On Customs, the Holy Kiss, Foot Washing, Anointing with Oil, Love Feasts, etc.

“Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.”

1 Thess. 5:26

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

Jn. 13:14-15

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;”

James 5:14-15

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Order of Contents

Contra Biblicism
On Customs

Holy Kiss
Foot Washing & Shaking the Dust off One’s Feet
Anointing with Oil
Laying the Offering at the Deacons’ Feet  Acts 5:2
Lord’s Supper in the Evening
Love Feasts

More Customs
Bibliographies


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Contra Biblicism

Quotes

Thomas Edwards

Antapologia, or, A Full Answer to the Apologetical Narration of [the Independents] Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr. Sympson, Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Bridge…  (London, 1644)

pp. 75-78

“Thirdly, I demand of you, how you could so nakedly propound the apostolical directions, patterns and examples of the primitive Churches to walk by (excepting mere circumstances and the rules of the law of nature) and not except withal extraordinary and miraculous, personal and particular, occasional and accidental, temporary and local patterns and examples.  I own the Scripture for the rule, rightly understanding it, and in matters of discipline and Church-order profess to walk by it, desiring to be tied to the Scripture patterns, particularly to the patterns of examples and precepts recorded in the New Testament (provided this be understood in essentials and fundamentals of order, in matters of perpetual use, and of a common reason to all times and places); only I add that in some things, where in matter of order and external government there may be no such clear directions either by precept or example, there general rules of the Word, with deductions out of Scripture examples, and from precepts by way of analogy, with rules of common prudence be taken in too.

Now the interpretation of this rule (as I have laid it down) being rejected, and the rule simply taken up without such limitations, will produce a wild and strange discipline and Church-order, to practice all things recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and epistles without distinction and difference of those times, persons, places, and ours: and on the other hand to practice nothing but what has a clear example, or precept is strange too, and in so doing, reasonable men cannot become a Church society, nor exercise Church communion.

And however in matters of external government and administration of holy things in the visible Church some pretend to this, to practice whatever they find recorded in the Scriptures, and to practice nothing whatsoever they find not there, yet none of the Independents, no not the highest form of them, the Anabaptists, nor the highest sort of Anabaptists (who were called Apostolici [Apostles] from their pretending to imitate the apostles in all things) ever yet have or do practice all patterns and examples recorded in the New Testament, or are contented with them alone, but practice somewhat over and above not particularly recorded in Scripture.  I could lay down a catalogue of many particulars specified in the Acts of the Apostles and epistles not practiced in your churches, nor in any churches of the Independent way, as also of many things practiced by you which we never read of in the Scriptures, so that all the Independents are in many things according to the first pattern both defective and excessive.

But I refer the full handling of this to a Tractate I intend concerning the Scriptures [which appears to never have been published], How far the Scriptures are a rule for all matters of Church government and order in the visible Church.  I add only one thing for the reader’s sake, that they be careful to understand this first principle of yours, not so nakedly as you lay it down in pages 8-11 [of the Independents’ Apology], because it has been, is, and may be a rock to split many on, and an ignis fatuus [elf-fire] to lead many into waters, instead of a sacred pillar of fire to guide to Heaven in a safe way.  This foolish imitation of the apostles in all things in matters of external order, has been and is the great foundation of evils on all hands, both in many practices and points of Popery, and amongst the Anabaptists (as I could demonstrate in particulars).

Learned Danaeus in his Commentaries upon 1 Tim. ch. 5 [v. 13] speakes of it. Apostolici inter Anabaptist as Schlusselburgius writes also (On the Sect of the Anabaptists), that there is a sort of Anabaptists called Apostolici [Apostles], so named because they professed to imitate the apostles in all things: they washed one another’s feet, they held all things ought to be common, they travailed up and down without staff, shoes, cloak, money, because of Christ’s words, they went up to the tops of houses to preach, because Christ had said, what you have heard in the ear, preach upon the house-top.  Now how far the want [lack] of these limitations and distinctions in this your first rule has led some of you into errors and strange practices and may lead you further, as into anointing the sick with oil, baptizing in rivers, etc.  I leave you to consider of.

But yet this first and great principle upon which you went and reared up your new Church way, how difficult and abstruse a rule, and how doubtful a groundwork do you make it, before you pass from it…”

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pp. 261-2

“Whether in all matters of doctrine all of you [Independents] be as orthodox in your judgments as your brethren themselves, I question it (though in the most doctrines and in the main I grant it)…  however though you do not nourish any monsters or serpents of opinions in your bosoms, yet I fear you have running worms in your heads, and together with the gold, silver and ivory of orthodox truths, you have store of apes and peacocks, conceits and toys, as strange coined distinctions, new strained expositions of Scriptures, odd opinions about the personal reign of Christ on earth, and I ask you what the anointing with oil of sick persons as an ordinance for church-members, and what the bringing in of hymns composed by the gift of a church-mem­ber, cum multis aliis [with many others], are?  Whether are not these strange conceits?”

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London Presbyterian Ministers

The Divine Right of Church Government  (London, 1645; 1654), pt. 1  The following quotes only include those things which are not obligatory, and why.  For what is obligatory, and why, see the larger chapters.

ch. 4

“4. Some [of Christ’s actions were] accidental, occasional, incidental, or circumstantial, as in the case of his celebrating his supper, that it was at night, not in the morning; after supper, not before; with none but men, none but ministers; with unleavened, not with leavened bread, etc.; these circumstantials were accidentally occasioned by the passover, nature of his family, etc.

To imitate Christ in his three first sort of acts, is utterly unlawful, and in part impossible.  To imitate Him in his circumstantial acts from necessity, were to make accidentals necessary, and happily to border upon superstition; for, to urge any thing above what is appointed, as absolutely necessary, is to urge superstition; and to yield to anything above what is appointed, as simply necessary, were to yield to superstition.  But to imitate Christ in his moral acts, or acts grounded upon a moral reason, is our duty: such acts of Christ ought to be the Christian’s rules.

2. Some [actions of the saints in Scripture] were heroical; done by singular instinct and instigation of the Spirit of God; as divers acts may be presumed to be, (though we read not the instinct clearly recorded:) as, Elias’s calling for fire from heaven, 2 Kings i. 10; which the very apostles might not imitate, not having his spirit, Luke ix. 54, 55; Phinehas’s killing the adulterer and adulteress, Numb. xxv. 7, 8; Samson’s avenging himself upon his enemies by his own death, Judges xvi. 30, of which, saith Bernard, if it be defended not to have been his sin, it is undoubtedly to be believed he had private counsel, viz. from God, for his fact; David’s fighting with Goliath of Gath the giant, hand to hand, 1 Sam. xvii. 32, &c., which is no warrant for private duels and quarrels. Such heroic acts are not imitable but by men furnished with like heroic spirit, and instinct divine.

