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But few have cared to investigate popular and family religious life in the decades before the great revival.
Yet for the history of the Reformation movement nothing can be more important.
When it is studied, it can be seen that the evangelical revival was not a unique phenomenon, entirely unconnected with the immediate past.
There was a continuity in the religious life of the period.
The times were heroic, and produced great men, with striking individualities not easily weighed in modern balances.
The age is sufficiently remote to compel us to remember that while the morality of one century can be judged by another, the men who belong to it must be judged by the standard of their contemporaries, and not altogether by ours.
The same hymns were sung in public and in private after the Reformation which had been in use before Luther raised the standard of revolt.
Many of the prayers in the Reformation liturgies came from the service-books of the mediæval Church.
In a second volume I hope to deal with the Reformation beyond Germany, with Anabaptism, Socinianism, and kindred matters which had their roots far back in the Middle Ages, and with the Counter-Reformation.
The first part of this volume deals with the intellectual, social, and religious life of the age which gave birth to the Reformation.
The intellectual life of the times has been frequently described, and its economic conditions are beginning to attract attention.
It is intended to form a Series of Text-Books for Students of Theology.
The Authors will be scholars of recognised reputation in the several branches of study assigned to them.