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build their temple, after it had lain many years in ruins, by the decree of heaven never to be built again : and ceased not, till, by an earthquake which shook the old foundation, and turned all down to the ground, they were forced to forbear, as Socrates the historian tells us. But the Jews were never more addicted to that temple, than maukind naturally is to the building on the first covenant; and Adam's children will by no means quit it, until mount Sinai, where they desire to work what they do work, be all on a fire about them. O that those, who have been frightened from it, were not so ready to go back towards it!

Howbeit, that can never be the channel of sanctification, whatsoever way men prepare it, and fit it out for that purpose ; because it is not, by divine appointment, the ministration of righteousness and life, 2 Cor. iii.

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 food 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 and practice. A plain instance hereof is to be seen in the grand apostacy 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 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.

The real friends of true holiness then do exceedingly mistake their measures, in affording a handle, on any occasion whatsoever, for advancing the principles of legalism, for bringing under contempt the good old way, in which our fathers found rest to their souls, and for removing the ancient landmarks which they set.

It is now above fourscore years since this book made its first appearance into the world, under the title of “ The Marrow of Modern Divinity," at that time, not unfitly prefixed to it: but it is too evident, it has outlived the fitness of that title. The truth is, the divinity therein taught is now no longer the modern, but the ancient divinity as it was recovered from underneath the Antichristian darkness; and as it stood before the tools of the late refiners on the Protestant doctrine were lifted up upon it; a doctrine which, being from God, must needs be according to godliness.

It was to contribute towards the preserving of this doctrine, and the withstanding of its being run down, under the odious name of Antinomianism, in the disadvantageous situation it has in this book, whose undeserved lot it is to be everywhere spoken against, that the following notes were written.

And herein two things chiefly have had weight. One is, lest that doctrine, being put into such an ill name, should become the object of the settled aversion of sober persons, and they be thereby betrayed into legalism. The other is, lest in these days of God's indignation, so much appearing in spiritual judgments, some taking up the principles of it, from the hand of this author and ancient divines, for truths : should take the sense, scope, and design of them, from (now) common fame: and so be betrayed unto real Antinomianism.

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 thou 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.”

In the notes, obsolete or ambiguous words, phrases, and things are explained; truth cleared, confirmed, and yindicated; the annotator making no scruple of declaring his dissent from the author, where he he saw just ground for it.

I make no question but he will be thought by some to have constructed too favourably of several passages : but as it is nothing strange that he incline to the charitable side, the book having been many years ago blessed of God to his own sonl: so, if he has erred on that side, it is the safest of the two, for thee and me, judging of the words of another man, whose intentions, I believe, with Mr. Burroughs, to have been "very sincere for God, and the readers good."

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However, I am satisfied he has dealt candidly in that matter, according to his light.

Be advised always to read over a lesser section of the book, before reading any of the notes thereupon, that you may have the more clear understanding of the whole.

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 daties and ordinances, without the power of godliness; and thence people shall fall into a way of serving God, which is mere deism, having no relation to Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God.”—Memoirs of Mr. Halyburton's life, p. 199.

"I warn each one of you, 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 others 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."-Luth. comment. in epist. ad Gal. p. 27.


WHEREAS it has been handed about, and by some published, to diminish the credit of the ensuing book, That the author, Edward Fisher, was a poor illiterate barber, without any authority to vouch it; it is thought proper to prefix the following account of him, from Wood's Athence Oxoniensis, Vol. II. page 198.

“Edward Fisher, the eldest son of a knight, became a gentlemancommoner of Brasen-nose College, Aug. 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,

I. “An appeal to the conscience, as thou wilt answer it at the great and dreadful day of Jesus Christ." Oxford, 1644. Quarto.

II. “ The marrow of modern divinity.” 1646. Octavo.

III.“ A Christian caveat to old and new Sabbatarians.”


IV. “An answer to sixteen queries, touching the rise and observation of Christmas."


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 bas 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.


OCCASIONALLY lighting upon this 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 fæderatus in the one, and the second Adam in the other; to distinguish rightly betwist 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

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