3. Some were by special calling, and singular extraordinary dispensation: as Abraham’s call to leave his own country for pilgrimage in Canaan, Gen. xii. 1, 4, which is no warrant for popish pilgrimages to the holy land, &c.; Abraham’s attempts, upon God’s special trying commands, to kill and sacrifice his son, Gen. xxii. 10, no warrant for parents to kill or sacrifice their children; the Israelites borrowing of, and robbing the Egyptians, Exod. xii. 35, no warrant for cozenage, stealing, or for borrowing with intent not to pay again: compare Rom. xiii. 8; 1 Thess. iv. 6; Psal. xxxvii. 21; the Israelites taking usury of the Canaanitish strangers, (who were destined to ruin both in their states and persons, Deut. xx. 15-17,) Deut. xxiii. 20, which justifies neither their nor our taking usury of our brethren, Lev. xxv. 36, 37; Deut. xxiii. 19, 20; Neh. v. 7, 10; Psal. xv. 5; Prov. xxviii. 8; Ezek. xviii. 8, 13, 17, and xxii. 12; John Baptist’s living in the desert, Mat. iii., no protection for popish hermitage, or proof that it is a state of greater perfection, etc.

4. Some were only accidental or occasional, occasioned by special necessity of times and seasons, or some present appearance of scandal, or some such accidental emergency. Thus primitive Christians had all things common, Acts iv. 32, but that is no ground for anabaptistical community. Paul wrought at his trade of tent-making, made his hands minister to his necessities, Acts xx. 34; would not take wages for preaching to the church of Corinth, 2 Cor. xi. 7-9; but this lays no necessity on ministers to preach the gospel gratis, and maintain themselves by their own manual labors, except when cases and seasons are alike, Gal. vi. 6-8; 1 Cor. ix. 6-13; 1 Tim. v. 17, 18.

5. Those acts of saints or Christians, which were done by them as saints and Christians, are obligatory upon, and to be followed by all Christians; but those acts which are done by magistrates, prophets, apostles, ministers, etc., only as such, are only obligatory on such as have like offices, not on all; according to the maxim, that which agrees to any thing as such, agrees to every thing that is such. Thus James urges the example of Elias in praying, James v. 17. Paul presses the example of Abraham in being justified by believing, Rom. iv. 23,24. Peter prescribes, as a pattern to wives, the example of Sarah, and other holy women of old, for “adorning themselves with a meek and quiet spirit,—being in subjection to their own husbands,” 1 Pet. iii. 4-6.

6. …But such acts as were done only upon special causes or singular reasons, are only to be imitated in like cases. Thus Christ argues from a like special cause, that he was not to do miracles at Nazareth without a call, as he did in other places where he had a call of God; from the particular example of Elijah and Elisha, who only went to them to whom God called them, Luke ix. 25-27; so he proves that in like case of necessity it was lawful for his disciples on the sabbath-day to rub ears of corn and eat them, etc., from David’s example of eating show-bread when he had need, Matt. xii. 1-5.

7. Those acts that were done from extraordinary calling and gifts, are to be imitated (in regard of their special way of acting) only by those that have such extraordinary calling and gifts. Christ therefore blames his apostles for desiring to imitate Elijah’s extraordinary act in calling for fire from heaven, etc., when they had not his spirit, Luke ix. 54, 55. Papists are blameworthy for imitating the extraordinary forty days’ and nights’ fast of Moses, Elijah, and Christ, in their Lent fast.  Prelates argue corruptly for bishops’ prelacy over their brethren the ministers, from the superiority of the apostles over presbyters.”

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ch. 7

“2. Such commands, which are accidental and occasional, whose grounds and general principles are also the Lord’s; yet determination or deduction of particulars can hardly be made, but in such emergent cases and occasions accidentally falling out, as necessitate thereunto.  As in that case, Acts 15, when the synod commands abstinence from blood, and things strangled, and that necessarily (though the Levitical law was now abrogated), because the common use thereof by accident grew very scandalous: therefore, by the law of charity, the use of Christian liberty is to be suspended, when otherwise the scandal of my brother is endangered; yet from any ground of equity to have provided such a particular rule as this, without such a case occurring, would scarce have been possible.  Now the synod says of this determination, ‘It seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and unto us,’ Acts 15.  And another synod, walking by the like light and rule of the Scripture as they did, may say of themselves as the apostles said.”

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Article

Rutherford, Samuel – pp. 1-7  of ‘Introduction’  in The Divine Right of Church Government  (London, 1646)


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On Customs Generally

Articles

Vermigli, Peter Martyr – ‘Of Custom’  in Commentary on Judges, ch. 11  in Most Fruitful [&] Learned Commentaries of Doctor Peter Martyr Vermigli…  (London, 1564), pp. 189-90

Marbeck, John – ‘Custom’  in A Book of Notes & Commonplaces, with their Expositions...  (London, 1581), pp. 269-71

Ames, William – ch. 3, section 7, ‘Concerning the Oath-Gesture of Abraham’s Servant’  in A Fresh Suit against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship…  (1633), pp. 304-9

Willet, Andrew – Hexapla in Genesin & Exodum…  (London, 1633), on Genesis

ch. 29, Places of Confutation

1st Confutation, ‘Custom not to be pretended where greater enormities are admitted’, pp. 268-9

ch. 32, Explanation of Doubtful Places

Question 26, ‘Of the Jews custom in not eating of sinews’, p. 291

Leigh, Edward – ‘Custom’  in A Philological Commentary…  useful for all young students of the Law  (London, 1658), pp. 57-61

Taylor, Jeremy – Rule 19, ‘Custom is no sufficient interpreter of the Laws of Jesus Christ’  in Ductor Dubitantium, or, The Rule of Conscience in All her General Measures...  (London, 1660), vol. 1, ch. 3, pp. 548-54

Wilson, Thomas – ‘Custom’  in A Complete Christian Dictionary…  (London, 1661)

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Book

Godwin, Thomas – Moses & Aaron. Civil & Ecclesiastical Rites used by the Ancient Hebrews, Observed & at Large Opened for the clearing of many obscure texts throughout the whole Scripture.  Herein likewise is showed what customs the Hebrews borrowed from heathen people: and that many heathenish customs, originally have been unwarrantable imitations of the Hebrews  (London, 1625)  332 pp.  ToC

Godwin (c.1586-1642) was an English clergyman and scholar, to be distinguished from Thomas Goodwin (d. 1680).

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See Also

On the Judicial Laws


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The Holy Kiss

Bible Verses  (not exhaustive)

Gen. 27:26  “And his father Isaac said unto him, ‘Come near now, and kiss me, my son.  And he came near, and kissed him;”

Gen. 29:13  “…when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house.”

Gen. 31:28  “And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.”

Gen. 31:55  “And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed…”

Gen. 33:4  “And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.”

Ex. 4:27  “And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.”

Ex. 18:7  “And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.”

1 Sam. 10:1  “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?”

1 Sam. 14:33  “…he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.”

2 Sam. 19:39  “And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.”

1 Kings 19:18  “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

Job 31:26-28  “If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.”

