In the first two chapters of this book I have endeavoured to explain its drift and purpose. As a contribution to the Story of the Nations it aims at brevity, clearness, and accuracy in outline; but it makes no pretension to do more than open a large subject and serve the purpose of a sketch-map or general introduction to the volumes of Baronius, Muratori, and other classic historians. The course followed, it will be seen, is neither that of a theologian writing on dogma, nor that of an apologist who desires to exhibit conclusions in favour of a religious system. I am concerned with the facts of history, not with inferences and deductions from them, which belong to another department and are foreign to the present series. Not the Pope as a teacher, but the Pope as a ruler of men, in affairs which may be viewed under a secular as well as a religious aspect, will furnish the matter of my volume. (Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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