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This work was commenced under very peculiar circumstances, and with a deep sense of duty, when every other service was obstructed. Although it was not undertaken with any intention of making it more than a Companion to Dr. Hodge's “Outlines of Theology,” yet as the "copy" has passed through some three revisions, and the labour having extended over five years, it has grown to its present dimensions. Those who use Dr. Hodge's Outlines will distinguish how much of this work is derived from it; and although many other works have supplied or regulated some portions, yet it is principally of Dr. Hodge's work that mention of this kind must be understood.
The doctrine is Evangelical, and such as is regarded by the Protestant churches generally as “ orthodox.” Those who hold opposite views will find here materials and weapons for conflict. It would be impossible to meet little fancies. Had the several requests been entertained from all quarters of the country to please each sect which desired “special considerations,” the work would have been either at the request of one party so small, that only one chapter, and that not the largest, would have been left; or, at the request of the other, each chapter would have been larger than the present work. So none of these suggestions have been heeded, and the work is issued, based upon the higher and broader principle of regard for Divine Truth, that it might be a system of Evangelical Theology in the words of Holy Scripture.
Several professors and Colleges have subscribed to the work, intending to use it as a text-book, or with other systems of Theology than that by Dr. Hodge; and every possible care has been taken to secure this end.
Croydon, February 28th, 1873.
The questions are in italics. Each note is followed by a colon. The questions should be read in the light of the subject, and the notes in the light of each other or the question. Sometimes the question has rendered any note unnecessary. The verses instanced for argument are in the larger type, and those for exegetical purposes in the smaller type. Where Greek words are given and defined, they are generally indicated by a capital letter, thus—(A) or (B); when there is more than one, followed by any number of verses, these verses are given concordantly, according to the principles of a Greek Concordance. The parallels being observed will necessarily disturb the order where a verse appears to be disorderly to the general plan, that is, where a verse from the same chapter or any subsequent chapter, or from another Gospel or Epistle of subsequent order, is given, it must be regarded as parallelistic to the preceding verse; and if no such other is known, the natural order will be resumed. Some questions are irregularly numbered, but the numbers are the same as belong to the respective questions in Dr. Hodge's Outlines. Other questions are added which will be found numbered thus — 5a or 5b, etc. The Contents will indicate the order, and the Synopsis the scope of the work, whilst the Indexes will increase the facility with which the several dependent chapters or portions of the work may be simultaneously studied. By this threefold arrangement the work can be used by the student as a companion with any system or portion of theology in testing the statements of others, or, what is not less essential, his own, by divinely-inspired statements. Nothing, however, beyond these simple statements will be expedient. The study of the work itself, or of any chapter of it, will answer the end much better.