1680 · London
An anti-Catholic , Puritan overview of Christianity's origins intended for those who "cannot read many and great Volumes" and those who "would know the truth about the great Heresies which have divided the Christian World," among other readers suggested by the title-page. Baxter (1615–91), author of the classic devotional work The Saints' Everlasting Rest, was a prominent — and much-persecuted — Nonconformist minister and => "Hater of false History"; thus the present account opens with a discussion of how to assess the credibility of histories and reports.
1680 marked this work's first edition, with its title-page recorded in three variant states noting the same printer but differing booksellers (the text and its setting otherwise identical). As seen in other copies, everything from chapter VII onwards has been printed in a slightly different typeface using different manicules; also, there are several places where the pagination and signatures skip widely, although the text continues uninterrupted.
Provenance & Evidence of Readership: Front pastedown with bookplate of the Library of the Theological Seminary of the Diocese of Ohio (properly deaccessioned). Intermittent 17th-century inked marginalia cross-referencing pages, adding significant information, and correcting certain points.
ESTC R10655; Wing (rev. ed.) B1224B. Contemporary calf, rebacked, covers framed in double gilt fillets, spine with gilt-stamped leather title-label and gilt devices in compartments; rubbed and worn overall, spine with early paper shelving label. Pages age-toned; one leaf with upper outer corner torn away (not touching text). Annotations as above. => A solid copy in contemporary binding, with interesting evidence of readership. (Inventory #: 34379)