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THE RIGHT HON. W. E. GLADSTONE, D.C.L.
FIRST LORD OF HER MAJESTY'S TREASURY
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
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A QUARTER of a century ago, the Catechism of Archbishop Hamilton was placed in my hands on the occasion of a visit to the Library of the University of Edinburgh, over which I had at the time the honour to preside in the office of Rector. I was at once struck with its great historical interest and importance, as a Manual issuing from the very highest authority of the National Church, intended to guide, or even to constitute, the teaching of every parish priest in the land, and exhibiting the shape in which it was desired to present religion to the people of Scotland, at a moment when in England Reformation was travelling at an unexampled pace. I ventured strongly to urge a fresh publication of the work; and a degree of connection between myself, and its modern presentations to the world may be taken as some apology for my presuming to prefix a few words to the admirable Introduction, supplied by the learning, care, and ability, of Mr. Law.
It is natural to suppose that policy may not have been absent from the thoughts of those who, at so critical an epoch, fashioned the ideas and language of the work. But a comparison among the points in which it may be sought to test its character, such for instance as the Eucharistic doctrine, and the place of the Blessed Virgin in the Christian system, appears to show that there was no undue disposition