[Job is saying that if he gave a superstitious, religious homage to the sun or moon, contra the 2nd Commandment by the light of nature, he would deserve to be civilly punished.]

Ps. 2:12  “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.”

Ps. 85:10  “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

Prov. 24:26  “Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.”

Prov. 27:6  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Hos. 13:2  “…they say of them, ‘Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.'”

Mt. 26:49  “And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.”

Mk. 6:13  “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.”

Lk. 7:38  “…and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”

Lk. 7:45  “Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.”

Rom. 16:16  “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.”

Acts 20:37-38  “And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.”

1 Cor. 16:20  “All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.”

2 Cor. 13:12  “Greet one another with an holy kiss.”

1 Thess. 5:26  “Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.”

1 Pet. 5:14  “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity.”

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Quotes

George Gillespie

A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies…  (1637), pt. 3, ch. 5, p. 90

“Concerning the kiss of charity used in those times, 2 Cor. 13:22, we say in like manner, that it was but a moral sign of that reconciliation, friendship and amity which show itself as well at holy assemblies as other meetings, in that kind and courtesy, but with all chaste salutation, which was then in use.”

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Thomas Edwards

Antapologia, or, A Full Answer to the Apologetical Narration of [the Independents] Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr. Sympson, Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Bridge…  (London, 1644)

pp. 60-61

“I propound it to you, whether some of you have not held out some other public worship than the reformed Churches hold, namely hymns and anointing the sick members of the Church with oil; as also, whether a little before your coming over into England, some members of the Church of Arnheim [Netherlands], did not propound the holy kiss, or the kiss of love, to be practiced by church-members; Nay whether by some persons in that Church, was it not begun to be used and practiced; And in this enumeration of the parts of public worship, I desire to know why you put in “etc.” and what is meant by “etc.” for that implies more parts than you enumerate.  And we know, etc. is a dangerous and suspicious phrase ever since the late [Anglican] Canons and Oath, for under that “etc.” may be meant prophesying and hymns, and anointing with oil, and the kiss of love, and many other parts which the reformed Churches practice not, and so your public worship may be made up of many other parts than the worship of all other reformed Churches, and that there is great cause to speak thus, and doubt, appears, because I know not, nor cannot reckon up any other part of public worship used every Lord’s Day in the reformed Churches than the particulars mentioned by you without an etc. and therefore what you mean by under “etc.””

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p. 86

“But I hope the parliament will observe this great principle you were first acted by, and still are in all your Church-way, and will see how dangerous the tolerating of your way will be; for though you should for present hold nothing much different from the established rule, yet being allowed what may you not come to; according to this principle, how shall any State be sure of you long what you will hold: What if you should bring in community of goods, baptizing in rivers, the holy kiss into your assemblies at the beginning and ending of your ordinances, anointing sick persons with oil?  It is but according to your principle: And we see you make so much of this principle and are so in love with it, that you wish it next to your first principle, enacted as the most sacred Law of all other[s], to live and walk by it in Christian States and Churches throughout the world;”

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The Casting Down of the Last & Strongest Hold of Satan, or a Treatise Against Toleration & Pretended Liberty of Conscience…  (London, 1647), 17th thesis, p. 76

Independents themselves, though they hold [that] the substantials of Church government and order ought to be the same in our times that they were in the apostles’, yet they do not in all circumstantials nor accidentals judge [that that] discipline now binds; and I suppose if Hagiomastix [author of a book] had thus reasoned against their Independent government and order, that if that tied us in these days, then we are bound to all circumstances and accessories, as to the number of seven deacons, etc. as to widows just of such an age [1 Tim. 5], etc. or else the office of deacons and widows are ceased in the Church, they would have laughed at him for his folly, and yet this is the way of the man’s reasoning against the command of God, Deut. 13:17, the command itself must be wholly abrogated, or else all accessories and formalities accompanying it Christians are tied unto…

Love, humility, hospitality, are graces and moral duties commanded under the Gospel, and yet all these with many others of the like kind that I could instance in, had in the apostles’ days, those primitive times, some accessories and appendices, ways of manifestations of them which are now ceased, as the feasts of love, the kiss of love, washing the saints’ feet, etc. in which humility, brotherly love, kindness to strangers were expressed, as proper and peculiar to that condition the Church was then in, and the customs of those countries, etc.”

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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)

Table of contents, ch. 4

“…the old Popish ceremonies of extreme unction and the holy kiss of peace.”

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p. 60, quoting the Antapologia of Edwards

“I propound it to you, whether a little before your [the Independents] coming over into England, some members of the church of Arnhem [Netherlands], did not propone the holy kiss, or the kiss of love to be practiced by church-members?  Nay, whether by some persons in that church was it not begun to be practiced?”

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Robert MacWard

The True Non-Conformist…  (1671), 3rd Dialogue, pp. 117

“As for your [Gilbert Burnet’s] demand, why in your worship [that of the Scottish non-cponformists] do you not kiss one another with a holy kiss?

Seing it is nowhere commanded in worship, as you seem boldly and igno­rantly to suppose, and the Christian manner of the thing, in customary civility, is only recommended by the apostle, as an allay of chastity and kindnesse in civil rencounters, the question is but a petulant extravagancy of your vain imagination.”

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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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John Owen

‘A Short Catechism on Worship: Dr. Owen’s Instruction in the Worship of God, by Way of Question & Answer; with an Explication & Confirmation of those Answers’  (1667)

“Q. 13. Are not some institutions of the New Testament ceased, as unto any obligation unto their observation, and therefore now rightly disused?

A. (1.) Some symbolical tokens of moral duties occasionally used, only for present instruction in those duties, are mentioned in the Gospel, without any intention to oblige believers unto the formal constant use or repetition of them. (2.) Some temporary appointments relating unto gifts in the Church, bestowed only for a season in the first plantation of the Gospel are ceased; but (3.) No institution or command of Christ, given unto the whole Church, relating unto the Evangelical administration of the New Covenant, for the use and benefit of all believers, doth or shall cease to the end of the world, nor can be wholly omitted without a violation of the authority of Jesus Christ himself.

Relevant Scriptures

John 13:12-15, Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 1 Tim. 5:10, Mark 6:13, Jam. 5:14, Matt. 28:20, 1 Tim. 6:14 & 1 Cor. 11:16.

Explication

Mention is made in the Scriptures of sundry things practiced by the Lord Christ and his Apostles, which being then in common use amongst men, were occasionally made by them symbolical instructions in moral duties.  Such were washing of feet by one another, the holy kiss, and the like; but there being no more in them, but a sanctified use directed unto the present civil customs and usages, the commands given concerning them, respect not the outward action, nor appointed any continuance of them, being peculiarly suited unto the state of things and persons in those countries; as John 13:12-15,

“After He had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, ‘Know ye what I have done to ye, ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am; if I then your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet, for I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.’

