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FROM THE BIRTH OF CHRIST TO THE ABOLITION OF
PAGANISM IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
This new edition of the History of Christianity has been revised throughout. A few passages have been added, chiefly in the notes; a few slightly enlarged. In general, I have not found much, after a period of above twenty years, which I should wish to retract or to modifv.
Some objection was raised on the first publication of the work against the commencement of the History of Christianity with the Life of Christ. I thought then, and still think, that life to be an integral and inseparable part of the History. It appeared to me necessary to the completeness of the history to trace it to its primal origin; to show that the Gospels, our only documentary authorities, offer a clear and distinct relation of that life, with no greater variation than might reasonably be expected from four separate and independent narratives, drawn up by different writers, at different times and places, and by one at least from a different point of view; that this relation accords in every respect with all that we know of the events, circumstances, manners, usages, opinions of the age and country; that its religious signification, and, in part, supernatural character, in no way conflict, but are rather in full and perfect harmony, with its simple truth and reality.
At all events, the reverence which had enshrined and set apart the life of Jesus in a kind of unapproachable sanctity had been then (and has since been) so