Westminster College : The Assembly’s Confession of Faith presented to the Parliament

Westminster College

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Following the outbreak of the English Civil War, the Westminster Assembly of Divines (together with a small cohort of members of both Houses of Parliament) was given the task of reforming the Church of England in its liturgy, discipline and government in 1643. On 26 November 1646 the Minutes of the Assembly recorded that the Confession of Faith was finished and thanks were expressed to those who had perfected it for their “great paines”. A fair copy of the manuscript, described as “whole and entire” on its frontispiece, was prepared by one of the Assessors to the meeting, Cornelius Burges. He had completed all revisions by 3 December. Five hundred copies produced by the Company of Stationers were then distributed to MPs. The printed version produced in April 1647, with “quotations and texts of scripture annexed” to the margins, as had been requested, was also limited to the Assembly and members of both Houses. Further amendments were incorporated. It was from the sixth edition, published in 1648, “with authority” from the two Houses, that other printings followed. Some precision in the punctuation, as set down by Burges, was not always adopted.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>Margaret Thompson<br /> Westminster College<br /> Cambridge</p>


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