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distortion and false colouring. I have drawn my facts from the authors of each party, and given their own version, unless it be when opponents have denied their accuracy.

Where the matter is controverted, the statements on both sides are, in general, placed before the reader, and he is left to draw his own conclusion.

If, in the following sheets, the number of Christian sects should appear less than they have been represented—for this I offer no apology. On referring to the Index, which will be printed at the end, the reader will still find that no sect or body entitled to a place in Church History has been overlooked ; and it has unfortunately been too much the aim of ecclesiastical writers to enumerate sects which either never had a distinct existence of their own, or were merely private quarrels, or eddies in the current of unfixed opinion, which disappeared as soon as they existed. A very false impression has been thus conveyed, and a great injustice done to the Christian faith : the primitive church, for instance, is made to appear a congeries of discordant opinions, whose very names and titles are almost innumerable. Yet, in fact, there were but two great parties—the orthodox on the one hand, and the heretical Christians on the other; and these latter, amidst their infinite varieties, are all to be reduced to two-the Gnostics, who corrupted the gospel by an admixture of Greek philosophy, or Persian magianism, or both; and the Arians, who lost themselves in speculations upon the Divine nature, and especially the two natures of Christ. All the controversies of the Reformation hinge again upon the one question of sacramental grace. And in our own times, apart from individual quarrels, eccentricities, and errors, there are but three important differences in matters of doctrine through the whole of Christendom, namely, the sacramental system of the Greek and Roman Churches, the evangelical doctrine of Protestants, and the Rationalist or Nealogian Creed. Into one of these all our controversies resolve themselves. So, too, questions of Church government range themselves under three great types-absolutism, mixed government, and pure democracy. Were these premises borne in mind, the study of Church History would be less perplexing to the student; and the real unity of the Church of Christ would frequently appear beneath external — and perhaps needless and unjustifiabledifferences of form and name. At least it is a foolish thing to multiply and exaggerate the differences—after all, no doubt, far too many—which unhappily disturb the great family of Jesus Christ!

J. B. M.

November, 1854.

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