tion in the chapter on the civil magistrate. He took his last leave of the assembly on 16 July 1647. This disposes of the legend which connects him with the shorter catechism (not begun till 5 Aug.). Scott mentions the fable that Gillespie drew it up ‘in the course of a single night.’ More persistent is the story about the answer in that catechism to the question ‘What is God?’ which, according to one account, was taken from the opening words of a prayer by Gillespie. Pictorial shape was given to this version of the story, by Dean Stanley's order, in the decorations of the Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster Abbey. The larger catechism has a kindred answer, brought to its present shape by successive revisions, which were not concluded when Gillespie left London. He presented the confession of faith to the general assembly which opened at Edinburgh on 4 Aug. 1647, and obtained its ratification.
Gillespie was elected to the High Church of Edinburgh by the town council on 22 Sept. He was chosen moderator of the general assembly which met on 12 July 1648, and was appointed on the commission to conduct the treaty of uniformity in religion with England. His intellectual powers were at their height, for it was then that William, earl of Glencairn, declared ‘there is no standing before this great and mighty man.’ But his end was near. He fell into a rapid consumption. With a dying hand he wrote his tract against confederacies with ‘malignants;’ similar testimonies were embodied in his will, and dictated to an amanuensis when he could no longer hold a pen. In hope of recruiting his health he went with his wife to Kirkcaldy, and died there on 16 Dec. 1648. A Latin epitaph was placed on his tombstone at Kirkcaldy. By order of the committee of estates the stone was broken by the hangman at the cross of Kirkcaldy in January 1661. In 1746 the inscription was replaced by his grandson, George Gillespie, minister of Strathmiglo, Fifeshire. To his widow, Margaret Murray, a grant of 1,000l. sterling was voted by the committee of estates on 20 Dec. 1648; the grant was ratified by parliament on 8 June 1650, but owing to the invasion by Cromwell in that year it was never paid. He left three sons: (1) Robert, a covenanting minister, who suffered imprisonment on the Bass Rock, lived for some time in England, and was at Auchtermuchty, Fifeshire, in 1682; his widow and children were recommended by parliament to the royal bounty on 17 July 1695; (2) George; (3) Archibald, died 1659; and a daughter, Elizabeth, who married James Oswald, an Edinburgh merchant.
Excepting a posthumous treatise, all Gillespie's writings are of a controversial character. Such interest as they now possess is less due to the skill of his dialectic than to his elevation of tone and the genuineness of his religious nature. His early maturity and untimely death have invested his memory with much of its peculiar charm. His mind was not illiberal. While opposed to toleration, as tending to perpetuate division as well as error, he saw nothing impracticable in ‘a mutual endeavour for a happy accommodation’ (Minutes, p. 28). Speaking in favour of a catechism, he declares, ‘it never entered into the thoughts of any to tie to the words and syllables’ (ib. p. 93). The fame of his ‘rugged name’ is preserved in Milton's sonnet under the form ‘Galasp.’
He published: 1. ‘Dispute against the English Popish Ceremonies,’ &c., 1637, 4to (anon.). 2. ‘An Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland,’ &c., 1641, 4to. 3. ‘A Sermon … before the … House of Commons … March 27,’ &c., 1644, 4to (Ezek. xliii. 11). 4. ‘A Dialogue between a Civilian and a Divine, concerning … the Church of England,’ &c., 1644, 4to (anon.). 5. ‘A Recrimination … upon Mr. Goodwin, in Defence of Presbyterianism,’ &c., 1644, 4to (anon.). 6. ‘Wholesome Severity reconciled with Christian Liberty. Or, The true Resolution of a present Controversie concerning Liberty of Conscience,’ &c., 1645, 4to (anon., often erroneously catalogued as two distinct works). 7. ‘A Sermon … before the … House of Lords … August 27 [Mal. iii. 2] … added, A Brotherly Examination of … Mr. Coleman's Sermon,’ &c., 1645, 4to. 8. ‘Nihil Respondens,’ &c., 1645, 4to (answer to ‘A Brotherly Examination Re-examined’ by Thomas Coleman [q. v.]). 9. ‘Male Audis; or, An Answer to Mr. Coleman on his Male Dicis … with some Animadversions upon Master Hussey,’ &c., 1646, 4to. 10. ‘Aaron's Rod Blossoming: or, The Divine Ordinance of Church Government,’ &c., 1646, 4to (dedicated to the Westminster Assembly). 11. ‘One Hundred and Eleven Propositions concerning the Ministry and Government of the Church,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1647, 4to. Posthumous were: 12. ‘An usefull Case of Conscience … associations and confederacies with Idolaters, Infidels, Hereticks,’ &c., 1649, 4to. 13. ‘A Treatise of Miscellany Questions,’ &c., 1649, 4to (published by his brother, Patrick Gillespie, deals inter alia with questions which came before the Westminster Assembly). 14. ‘The Ark of the New Testament opened … by a Minister of the New Testament,’ &c., 1661, 4to, 2nd pt. 1677, 4to (published by, and sometimes ascribed to, his brother Patrick).