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instance) tolerably complete analyses *. Illustration of this Essay was obviously the leading principle of selection, but the manuscript contains a very large quantity of matter that can only have been intended for future use in other similar historical studies, the notes on Anglo-Saxon records being particularly full and interesting. It was however an obvious duty to exclude everything irrelevant to the actual text. It has been my object throughout to avoid expressing or conveying any opinions or inferences of my own, and I have therefore inserted no passages that did not seem to have some direct bearing on some statement in the original Essay. It is quite possible that valuable indirect illustrations have thereby been sacrificed, which the author himself might legitimately have introduced ; but an editor is bound to make his labours as purely mechanical as the nature of the case will admit. As it is, I am unavoidably responsible for the particular application given to nearly every passage adduced in the
* The notes on modern books are for the most part few and desultory: there are none at all on Neander's and Gieseler's Histories of the Church and Guizot's Lectures on Civilization in France, which were largely used in the original composition of the Essay. A set of notes on Lingard's History and Antiquities of the AngloSaxon Church were unfortunately mislaid and forgotten by myself till too late: but their most valuable contents had already been obtained at first hand from Lingard's own authorities. The references to Gregory of Tours would likewise have been more numerous, had not the notes on his Ecclesiastical History of the Franks been mislaid at the same time, before the whole of them had been examined.
notes. In some cases mere transcripts, condensations, or references have been given: in others some faint indication of their bearing seemed necessary, and I hope I have not exercised an undue discretion in giving it. The worst but most inevitable defect is the absence of observations limiting or modifying the force of the authorities cited, in short the accumulation of miscellaneous historical data without historical criticism, in the strictest sense of the word: it must therefore be understood that the notes do not profess to prove and establish the text but to throw light upon it and exemplify it; and likewise that the fulness of illustration on any one topic bears no relation to its intrinsic importance but solely to the materials actually collected. It will be observed that the notes on the first twenty-one pages are much more elaborate than any that follow: these and these alone were prepared by the author himself, a few days before his death, and may be taken as a specimen of what the whole volume would have contained had he lived to complete it. All references have of course been verified and quotations collated, except a few from documents extracted in Ducange’s Glossary, some of which from the imperfect method of citation employed would have required much search and consequent delay in publication without any adequate advantage: they are therefore given as they stand in the last Paris edition. A liberty has also been taken in the case of several Merovingian documents which the author had quoted in French from Guizot's Collection des Mémoires: the original Latin being accessible in Du Chesne and Couvenier, I have not scrupled to employ it, especially as M. Guizot (or the translator to whom he gives his name) has sometimes materially departed from the language of the text. Care has been taken to distinguish the original Essay from all subsequent additions. Every word has been printed exactly as it occurs in the manuscript copy sent in to the Hulsean Trustees. Some interpolations by the author himself in the text of the first few pages, which had been set up in type before his death, are enclosed in square brackets. The notes now inserted for the first time are distinguished by numerals, the original notes by asterisks, &c. These formed in some cases the most convenient receptacle of new matter, and in others it seemed useful to print in full passages to which only references had previously been given : all these additions are enclosed in square brackets, as are also a few trivial references, either, as it would seem, accidentally omitted or taken without verification from other authorities; which I have accordingly supplied. The analytical Table of Contents is likewise an editorial addition.
Had the author lived, it was his intention to have written a paragraph or two in explanation of the general scope of his Essay and its connexion with the “Evidences “ of Christianity”. As he appears to have spoken on the subject several times in 1850 and 1851 in conversation and by letter, the purport of his intended remarks can be safely stated in a few words. He wished, first, to uphold that view of history which represents it as a Divine drama, no single act or scene of which can be truly understood without reference to the rest and also to the entire plot; so that many circumstances, which to a prejudiced mind appear wholly evil, (and really involve evil relatively to their immediate subjects,) are yet necessary conditions of growth for future blessings :-next and more especially, to shew how completely the history of the Christian faith and polity has proved their power and fitness as instruments for working out that Divine plan among the discordant elements of the surrounding world, and has thereby attested their origin in the same Mind which conceives and accomplishes the whole range of human events. I hardly think he would have ventured to say that this argument, assuming it to be intrinsically sound, can by itself sustain the exclusive authority of Christianity. Probably he would have urged that it was not his province to deal with more than one branch of “evidence"; and further that a large school of contemporary sceptics have chosen to deny the historical benefits of Christianity which others are willing to concede, and that a vindication on this particular head is not the less necessary because it will not meet a different class of objections. This school, of which Michelet may be taken as a brilliant representative, is especially bitter in its slanders against the ancient and mediæval clergy, and to the clergy the author was bound in the present case to confine his attention. But he clearly felt, no less strongly than those whom he was answering, that, whatever may have been the sins of the clergy themselves, Christianity itself must stand or fall with this its characteristic institution, and that no excellence in its original idea can save it from condemnation if the verdict of history is against it. At the same time it is right to mention that he felt himself somewhat fettered by being limited to discussing the beneficial influence of the clergy. In a letter not long subsequent to the decision of the Trustees in his favour, after speaking with interest of Taylor's Ancient Christianity, which he had just been reading for the first time, and praising what he calls its “tone of unsectarian impar“ tiality”, he adds: “It is a curious contrast to my Essay “ in one respect, that, while he contrasts the ancient “ Church with what it would have been had it adhered to " the primitive apostolic purity and kept itself unpolluted “ by the world to a degree which was after all impracti“ cable under any circumstances, I contrast it with the “ heathen nations which had preceded it, and dwell upon " the many blessings which amid all its corruptions it “ bestowed upon the world: so I take the bright view of “ Church matters, while he only looks at the dark and “ unlovely side.” And his language is still more distinct in a letter written while the Essay was yet in progress : “ I almost think I should prefer having the subject and “ the necessary labour widened, so that I might have “ freer scope to speak my mind and vent my indignation " where it would be seemly and pleasant so to do: for in " the period of the later Carlovingians, for example, the " advantages of the priestly system and intercourse were “ truly few and faint. However it can always be said