‘Tis evident that it is the moral duty of brotherly love, in condescension, and mutual helpfulness to be expressed in all necessary offices as occasion doth require, that is the thing which Jesus Christ here enjoins his disciples, and leads them to by his own example in an office of love then in use in those parts.  The same is to be said of the holy kiss, Rom. 16:16 which was a temporary occasional token of entire love; which may in answer thereunto, be expressed by any sober usage of salutation amongst men to the same purpose.  But the things themselves were not instituted for any continuance, nor do represent any special grace of the New Covenant, which is inseparable from every institution of Gospel worship properly so called.  Common usages or practises therefore, directed to be used in a due manner, and unto a proper end, where they are used, make them not institutions of worship.  Neither have they in them as so commanded or directed, any one thing that concurs to the constitution of a Gospel-Ordinance: for neither had they their rise in the authority of Christ, nor is any continuance of them enjoined, nor any promise annexed unto them, nor any grace of the New Covenant represented or exhibited in them.”

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Robert Wodrow

Correspondence, vol. 3, Letter 184, p. 460  On the Glassites, who were Independents

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Articles

Willet, Andrew – Hexapla, that is, a Sixfold Commentary upon the Most Divine Epistle of the Holy Apostle St. Paul to the Romans...  (Cambridge, 1611)

ch. 10, Places of Controversy

Controversy 20, ‘Against the Vain Pomp of the Pope of Rome in Offering his Feet to be Kissed’, pp. 481-82

ch. 16, Questions & Doubts Discussed

Question 13, ‘Of the Custom then used to Kiss One Another, v. 16’, pp. 726-27

“6. Wherefore concerning this use, it was only of those times: referendum est ad illius temporis morem, ‘it must be referred to the manner of those times’, Beza: it is not necessary either to retain it or any other outward ceremony or usage instead of it: St. Paul exacts not the outward gesture, but the inward affection, and so as Clemens Alexandria says well, dilectio non sensetur in osculo, sed in benevolentia, ‘love is not measured by the kiss, but by the goodwill.'”

Question 14, ‘How the Apostle says, ‘The Churches salute, you, etc. v. 16′, pp. 727-28

Question 15, ‘General Observations concerning the Greeting & Salutation sent here by the Apostle’, p. 728

Ames, William – ch. 3, section 27, ‘Concerning the Kiss of Charity’  in A Fresh Suit against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship…  (1633), pp. 340-44

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Latin Articles

Reformed

Polyander, Johannes – An Oration on Christ Immanuel, whom one ought to Kiss with the Entire Veneration of the Soul  in Two Orations of Johannes Polyander…  (Leiden, 1618)  21 pp.  on Ps. 2

Voet, Gisbert – Section 2, ‘We come now to the rite of the kiss (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14), of which it is queried, whether it may be a mystical or sacred rite, and have been by divine law imposed?’  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’, pp. 466-471

“I respond:  It was a common rite, in species and form, from custom or practice then and there received; it was accustomed to be used as a sign of love, friendship, familiarity, even of subjection, etc.

On this rite: the Philology & Antiquary of [John de] Pineda [1558–1637, a Jesuit] on Job 31:27 has informed.  Out of theologians other than Pineda:  Aretius, pt. 3, [Jean de] Lorinus [1559-1634, a Jesuit] and [Andrew] Rivet on Ps. 2; and Lorinus in the same has cited Joseph Stephanus in the Tractate on Kissing the Feet of the Pontiff.”, p. 466

Gyongyosi, Paul – Kisses of Love & Hate, on Song 1:2 & 6:3 & Prov. 27:6; a Dissertation on the Holy Kiss (Rom. 16:17) & its Opposite, the Kiss of Jude (Lk. 22:48) & of the Mysteries of them Illustrated by the Sacred Scriptures, by Christ the Lord of Love, Grace & Eternal Wrath…  (Frankfurt, 1738)  18 pp.

Gyongyosi (1668-1743) was a German reformed professor of theology at Frankfurt, Germany.

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Lutheran

Willemer, Johann Helvicus – Out of the Words of Ps. 2:12, ‘Kiss the Son’, Against Some of the Borne Distortions of the Jews  (Wittenburg, 1704)  35 pp.

Mayer, Johann Friedrich – A Tract on Kissing the Feet of the Roman Pointiff  2nd ed.  (Leipzig, 1714)

Mayer (1650-1712) was a German, Lutheran professor of theology at Wittenberg, Kiel and Greifswald.


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On Foot Washing & Shaking the Dust Off of One’s Feet

Bible Verses

Dust of the Feet

Isa. 49:23  “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet;”

Nah. 1:3  “…the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”

Mt. 10:14  “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”

Mk. 6:11  “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.  Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

Lk. 9:5  “And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”

Acts 13:50-51  “But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.  But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.”

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Foot Washing

Gen. 18:4  “Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree…”

Gen. 19:2  “And he said, ‘Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.'”

Gen. 24:32  “And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him.”

Gen. 43:24  “And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.

Ex. 30:18-20  “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass…  to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.  For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord:”

Judges 19:21  “So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.”

1 Sam. 25:41  “And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, ‘Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.'”

2 Sam. 11:8  “And David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet.’  And Uriah departed out of the king’s house…”

Song 5:3  “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on?  I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?”

Lk. 7:44  “I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.”

Jn. 13:4-5, 12-17  “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded…

So after He had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

1 Tim. 5:10  “…if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.”

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Quotes

Antonius Thysius

The Synopsis of Purer Theology...  (1625; Brill), vol. 3, Disputation 45, ‘On the Lord’s Supper’, pp. 183-85 & 187

“And to be precise, [Christ instituted the sacrament] ‘after washing their feet,’ as many [sources] say.  For when the meal was begun (John 13:2), He rose from the table (verse 4) and washed the feet of his disciples, as was the customary practice of eastern peoples (Luke 7:44).

He did so in order that by this exemplary action He might show them the way to humility and love, and testify his favor towards those who are his–that He is certainly the one who cleanses his people from their uncleanness (John 13:8-10, 14).  And He did so in order to teach them by means of a comparison (and not a sacrament) with what frame of mind they ought to approach these sacred things.  Even so the western church has, elsewhere and sometimes not without abuse, adopted the practice as a sacrament.

Nor do the following facts have any force of being required or observed: that the supper was given to them…  after their feet had been washed…  (some [things] of which were observed for some time in the early church).”

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Thomas Edwards

Antapologia, or, A Full Answer to the Apologetical Narration of [the Independents] Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr. Sympson, Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Bridge…  (London, 1644), pp. 77-78

“This foolish imitation of the apostles in all things in matters of external order, has been and is the great foundation of evils on all hands, both in many practices and points of Popery, and amongst the Anabaptists (as I could demonstrate in particulars).

Learned Danaeus in his Commentaries upon 1 Tim. ch. 5 [v. 13] speakes of it. Apostolici inter Anabaptist as Schlusselburgius writes also (On the Sect of the Anabaptists), that there is a sort of Anabaptists called Apostolici [Apostles], so named because they professed to imitate the apostles in all things: they washed one another’s feet, they held all things ought to be common, they travailed up and down without staff, shoes, cloak, money, because of Christ’s words, they went up to the tops of houses to preach, because Christ had said, what you have heard in the ear, preach upon the house-top.”

