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POPULAR IN ITS GOVERNMENT, AND SIMPLE
AUTHOR OF "ANTIQUITIES OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH."
WITH AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY,
DR. AUGUSTUS NEANDER,
PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BERLIN.
GOULD, KENDALL AND LINCOLN,
59 Washington Street.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1844, BY GOULD, KENDALL & LINCOLN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
PRINTED BY W. S. DAMRELL,
MAN is said to be a creature of circumstances. The same may be said of a book. The present, at least, is the result of a circumstance sufficiently trivial. In the year 1841, the author published, with no sectarian designs, a work on the Antiquities of the Christian Church, as a compilation from various German authors, having Augusti's Compend for its basis. This unpretending volume, however, aroused the suspicion of a certain presbyter in Philadelphia, bearing the initials H. W. D., whose practised eye and professional skill detected, as he seemed to think, a dangerous infection covertly propagated by the circulation of the book. The alarm was raised; and the public warned of their danger by a review, remarkable for the spirit and decency with which it was written, and, most of all, for its random assertions, contradicting, with an assurance seldom equalled, the plainest facts of ecclesiastical history. Finding this review every where circulated, with the admirable spirit in which it was written, the author of the work in question ventured upon a brief reply. This gave a direction to his studies which he had never contemplated; and which, with increasing diligence and interest, he has continued to pursue until the present time. The result of these inquiries is,—the following work.
For this new direction thus given to his studies, and for all the interesting incidents of his foreign travel, connected with them, the author has to offer all due acknowledgments to his old friend, the presbyter. What thanks the public may owe him, is yet to be seen in the judgment which they shall accord to the book here submitted to their examination. It is, however, in no sense presented in answer to that review. Far from it. The traveller receives his direction from any way-faring man, and goes on his journey regardless of his informant; so the author, taking his departure from an incident so trifling, has pursued his course of study, with an aim infinitely higher than that of replying to his reviewer.
The object of the author, in the following work, is to commend to the consideration of the reader the admirable simplicity of the government and worship of the primitive church, in opposition to the polity and ceremonials of the higher forms of prelacy.
In the prosecution of this object, he has sought, under the direction of the best guides, to go to the original sources, and first and chiefly to draw from them. On the constitution and government of the church none have written with greater ability, or with more extensive and searching erudition, than Mosheim, Planck, Neander and Rothe. These have been his principal reliance; and after these, a great variety of authors.
If the reader object, that the authorities cited are beyond his reach, or are recorded in a language to him unknown, the writer can only say, that he has endeavored to collect the best authorities, wherever they might be found. When embodied in the pages of the work, they are given in a translation; and, if of special importance, the original is inserted in the margin, for the examination of the scholar.
The work has been prepared with an anxious endeavor to sustain the positions advanced, by references sufficiently copious, pertinent and authoritative; and yet to guard against an ostentatious
affectation in the accumulation of authorities. Several hundred have indeed been entered in these pages; but many more, that have fallen under the eye of the writer, have been rejected. Much labor, of which the reader probably will make small account, has been expended in an endeavor to authenticate those that are retained, and to give him an explicit direction to them. The work has been written with studied brevity, and an uniform endeavor to make it at once concise, yet complete, and suggestive of principles.
In the prosecution of these labors, the author has received much encouragement and many important suggestions, from friends, whose services he holds in grateful remembrance. For such favors he is particularly indebted to Professor Park, of the Theological Seminary in this place.
Above all, it is the author's grateful duty publicly to express his acknowledgments to Dr. Neander, not only for his Introductory Essay, but for the uniform kindness of his counsels in the preparation of the several parts of this work. The writer can say nothing to add to the reputation of this eminent scholar, distinguished alike for his private virtues, his public services, and his vast and varied erudition. He can only express his obligations for the advantages derived from the contribution and the counsels of this great historian, for which the reader, in common with the writer of the following pages, will owe his grateful acknowledgments. For the sentiments here expressed, however, the writer is alone responsible.
The translation of the Introduction was made in Berlin; and, after a careful comparison with the original by Dr. Neander, received his unqualified approbation. It is, therefore, to be received as an authentic expression of his sentiments on the several topics to which it relates.
In the preparation of this work, the author has studiously