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October 17 , 2008

Ante-Nicene Fathers: Fathers of the Early Church (Complete)


The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus PREFACE. This volume, containing the equivalent of three volumes of the Edinburgh series of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, will be found a library somewhat complete in itself. The Apostolic Fathers and those associated with them in the third generation, are here placed together in a handbook, which, with the inestimable Scriptures, supplies a succinct autobiography of the Spouse of Christ for the first two centuries. No Christian scholar has ever before possessed, in faithful versions of such compact form, a supplement so essential to the right understanding of the New Testament itself. It is a volume indispensable to all scholars, and to every library, private or public, in this country. The American Editor has performed the humble task of ushering these works into American use, with scanty contributions of his own. Such was the understanding with the public: they were to be presented with the Edinburgh series, free from appreciable colour or alloy. His duty was (1) to give historic arrangement to the confused mass of the original series; (2) to supply, in continuity, such brief introductory notices as might slightly popularize what was apparently meant for scholars only, in the introductions of the translators; (3) to supply a few deficiencies by short notes and references; (4) to add such references to Scripture, or to authors of general repute, as might lend additional aid to students, without clogging or overlaying the comments of the translators; and (5) to note such corruptions or distortions of Patristic testimony as have been circulated, in the spirit of the forged Decretals, by those who carry on the old imposture by means essentially equivalent. Too long have they been allowed to speak to the popular mind as if the Fathers were their own; while, to every candid reader, it must be evident that, alike, the testimony, the arguments, and the silence of the Ante-Nicene writers confound all attempts to identify the ecclesiastical establishment of "the Holy Roman Empire," with "the Holy Catholic Church" of the ancient creeds
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