John KAYE, Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries (1845). Introduction. pp. xxxv-xxxvi.
THE following pages contain the substance of a Course of Lectures delivered by the Author, as Regius Professor of Divinity, in the Lent and Easter Terms of 1825. He had previously delivered two Courses, on the writings of the Fathers: and the plan which he then pursued was, first to give a short account of the author's life; next, an analysis of each of his works; and lastly, a selection of passages, made principally with a view to the illustration of the Doctrines and Discipline of the Church of England. The peculiar character of the writings of the earlier Fathers pointed out this as the mode in which the information to be derived from them might be most clearly and usefully exhibited to the Theological Student. In proceeding, however, to the writings of Tertullian, the next in order of time to those whose works had been previously reviewed, it occurred to the Author that a different mode might be adopted with advantage; and that they might be rendered subservient to the illustration of Ecclesiastical History in general. They, who have read Mosheim's work, require only to be reminded, |xxxvi that he divides the history of the Church into two branches, external and internal. Under the former he comprehends the prosperous and adverse events which befell it during each century; under the latter, the state of learning and philosophy, the government, doctrine, rites and ceremonies of the Church, and the Heresies which divided its members and disturbed its tranquillity during the same period. This arrangement was not an original idea of Mosheim; the Centuriators of Magdeburg had before adopted nearly a similar plan. His work is moreover of a very compendious character, designed to present his readers with a general and connected view of the history of Christianity from its first promulgation; and to assist their studies, by directing them to the sources from which, if they are so disposed, they may derive more particular and detailed information. The object, therefore, which the Author proposed to himself in his Lectures on the writings of Tertullian was, to employ them, as far as they could be employed, in filling up Mosheim's outline, by arranging the information which they supply under the different heads above enumerated. Still it was necessary for him so far to adhere to his original plan, as to prefix a brief account of Tertullian himself, in order that the Student might be enabled accurately to distinguish the portion of Ecclesiastical History which his writings serve to illustrate, as well as justly to appreciate the importance to be attached to his testimony and opinions.1
1. 1 The edition of Tertullian's works, to which the references in the following pages are made, is that of Paris, 1675.
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