The Sūtra in Forty-Two Sections《四十二章經》is an early Chinese Buddhist text said to have been translated during the Eastern Han dynasty 東漢 (25-220 CE) by Kāśyapamatanga 迦葉摩騰 and Dharmarakṣa 法蘭. It also said to be the earliest Buddhist text to be translated into Chinese. As the story goes, Emperor Ming had a dream of a golden man. Upon explaining this to his advisers they suggested it was the Buddha he had dreamt of. A delegation was dispatched to India to fetch Buddhist teachings .
The Book of the Later Han 《後漢書 》records the incident as follows:
It has been passed down through the generations that Emperor Ming had seen a golden man in a dream who was big and tall with a halo atop his head. He asked his ministers about this. One suggested, "In the west there is a spirit named Buddha. His figure is one zhang and six chi tall and his colour is golden yellow." The Emperor in response to this dispatched a delegation to India to ask of the Buddha's way and methods and they succeeded in bringing images and sculptures back to China. Chuwang Ying started to have conviction in the methods [of Buddhism]. It is because of this that China has many who believe in the ways [of the Buddha]. ...
I imagine the minister was referring to an image of the Buddha not unlike this one from Gandhāra:
The text itself reads like the Dhammapada in that it is a compilation of quotes from the Buddha. It serves as a good overall introduction to Buddhism.
The following quote is worth considering:
The Buddha told the monks, “Be careful not to trust your thoughts as those thoughts ultimately cannot be trusted. Be careful not to meet with physical desires, as meeting with physical desires will see misfortune born. It is only when you attain the path of the Arhat that you can trust your thoughts.”
This is contrary to the present day platitudes which encourage people to believe in themselves. It is suggested here that unless you are enlightened, you simply should not trust yourself. Deference should be made to Arhats and the Buddha. I do not think this means one should suspend one's critical thinking faculties, but rather that one should not have too much confidence in unenlightened faculties.
There are similar ideas expressed in the Pubbakotthaka Sutta: Eastern Gatehouse . See the following:
"Excellent, Sariputta. Excellent. Those who have not known, seen, penetrated, realized, or attained it by means of discernment would have to take it on conviction in others that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation; whereas those who have known, seen, penetrated, realized, & attained it by means of discernment would have no doubt or uncertainty that the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation."
Again, the point is that until one has realization one does not have the faculties necessary for accurate discernment. For this reason there is nothing wrong with deferring to the testimony of a valid authority such as the Buddha or an attained practitioner.
The City of Ten-Thousand Buddhas has a translation of the Sūtra in Forty-Two Sections available online here.