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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Gospel Side of the Altar

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the right side of the altar or communion-table, looking from it, at which, is the English Church service, the Gospel appointed for the day is read. It is of higher distinction than the epistle side, and is occupied by the clergyman of highest ecclesiastical rank who happens to be present. In some cathedrals, one of the clergy has this special duty to perform, and is designated the Gospeller. Gospeller.

(1.) A term of reproach, though really an honorable epithet, applied by the Romanists to those who advocate the circulation of the Scriptures. It was first given in England to the followers of Wickliffe, when that eminent reformer translated the New Testament (Eden).

(2.) A term applied in the Reformation period to certain Antinomians. "I do not find anything objected to them as to their belief, save only that the doctrine of predestination having been generally taught by the reformers, many of this sect. began to make strange inferences from it, reckoning that since everything is decreed, as the decrees of God could not be frustrated, therefore men were to leave themselves to be carried by these decrees. This drew some into great impiety of life, and others into desperation. The Germans soon saw the ill effects :of this doctrine. Luther changed his mind about it, and Maelancthon openly writ against it; and since that time the whole stream of the Lutheran churches has rusn the other way. But both Calvin and Bucer were still for maintaining the doctrine of these decrees; only they warned the people not to think much of them, since they were secrets which men could not penetrate into; but they did not so clearly show how these consequences did not flow, from, such opinions. Hooper, and many other good writers, did often dehort people from entering into these curiosities; and a caveat to that same purpose was put afterwards into the article of the. Church about predestination" (Burnet, History of Reformation, part 2, book 1, page 180).

(3.) It is customary in the Church of England for the ministers to read the gospel And epistle for the day at the communion-table. He who read the gospel, standing at the north side of the altar, was formerly called the Gospeller; and be who read the epistle at the opposite side, was called the Epistoler. In the canons of queen Elizabeth, we find that a special reader, entitled an Epistoler, is to read the epistle in collegiate churches, vested in a cope.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gospel Side of the Altar'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/g/gospel-side-of-the-altar.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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