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The following work was written in the early part of last year, for Messrs. Rivington's “ Theological Library;" but as it seemed, on its completion, little fitted for the objects with which that publication has been undertaken, it makes its appearance in an independent form. Some apology is due to the reader for the length of the introductory chapter, but it was intended as the opening of a more extensive undertaking. It may be added, to prevent mistake, that the theological works cited at the foot of the page, are referred to for the facts, rather than the opinions they contain ; though some of them, as the “Defensio Fidei Nicenæ,” evince gifts, moral and intellectual, of so high a cast, as to render it a privilege to be allowed to sit at the feet of their authors, and to receive the words, which they have been, as it were, commissioned to deliver.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE THIRD EDITION.
A VERY few words will suffice for the purpose of explaining in what respects the Third Edition of this Volume differs from those which preceded it.
Its text has been relieved of some portion of the literary imperfections necessarily incident to a historical sketch, its author's first work, and written against time.
Also, some additions have been made to the footnotes. These are enclosed in brackets, many of them being merely references (under the abbreviation “Ath. Tr.")) to his annotations on those theological Treatises of Athanasius, which he translated for the Oxford Library of the Fathers.
A few longer Notes, for the most part extracted from other publications of his, form an Appendix.
The Table of Contents, and the Chronological Table have both been enlarged.
No change has been made any where affecting the opinions, sentiments, or speculations contained in the original edition,—though they are sometimes expressed with a boldness or decision which now displeases him ;
-except that two sentences, which needlessly reflected on the modern Catholic Church, have, without hurting the context, been relegated to a place by themselves at the end of the Appendix.