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London Presbyterian Ministers

The Divine Right of Church Government  (London, 1645; 1654), pt. 1, ch. 2

“I. That some scripture examples in matters of religion are obligatory on Christians, as patterns and rules, which they are bound in conscience to follow and imitate, is evident,

1. By the divine intention of the Spirit of God, in recording and propounding of examples in Scripture: for he records and propounds them for this very end, that they may be imitated. Thus Christ’s humility, in washing the feet of his disciples, was intentionally propounded as an obligatory example, binding both the disciples, and us after them, to perform the meanest offices of love in humility to one another. “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you,” John xiii. 4, etc., 13-15.

Thus Christ’s suffering with innocence and unprovoked patience, not reviling again, etc., is purposely propounded for all Christians to imitate, and they are bound in conscience as well as they can to follow it—”Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps,” etc., 1 Pet. ii. 21-23.

II. [Binding examples] Of Christ.  That the example of Christ is obligatory, and a binding rule to us for imitation, is evident by these and like testimonies of Scripture, Matt. xi. 29; 1 Cor. xi. 11; Eph. v. 2, 3, 25, &c.; 1 John ii. 6; 1 Pet. ii. 21-23. “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you,” John xiii. 14, 15.  In this place we must follow the reason of the example, rather than the individual act, viz: after Christ’s example, we must be ready to perform the lowest and meanest offices of love and service to one another.”

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Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government  (London, 1646), p. 198

“His [Christ’s] non-sitting and washing their feet, being a moral, not a sacramental, teaching them humility…

Christ teaches lessons of humility, not to learn us not to seek the spiritual honor of communion with Christ, that were to teach us to be proud…”

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Thomas Edwards

The Casting Down of the Last & Strongest Hold of Satan, or a Treatise Against Toleration & Pretended Liberty of Conscience…  (London, 1647), 17th thesis, p. 76

“Independents themselves, though they hold [that] the substantials of Church government and order ought to be the same in our times that they were in the apostles’, yet they do not in all circumstantials nor accidentals judge [that that] discipline now binds; and I suppose if Hagiomastix had thus reasoned against their Independent government and order, that if that tied us in these days, then we are bound to all circumstances and accessories, as to the number of seven deacons, etc. as to widows just of such an age, etc. or else the office of deacons and widows are ceased in the Church, they would have laughed at him for his folly, and yet this is the way of the man’s reasoning against the command of God, Deut. 13:17, the command itself must be wholly abrogated, or else all accessories and formalities accompanying it Christians are tied unto…

Love, humility, hospitality, are graces and moral duties commanded under the Gospel, and yet all these with many others of the like kind that I could instance in, had in the apostles’ days, those primitive times, some accessories and appendixes, ways of manifestations of them which are now ceased, as the feasts of love, the kiss of love, washing the saints’ feet, etc. in which humility, brotherly love, kindness to strangers were expressed, as proper and peculiar to that condition the Church was then in, and the customs of those countries, etc.”

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Robert MacWard

The True Non-Conformist…  (1671), 3rd Dialogue, pp. 117-19

“…you [Gilbert Burnet] boldly attempt to make even the very sacraments arbitrary by asking why we use not washing of feet, since there is no sacrament set down more punctually in Scripture?  And when your non-conformist [in your book] retorts that you are under the same obligation (which retortion may be pertinently made to most of your objections), you tell him that you have a clear answer, that in these ex­ternals God intended no perpetual obligation, and there­fore in them you follow the practice of the catholic Church…

As for this your lax acceptation of a professed indifferency in externals, what part of the Christian religion or worship may it not corrupt or subvert?  And seing it does tolerate and allow the not practising of the washing of feet to you, as well founded In Scripture as either of the sacraments, would it not in a just parity of reason dispense with and forego these also?  This is indeed doctrine so damnable, that I hope it shall ne­ver need an antidote; and therefore I return to ex­amine your third or eight sacrament (I know not which, for all are but external) of washing of feet.

And you say that it has in Scripture of element, water, the action, washing the feet, the institution, ‘as I have done so do ye’ and ‘ye ought to wash one ano­ther’s feet’, and the spiritual use of it, humility:  Whence you conclude: ‘Why do ye not therefore use this rite?’  To which last point, it is, that waving any further discourse about the nature and requisites of a sa­crament, whereof, notwithstanding your parrallel description of this washing, yet I perceive you are loathe to apply the name, I shall direct my answere, viz.:

That this washing is not to be used, because though our Lord did practice this lowly act of conde­scendence as eminently expressive of that humility whereunto He would have his disciples instructed, yet neither is it in itself of the nature of a sacra­mental sign, whereof all the significancie is from the institution, and virtue in the exhibition of the thing signified, which you cunningly omit to mention; Nor does Christ perform it by way of institution, for repetition, but by way of example, for imitation, as is manifest from the text, John 13:4, etc. where we find that our Lord does first wash his disciples’ feet before He told them what He was a doing; and then having done the act, not simply significant by his appointment, but of itself as the effect expressing the greatest humility as its cause, He teaches them not a […]o […]emne reiteration, but the use in these words, ‘If I your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash on another’s feet’: ‘If I have been among you as He that serves, so ought ye to serve one another, for I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.’  I have not showed you humility in a figure to be repeated for your remembrance, but by a solid practice taught you the like performance: so that to turn this pattern unto a rite is in effect as far from our Lord’s purpose as the instruction of plain exam­ples is preferable to that of mystic representations:

Which exposition is so true and sound, that as this fancy of yours was never owned by the Church of Christ, so, it is most certain, that where it has been followed (I mean by the Pope) and this action has been used as a rite, it has only been made a color to the most prodigious and superlative pride that ever the sun beheld: and thus I hope all men may see that the not using of this washing, never again us­ed for anything we read, by way of sacrament or ceremony, either by our Lord or his apostles and Churches, is neither a deformity in us from the Scripture, nor an argument for your irreligious lax­ness in things you call externals.”

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Owen, John – See above on the Holy Kiss

van Mastricht, Peter – Theoretical Practical Theology (RHB), vol. 4, bk. 5, ch. 11, section 35, ‘Is Footwashing a Sacrament?’

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Article

Clark, R. Scott – ‘Why Foot Washing is Not a Sacrament’  (2018)  18 paragraphs

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Latin Article

Voet, Gisbert – 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. 8. ‘Questions on Some Rituals in Particular…’, Section 3

7th Problem, ‘What about the shaking of the dust of the feet (Mt. 10:14; Mk. 6:11; Lk. 9:5, 10:11; Acts 13:51)?’, pp. 476-8

10th Problem, ‘What of the washing of feet (Jn. 13)?’, p. 481

“I respond: Of this we have discussed above in the chapter, and thus I will not repeat it here.”

