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This volume completes the American series, according to our agreement. But it will be found to afford much material over and above what was promised, and the editorial labour it has exacted has been much greater than might at first be suspected. The Bibliography with which the work is supplemented, and which is the original work of Dr. Riddle, has been necessarily thrown into the Index by the overgrowth of this volume in original matter.
The Apocryphal works of the Edinburgh collection have been here brought together, and "Fragments" have been sifted, and arranged on a plan strictly practical. To my valued collaborator Dr. Riddle I have committed a task which demanded a specialist of his eminent qualifications. He has had, almost exclusively, the task of editing the Pseudo-Clementina and the Apocryphal New Testament. To myself I assigned the Twelve Patriarchs and Excerpts, the Edessene Memoirs and other Syriac Fragments, the False Decretals, and the Remains of the First Ages. I have reserved this retrospect of historic truth and testimony to complete the volume. As in music the tune ends on the note with which it began, so, after the greater part of the volume had been surrendered to forgery and fiction (valuable, indeed, for purposes of comparison and reference, but otherwise unworthy of a place among primitive witnesses), I felt it refreshing to return to genuine writings and to authentic histories. The pages of Melito and others will restore something of the flavour of the Apostolic Fathers to our taste, and the student will not close his review of the Ante-Nicene Fathers with last impressions derived only from their fraudulent imitators and corrupters.