The gospel method of sanctification, as well as of justification, lies so far out of the ken of natural reason, that if all the rationalists in the world, philosophers and divines, had consulted together to lay down a plan for repairing the lost image of God in man, they had never hit upon that which the divine wisdom has pitched upon, viz: that sinners should be sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor. i. 2, by faith in him, Acts xxvi. 18; nay, being laid before them, they would have rejected it with disdain, as foolishness, 1 Cor. 1. 23. (9)
And hence it is always to be observed, that as the doctrine of the gospel is corrupted, to introduce a more rational sort of religion, the flood of looseness and licentiousness swells proportionably; insomuch that morality, brought in for doctrine, in room and stead of the gospel of the grace of God, never fails to be, in effect, a signal for an inundation of immorality in practice. A plain instance hereof is to be seen in the grance apostasy from the truth and holiness of the gospel, as exemplified in Popery. And on the other hand, real and thorough reformation in churches is always the effect of the gospel light, breaking forth again, from under the cloud which had gone over it; and hereof the Church of Scotland, among others, has, oftener than once, had comfortable experience. (10)
In all views which fallen man has towards the means of his own recovery, the natural bent is to the way of the covenant of works. This is evident in the case of the vast multitudes through the world, embracing Judaism, Paganism, Mahomentanism, and Popery. All these agree in this one principle, that it is by doing men much live, though they hugely differ as to the things to be done for life. (9, 10)
Reader, lay aside prejudices,-look and see with thine own eyes,-call things by their own names, and do not reckon Anti-Baxterianism or Anti-Neonomianism to be Antinomianism and thou shalt find no Antinomianism taught here; but though wilt be perhaps surprised to find, that that tale is told of Luther and other famous Protestant divines, under the borrowed name of the despised Mr. Fisher, author of The Marrow of Modern Divinity . (11)
I conclude this preface, in the words of two eminent professors of theology, deserving our serious regard:-
‘I dread mightily that a rational sort of religion is coming in among us: I mean by it, a religion that consists in a bare attendance on outward duties and ordinances, without the power of godliness: and thence people shall fall into a way of serving God, which is a mere deism, having no relation to Jesus Christ a nd the Spirit of God.’ (1)
‘I warn each one of your, and especially such as are to be directors of the conscience, that you exercise yourselves in study, reading, meditation, and prayer, so as you may be able to instruct and comfort both your own and other’s consciences in the time of temptation, and to bring them back from the law to grace, from the active (or working) righteousness, to the passive (or received righteousness); in a word, from Moses to Christ.” (2)
(1) Memoirs of Mr. Halyburton’s life, page 199. (2) Luth. Comment. in Epist. ad Gal. page 27.
-The Marrow of Modern Divinity By Edward Fisher, A.M. with notes by Thomas Boston. Westminster Publishing House, New York/Seoul.
Petrus Dathenus…His Pearl of Christian Comfort takes as its main thesis that its interlocutor did not know how to properly distinguish law and gospel because of the preaching that she was evidently having to endure. Puritan preaching was, especially in its late phase, given to extremes (charges of neonomianism and antinomianism dominating the literature). Illustrative is the Marrow Controversy in Scotland, in which a rediscovered 1645 theology text, which had been celebrated by its contemporaries, was vilified as “antinomian” by an eighteenth-century Church of Scotland that indicted unblemished Puritan fathers such as John Preston as antinomian for regarding salvation entirely as a “deed of gift and grant.” Eventuating in the Secession of 1733, the controversy shows that the dominant sentiments in the Church of Scotland in that period were so far removed from those of the Reformation that the standard Reformed orthodoxy enshrined in the Westminster Standards could be condemned as antinomian heresy.- Michael Horton in his chapter Law, Gospel, and Covenant: Reassessing Some Emerging Antitheses in the book Theologia et Apologia: Essays in Reformation Theology And Its Defense Presented to Rod Rosenbladt, edited by Adam S. Francisco, Korey D. Maas, and Steven P. Mueller. (262)