Voet may be referring to the 7th problem above on the command to shake the dust of of one’s feet.  Though foot-washing is not explicitly mentioned in that section, the same principles would apply.


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On Anointing with Oil

See also, On the 7 Sacraments of Romanism.

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Bible Verses

Dt. 28:40  “Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit [because of God’s curse].”

2 Sam. 14:2  “And Joab…  said unto her, ‘…feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead:'”

Ps. 23:5  “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

Ps. 33:1-3  “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”

Ps. 45:7  “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Ps. 92:10  “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”

Eze. 16:9-10  “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oilI clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.”

Mic. 6:15  “Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.”

Mt. 6:17-18  “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast,”

Mk. 6:13  “And they [the 12 apostles] cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.”

Lk. 7:38  “And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”

Lk. 7:45-46  “Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.  My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.”

Lk. 10:33-34  “But a certain Samaritan…  went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”

Jn. 11:2  “(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)”

Jn. 12:3  “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Heb. 1:9  “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

James 5:13-18  “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain…”

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Quotes

Thomas Edwards

Antapologia, or, A Full Answer to the Apologetical Narration of [the Independents] Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr. Sympson, Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Bridge…  (London, 1644)

p. 36

“Anointing the sick with oil was held in that [flagship Independent] Church of Arnheim [Netherlands], as a standing ordinance for church members, (for others [of other churches] had no right to that ordinance), as laying on of hands was a standing ordinance for church officers: There was a writing amongst them in many hands, proving it to be so, and there were some cases propounded, with what oil the sick members of the Church were to be anointed, and there was a resolution of the case, namely with olive oil.  A copy of this writing some ministers of the [Westminster] Assembly have perused, and one of them has it amongst his papers in the country.  [Thomas] Mr. Goodwin did anoint a gentlewoman (whose name I conceal) when she was sick, and she recovered after it (they say).”

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pp. 60-61

“I propound it to you, whether some of you have not held out some other public worship than the reformed Churches hold, namely hymns and anointing the sick members of the Church with oil; as also, whether a little before your coming over into England, some members of the Church of Arnheim [Netherlands], did not propound the holy kiss, or the kiss of love, to be practiced by church-members; Nay whether by some persons in that Church, was it not begun to be used and practiced; And in this enumeration of the parts of public worship, I desire to know why you put in “etc.” and what is meant by “etc.” for that implies more parts than you enumerate.  And we know, etc. is a dangerous and suspicious phrase ever since the late [Anglican] Canons and Oath, for under that “etc.” may be meant prophesying and hymns, and anointing with oil, and the kiss of love, and many other parts which the reformed Churches practice not, and so your public worship may be made up of many other parts than the worship of all other reformed Churches, and that there is great cause to speak thus, and doubt, appears, because I know not, nor cannot reckon up any other part of public worship used every Lord’s Day in the reformed Churches than the particulars mentioned by you without an etc. and therefore what you mean by under “etc.””

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p. 86

“But I hope the parliament will observe this great principle you were first acted by, and still are in all your Church-way, and will see how dangerous the tolerating of your way will be; for though you should for present hold nothing much different from the established rule, yet being allowed what may you not come to; according to this principle, how shall any State be sure of you long what you will hold: What if you should bring in community of goods, baptizing in rivers, the holy kiss into your assemblies at the beginning and ending of your ordinances, anointing sick persons with oil?  It is but according to your principle: And we see you make so much of this principle and are so in love with it, that you wish it next to your first principle, enacted as the most sacred Law of all other[s], to live and walk by it in Christian States and Churches throughout the world;”

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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, Vented & Acted in England in these Four Last Years  (London, 1646)

Dedicatory Epistle

“In the bishops’ times [in England] Popish innovations were introduced, as bowing at altars, etc. and now [with the Independent sects] we have anointing the sick with oil;”

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pp. 15, 28

“The Catalogue of the Errors, Heresies, Blasphemies, is as follows:


146. That anointing the sick with oil by the elders praying over them, with laying on of hands, is a Church-ordinance for Church-members that are sick, for their recovery.”

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pp. 44-45

“…so our sectaries are great Innovators as changeable as the moon, bringing into their churches new opinions daily, new practices, taking away the old used in all Reformed Churches, and substituting new; taking away of singing of psalms and pleading for hymns of their own making; bringing in anointing with oil, bringing in their laying on of hands to give the Holy Ghost, with several other strange ways and practices…”

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p. 58

“12. Some of the Sectaries plead miracles, revelations, visions, for their way, and to confirm their doctrine…  as healing the sick with the anointing of oil…”

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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)

p. 81

“In that [Independent] church also the doctrine of extreme unction was so far brought back that they began to anoint their sick with oil (PP); taking it as an ordinance of Christ, and a kind of a sacrament for the people, at least a holy ceremony, no less of divine institution than ordination and imposition of hands were for officers (QQ.)”

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p. 88

“(PP) Antapologia, p. 36.  Master [Thomas] Goodwin did anoint a gentle­woman (whose name I conceal) when she was sick, and she recovered after it, say they.

(QQ) Ibid. Anointing the sick with oi was held in that church of Arnhem [Netherlands] as a standing ordinance for church-members, as laying on of hands was a standing ordinance for church-officers.”

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London Presbyterian Ministers

The Divine Right of Church Government  (London, 1645; 1654), pt. 1, ch. 7

“4. Some things He commands extraordinarily in certain select and special cases: as, Israel to borrow jewels of the Egyptians to rob them, without intention ever to restore them, Exod. xi. 2, etc.  The disciples to go preach—yet to provide neither gold nor silver, etc. Mt. x. 7-10.  The elders of the church (while miracles were of use in the church) to anoint the sick with oil in the name of the Lord, for their recovery, James v. 14.  These and like extraordinary commands were only of force by divine right, in these extraordinary select cases, when they were propounded.”

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Robert MacWard

The True Non-Conformist…  (1671), 3rd Dialogue, pp. 117-19

“Next you [Gilbert Burnet] inquire, Why do you [Scottish non-conformists] not anoint the sick with oil?  I answer, though you address this demand to a non-conformist, yet it is evident that your conclusion of defor­mity to the Scripture pattern thence inferred, is equal­ly levelled against the whole Protestant Church, wherein this ceremony is universally disused, and that not from your vain warrant of the Church’s authority in and over things expressly commanded, as you judge this rite to be; No, this is a presumption so high, and lax, that even the grossest Papists are unwilling to avouch it;

But the sound answer of all the Churches is that, as the custom of anointing might have been occasioned from an observance then in use in these parts, where anointings were much more ordinary than in our parts of the world, so it is mentioned in the Scripture by the apostle James, not by way of command, but as the accustomed sym­bol adhibite[d] in the exercise of the gift of healing, which being then ordinary in the Church, is com­manded to be applied by the prayer of faith, where­unto the effect is solely referred, and only with the formality of anointing, as being then customary in the like cases.

