Thomas Boston in reference to the Marrow Controversy:
“A rational religion is like to be the plague of the day…Legalism is one of the dangerous engines the gates of hell are directing this day against the church built upon a Rock: this is an attempt against the grace of Christ, bringing in a scheme of religion that that has no relation to Jesus Christ and his Spirit, and putting virtue or a virtuous life in the room of Christ’s righteousness, for acceptance with God, and the exerting of our natural powers in the room of the influences of his Spirit, by which means the corruption of nature, and the necessity of regeneration, are buried in deep silence, and living by faith, attending the Spirit’s influence, and communion with God, are branded as enthusiasm:
Thus a refined heathenism is palmed on us for Christianity…In a sinking state of the church, the law and gospel are confounded, and the law justles out the gospel, the dark shades of morality take place of gospel light; which plague is this day begun in the church, and well far advanced. Men think they see fitness of legal preaching for sanctification; but how the gospel should be such a mean, they cannot understand…
“In a sinking state of the church, the law and gospel are confounded…”
“Be of a gospel-spirit, having high thoughts of the free grace of God, and deep impressions of the nothingness of man, and all he can do, Gal. vi. 14. Learn and hold fast gospel-principles in your heads, and keep up a gospel-frame in your hearts, and have a gospel-practice in your walk. Learn the art of living by faith, believing the promise, and on the credit of the promise, going out in duty (This is what it means to be gospel-driven!-J.F.); let love constrain you to obedience, and be strict and tender in the whole of your walk.”
Gospel Truth Accurately Stated and Illustrated by the Reverend Messrs. James Hog, Thomas Boston, Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, and Others Occasioned by the Republication of the Marrow of Modern Divinity, (collected by John Brown, Minister of the Gospel, Whitburn, First American Edition, 1827), “Memoir of Rev. Thomas Boston,” p. 106
(Note: This quote by Thomas Boston regarding the 18th century Marrow Controversy in which he was engaged is stunningly prophetic, relevant and applicable to the Evangelical church today. As in Boston’s day, rational religion has come to be the plague of the day in the Evangelical church. Legalism in a thousand subtle shades is again one of the dangerous engines the gates of hell are directing in our day against the church built upon a Rock.
A refined heathenism, as Boston puts it, is again being palmed on us for Christianity by pastors, Bible teachers and Christian publishers. Regrettably, many Evangelicals think they see fitness of legal preaching for sanctification; but understand very little, if at all, how the gospel should be such a mean. The preponderance of Evangelicalism, it appears, does not see the reasonableness of the gospel-method of sanctification (and in some cases, justification).
May the Lord be pleased to raise up again men like Boston and the Marrow Men who have learned the art of living by faith, men who are dominated by a gospel-spirit, grounded in gospel-principles, shaped by a gospel-frame and walking in a gospel-practice!)