THE MARROW OF MODERN DIVINITY
by Edward Fisher

CONTENTS
PART I.

The Preface. (8k)
The Dedication. (4k)
Address to the Reader. (16k)
Introduction.—Sect. I. Difference about the law, 2. A threefold law. (21k)

CHAP. I.—Of the Law of Works, or Covenant of Works.
Sect. I. The nature of the covenant of works. (17k)
Sect. II. Adam's fall. (5k)
Sect. III. The sinfulness and misery of mankind by the fall. (6k)
Sect. IV. No recovery by the law, or covenant of works. (8k)
Sect. V. The covenant of works binding, though broken. (2k)

CHAP. II.—Of the Law of Faith, or Covenant of Grace.
Sect. I. Of the eternal purpose of grace. (15k)
Sect. II. Of the promise.

  1. The promise made to Adam. (17k)
  2. The promise renewed to Abraham. (13k)
  3. The law, as the covenant of works, added to the promise. (40k)
  4. The promise and covenant with Abraham, renewed with the Israelites. (12k)
  5. The covenant of grace under the Mosaic dispensation. (51k)
  6. The natural bias towards the covenant of works. (27k)
  7. The Antinomian faith rejected. (14k)
  8. The evil of legalism. (6k)

Sect. III. Of the performance of the promise.
  1. Christ's fulfilling of the law in the room of the elect. (31k)
  2. Believers dead to the law as the covenant of works. (63k)
  3. The warrant to believe in Christ. (57k)
  4. Evangelical repentance a consequent of faith. (26k)
  5. The spiritual marriage with Jesus Christ. (20k)
  6. Justification before faith, refuted. (7k)
  7. Believers freed from the commanding and condemning power of the covenant of works. (50k)

CHAP. III.—Of the Law of Christ.

  1. The nature of the law of Christ. (14k)
  2. The law of the ten commandments a rule of life to believers. (14k)
  3. Antinomian objections answered. (20k)
  4. The necessity of marks and signs of grace. (14k)
  5. Antinomian objections answered. (7k)
  6. Holiness and good works attained to only by faith. (29k)
  7. Slavish fear and servile hope not the springs of true obedience. (26k)
  8. The efficacy of faith for holiness of heart and life. (27k)
  9. Use of means for strengthening of faith. (3k)
  10. The distinction of the law of works, and law of Christ, applied to six paradoxes. (16k)
  11. The use of that distinction in practice. (36k)
  12. That distinction a mean betwixt legalism and Antinomianism. (5k)
  13. How to attain to assurance. (10k)
  14. Marks and evidences of true faith. (4k)
  15. How to recover lost evidences. (4k)
  16. Marks and signs of union with Christ. (12k)

CHAP. IV.—Of the Heart's Happiness, or Soul's Rest.

  1. No rest for the soul till it come to God. (8k)
  2. How the soul is kept from rest in God. (19k)
  3. God in Christ the only true rest for the soul. (17k)

THE CONCLUSION (4k)


PART II.

Dedication. (5k)

The Author to the Reader. (6k)

Introduction, (10k)
Ignorant men confine the meaning of the ten commandments,
The ten commandments an epitome of the law of God,
Six rules for the right expounding of the ten commandments.

The sum of the first commandment, &c. (13k)
Wherein the first and second commandments differ, &c. (13k)
Wherein the second and third commandments differ, &c. (21k)
The difference between the third and fourth commandments, &c. (7k)
The sum of the fifth commandment. (21k)
The sum of the sixth commandment. (9k)
The sum of the seventh commandment. (5k)
The sum of the eighth commandment. (7k)
The sum of the ninth commandment. (7k)
The sum of the tenth commandment. (7k)

The use of the law. (56k)
The Lord requireth perfect obedience to all the ten commandments. All men by nature under sin, wrath, and eternal death. Christ hath redeemed believers from the curse of the law. Every man's best actions are corrupted and defiled with sin. The least sinful thought makes man liable to eternal damnation. Though man cannot be justified by his obedience to the law, yet shall not his obedience be in vain. Man is naturally apt to think he must do something towards his own justification, and act accordingly. Christ requires that believers do desire and endeavour to yield perfect obedience to all the ten commandments. Believers shall be rewarded for their obedience, and with what. After what manner believers are to make confession of their sins upon a day of humiliation. Why and to what end believers are to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL. (17k)

Appendix (103k)
The Occasion of the "Marrow" Controversy, Stated by the Late Rev. John Brown, of Haddington. Queries Agreed Unto by the Commission of the General Assembly, and put to those Ministers who gave in a Representation and Petition against the 5th and 8th Acts of Assembly 1720, with the Answers given by these Ministers to the Said Queries.


RECOMMENDATIONS.

