... Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.—Revelation 15.3.
Contrast Between the Doctrines of the
Marrowmen and Anti-Marrowmen.
1. THE GIFT OF CHRIST TO MEN.
MARROWMEN. ANTI-MARROWMEN. GOD the Father, moved by nothing but his free love to mankind sinners, hath made a deed of gift and grant of his Son Jesus Christ unto them in the word, that whosoever of all shall receive this gift by a true faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life; or, which is the same thing, that there is a revelation of the divine will in the word, affording a warrant to offer Christ to all mankind without exception, and a warrant to all freely to receive him, however great sinners they are. (1.) That the free, unlimited, and universal offer of Christ in the gospel to sinners of mankind as such, is inconsistent with particular redemption; or that God the Father his making a deed of gift of his Son to all mankind, infers universal atonement. (2.) That this grant is made only to the elect, or to such who have previous qualifications commending them above others.
2. THE NATURE OF THE GOSPEL.
MARROWMEN. ANTI-MARROWMEN The gospel, strictly taken, contains neither commands nor threatenings, but is glad tidings of salvation to sinful men through Christ, revealed in doctrines and promises, and these revealed to men as sinners, stout-hearted, and far from righteousness; from Exod. 20.2 and 3 connected. Mr. E. Erskine infers on this point: "We may see the mistake of those who assert, that faith in Christ is a new precept of the gospel, not required in the moral law, but by a new positive law given forth under the gospel. None I suppose, will deny, that the law required faith in a God-Creator from our first parents in innocency, and if so, what need of any new law to bind and oblige us to believe in the same God, revealing himself in the capacity of a Redeemer? We see in the text how sweetly the old law of nature is grafted in, in a subserviency unto the grace of the new covenant, obliging us to know and acknowledge a God in Christ as our own God, upon the footing of this glorious grant of grace, "I am the Lord thy God." The applying or appropriating act of faith, when it is expressed in words, it comes forth carrying the stamp of obedience to what the first command of the moral law requires. What need, then, of any new positive law to enjoin it? The same law that bound Adam before the fall, to believe the promise of life upon the footing of perfect obedience, bound him to believe the promise of life after the fall, upon the footing of the incarnation and satisfaction of the Son of God; and therefore, when the first promise of the seed of the woman is uttered, Gen. 3.15, we read of no new law enjoining him to believe it, the very light and law of nature told our first parents that a promise, especially the promise of God, was to be believed.Treasure of Gospel Grace. That the gospel is a new, proper, and prescriptive law, with sanction, binding to faith, repentance, and other duties, which are consequential to the revelation of the grace of God; and that mankind sinners, as such, are not the object of the gospel-offer and call, but that it is confined to those who have a sense of their sin, sorrow for it, desires after Christ, &c.*
3. OF FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.
MARROWMEN. ANTI-MARROWMEN. In believing on Christ, we appropriate and take home Christ to ourselves, and are, upon the ground of the word of grace, assured of life and salvation by him, and repentance always follows believing in Christ. (1.) All the persuasion in justifying faith is only a belief and persuasion of the mercy of God in Christ, and of Christ's ability and willingness to save all that come to him. (2.) One must first come to Christ, and be a true believer, before he appropriate Christ and the whole of his salvation to himself upon scripture ground and warrant. (3.) True repentance goes before faith.
4. WITH RESPECT TO THE LAW OF GOD.
MARROWMEN. ANTI-MARROWMEN. (1.) That believers are dead to the law as a covenant, obtaining a perfect freedom from it relatively, by the obedience and death of Jesus applied to them, and received by faith; that they are really dead to it in respect of sanctification, the grace of God gradually destroying their legal temper. (2.) That the freedom of believers from the law of works, does in no respect set aside the necessity of holiness, nor give any encouragement to licentiousness, but is necessary to, and secures the attainment of holiness. (3.) It is a precious gospel truth, that believers being heirs of the heavenly inheritance, and having it not by the law, but by promise through Jesus Christ, ought not to be influenced in their obedience by the hopes of obtaining the possession and enjoyment of the inheritance by any works of righteousness, or obedience to the law, done by them. (4.) That though the believer ought to entertain an holy awe and dread of the majesty of God, and of the awfulness of his threatenings and judgments, both temporal and eternal, against sin and sinners, and to consider from them, what even his sins deserve, yet he is not called to be moved or excited to obedience to the precepts of the law, by the fear of his falling into hell, for omitting duty or committing sin, but is ever to believe his full security from going down into the pit, through the ransom which God hath found out, so as through the firm faith of this his safety, in a state of favour with God, to have his heart more and more filled with that love which casteth out tormenting fear, and will be natively exercised in cheerful gospel obedience to all God's commandments. (1.) That believers are under some obligation to perform obedience as necessary to obtain and secure the favour of God, and that holiness is a federal and conditional means of obtaining glory, and has some causal influence for that end. (2.) That the doctrine of the believer's complete freedom from the law as a covenant tends to licentiousness, and weakens the obligation of the law. (3.) That a fear of falling under wrath, and a hope of life according to the tenor of the law-covenant, are necessary and warrantable motives to holy obedience.
* In consequence of the above, it follows, the principal work of ministers is to preach moral duties. It is indispensably necessary for them to preach the law for convincing men of their sin; but, agreeable to scripture, their principal work is to preach Christ, and him crucified, this being alone the power of God unto salvation, and the only effectual means of promoting holiness; this necessity includes the inculcating of universal holiness to the law as a rule, and in doing this, they ought always to exhibit moral duties in their proper connection with Christ, as the fountain, motive and pattern of them.