Edited from a variety of translations (mentioned in the preface) by H. R. Percival
In preparing the other division of the book, that is to say, the Introduction and Notes, I have been guided by the same considerations. Here will be found no new and brilliant guesses of my own, but a collection of the most reliable conclusions of the most weighty critics and commentators. Where the notes are of any length I have traced the source and given the exact reference, but for the brief notes, where I have not thought this necessary, the reader may feel the greatest confidence that he is not reading any surmises of mine, but that in every particular what he reads rests upon the authority of the greatest names who have written on the subject. In the bibliographical table already referred to I have placed the authorities most frequently cited.
I think it necessary to make a few remarks upon the rule which I have laid down for myself with regard to my attitude on controverted questions bearing upon doctrine or ecclesiastical discipline. It seems to me that in such a work as the present any expression of the editor's views would be eminently out of place. I have therefore confined myself to a bare statement of what I conceive to be the facts of the case, and have left the reader to draw from them what conclusions he pleases. I hope that this volume may be equally acceptable to the Catholic and to the Protestant, to the Eastern and to the Western, and while I naturally think that the facts presented are clearly in accordance with my own views, I hope that those who draw from the same premises different conclusions will find these premises stated to their satisfaction in the following pages. And should such be the case this volume may well be a step toward "the union of all" and toward "the peace of all the holy churches of God," for which the unchanging East has so constantly prayed in her liturgy.
I wish to explain to the reader one other principle on which I have proceeded in preparing this volume. It professes to be a translation of the decrees and canons of certain ecclesiastical synods. It is not a history of those synods, nor is it a theological treatise upon the truth or otherwise of the doctrines set forth by those synods in their legislation. I have therefore carefully restricted my own historical introductions to a bare statement of such facts as seemed needed to render the meaning of the matter subsequently presented intelligible to the reader. And with regard to doctrine I have pursued the same course, merely explaining what the doctrine taught or condemned was, without entering into any consideration of its truth or falsity. For the history of the Church and its Councils the reader must consult the great historians; for a defence of the Church's faith he must read the works of her theologians.
I need hardly say that the overwhelming majority of the references found in this volume I have had no opportunity of verifying, no copy of many of the books being (so far as I know) to be found in America. I have, however, taken great pains to insure accuracy in reproducing the references as given in the books from which I have cited them; this, however, does not give me any feeling of confidence that they may be relied on, especially as in some cases where I have been able to look them up, I have found errors of the most serious kind.
Reference address : https://www.elpenor.org/ecumenical-councils/introduction.asp?pg=2