“I heartily with you regret the great decay of practical godliness, but wonder the less of it, seeing truth is a-going; and you may believe it is vain to talk of the recovery of religion in its practice and power, in order to the revival of truth, and setting matter of doctrine to rights, for this I humbly conceive is not the due order. It will be but a perfuming and supporting a dead carcase, or forcing water forth a flint, to essay (i.e., to perform or attempt something) holiness of heart and life, without the knowledge and belief of the truth.
The gospel is a doctrine according to godliness. The love of the Spirit, and the belief of the truth, are inseparable. The doctrine of Christ being once believed and received, then, and not till then, will godliness natively and inseparably result from, and accompany it;
“The gospel is a doctrine according to godliness.”
and this, if you look back, has been the blest order in all times of reformation in the church, the light of truth coming in, the Spirit of God coming along, making it effectual to change the hearts and lives of men. O that the Sun of righteousness would return, and rise on us with his life-giving, healing light and heat!”
(Memoir of Gabriel Wilson, April 20, 1721, one of the twelve Marrow men, in Gospel Truth Accurately Stated and Illustrated, pp. 85-86).