Seeing then that the text runs clearly thus, ‘Is any sick?  Let him call the elders, and let them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick;’ and that the application of the extraordinary gift of heal­ing by prayer, with the then us […]all circumstance of anointing […] is here only enjoined, how can you make this text binding as to the manner and circumstance, when you cannot but acknowledge that the substan­ce, viz. the power of healing, is ceased?

But having made your non-conformist say that the apostle promises recovery upon the anointing, you turn to fight with your own shadow, and tell him there is no such matter, that the recovery is promised to prayer, and also forgiveness; and seing we pray by all for their raising up, and that they may be forgiven, why do we not as well anoint?  But, what logic can make out this consequence inasmuch as anointing, being there only spoken of as the conco­mitant rite used in the application of the gift of heal­ing, it is manifest that without the existence and exer­cise of the gift itself, it is not now to be repeated; and therefore though prayer be principally comman­ded as the special mean, by which even the gift of miracles was actuate[d] and made effectual, and to this day does remain as the great one by which all the pro­mises either for raising up or remission are drawn out unto effect; yet thence to infer that anointing, a peculiar solemnity in the gift of healing, should still continue, notwitstanding the gift itself be ceased, is very absurd:

Now, that anointing was an ordi­nary observance in the exercise of the gift of healing, you may read it clearly in the disciples’ practice, Mk. 6:13And they anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.  This being then the just and true ac­count, not only of our practice, but also of that of the whole reformed Churches, how vain and ridicu­lous are you to tell us, that our pretence of Scripture is but to impose on women and simple people, and all our persuasion, grave nods and big words: but leaving you to puff petulantly where you can prove nothing.”

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John Owen

‘A Short Catechism on Worship: Dr. Owen’s Instruction in the Worship of God, by Way of Question and Answer; with an Explication and Confirmation of those Answers’, Question #13  1667  For the fuller context, see Owen above on the holy kiss, which section immediately precedes this section.

“Besides, there were in the first churches continued for a while certain extraordinary gifts, that had their effects visibly on the outward senses of men, and tended not immediately unto the edification of the church in their faith, but unto the conviction of others, and vindication of the authority of them by whom the gospel was preached and propagated.  Such was that gift of healing the sick, which being an especial effect of the Holy-Ghost for the advantage of the Church in those days, in some places it was accompanied by anointing with oil; but this being no universal practice, and used only in the exercise of a gift extraordinary, whose use and being are long since ceased, it never was appointed nor intended to be of continuance in the Church, which is not tied by the Lord Christ to the empty signs and shadows of things whose substance is not enjoyed: besides, no spiritual grace of the Covenant was ever intimated, sealed, or exhibited by that usage of anointing with oil.

The first mention of it is, Mark 6:13 where its practice is reckoned among the effects of that extraordinary power which the Lord Christ committed unto his twelve disciples on their first sending out, and is referred unto the same series of miracles which they wrought in pursuit, and by virtue thereof, they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.  And by what is there recorded, the subsequent mention of it, James 5:14 is to be regulated, but now unto a real evangelical institution of worship, it is required:

(1.) That it be a command of Christ manifested by his Word, or example proposed unto our imitation, Mt. 28:20.

(2.) That it be given and enjoined unto the whole Church with the limitation of its administration expressed in the Word, 1 Cor. 11:25.

(3.) That unto the due performance of it, Gospel grace be required in them that attend unto it.

(4.) That it teach, or represent, or seal, or improve some grace of the Covenant, and have a promise of acceptation annexed unto it, and whatever is thus appointed, the Church is indispensably to continue in the observation of, unto the end of the world.”

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Article

Willet, Andrew – Question 8, ‘Of the Custom & Use of Anointing, which Daniel also Forbears’  in Hexapla in Danielem…  (Cambridge, 1610), pp. 374-5

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Latin Article

Voet, Gisbert – Section 3, 5th Problem, ‘What is to be decided of anointings or besmearings of oil and ointments?’, p. 472  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. 8. ‘Questions on Some Rituals in Particular…’


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On Deacons Collecting the Offering in the Worship Service from the Worshippers & it being Laid at the Feet of the Deacons

Bible Quotes

Ex. 4:25  “Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, ‘Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.'”

Dt. 33:3  “Yea, He loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words [O God].”

Judges 5:27  “At her [Jael’s] feet he [Sisera] bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.”

Ruth 3:7  “And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.”

1 Sam. 25:24  “And fell at his feet, and said…”

2 Kings 4:37  “Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.”

2 Kings 12:9-10  “…the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord

2 Chron. 24:8-11  “And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the Lord.  And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the Lord the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness.  And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.”

Esther 8:3  “And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite…”

Isa. 60:14  “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”

Mk. 12:41-44  “And Jesus sat over against the treasuryAnd there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites…. And He… saith unto them… That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury…”

Mt.15:30  “And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and He healed them:”

Mt. 18:29  “And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.'”

Lk. 8:35  “…and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”

Acts 4:34-37  “…for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.  And Joses…  a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

Acts 5:1-2  “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

1 Cor. 16:1-2  “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him…”

Rev. 1:17  “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not;”

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Quotes on Independents

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  (1645), ch. 6, p. 117  Baillie was a Scottish presbyterian.

“They [congregationalists] count it necessary that all the church officers should live upon the charge of the congregation, the ruling elders and deacons as well as the pastors and doctors; but all they will have them to receive, is a mere alms, a voluntary contribution, laid down as an offering at the deacons’ feet every Lords Day, and by him distributed to all the officers and the poor of the congregation according as they have need.  This is their doctrine, but it seems they are weary long ago of its practice.”

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Congregationalists

Quotes

John Cotton

The Doctrine of the Church…  (London, 1644)

p. 3

“9th Question.  What is the office of the deacons?

Answer.  To receive the offerings of the Church brought unto them and laid down before them, and therewith to serve tables, distributing with simplicity, not only to the ministers of the Church, but to any other of the brethren, as they shall have need.

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p. 8

“23rd Question.  After the ministry of the Word and the seals thereof, how is the collection for the saints to be administered?

Answer.  The collection for the saints was by the apostles’ ordinance, to be made: for the time, every Lord’s Day; for the measure, as God has prospered every man; for the manner, not of constraint, but freely and willingly, brought by the givers as an offering to the Lord, and laid down, as at first before the apostles, so afterwards by their appointment before the deacons of the Church as into a common treasury, by them to be distributed to the supply of the ministry, and of the poor saints, according to their need, and of outward service of the Church.”

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John Davenport

A Catechism Containing the Chief Heads of Christian Religion…  (London, 1659), ‘Concerning the Subject of this Application’, p. 43

“Question.  After the ministry of the Word and the seals, how is the freewill-offering, or collection for the saints, to be administered?

Answer:  1. For the time, it is to be made every Lord’s Day, which is the first day of the week.  2. For the measure, as God hath prospered every man.  3 For the manner; not of constraint, but freely, and to be presented, as an offering to the Lord, and laid down, as at first before the apostles, so afterward, by their appointment, before the deacons of church, as into a common treasury.”

