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In Divine Rule Maintained, Stephen J. Casselli provides us with a window into the exegetical and theological underpinnings of the Westminster Confession’s chapter on the law by delivering an in-depth analysis of Anthony Burgess’s Vindiciae Legis. After a brief introduction to Burgess and his historical context, Casselli details the logical course of Burgess’s book considering the law as given to Adam, the law given to Moses, and finally the proper relation between law and gospel. Along the way, Casselli opens up such controverted points as natural law, the covenant of works, the continuing obligation to the moral law, and the diverse administrations of one unified covenant of grace.
What we see is a pastoral theology developed in a richly complex environment where technical distinctions were warranted given the polemical context; where the broad history of the Western catholic tradition was deeply respected; where a covenantal hermeneutic was consistently applied to Scripture; and where all theological formulations grew out of detailed linguistic exegesis of particular texts of Scripture in the context of the broader ecclesiastical community.
Table of Contents:
2. The Life of Anthony Burgess
3. Creation and Law
4. Law Given to Moses
5. Law and Gospel
Studies on the Westminster Assembly. Complementing the primary source material in the Principal Documents of the Westminster Assembly series, the Assembly studies provides access to classic studies that have not been reprinted and to new studies, providing some of the best existing research on the Assembly and its members.
Stephen J. Casselli is senior pastor at Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Florida.
“Anthony Burgess is a name likely unfamiliar to most Presbyterians, especially given that names such as John Calvin loom large over the Reformed tradition. But in truth, Burgess was a giant in his own right and a significant influence upon and contributor to the Westminster Standards. This makes Stephen Casselli’s book a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on seventeenth-century Reformed theology. One need not agree with every point in Casselli’s analysis to benefit greatly from his historical spadework in uncovering one of the Westminster Assembly’s brightest luminaries.” — J. V. Fesko, academic dean and professor of systematic and historical theology, Westminster Seminary California
“The place of the law remains a crucial but contentious area in Reformed theology, especially in Presbyterian circles, where a key element in the discussion is the teaching of the Westminster Standards on the matter. In this work, Casselli looks at the thought of Anthony Burgess, a member of the Westminster Assembly, and uses this to explore the historical and theological dynamics of the issue in its seventeenth-century context. This is a most valuable and informative book which both increases our knowledge of the seventeenth century and helps us to think more clearly about the relevant issues today.” — Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary and pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), Ambler, Pennsylvania