The Development Of The Traditional Form Of The Westminster Standards

By NaphtaliPress · Feb 18, 2017 · ·
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    Appendix B: Editions of the Westminster Standards Referenced in this Article

    Unless otherwise noted, the editions consulted for this collation are part of the author’s research collection.

    Lithgow, 1649. The Confession of faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisme: First agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. And now appointed by the Generall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, to be a part of Uniformity in Religion between the Kirks of Christ in the three Kingdomes (Edinburgh: Printed by Gedeon Lithgow, printer to the Universitie of Edinburgh, 1649). Wing 5760C. Dr. Anette Hagan, who is Curator of Rare Books at the National Library of Scotland, kindly checked the NLS copy of this edition for this collation. North Reading Room (George IV Bridge); reference F.7.g.46.

    Tyler, 1649. The Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisme, etc. Together with the Solemn league and covenant of the three Kingdoms (Edinburgh: Printed by E. Tyler, 1649). Wing C5760B. Wing locates a copy at University of Chicago Library. The above is the entry from the card catalog. Location: Special Collections, Rare Books BX9183.A3 1649.

    Bostock, 1649. The Confession of Faith and Catechisms, Agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster: Together with their Humble Advice concerning Church Government and Ordination of Ministers (R. Bostock: London, 1648 [1649]). Warfield, relying upon the work of William Carruthers, gives the explanation why this is actually more likely a 1649 imprint, rather than 1648 as indicated on the title page (Warfield, 625). Wing C5760. UMI, Thomason Tracts, 255.1419:1.

    Luice Elsever, 1649. The Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisme, First agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, And now appointed by the Generall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland to be a part of Uniformity in Religion between the Kirks of Christ in the three Kingdomes. [With “Directions of the Generall Assembly concerning Secret and Private Worship.”] (Amsterdam; for Andrew Wilson; Edinburgh: Printed by Luice Elsever, 1649). All are fictitious imprints. The “Directions of the Generall Assembly” is the imprint of 1650 noted in this article. The copy containing it is in the British Library. The copy available in Early English Books does not contain the “Directions”. Wing 5760A. Early English Books (1641-1700), 2350:05. Hereafter EEB.

    Tyler, 1649/1650. The Confession of Faith, etc. Together with the solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms. (Edinburgh: Printed by Evan Tyler, printer to the Kings most excellent Majesty, 1650). Individual title pages for the Catechisms are dated 1649. Wing C5760D. A copy is owned by the National Library of Scotland, but it was not checked for this collation. As of this writing, this edition of Evan Tyler is not available in EEB.

    Lithgow, 1650. The Confession of Faith, etc. [With] A breef Sum of Christian Doctrine contained in Holy Scripture, and holden forth in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms, etc. By David Dickson. (Edinburgh: Gedeon Lithgow, 1650). Wing 5761. EEB 1791:30.

    Stationers, 1652. The Confession of Faith, etc. … together with the Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms (London: First printed at Edenburgh, and now reprinted at London for the Company of Stationers, 1652). Wing 5764. EEB 1186:14.

    Rothwell ‘A’, 1658. The Confession of Faith, etc. (London: Printed for the Company of Stationers and are to be sold by J. Rothwel, 1658). The first version of Rothwell is known as Rothwell ‘A.’ Carruthers thus concludes the theories and research of the Rothwell editions first begun by his father and continued by Warfield: “This is the first of the five ‘Rothwell’ printings of this year, which have not hitherto been properly differentiated. The Text is carelessly printed, nearly two score errors, mostly unimportant, occurring throughout. These ‘Rothwell’ editions were the first in which the proofs were printed ‘at large’. Presumably it was this novel feature which caused the five printings. The large number of copies extant does not, however, necessarily mean that the printings were large” (Three Centuries, 55)

    Rothwell ‘A’ has a variant with “S. Griffin” given as the printer on the title page. The confession of faith, etc (London: Printed by S. Griffin for the Company of Stationers, and to be sold by J. Rothwell at the Fountain in Cheapside, 1658). This is the form of Rothwell ‘A’ examined for this article. Carruthers notes it is from the same type as ‘A’ with “some typographical errors corrected.” He comments: “Sarah [Griffin] was the widow of Edward Griffin who died in 1652. Presumably she printed the Confession in D 16 [i.e. ‘Rothwell A’] as well as in this. Anne Maxey printed both Catechisms.” (Three Centuries, 55). Wing W1433. EEB 1412:22.

