PARABLE A fable or allegorical instruction, founded on something read or apparent in nature or history, from which a moral is drawn, by comparing it with something in which the people are more immediately concerned: such are the parables of Dives and Lazarus, or the prodigal son, of the ten virgins, &c. Dr. Blair observes, that "of parables, which form a part of allegory, the prophetical writings are full; and if to us they sometimes appear obscure, we must remember, that, in those early times, it was universally the mode throughout all the eastern nations, to convey sacred truths under some mysterious figures and representations."
APPROPRIATION The annexing a benefice to the proper and perpetual use of some religious house. It is a term also often used in the religious world as referring to that act of the mind by which we apply the blessings of the Gospel to ourselves. This appropriation is real when we are enabled to believe in, feel, and obey the truth; but merely nominal and delusive when there are no fruits of righteousness and true holiness.
PRESCRIPTION In theology, was a kind of argument pleaded by Tertullian and others in the third century against erroneous doctors. This mode of arguing has been despised by some, both because it has been used by Papists, and because they think that truth has no need of such a support. Others, however, think that if it can be shown that any particular doctrine of Christianity was held in the earliest ages, even approaching the apostolic, it must have very considerable weight; and, indeed, that it has so, appears from the universal appeals of all parties to those early times in support of their particular opinions. Besides, the thing is in itself natural; for if a man finds a variety of opinions in the world upon…
PRECEPT A rule given by a superior; a direction or command. The precepts of religion, says Saurin, are not essential as the doctrines; and religion will as certainly sink, if the morality be subverted, as if the theology be undermined. The doctrines are only proposed to us as the ground of our duty.
PRINCIPLE An essential truth from which others are derived: the ground or motive of action.
PROMISE Is a solemn asseveration, by which one pledges his veracity that he shall perform, or cause to be performed, the thing which he mentions. The obligation of promises arises from the necessity of the well-being and existence of society. "Virtue requires," as Dr. Doddridge observes, "that promises be fulfilled. The promisee, i. e. the person to whom the promise is made, acquires a property in virtue of the promise. The uncertainty of property would evidently be attended with great inconvenience. By failing to fulfil my promise, I either show that I was not sincere in making it, or that I have little constancy or resolution, and either way injure my character and consequently my usefulness in life. Promises, however, are not binding, 1. If…