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of the earth, and the creatures of sense. As they are all under his feet, Psal. viii, 7, 8; Ephes. i, 22; I Cor. xv, 27; so the exercise of his power severally over them is well known from the gospel history. And thus we have glanced at this Lordship of Christ, in some of the general parts of it; and how small a portion of his glorious power are we able to declare, or even to comprehend!
"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they "are they which testify of me."
Concerning the data requisite for a rational investigation of disputed points in theology, and the opinions of fallible men, as a guide for the purpose of interpreting the holy scriptures.
§1. Introduction. The Writer's motive. §2. Success in our inquiries after truth depends on method as well as industry and perseverance. §3. Some common principles requisite as data. Dr. P's what. Requested to be explicit on this head. §4. His appeal from scripture to historical evidence of early opinions unjustifiable. Not a good guide, because, 1. Not calculated to lessen the difficulty, as it pretends, but rather increases it. §5. 2. The precariousness and insufficiency of it appears from constant experience. §6. 3. It has been solidly refuted long ago, by Protestants in the Popish controversy; and to revive it tends to superstition. §7. 4. It is plainly reproved by Jesus Christ. §8. 5. Highly untheological in its just consequences. §9. 6. Also illogical, the conclusion being gratuitously assumed. §10. 7. If we have no better guide than this, we are left a prey to perpetual skepticism, it being insufficient from its very nature to settle the mind. §11. Divine revelation the only true data, because this alone affords objective certainty. §12. The objection, That a diversity of opinion still obtains among those who are agreed in their data and method of inquiry, answered. §13. The plan of Dr. Owen in this work. His reasoning not easily confuted. §14. This Epistle to the Hebrews utterly overthrows Dr. P's grand argument, taken from the historical evidence of early opinions concerning Christ.
REV. AND DEAR SIR,
§1. To a gentleman who has claimed, for a number years, and in various kinds of researches, the laudable pretension of impartially inquiring after truth, no
other apology is requisite, in soliciting his attention for a few minutes, than the solemn avowal of a similar motive and design, in prosecution of the same important end.
But though I flatter myself that, for the reason now mentioned, no farther apology is necessary for making an epistolary address to you, yet it may be expected, by yourself and the public, that I assign my reason for doing it in the present form. It is not with a view to solicit any public notice of it from your pen; this is neither desired nor deprecated; but it comes principally to request a greater favor, a candid, unprejudiced attention to the contents of the volumes to which this letter is joined, of which I beg your friendly accept
Indeed, when I consider the religious sentiments contained in these volumes, the quantity of reading though so much abridged, and your various other engagements, I can hardly expect your compliance; but on the other hand, when I reflect on your art in improving time, and quick despatch in perusing larger works; in connexion with your known candor, and my author's unquestionable character for erudition and piety, I am not without hope that my request will be complied with.
§2. Having thus, dear Sir, explained my chief reason for addressing you in this way, I shall take the liberty of suggesting a few things of another nature; and particularly of testifying in how commendable a light I view your persevering industry in a professed search after religious truth. And yet I must observe, what you well know, that success in obtaining the object of our pursuit, very much depends on the mode of inquiry: if this be not happily chosen, the more persevering we are the farther we recede from the desired mark. Two philosophers, or divines, may be equally industrious and persevering, perhaps (at least in a sense) equally sincere, in making lovely truth the end of their studious toil, but if nevertheless they disagree in their data and investigation, the farther they advance the more remote may be their conclusions.