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PA (, E.
IN reading the works of the Fathers it is essential to recollect, 1. That the greater part of the works of the Fathers of the first three centuries after the birth of Christ are lost. 2. That we have the works only of the dominant party of the Fathers of the Nicene age, unless Eusebius be considered as an exception. 3. That almost all of the most celebrated of the Nicene Fathers, Jerome, Chrysostom, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory Nyssen, Athanasius, who wrote the life of St. Anthony, and even Augustine, were more or less ascetics, and partook of the fanaticism of their age. 4. That they were all confessedly fallible men, and that their interpretations of the Scriptures are not unanimous. 5. That they not only contradict each other, but themselves. 6. That in reading the writings of fallible men it is necessary to know at what period of their lives, under what circumstances, and with what views, their several works were composed; and also to ascertain their characters, judgment, scriptural knowledge, and Christian experience. 7. That very many works have been ascribed to the Fathers and for ages generally received and quoted as theirs, which the learned have since ascertained that they never wrote; and that great doubts exist in the minds of learned Roman Catholics respecting the genuineness of many of the works which are now generally assigned to them. 8. That as all the Greek Fathers, and many of the Latin Fathers, used very figurative language, many passages can be quoted from them which seem to favour transubstantiation and the mass. 9. That there is not a Romish error, with the exception, perhaps, of the worship of the Virgin Mary, and of the use and veneration of images, which cannot be supported by extracts from the genuine works of one or more of the NiWOL. II. B