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credibility on a solid foundation. The illustrations and enlargements, which, generally speaking, carry an air of disproportion and superfluity in an historical abridgment, were absolutely necessary in the present case.

These reasons engaged me to change the plan laid down in my former work, and one peculiar consideration induced me to render the present history more ample and voluminous. The Elements, so often mentioned, were designed principally for the use of those who are appointed to instruct the studious youth in the history and vicissitudes of the christian church, and who stand in need of a compendious text to give a certain order and method to their prelections. In this view I treated each subject with the utmost brevity, and left, as was natural and fitting, much to the learning and abilities of those who should think proper to make use of these Elements in their course of instruction. But, in reviewing this compendious work with a design to offer it anew to the public, I imagined it might be rendered more acceptable to many, by such improvements and additions as might adapt it, not only to the use of those who teach others, but also of those who are desirous of acquiring, by their own application, a general knowledge of Ecclesiastical History. It was with this view that I made considerable additions to my former work, illustrated many things that had been there obscurely expressed for the sake of brevity, and reduced to a regular and perspicuous order a variety of facts, the recital of which had been more or less attended with perplexity and ⚫ confusion. Hence it is, that in the following work, the history of the calamities in which the christians of the first ages were involved, and the origin and progress of the sects and heresies which troubled the church, are exhibited with an uncommon degree of accuracy and precision. Hence the various forms of religion, which have sprung from the excessive love of novelty, are represented without prejudice or partiality, and with all possible perspicuity and truth. It is also in consequence of this change of my original design, that I have taken the utmost pains to state more clearly religious controversies, to estimate their respective

moment and importance, and to exhibit the arguments alleged on both sides; nor must I omit mentioning the care and labour I have employed in giving an exact narration of the transactions, wars, and enterprising measures of the Roman pontiffs, from the reign of Charlemagne down to the present times.

Those, therefore, who are prevented from applying themselves to a regular study of Ecclesiastical History through want of leisure, or by not having at hand the sources of instruction, and are nevertheless desirous of acquiring a distinct knowledge of certain events, doctrines or religious rites, may consult the following work, in which they will find the information they want; and those who are inclined to push their inquiries still further, will see the course they must pursue, and the authors mentioned whom it will be proper for them to peruse.

It would betray an unpardonable presumption in me to imagine, that in an work, whose plan is so extensive, and whose contents are so various, I have never fallen into any mistakes, or let any thing drop from my pen, which stands in need of correction. But as I am conscious to myself of having conducted this undertaking with the most upright intentions, and of having employed all those means that are generally looked upon as the best preservatives against the seduction of error, I would hope that the mistakes I may have committed, are neither so frequent, nor so momentous as to be productive of any pernicious effects.

I might add more; but nothing more is necessary to enable those to judge of this work, who judge with knowledge, impartiality and candour. I therefore conclude, by offering the just tribute of my gratitude to Almighty God, w! o, amidst the infirmities of my advanced years, and other pressures under which I have laboured, has supplied me with strength to bring this difficult work to a conclusion.

GOTTINGEN, March 23, 1755.


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1. ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY is a clear and faithful Definition of narration of the transactions, revolutions, and events History. that relate to that large community which bears the name of Jesus Christ, and is vulgarly known under the denomination of the church. prehends both the external and internal condition of this community, and so connects each event with the causes from which it proceeds, and the instruments which have been concerned in its production, that the attentive reader may be led to observe the displays of providential wisdom and goodness in the preservation of the church, and thus find his piety improved, as well as his knowledge.

II. The church, founded by the ministry and death of Christ, cannot be represented with more perspicuity and propriety than under the notion of a society subjected to a lawful dominion, and governed by certain laws and institutions, mostly of a moral and spiritual tendency. To such a society many external events must happen, which will advance or oppose its interests, and accelerate or retard its progress toward perfection, in consequence of its unavoidable connection with the course and revolutions of human affairs. Moreover, as nothing is stable and uniform where the imperfections of humanity take place, this religious

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Division of History into


external and internal.

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and calamitous events

that happened to the church.

society, beside the vicissitudes to which it must be exposed from the influence of external events, must be liable to various changes in its internal constitution. In this view of things then it appears, that the history of the church, like that of the state, may be divided, with propriety, into two general branches, which we may call its external and internal history.

III. The external history of the church compreprehends the hends all the changes, vicissitudes, and events, that have diversified the external state and condition of this sacred community. And as all public societies have their periods of lustre and decay, and are exposed to revolutions both of a happy and calamitous nature, so this first branch of Ecclesiastical History may be subdivided into two, comprehending respectively, the prosperous and calamitous events that have happened to the church.

Prosperous events.

IV. The prosperous events that have contributed to extend the limits, or to augment the influence, of the christian church, have proceeded either from its rulers and leaders, or from the subordinate members of this great community. Under the former class, we rank its public rulers, such as princes, magistrates, and pontiffs, who, by their authority and laws, their liberality, and even their arms, have maintained its cause and extended its borders; as also its more private leaders, its learned and pious doctors, whose wise counsels, pious exploits, eminent examples, and distinguished abilities have contributed most to promote its true prosperity and lustre. Under the latter class, we may comprehend the advantages which the cause

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