Excerpt from Biblical Dogmatics: An Exposition of the Principal Doctrines of the Holy Scriptures
The days of theological controversy are happily well nigh past. There is manifest a growing disposition to subject all questions of doubtful disputation to rational criticism. It is generally con ceded that many subjects, which involve biblical exegesis and doc trine, call for revision and restatement. In a volume of this scope and size one cannot reasonably expect all his readers to agree with him throughout. The author indulges no presumption of clearing up the things hard to be understood in Paul's epistles, of which the writer of 2 Pet. Iii, 16, speaks; much less can he hope to explain all the mysteries of the other apostles, and the evangelists and the prophets. In oﬂering the result of his own study of questions long under investigation and dispute in the Church, he takes pains to tell his readers in advance that some of the exposi tions of doctrine given in this book are submitted tentatively and with no little hesitation. On sundry questions of eschatology who can at the most do more than see in a mirror, darkly? There is a widespread feeling that the real teaching of our Lord and his apostles does not sustain many current popular notions of times and seasons which the Father has set within his own authority. There are abroad in the world many strange and crass conceptions of the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgment. On such topics as these which transcend the actual experiences of mankind and pertain to the invisible things of God, one should speak with modesty and reserve. Among the mysteries over which great and good men have diﬂered in opinion through many generations there may generally be found a sub stance of truth of permanent value. It is coming to be recognized that even the biblical writers themselves differ in types of doctrine and in cast of thought, and it is very possible for interpreters of the apostles and prophets to misapprehend the exact import of their various figures of speech. It is possible for the most discreet students of Holy Writ sometimes to teach for revelations of God what are only the mistaken notions of men. There are probably but few men who have not inherited from the past a larger amount of human tradition and dogma than they are aware of.
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