This month, we’re proud to announce a new scholarly resource: a virtual copy of the only known manuscript version of the Confession of Faith. Following a digitisation project by the United Reformed Church History Society (URCHS), the Westminster Confession is being added to the Cambridge University Library’s Digital Library website, and the images will be available online to scholars from around the world.
Cambridge University Library is well known as a local landmark, with a tower visible from around the town. But for those of us who can’t actually be there in person to peruse the papers, the UL has been developing an incredible library of online images. The Digital Library collections include works from across the University and its Colleges, and feature everything from the earliest surviving financial accounts of the University, dating from 1363, to the diaries of an army surgeon in World War One.
As of this month, these documents will be joined by the Westminster Confession, a statement of faith which was followed for several centuries by churches organised into presbyteries of ministers and elders, rather than bishops and dioceses. Hand-written by Cornelius Burges, one of the Assessors appointed by the Westminster Assembly of Divines, this is the copy of the Confession which was presented to Parliament in 1646. The URCHS manuscript is bound in a volume which also contains copies of papers submitted by a group known as ‘the Dissenting Brethren’, with the Assembly’s responses, dating from around the same time – which have also been digitised – and was bought by the Presbyterian Historical Society (a fore-runner of the URCHS) in 1943.