I have perused this ensuing Dialogue, and find it tending to peace and holiness; the author endeavouring to reconcile and heal those unhappy differences, which have lately broken out afresh amongst us, about the points therein handled and cleared; for which cause I allow it to be printed, and recommend it to the reader, as a discourse stored with many necessary and seasonable truths, confirmed by Scripture, and avowed by many approved writers: all composed in a familiar, plain, moderate style, without bitterness against, or uncomely reflections upon others,—which flies have lately corrupted many boxes of otherwise precious ointment. May 1, 1645. JOS. CARYL.


The marrow of the second bone is like that of the first, sweet and good. The commandments of God are marrow to the saints, as well as the promises; and they shall never taste the marrow of the promise who distaste the commandments. This little treatise breaketh the bone, the hard part of commandments, by a plain exposition, that so all, even babes in Christ, yea, such as are yet out of Christ, may suck out and feed upon the marrow by profitable meditation. Sept. 6, 1648. JOS. CARYL.


If thou wilt please to peruse this little book, thou shalt find great worth in it. There is a line of a gracious spirit drawn through it, which has fastened many precious truths together, and presented them to thy view: according to the variety of men's spirits, the various ways of presenting known truths are profitable. The grace of God has helped this author in making his work. If it in like manner help thee in reading, thou shalt have cause to bless God for these truths thus brought to thee, and for the labours of this good man, whose ends, I believe, are very sincere for God and thy good. JER. BURROUGHS.


Occasionally lighting upon the dialogue, under the approbation of a learned and judicious divine, I was thereby induced to read it, and afterwards, on a serious consideration of the usefulness of it, to commend it to the people in my public ministry.

Two things in it especially took with me: First, The matter; the main substance being distinctly to discover the nature of the two covenants, upon which all the mysteries, both of the law and gospel, depend. To see the first Adam to be primus federatus in the one, and the second Adam in the other: to distinguish rightly betwixt the law standing alone as a covenant, and standing in subordination to the gospel as a servant: this I assure myself to be the key which opens the hidden treasure of the gospel. As soon as God had given Luther but a glimpse hereof, he professes that he seemed to be brought into paradise again, and the whole face of the Scripture to be changed to him: and he looked upon every truth with another eye.

Secondly, The manner; because it is an irenicum, and tends to an accommodation and a right understanding. Times of reformation have always been times of division. Satan will cast out a flood after the woman, as knowing that more die by the disagreement of the humours of their own bodies, than by the sword; and that, if men be once engaged, they will contend, if not for truth, yet for victory.

Now, if the difference be in things of lesser consequence, the best way to quench it were silence. But if the difference be of greater concernment than this is, the best way to decide it, is to bring in more light, which this author has done with much evidence of Scripture, backed with the authority of most modern divines. So that whosoever desires to have his judgment cleared in the main controversy between us and the Antinomians, with a small expense, either of money or time, he may here receive ample satisfaction. This I testify upon request, professing myself a friend both to truth and peace. W. STRONG.


This book, at first well accommodated with so valuable a testimony as Mr. Caryl's, besides its better approving itself to the choicer spirits every where, by the speedy distribution of the whole impression; it might seem a needless or superfluous thing to add any more to the praise thereof; yet meeting with detracting language from some few, by reason of some phrases, by them either not duly pondered, or not rightly understood, it is thought meet, in this second impression, to relieve that worthy testimony, which still stands to it, with fresh supplies, not for any need the truth therein contained hath thereof, but because either the prejudice or darkness of some men's judgments does require it. I, therefore, having thoroughly perused it, cannot but testify, that if I have any the least judgment, or relish of truth, he that finds this book finds a good thing, and not unworthy of its title; and may account the saints to have obtained favour with the Lord in the ministration of it, as that which, with great plainness and evidence of truth, comprises the chief, if not all the differences that have been lately engendered about the law. It has, I must confess, not only fortified my judgment, but also warmed my heart in the reading of it; as indeed inculcating, throughout the whole dialogue, the clear and familiar notion of those things by which we live, as Ezekiel 16 speaks in another case; and it appears to me to be written from much experimental knowledge of Christ, and teaching of the Spirit. Let all men that taste the fruit of it confess, to the glory of God, he is no respecter of persons; and endeavour to know no man henceforth after the flesh, nor envy the compiler thereof the honour to be accounted, as God has made him in this point, a healer of breaches, and a restorer of the overgrown paths of the gospel. As for my own part, I am so satisfied in this testimony I lend, that I reckon whatever credit is thus pawned, will be a glory to the name that stands by and avows this truth, so long as the book shall endure to record it. JOSHUA SPRIGGE.


I have, according to your desire, read over your book, and find it full of evangelical light and life; and I doubt not but the oftener I read it, the more true comfort I shall find in the knowledge of Christ thereby; the matter is pure, the method is apostolical, wherein the works of love, in the right place, after the life of faith, be effectually required. God has endowed his Fisher with the net of a trying understanding, and discerning judgment and judgment and discretion, whereby, out of the christaline streams of the well of life, you have taken a mess of the sweetest and wholesome fish that the world can afford, which, if I could daily have enough of, I should not care for the flesh, or the works thereof. SAMUEL PRETTIE.


