The first draught of the translation was prepared by my coadjutors and former pupils, Mr. G. Lewis and Mr. W. G. Martley, who also added most of the notes; but I have gone minutely through every part, correcting, adding, and at times re-writing, both in the ms. and in the proof, and I have composed the Prolegomena and Indices.
I have endeavoured to make the work useful not to the theologian alone, but also to the historical student. The general reader will find interest and even entertainment in the parts of the work referred to in the Index under such headings as “Pictures of Contemporary Life,” “Proverbs,” “Stories” and “Quotations,” or by looking at the Letters to which special attention is called in the Prolegomena at p. xviii. The Table of Contents also, in which a short description is given of the purport of each Letter, will help each class of readers to select the parts suitable to them. Finally, the Life of Jerome included in the Prolegomena, though closely compressed, has been furnished with copious references, which will make it a key to the whole work. It is only to be regretted that, through the impossibility of including Jeromes work on Illustrious Men and his controversy with Rufinus in the present volume, it is necessary to send the reader for a few of the most important facts to Vol. iii of this Series.
I can hardly expect that, in a work which has been carried through amidst many pressing engagements, which has been printed two thousand miles away, and of which I have had only a single proof to correct, I have been able to avoid all mistakes. But I hope that no inaccuracies have crept in of sufficient magnitude to mar the usefulness of the work. I have felt the responsibility of making the first translation of Jerome into English, especially as a translation once made acts as a hindrance to those who might wish to attempt the same task. But I trust that the present work may be found to be not altogether an unworthy presentment of the great Latin church-writer to the English-speaking world.
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