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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
is a direction, command, or rule enjoined by a superior. Religious precepts are divided into moral and positive. The precepts of religion, says Saurin, are as 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. A moral precept derives its force from its intrinsic fitness; a positive precept from the authority which enjoins it. Moral precepts are commanded because they are right; positive are right because commanded. The duty of honoring our parents and of observing the Sabbath are instances, respectively, of each kind of precept. (See LAW).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Precept'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/precept.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.