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SYSTEM OF THEOLOGY,
ON THE BASIS OF THE
ALEXANDER SMITH PATERSON, A.M.,
AUTHOR OF A “HISTORY OF THE CHURCH."
WITH AN INTRODUCTORY PAPER,
26 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.
"Rec. MLP 6-7-40
The Author of the following work, Mr ALEXANDER SMITH PATERSON, was the elder son of the late Rey. Alexander Paterson of Dundee, and nephew of the Rev. Dr Paterson, one of the ministers of Montrose. He was educated at the Grammar School and Marischal College, Aberdeen, where his family resided after the death of his father. Although a singularly laborious student, he evinced no small anxiety in the prospect of appearing before the Presbytery for examination. This apprehension was, in a great measure, the occasion of leading him to draw up very ample notes on the topics connected with Ecclesiastical History, which were afterwards posthumously published under the title, “History of the Church from the Creation of the World to the Nineteenth Century." The present work was composed with a somewhat similar object; and it is supposed that the intensity of mind which he brought to bear on both, in some measure hastened his premature and lamented death, which took place on the 12th of September 1828, in the 25th year of his age.
The “ Analysis of the Shorter Catechism was left by Mr Paterson in a state of entire preparation for the press, but various circumstances have delayed its publication. It is now presented to the public entirely on account of its intrinsic merit. The manuscript was submitted to several distinguished ministers, who expressed their opinions in terms of the most unqualified approbation. In particular, the Rer. Dr Brewster of Craig described it
as being one of the most beautiful, complete, and accurate expositions of the Shorter Catechism which has ever appeared,—u folding the meaning of the answers to each question, with a clearness and minuteness of detail hitherto unequalled in works of the kind.” Another gentleman of great literary experience, stated, that it “had been prepared with such elaborate care, that, after a critical perusal, he could not suggest the addition or diminution of a single word.” Strong as these testimonies are,
the Publisher confidently anticipates that they will be amply borne out by an examination of the work itself.
The annexed admirable Paper on the History and Arrangement of the Shorter Catechism, by the Rev. Duncan Macfarlan of Renfrew, appeared some time ago in a periodical publication, and is transferred into this volume with the obliging permission of the author.
EDINBURGH, August 1841.
NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
In the present edition several important alterations have been made in the typographical arrangement, calculated to make the work more accessible for reference; and, with a similar view, two new indices have been added—the first showing where the illustration of each individual Question in the Shorter Catechism is to be found, and the other indicating alphabetically the various subjects discussed in the work.
EDINBURGH, January 1844.
HISTORY AND ARRANGEMENT OF THE
BY THE REV. DUNCAN MACFARLAN,
CATECHISMS were, at a very early period, drawn up and used by all, or nearly all, of the Reformed Churches of Europe. The earliest which we recollect to have seen mentioned, as used by the Scottish Reformers, had been drawn up by Calvin. But in 1590, we find the General Assembly adopting measures for securing a general and national Catechism. i Anent the examination before the communion," say they, “it is thought meet for the common profite of the whole people, that ane uniform order be keepit in examination, and that ane schort form of examination be set down, be their breither, Messrs John Craig, Robert Pont, Thomas Buchanan, and Andrew Melvine, to be presented to the next Assembly.' In 1591, a form was laid before the Assembly by Mr Craig, but it was remitted, with instructions "to contract in some schorter bounds." The abridged form was accordingly laid before the Assembly of 1592, and approved. The following directions were also added :- Therefore, it is thought needful, that every pastor travel with his flock, that they may buy the samen buick, and read it in their families, quhereby they may be the better instructed; and that the samen be read and learnit in lector's (reading) schools, in place of the little Catechism” (Calvin's). This Catechism, or Form of Examination,” which is commonly called Craig's Catechism, consists of twelve heads or chapters, having the following titles :—“Of our miserable bondage through Adam–Of our redemption by Christ-Of our participation with Christ-Of the Word-Of our liberty to serve God-Of the Sacraments Of Baptism-Of the Supper-Of Discipline-Of the Magistrate of the Table in special (meaning