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PREF ACE.

The History of the Church of Christ, from its first formation in the days of the Apostles, and during its sufferings in the times that not only immediately followed their martyrdom or death, ut during succeeding centuries, manifests a true and faithful exemplification of the predictions of our blessed Saviour, and also of the holy prophets who had preceded him, that the walls of Zion should be built in troublous times. This was more particularly the case during the first ages of Christianity, when the Church had to contend not only with the unbelieving hierarchy of the Jews, but with the other nations or governments which were then avowedly heathen ; and it may in fact be said, that when Constantine constituted it the religion of the world, (i.e. the Roman empire,) the seeds were then sown for its further persecution. From the heathen emperors or states, Christians had nothing to expect but persecution, because their setting forth of strange gods, as the Ephesians and Athenians said, was destructive of a system in which their carnal minds were bound up, and to which their natural propensities too strongly inclined them. But it seemed natural to conceive, that when Christianity was sanctioned by the high authority of the state, the case would have been different.

That this was not the case the following work will shew ; and the various details therein given will also sufficiently evidence the truth, that the Church has been, from the time predicted, in the wilderness, and will continue there till the time appointed for her full and free deliverance.

The Publishers, in issuing the present Work, had only in view what they consider a valuable acquisition to many who may not be able to afford to go to the expense of the original publicatio s :

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