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PREBENDARY OF ST. PETER'S, AND MINISTER OF ST. MARGARET'S,
IN THREE VOLUMES.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREE'T.
THE History of the Jews was that of a Nation, the History of Christianity is that of a Religion. Yet, as the Jewish Annals might be considered in their relation to the general history of man, to the rank which the nation bore among the various families of the human race, and the influence which it exercised on the civilisation of mankind': so Christianity may be viewed either in a strictly religious, or rather in a temporal, social, and political light. In the former case the writer will dwell almost exclusively on the religious doctrines, and will bear continual reference to the new relation established between man and the Supreme Being: the predominant character will be that of the Theologian. In the latter, although he may not altogether decline the examination of the religious doctrines, their development and their variations, his leading object will be to trace the effect of Christianity on the individual and social happiness of man, its influence on the Polity, the Laws and Institutions, the opinions, the manners, even on the Arts and the
Literature of the Christian world: he will write rather as an Historian than as a religious Instructor. Though, in fact, a candid and dispassionate survey of the connection of Christianity with the temporal happiness, and with the intellectual and social advancement of mankind, even to the religious inquirer, cannot but be of high importance and interest; while with the general mass, at least of the reading and intelligent part of the community, nothing tends so powerfully to the strengthening or weakening of religious impression and sentiment, nothing acts so extensively, even though perhaps indirectly, on the formation of religious opinions, and on the speculative or practical belief or rejection of Christianity, as the notions we entertain of its influence on the history of man, and its relation to human happiness and social improvement. This latter is the express design of the present work, of which the plan and scope will be more fully explained at the close of the Introductory Chapter.
If at any time I entertained doubts as to the expediency of including an historical view of the Life of the Saviour in the history of his religion, those doubts have been set at rest by the appearance of the recent work of Strauss. Though, for reasons stated in a separate Appendix to this work, I have no hesitation in declaring my conviction that the theory of Strauss is an historical impossi