Although this edition has been shortened to about half the length of the original one, it is essentially the same work. The reduction has been effected, partly by the omission of some whole chapters, partly by excisions. The chapters omitted are those upon the Jacobites, the Essayists, Church Cries, and Sacred Poetry -- subjects which have only a more or less incidental bearing on the Church history of the period. The passages excised are, for the most part, quotations, discursive reflections, explanatory notes, occasional repetitions, and, speaking generally, whatever could be removed without injury to the general purpose of the narrative. There has been no attempt at abridgment in any other form.
The authors are indebted to their reviewers for many kind remarks and much careful criticism. They have endeavoured to correct all errors which have been thus pointed out to them.
As the nature of this work has sometimes been a little misapprehended, it should be added that its authors at no time intended it to be a regular history. When they first mapped out their respective shares in the joint undertaking, their design had been to write a number of short essays relating to many different features in the religion and Church history of England in the Eighteenth Century. This general purpose was adhered to; and it was only after much deliberation that the word 'Chapters' was substituted for 'Essays.' There was, however, one important modification. Fewer subjects were, in the issue, specifically discussed, but these more in detail; while some questions -- such, for instance, as that of the Church in the Colonies -- were scarcely touched upon. Hence a certain disproportion of treatment, which a general introductory chapter could but partially remedy.