    Rothwell ‘B’, 1658. Confession of Faith, Together with the Larger and Lesser Catechismes. … Again Published with the Scriptures at large, and the Emphasis of the Scriptures in a different Character. To which is annexed two sheets of Church-Government with the Scriptures at large. [The Second Edition] (London: Printed by E. M. for the Company of Stationers, and are to be sold by John Rothwel at the Fountain in Cheapside. 1658). Carruthers styled this “Second Edition” as Rothwell “B” and there are two subsequent variant forms. Carruthers notes: “The type was re-set for this printing. On the general title it is noted—‘the Emphasis of the Scriptures in a different Character’. In due time these somewhat unintelligent italics disappeared, to be revised, however, by Johnstone & Hunter in 1855. E. M. is probably Edward Mottershead.” The first variant of Rothwell ‘B,’ which Carruthers numbers D 19, is from “the same type as the previous Edition, with some corrections.” Of the final variant (D 20), he notes the “type has again been re-set” (Three Centuries, 55). Wing C5796. EEB 1482:24.

    Covenanter, 1679. The Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter catechism, first agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster; and now approved by the General Assembly … (1679). Wing 5770AB. EEB 2683:21a.

    Watson, 1707-08. The Confession of Faith, etc. Again published with the Scriptures at large, and the emphasis of the Scriptures in a different character. Together with the Directory, and all other additions that have been hitherto printed. The Fourth Edition (Edinburgh: Printed by James Watson, 1708). This is the same James Watson who later collaborated with William Dunlop to produce his “Collections.” The 1707 is styled the “Fifth edition,” but a careful collation by Carruthers, confirmed for this article by the Rev. Sherman Isbell, indicates these are printed from the same setting of type. Watson evidently thought better of the numbering of editions and changed it at some point in the middle of the print run, which must have spanned from late 1707 into 1708. For more information about these Watson editions, see the author’s comments in “Examining the Work of S. W. Carruthers,” printed earlier in this issue of The Confessional Presbyterian. NLS, North Reading Room (George IV Bridge) Cwn.504 (1708). The rare 1707 variant is in The Newbattle Collection, Newb. 2746, housed at Monteviot House, which Dr. Hagan kindly arranged to be transported to Edinburgh for collation with the 1708.

    Cox, 1717. The Confession of Faith, Together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines Sitting at Westminster, etc. Together with the Directory, and all other Additions that have been hitherto Printed. The Fifth Edition (London: Printed for S. Cruttenden and T. Cox, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, near MercersChappel, 1717). It appears that Cox is set from Watson’s Fourth of 1707/08. Warfield quotes Dr. Mitchell saying, “The fifth, bearing the date of 1717, is a large octavo, and perhaps the most handsomely printed of all these early editions of the Confession.” Warfield also notes, “This edition was apparently the copy from which was prepared the first American edition, printed at Boston, in 1723, for D. Henchman, by S. Kneeland. There were no other successors in England or America of this type.” (Warfield, 636). Dr. Carruthers notes that there was a Scottish imprint of this edition which he numbers D 53 and describes it as: “The Fifth Edition. London, Printed for James MacEwen in Edenburgh. 1717.” He comments: “This is from the same type as the previous one….” (Three Centuries, 59).

    Dunlop, 1719. A Collection of Confessions of Faith, Catechisms, Directions, Books of Discipline, etc. (Edinburgh, James Watson, 1719-21). While they are not large volumes, Warfield was of the opinion that Dunlop “is one of the most beautiful editions of the Confession of Faith ever printed (though some impressions were also issued on inferior paper) …” (Warfield, 638). The author’s copy is a set once owned by the library of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Diocese of Massachusetts.

