as a woman to keep silence in the Church, or at least, Hic & nunc [here and now], so as the neglect thereof would be uncomely to the light of Nature, Scripture, custom: As a woman to be veiled in the congregation in the Eastern countries: So, to abstain from blood, whilst the eating of it was offensive to the Jew.”


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On Ministers Covering their Heads Preaching

Excerpt

1600’s

Perkins, William – ‘Thirdly’, p. 3, left col., top  on Mt. 5:1  in A Godly & Learned Exposition upon Christ’s Sermon on the Mount  in The Workes of that Famous & Worthy Minister of Christ in the University of Cambridge, M. W. Perkins (London, 1631), vol. 3

Speaking of the custom in the reformed Church of France.

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Related Pages