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Latin Article

Hoornbeeck, Johannes – ‘On Deacons collecting the offering from the Worshippers’, pp. 378-80  in An Epistle on Independency [to John Duraeus], with a Newly Published Confession of the Independents, or Congregationalists, in England, to which has been Added a Dissertation with Notes on Episcopacy Reduced to the Form of a Governing Synod, by Jacob Usserius…  (Utrecht, 1661)


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On Believing that Holding the Lord’s Supper in the Evening is Necessary

See also ‘On the Indifferent Circumstances of the First Lord’s Supper’

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Bible Verses

Ex. 12:5-6  “Your lamb shall be without blemish…  the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Mt. 26:19-20  “…and they made ready the passover.  Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve.”

Mk. 14:16-17  “and they made ready the passover.  And in the evening He cometh with the twelve.”

Jn. 20:19  “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst,”

Acts 2:46  “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness…”

Acts 20:7-8  “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.  And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.”

1 Cor. 11:23  “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread…”

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Quotes

Antonius Thysius

The Synopsis of Purer Theology...  (1625; Brill), vol. 3, Disputation 45, ‘On the Lord’s Supper’, pp. 187

“And these temporal circumstances, whether of evening or night-time, or of the sixth day of the week [i.e. Thursday night] or that particular day of the year (i.e., of the third day before Christ’s resurrection), and also of the place (i.e. a private place), do not have any force of prescribed necessity or of observance.  Nor do the following facts have any force of being required or observed: that the supper was given to them after they had eaten a meal, after their feet had been washed, when they were lying at table, and even that there were twelve in number (some of which were observed for some time in the early church).”

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Thomas Edwards

Antapologia, or, A Full Answer to the Apologetical Narration of [the Independents] Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr. Sympson, Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Bridge…  (London, 1644)

p. 51

“I can tell you of the adding to your [Independent] church assemblies great numbers since and of your receiving the Lord’s Supper at night in private houses…”

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pp. 64-65

“…concealing other things you [Independents] practiced not with them [the Reformed Churches], so wholly passing over in silence here all your different way of practicing from all Churches, in the way of ordination [by laymen], in the way of constituting Churches [by a necessary church covenant], and admission into them [by the same way], and in the way of governing by the votes and suffrages of the whole body [instead of the session of elders], in the way of celebration the Lord’s Supper, receiving it at night, etc.”

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p. 75

“Whether you [Independents] do practice and observe your own rule here given with the exceptions made by you? or whether you do not much depart from it in your church-way, not yielding to mere circumstances, nor the rules the law of nature do in common dictate?  As for instance, receiving the Lord’s Supper at night, contrary to the practice of the reformed Churchesstanding upon that circumstance of time;”

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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  (1645), ch. 6, p. 120

“The Lord’s Supper they [Independents] desire to celebrate at night after all other ordinances are ended; albeit the Brownists [separatists] now take it in the forenoon.”

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London Presbyterian Ministers

The Divine Right of Church Government  (London, 1645; 1654), pt. 1, ch. 4

“4. Some [of Christ’s actions were] accidental, occasional, incidental, or circumstantial, as in the case of his celebrating his supper, that it was at night, not in the morning; after supper, not before; with none but men, none but ministers; with unleavened, not with leavened bread, etc.; these circumstantials were accidentally occasioned by the passover, nature of his family, etc.”


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Love Feasts

Bible Verses

Neh. 8:10  “Then he said unto them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'”

Isa. 25:6  “And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.”

Mt. 22:2-3  “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding:”

Mt. 26:29  “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

Luke 14:12-14  “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”

Lk. 24:29-30  “But they constrained Him, saying, ‘Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.’  And He went in to tarry with them.  And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.”

1 Cor. 11:20-22, 33-34  “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.  For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.  What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?…

Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.  And if any man hunger, let him eat at home;”

Jude 1:12  “These [persons] are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds…”

Rev. 19:9  “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

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Quotes

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), Intro, section 3, p. 64

“4.  Some things are not matters of worship at all, but of goods, as the community of goods, love-feasts, matters of civil conversation, these are only in their morality (as touching distribution to the necessities of the saints, and brotherly kindness) unalterable, and no otherwise.”

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Thomas Edwards

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, Vented & Acted in England in these Four Last Years  (London, 1646)

pp. 15, 27

“The Catalogue of the Errors, Heresies, Blasphemies, is as follows:


140. This has been lately practiced in London among some of the Sectaries, that love-feasts, or feasts of love (with which the Lord’s Supper is to be administered also) is a perpetual ordinance of Christ, at which only Church-members are to be present, and to partake.”

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The Casting Down of the Last & Strongest Hold of Satan, or a Treatise Against Toleration & Pretended Liberty of Conscience…  (London, 1647), 17th thesis, p. 76

“Independents themselves, though they hold [that] the substantials of Church government and order ought to be the same in our times that they were in the apostles’, yet they do not in all circumstantials nor accidentals judge [that that] discipline now binds; and I suppose if Hagiomastix [author of a book] had thus reasoned against their Independent government and order, that if that tied us in these days, then we are bound to all circumstances and accessories, as to the number of seven deacons, etc. as to widows just of such an age [1 Tim. 5], etc. or else the office of deacons and widows are ceased in the Church, they would have laughed at him for his folly, and yet this is the way of the man’s reasoning against the command of God, Deut. 13:17, the command itself must be wholly abrogated, or else all accessories and formalities accompanying it Christians are tied unto…

Love, humility, hospitality, are graces and moral duties commanded under the Gospel, and yet all these with many others of the like kind that I could instance in, had in the apostles’ days, those primitive times, some accessories and appendices, ways of manifestations of them which are now ceased, as the feasts of love, the kiss of love, washing the saints’ feet, etc. in which humility, brotherly love, kindness to strangers were expressed, as proper and peculiar to that condition the Church was then in, and the customs of those countries, etc.”

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Article

Ames, William – ch. 3, sections 23-26, ‘Concerning Love-Feasts’  in A Fresh Suit against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship…  (1633), pp. 334-39


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More Customs

Quote

Robert Macward

The True Non-Conformist…  (1671), 3rd Dialogue, pp. 112

“I must by the way tell you that I find not sackcloth therein commanded as a solemn significant ceremony; I say commanded as a solemn ceremony, for that you find it not only mentioned as the ordinary concomitant of more grievous mour­nings, nay by the prophets even literally commanded, as also baldness, sitting in the dust, howling and wallow­ing in ashes, the better to express that serious mourning, whereunto the Lord did call, is plainly obvious, and can only infer that therefore and after this man­ner it is the more capable to be still contained.”


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Bibliographies

Malcom, Howard – Theological Index...  (Boston, 1868)

‘Washing the Disciples’ Feet’, p. 477-78

‘Extreme Unction’, p. 181

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Related Pages

On Natural Gestures, Signs & Customs about Worship, & of Reverence & Veneration as Distinguished from the Worship of Adoration