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THIRD SERIES, VOLUME XV.
PUBLISHED BY JAMES MUNROE AND COMPANY.
0. S. FRANCIS.
JOHN GREEN, 121 NEWGATE STREET.
THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LITARY
THURSTON AND TORRY, PRINTERS. THE
[Delivered as an Address before the Ministerial Conference in Berry Street, Boston,
May 25, 1842. By Alvan Lamson, D. D.]
The topic on which I am to address you, at this time,“ The Value of Ecclesiastical History to the Minister,” — is not one of my own selection, nor can I hope to invest it with any attractions. Ecclesiastical History, I believe, is not a favorite study with the profession, nor is there any department of human knowledge more neglected by the public. I am not much surprised that it is so. The subject, as usually treated, is dry, dull, and repulsive in the extreme. I can conceive of nothing more so. It is a study attended with peculiar difficulty on account of the obscurity of many of its records, often clouded by passion and prejudice, darkened by inconsistency, and too frequently bearing marks of credulity, carelessness, and fraud, which justify the remark of Jortin, that “ Ecclesiastical History is a sort of enchanted land, where it is hard to distinguish truth from false appearances, and a maze which requires more than Ariadne's clue.”
Then the topics to which it invites our attention are often of the most forbidding kind, or such as can awaken no interest in refined and cultivated intellects, — controversies about verbal distinctions and trifles, dialectic subtleties, and barren questions of scholastic theology and metaphysics. Besides, it introduces us to many disgusting views of human nature. It presents - 30 S. VOL. XV. No. 1.