The Development Of The Traditional Form Of The Westminster Standards

By NaphtaliPress · Feb 18, 2017 · ·
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    1. B. B. Warfield, “Notes Toward A Bibliography of the Westminster Confession: I. Britain,” The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, xii (1901) 621. Hereafter, Warfield.

    2. S. W. Carruthers, Three Centuries of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (New Brunswick: Published for the Beaverbrook Foundations by the University of New Brunswick, 1957) 59. Hereafter Three Centuries. William Carruthers, The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly of Divines: Being a facsimile of the First Edition, which was ordered to be printed by the House of Commons, 25th November, 1647. With Historical Account and Bibliography (London: Publication Office of the Presbyterian Church of England, 1897) 48.

    3. Dictionary of Scottish Church History & Theology, Nigel M. de S. Cameron, David F. Wright, David C. Lachman, Donald E. Meek, eds. (Downers Grover: IVP, 1993) “Covenanters,” 218-219; “Brown, John (of Wamphray),” 98-99; “Killing Times,” 458; “MacWard, Robert,” 537-538. Hereafter DSCHT.

    4. See Chris Coldwell, “Examining the Work of S. W. Carruthers” beginning on page 43 of this issue of The Confessional Presbyterian.

    5. B. B. Warfield, “The Printing of the Westminster Confession,” The Westminster Assembly and Its Work (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981) Works, 6.344.

    6. Rothwell was the first to include the texts of the Scripture proofs, and the italicized portions evidently were to emphasize what he at least thought were the key portions of the references adduced by the Westminster divines. Carruthers criticized the endeavor as having been done “ in the most haphazard way,” and he considered it “almost unbelievable that any man in 1855 could think it worth while to reproduce these hopelessly unintelligent italics….” S. W. Carruthers, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Being an account of the Preparation and Printing of its Seven Leading Editions, to which is appended a critical text of the Confession with notes thereon (Manchester: R. Aikman & Son, [1937]) 75.

    7. DSCHT, “Dickson, David,” 243; “Durham, James”, 265-266.

    8. For a complete bibliography for titles published by James Watson see: D. Wyn Evans, “James Watson of Edinburgh: A Bibliography of Works from his Press 1695-1722,” Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions, Volume V, Part 2, Sessions 1976-7, 1977-8, 1979-80 (Edinburgh: Printed for the Society by John G Eccles Printers Ltd, Inverness, 1982). Warfield and Carruthers on the authority of John Lee note an earlier 1701 edition by Watson [John Lee, Memorial for the Bible Societies in Scotland (Edinburgh: Printed for the Edinburgh Bible Society, 1824; 1826; 1839)], but neither traced an existing copy (Warfield, 635; Three Centuries, 58). Wyn, who consulted Lee as well, does not list such a title for that date. Neither does Wyn catalog one for 1709, another untraced edition which Carruthers lists out of “Orr’s Catalogue.” Watson did publish another edition in 1710, the only known copy of which is located by Wyn, Warfield and Carruthers at the Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia. It follows older Scottish forms rather than the 1707-08, has the Scripture proofs by reference only, and beneath each section rather than in the margin, as in Sanders 1690, and the anonymously published editions of 1794 and 1700 (Wing C5776, C5776A, C5776C). Barry Waugh, Ph.D, who examined this rare volume for the author, notes that it has aged poorly, which may explain why more copies have not survived. See a summary of Dr. Waugh’s presented in Appendix C.

    9. The Postscript was probably first added to the 1679 edition. It appears also in the anonymously published editions of 1694 and 1700, as well as in Watson’s 1710. It does not appear in the 1683 edition by George Swintoun and Thomas Brown (Wing C5770B), nor does it appear in Carruthers’ Glasgow Fourth (Robert Sanders, 1675; Wing C5797). The later editions of 1687, 1690 and 1693 by Sanders (Wing C5772, C5775, C5776), and by his son Robert Sanders (1703, 1711), and those by Anderson for 1679, 1685 and 1697 (Wing c5770A, C5771, C5776B), were not examined.

    10. The editor of the RP Collection probably changed this statement in keeping with the 1647 Act by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland approving the Confession of Faith: “the Assembly understandeth some parts of the second article of the thirty-one chapter only of kirks not settled, or constituted in point of government: And that although, in such kirks, a synod of Ministers, and other fit persons, may be called by the Magistrate’s authority and nomination, without any other call, to consult and advise with about matters of religion … yet neither of these ought to be done in kirks constituted and settled….”

    11. Act Ratifying the Confession of Faith and Settling Presbyterian Church-government the seventh day of June, 1690 (Edinburgh, Printed by the heir of Andrew Anderson, 1690). The Act contains the text of the Confession of Faith only, without scripture proofs.

    12. Directions of the Generall Assembly concerning Secret and Private Worship…. With an act for observing these directions, and for censuring such as use to neglect family worship. And an act against such as withdraw themselves from the publike worship in their owne congregations (Edinburgh: Re-printed by Evan Tyler, 1650). The entry in the card catalog at the British Library where this example resides notes: “The imprint is fictitious; probably printed by Gideon Lithgow in Edinburgh.”

    13. Earlier title listings may be misprints, or possibly there was a wider transition period. See “Johnstone [John] & Hunter [Robert] printers and bookbinders Edinburgh,” in the NLS Scottish Book Trade Index. Also see the entry for the Free Church Publication Scheme Depository. resources/sbti/index.html.

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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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  1. NaphtaliPress
      Ask Mr. Religion likes this.
  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?
    1. NaphtaliPress
      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.
      Ask Mr. Religion likes this.