RPM, Volume 16, Number 31, July 27 to August 2, 2014

Systematic Theology

By R. L. Dabney, D. D., LL. D.

Preface to the Second Edition.

The Ad Lectorem, prefixed by the Students to the first edition which they printed, sufficiently explains the origin and nature of this course of Theology. The experience of several years in teaching it, has disclosed at once its utility and its defects. Much labor has been devoted to the removal of the latter, and to additional research upon every important point of discussion. The syllabus has been enriched with a great number of references. Two hundred and sixty pages of new matter have been added. The book is attended with full Table of Contents and Index; fitting it for reference. A multitude of typographical errors have been removed; and the larger type and better material, it is trusted, will concur to make the book not only more sightly, but more durable and useful.

The main design, next to the establishment of Divine Truth, has been to furnish students in divinity, pastors, and intelligent lay—Christians, a view of the whole field of Christian theology, without swelling the work to a size too unwieldy and costly for the purposes of instruction. Every head of divinity has received at least brief attention. The discussion is usually compact. The reader is requested to bear in mind, that the work is only styled "Syllabus and Notes" of a course in theology. The full expansion or exhaustive illustration of topics has not been promised. Therefore, unless the reader has already a knowledge of these topics derived from copious previous study, he should not expect to master these discussions by a cursory reading. He is candidly advised that many parts will remain but partially appreciated, unless he shall find himself willing either to read enough of the authorities referred to in the Syllabus, to place him at the proper point of view; or else to ponder the outline of the arguments by the efforts of mature and vigorous thought for himself, and thus fill out the full body of discussion.

The work is now humbly offered again to the people of God, in the hope that it may assist to establish them in the old and orthodox doctrines which have been the power and glory of the Reformed Churches.

Union Theological Seminary, Va., Aug. 15th, 1878

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