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ticiency of the means provided, in the mercy of God, for its preservation and ttansmission to the latest posterity. And can any discerning Christian feel his self-complacency gratified in the effort to destroy this argument 1 Is it a safe or a wholesome exertion of influence to cast opprobrium on the primitive witnesses to the early triumphs of the Gospel, and to represent them as men whose writings are unintelligible, discordant, and unworthy of the refinement and illumination of our age? The author avows the strongest conviction of the danger attendant on this course, although, unhappily, it has been so common; and for himself, he rejoices in the opportunity of adding his feeble eulogium to the ample testimony adduced in the Dissertation, in behalf of the Primitive, Catholic Church of God. Nay, he would go farther, and say, that no man of sound mind and Christian feeling, who had read enough of the Fathers to be able to do them justice, ever yet refused them the tribute of his affectionate admiration. True, indeed, the authority of Scripture is, beyond' comparison, superior to any other, and this the Fathers constantly and consistently inculcate; but next to the Scriptures, and as the best school for sound Scriptural interpretation, he holds the writers of the first ages in the highest esteem.
The author has only to add, that there are many topics touched on briefly in this volume, which he should have been glad to have treated more extensively. Some of•them, if his life and health are continued, he designs to resume at a future day. Bat on the special subject of the holy Catholic Church, he would say—in order to account for the passing it by in the Dissertation—that he is engaged in preparing a distinct work, which he trusts will be completed during the ensuing summer. Meanwhile he commits his present undertaking to the favor of his Christian friends and brethren, and above all, to the blessing of Him, who can prosper the humblest laborer in his service, and without whom, the highest intellect must toil in vain.
Burlington Vt. Nov. 3d. 1834.
Statement of the merits of this question, from Dr. John P. Smith.