The Marrow of Modern Divinity

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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I have skimmed through this work before but have never really sat down and read it purposefully before and I am simply blown away by it. Highly recommend purchasing it and reading it. Top Notch stuff, especially in light of the current controversies surrounding Covenant Theology.

Buy it here

Online Free here

Here is a little history...
 

uberkermit

Puritan Board Freshman
My set of the works of Boston includes both The Fourfold State & The Marrow of Modern Divinity.
 

uberkermit

Puritan Board Freshman
I only wish - that looks like a nicely done production. I have the twelve volume Sovereign Grace Publishers reprint edition.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The Marrow is best read with Boston's notes showing how the conversation is to be understood according to traditional reformed categories of thought. It must be remembered that the Church of Scotland reacted to the Marrow because read on its own it can easily be taken in an Antinomian direction.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
My copy just came in the mail yesterday! I've skimmed most of it very lightly, to get a perspective of where it's heading, but have only read through about the first 40 pages, and nearly most of Chapter 4 on the Soul's Rest.

Were there any parts that anyone had a difference of opinion about, or do you all feel it was on the mark with pretty much everything?

Thanks!
 

FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
Ferguson's lectures on the Marrow Controversy are well worth the time as well.

So, since you've recommended these, I've been listening to them. Maybe it's because I'm listening to them while doing tech work at my job, but I honestly am having trouble following all of what Ferguson is saying. I get the gist, but I sense that the real punch is in the details and particulars. I really want to understand this stuff, so if anybody has any thoughts to share on these lectures in general, I'd really appreciate it. I'm looking into getting the book soon.
 

Bodigean

Puritan Board Freshman
Matthew,

Not knowing the background on this, how or why did the Church of Scotland do in the manner in which they did?

Thanks.

Mark



The Marrow is best read with Boston's notes showing how the conversation is to be understood according to traditional reformed categories of thought. It must be remembered that the Church of Scotland reacted to the Marrow because read on its own it can easily be taken in an Antinomian direction.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Not knowing the background on this, how or why did the Church of Scotland to in the manner in which they did?

The main concern was with certain statements which seemed to imply that the law had no commanding power over the believer in Christ and also some relaxation of the necessity of repentance and a holy life with respect to eternal salvation. Other issues concerned the free offer of the gospel and to what extent the death of Christ may be said to be for the sinner in general, and whether assurance in any sense was constitutive of faith. No doubt the Neonomian party reacted too strongly by censuring the book when there were contemporary ministers teaching blatantly false doctrine at the time who were left unhindered, but even evangelicals like John Willison believed "there were several stumbling and unjustifiable expressions in that book called the Marrow" which called for examination. Boston's notes show a balanced approach whereby the Marrow can be understood according to the traditional categories of thought and terminology of reformed theology.
 
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Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Mark,

Lawrence mentioned this above, but you may be interested in listening to Ferguson's first lecture on the background of the controversy: it may be found here.
 

Bodigean

Puritan Board Freshman
The Marrow

Pastor Winzer,

Would John Willison have agreed with Boston's notes on the book? Did Boston hold to a view in which Christ may have died in a general sense for sinners? In a general sense I would understand that to mean for the non-elect, correct? Does The Marrow teach this?

Thank you for the information on the issue.

Sincerely,

Mark
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
I think Boston's notes make any ambiguity disappear as to what sense the Marrow intends when Fisher writes that "Christ is dead for him." For instance:
Thus, what [according to Dr. Preston and our author] is to be told every man, is no more than what ministers of the gospel have in commission from their great Master, (Matt 22:4), "Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, come unto the marriage." There is a crucified Saviour, with all saving benefits, for them to come to, feed upon, and partake of freely. See also Luke 2:30,31; Proverbs 9:2-4; Isaiah 25:6.

And again, to clarify any ambiguity:
He teaches plainly throughout the book, that they were the elect, the chosen, or believers, whom Christ represented, and obeyed, and suffered for. See among others, pages 22, 23, 54, 86. I shall repeat only two passages; the one, page 81: "According to that eternal and mutual agreement that was betwixt God the Father and him, he put himself in the room and place of all the faithful." The other in the first sentence of his own preface, viz: "Jesus Christ, the second Adam, did, as a common person, enter into covenant with God his Father for all the elect, [that is to say, all those that have or shall believe on his name,] and for them kept it." What can be more plain than that, in the judgment of our author, they were the elect whom Jesus Christ, the second Adam, entered into covenant with God for; that it was in the elect's room he put himself when he came actually to obey and suffer, and that it was for the elect he kept that covenant, by doing and suffering what was required of him as our Redeemer?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Would John Willison have agreed with Boston's notes on the book? Did Boston hold to a view in which Christ may have died in a general sense for sinners? In a general sense I would understand that to mean for the non-elect, correct? Does The Marrow teach this?

Thanks to Paul for posting Boston's notes. I think this particular question illustrates why the book needs to be read with those notes as a guide.

Willison's "Plain Catechising" is in theological agreement with Boston's Sermons on the Catechism; on that basis I can conjecture that he would have agreed with Boston's notes, but one can't be completely sure without his express approval.

When thinking of the death of Christ there are two issues which the reformed tradition has kept distinct -- the offering of Christ to the Father, in accomplishing the work of redemption for the elect, as a definite and complete satisfaction for sin; and the offering of Christ with all His benefits, in the proclamation of the gospel, to sinners indefinitely and conditionally, for salvation from sin. Boston indicates that the Marrow speaks of Christ dead for sinners in the second sense only.

Willison's Plain Catechising states that the gospel is the joyful news of salvation which is published "to lost sinners of mankind," and articulates that Christ "is offered to them as a free gift from heaven, in all his offices, of prophet, priest, and king; and they must embrace him accordingly." (Works, 643.) This at least agrees formally with Boston's teaching; but every author reserves the right to express himself in his own way, and so it is possible that Willison may have preferred to distance himself from the language of the Marrow altogether. Personally I would never adopt the terminology of the Marrow on this point because of its liability to be misunderstood.
 

Bodigean

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you Matthew and Paul. I appreciate the information. Having never read the book but I have had others comment to me what it supposedly taught on particular issues, so again thanks for the help. Now I have my curiosity up enough to read it.

Sincerely,
Mark
 
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