This book came into my hand by a merciful and most unexpected disposure of providence, and I read it with great and sweet complacence. It contains a great deal of the marrow of revealed and gospel truth, selected from authors of great note, clearly enlightened, and of most digested experience; and some of them were honoured to do eminent and heroical services in their day. Thus the Christian reader has the flower of their labours communicated to him very briefly, yet clearly and powerfully. And the manner of conveyance, being by way of amicable conference, is not only fitted to afford delight to the judicious reader, but lays him also at the advantage of trying, through grace, his own heart the more exactly, according to what echo it gives, or how it relishes, or is displeased with the several speeches of the communers. Here we have the greatest depths, and most painted delusions of hell, in opposition to the only way of salvation, discovered with marvellous brevity and evidence, and that by the concurring suffrages of burning and shining lights, men of the clearest experience, and honoured of God to do eminent service in their day, for advancing the interests of our Lord's kingdom and gospel.

The reluctance of gospel light has been the choice mean blessed by the Lord, for the effecting of great things, in the several periods of the Church, since that light brake up in paradise, after our first sin and fall; and ever since, the balance has swayed, and will sway, according to the better or worse state of matters in that important regard. When gospel light is clear, and attended with power, Satan's kingdom cannot stand before it; the prince and powers of darkness must fall as lightning from heaven. And upon the contrary, according to the recessions from thence, Christian churches went off, by degrees, from the only foundation, even from the rock Christ, until the man of sin, the great antichrist, did mount the throne. Nevertheless, while the world is wandering after the beast, behold! evangelical light breaks forth in papal darkness, and hereupon antichrist's throne shakes, and is at the point of falling; yet his wounds are cured, and he recovers new strength and spirits, through a darkening of the glorious gospel, and perversion thereof, by anti-evangelical errors and heresies.

That the tares of such errors are sown in the reformed churches, and by men who profess reformed faith, is beyond debate; and these, who lay to heart the purity of gospel doctrine. Such dregs of antichristianism do yet remain, or are brought in amongst us. Herein the words of the apostle are verified, viz: "Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them": and as this renders the essays for a further diffusion of evangelical light the more necessary and seasonable, so there is ground to hope, that in these ways the churches of Christ will gradually get the ascendant over their enemies, until the great antichrist shall fall, as a trophy before a gospel dispensation. For the Lord will "destroy him by the breath of his mouth, and with the brightness of his coming." That this excellent and spiritual piece may be blessed to the reader, is the prayer of their sincere well-wisher and servant in the work of the gospel. Carnock, December 4, 1717. JAMES HOG.


The Act about the "Marrow" occasioned great thoughts of heart among us. I have been acquainted with that book about 18 or 19 years, and many times have admired the gracious conduct of holy Providence which brought it to my hand, having occasionally lighted upon it in a house of the parish where I was first settled. As to any distinct uptakings of the doctrine of the gospel I have, such as they are, I owe them to that book.—Extract of a Letter from Mr. Boston to Mr. Hog.


I never read the "Marrow" with Mr. Boston's Notes, till this present time, 1755; and I find, by not having read it, I have sustained a considerable loss. It is a most valuable book; the doctrines it contains are the life of my soul, and the joy of my heart. Might my tongue or pen be made instrumental to recommend and illustrate, to support and propagate such precious truths, I should bless the day wherein I was born. Mr. Boston's Notes on the "Marrow" are, in my opinion, some of the most judicious and valuable that ever were penned.—Extract of a Letter from Mr. Hervey to Mr. William Hog.


I have frequently perused, with great satisfaction, the "Marrow of Modern Divinity," first and second parts; and, as far as I can judge, it will be found, by those that read it, very useful for illustrating the difference between the law and the gospel, and preventing them from splitting, either on the rock of legality on the one hand, or that of Antinomianism on the other; and, accordingly, recommend it [by desire] as a book filled with precious, seasonable, and necessary truth, clearly founded upon the sacred oracles. Falkirk, December 9, 1788. JOHN BELFRAGE.


It is considered necessary to add the following account of the author of "The Marrow of Modern Divinity" from Wood's Athena Oxonienses, vol. 2, p 198:—"EDWARD FISHER, the eldest son of a knight, became a gentleman-commoner of Brasen-nose College, August 25, 1627, took on his degree in arts, and soon after left that house. Afterwards, being called home by his relations, who were then, as I have been informed, much in debt, he improved that learning which he had obtained in the university so much, that he became a noted person among the learned, for his great reading in ecclesiastical history, and in the fathers, and for his admirable skill in the Greek and Hebrew languages. His works are,—1. 'An Appeal to the Conscience, as thou wilt answer it at the great and dreadful day of Jesus Christ.' Oxford, 1644. Quarto.—2. 'The Marrow of Modern Divinity.' 1646, Octavo.—3. 'A Christian Caveat to Old and New Sabbatarians,' 1650.—4. 'An Answer to Sixteen Queries, touching the Rise and Observation of Christmas.'"