Gilbert Burnet's Discourse of the Pastoral Care
Before his appointment in 1689 as Bishop of Salisbury, Gilbert Burnet had served as Professor of Divinity at Glasgow University, and during his exile in Holland he had served as a chaplain and advisor to William and Mary. Burnet accompanied William to England during the invasion that led to the change in monarchs. They rewarded Burnet with his episcopal see. His Discourse of the Pastoral Care, first published in 1692, with a new preface and chapter added to the third edition of 1713, was a pastoral care manual for ministers of the Church of England, and was in use throughout the 18th and well into the 19th century. Since the church had lost the power of coercive discipline, the treatise attempted to show pastors how to exert moral and spiritual discipline through the reliance on reason and moral persuasion. This critical edition provides an introduction to the life and thought of Gilbert Burnet, and provides an annotated text, giving biblical and bibliographical citations, as well as definitions of archaic terms.
". . . Cornwall's volume makes an important contribution to the study of the eighteenth century Church. The annotation of the text of the Discourse demonstrates Cornwall's scholarship and the other scholarly apparatus, including the index, make this an invaluable tool for the scholar seeking Burnet's views on a plethora of issues." - William Gibson in H-Net List for British and Irish History
"Burnet's Discourse at once reflected, and in turn, powerfully influenced the content and the structure of the entire body of pastoral theology in the Anglo-American tradition. Active contemplation and inward service to God was to be followed by outward service and faithful action for others. Robert Cornwall's introduction and annotations to this treatise provide the modern reader with expert guidance at every point. The introduction sets Burnet within the context of late Stuart England and illumines the political and ecclesiastical movements that shaped Burnet's life and thought. . . . The annotations Cornwall provides thoughout the body of the treatise helpfully clarify archaic usage, and references are provided to those people, practices, and events that might otherwise remain obscure to modern readers." - James E. Bradley
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