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A Concise System of Theology
On the Basis of the Shorter Catechism by Alexander Smith Peterson, A.M. (1881)

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.


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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