THE Author of the
following work, Mr ALEXANDER SMITH PATERSON, was the elder son of the
late Rev. Alexander Pater son of Dundee, and nephew of the Rev. Dr
Paterson, one of the ministers of Montrose. He was educated at the
Grammar School and Marischal College, Aberdeen, where his family resided
after the death of his father. Although a singularly laborious student,
he evinced no small anxiety in the prospect of appearing before the
Presbytery for examination. This apprehension was, in a great measure,
the occasion of leading him to draw up very ample notes on the topics
connected with Ecclesiastical History, which were afterwards
posthumously published under the title, "History of the Church from the
Creation of the World to the Nineteenth Century." The present work was
composed with a some what similar object; and it is supposed that the
intensity of mind which he brought to bear on both, in some measure
hastened his premature and lamented death, which took place on the 12th
of September 1828, in the 25th year of his age. The "Analysis of the
Shorter Catechism" was left by Mr Paterson in a state of entire
preparation for the press, but various circumstances have delayed its
publication. It is now presented to the public entirely on account of
its intrinsic merit. The manuscript was submitted to several
distinguished ministers, who expressed their opinions in terms of the
most unqualified approhation. In particular, the Rev. Dr Brewster of
Craig described it "as being one of the most beautiful, complete, and
accurate expositions of the Shorter Catechism which has ever appeared,
un folding the meaning of the answers to each question, with a clearness
and minuteness of detail hitherto unequalled in works of the kind."
Another gentleman of great literary experience, stated, that it "had
been prepared with such elaborate care, that, after a critical perusal,
he could not suggest the addition or diminution of a single word."
Strong as these testimonies are, the Publisher confidently anticipates
that they will be amply borne out by an examination of the work itself.
The annexed admirable Paper on the History and Arrangement of the
Shorter Catechism, by the Rev. Duncan Macfarlan of Renfrew, appeared
some time ago in a periodical publication, and is transferred into this
volume with the obliging permission of the author.
NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
In the present edition several important alterations have been made in
the typographical arrangement, calculated to make the work more
accessible for reference; and, with a similar view,two new indices have
been added the first showing where the illustration of each individual
Question in the Shorter Catechism is to be found, and the other
indicating alphabetically the various subjects discussed in the work.
EDINBURGH, January 1844.
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