Gillespie: Liberty Is More In The Abstaining Than The Using Of Things Indifferent

Chrysostom, speaking of such has are subject to bishops, says, it is in their power to obey or not. Liberty in things indifferent, says Amandus Polanus, is that through which Christians are free in use of or abstinence from indifferent things. Calvin, speaking of our liberty in things indifferent, says, We may sometimes observe, sometimes disregard them indiscriminately, and places this liberty more in the abstaining then in the using. It is marked of the rites of the ancient church, that the observance of these ceremonies were without obligation in the church. And what means the apostle while [when] he says,”if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world, are you subject to the ordinances (touch not, taste not, handle not; which are all to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men” (Col. 2:20–22?) Sure[ly] he condemns not only humana decreta de ritibus [not only human ordinances concerning ceremonies], but also subjection and obedience to such ordinances of men as take from liberty of practice in the use of things indifferent, obedience (I say) for conscience of their ordinances merely.

—George Gillespie, A Dispute Against The English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded On The Church Of Scotland, ed. Chris Coldwell (Dallas: Naphtali Press, rev. edition, 2013), 27–28.

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  1. “humana decreta de ritibus” -say that to my friend going to the Friday Fish Fry at the KoC.

    This book has been on my (growing) list of wish books for a few years now; I gotta read it.

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