13 August 2005

bowles on pastoral practice

Over on the website of the Westminster Assembly Project, you can find all kinds of interesting and exciting developments with regard to the historical study of the Westminster Standards, the Assembly, and the theological work of its participants.

Among their current projects is a translation of Oliver Bowles' A Treatise on the Evangelical Pastor (De Pastore Evangelico Tractatus). The translation is being undertaken by Jonathan Rockey (my high school Latin teacher) and by Phil Ryken, pastor of Tenth PCA here in Philadelphia. I'm not sure when it will appear, but I understand that the Rev. Dr. Ryken is putting some work into it during his current vacation/study leave.

Oliver Bowles was born sometime around 1590 and lived until 1674, serving as the rector of the parish of Luton in Bedfordshire for about fifty of those years, along with his position as a fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge. In addition to serving the Westminster Assembly faithfully, he also preached one of its opening sermons on 7 July 1643, a sermon preached after a season of fasting, given before the assembled divines and both Houses of Parliament.

Bowles' treatise on pastoral practice was published in 1649 and represents reflection, at that point, upon nearly forty years of pastoral care of souls, dispensing of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments. An overview of the table of contents is available on the Westminster Assembly Project website.