    Reformed Presbyterian, 1725. The Confessions of Faith, Catechisms, Directories, Form of Government, Discipline, etc. Of Publick Authority in the Church of Scotland (Edinburgh: Printed by Thomas Lumisden and John Robertson, 1725).

    Lumisden & Robertson, 1728. The Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter catechisms, with the Scripture proofs at large. Together with The Sum of Saving Knowledge (contain’d in the Holy Scriptures, and held forth in the said Confession and Catechisms) and Practical Use thereof, Covenants National and Solemn League, Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties, Directories, Form of Church-Government [etc.] (Edinburgh: Printed by Thomas Lumisden and John Robertson…, 1728). A copy of this edition is owned by Dallas Theological Seminary. Rare Books, BX9183 .C45 1728. The author owns the second edition of 1736, which closely follows the 1728.

    Orr, 1842. The Confession of Faith; the Larger … etc. (Glasgow: Francis Orr and Sons, 1842). The copy consulted is an example of the 1849 edition, which according to Carruthers was set from the same type as the 1842 edition (Three Centuries, 68). He lists editions for 1842, 1845, 1848 and 1849.

    Johnstone & Hunter. The Confession of Faith, etc. (Edinburgh: Johnstone, Hunter, & Co.). This firm was the first to use stereotyping in British editions of the Standards (Three Centuries, 68). B. B. Warfield wrote to Mr. Hunter in 1901 about their editions and he received the following reply (Warfield, 452): “I cannot fix a date when we first issued it [the Confession of Faith], but it must have been about 1842 or 1843 in the 12mo size.” However, this is off by a decade, as Carruthers does not list any Johnstone & Hunter editions prior to 1851. Also, Johnstone & Hunter did not succeed and take up the same address of the printing firm of John Johnstone until 1849, the year that firm’s titles cease and those by Johnstone & Hunter appear in earnest.13

    There are three Johnstone & Hunter editions, which Carruthers styles Johnstone ‘A’, Johnstone ‘B’, and Johnstone ‘C’. Johnstone ‘A’ was first published in 1851, and apparently was set from an Orr edition because it also adds Mark 9:43 as a Scripture proof text at WLC 29. They printed 6,000 copies, and printed another 5,000 in 1852, and another 5,000 again in 1853 (Three Centuries, 68-69). Some of the 1851 have additional matter and are titled, The Subordinate Standards … of the Free Church of Scotland. Johnstone ‘B’ (1855) was a larger 8vo format edition limited to 750 copies, with some printed on larger paper. A fire destroyed these earlier plates, and in 1860 new ones were created to publish the final form, Johnstone ‘C.’ This form was often reprinted, including versions for the Free Church. In 1933 Graham and Heslip, Belfast, published the regular edition of Johnstone ‘C’ and they also reprinted the version for the Free Church. The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland also made use of this 1933 regular edition before publishing their own reprint of Johnstone ‘B’ beginning in 1958. In the late 1960s the FPCS corrected the text of the Confession of Faith against the manuscript text published by Carruthers in 1946, while leaving the rest of the Johnstone ‘B’ text unchanged. This edition was published in 1967 and again in 1970. However, evidently determining that the manuscript text was not the preferred text, after this they returned to a straight reprint of the Johnstone ‘B’ edition. Beginning in 1994, the FPCS again changed the text of the Confession, this time to Carruther’s 1937 critical text, while keeping the rest of Johnstone ‘B’ as before. They have continued to make changes to the text as improvements or corrections were warranted.

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    About Author

    Since 1987 through his imprint Naphtali Press, Chris Coldwell has edited and published new and critical text editions of classic Presbyterian & Reformed books. He is general editor and publisher of The Confessional Presbyterian journal.
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  2. Ask Mr. Religion
    A fascinating and excellently researched article. If you could own but one of these ancient works, which one would you choose?
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      If you are asking the author, for use I'd want a fine edition of the large format 1855; otherwise be nice to have the Lumisden and Robertson editions in much better shape than the research copies shown above.
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