Many of our readers are perhaps familiar with Edward Fisher’s excellent 17th century publication called “The Marrow of Modern Divinity.” It is a wonderful treatment of the great Reformation themes of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, to God’s glory alone. I’ve mentioned it quite a few times here on the blog and it has been helpful to me in my own Christian walk. The thing is, it’s not overly easy to read since it’s somewhat lengthy and the language is quite dated. It’s not a book that every Christian would be able to sit down and read through and understand well.
However, Andy Wilson has given much of his time and energy to make “The Marrow” easier to read by abridging it and updating the language. His abridgment is called, “The Marrow of the Marrow of Modern Divinity: A Simplified Version of Edward Fisher’s Seventeenth-Century Classic.” Andy sent me a copy, which I was excited to read and now I am happy to recommend. To be sure, abridging and editing a book like “The Marrow” is no easy task, and we all might go about it in a slightly different way. But in my opinion Wilson’s summarization is a good and accurate one. I’ll give a few quotes below in case you’re interested:
“…Adam and his offspring are no more freed from their duties because they have no strength to perform them than a debtor is freed from his debt because he lacks money to pay it” (p. 17).
“So if you desire to be justified before God, you must either bring him a perfect righteousness of your own, and wholly renounce Christ, or else you must bring the perfect righteousness of Christ, and wholly renounce your own” (p. 56).
“Because the law’s threatenings of eternal death have been satisfied for the believer in Christ, those threatenings cannot be renewed against the believer any more than a debt that ahs been paid can be held against a person” (p. 65).
“Certainly, the strongest believer of us all needs to take heed to the advice of Tyndale, who says, ‘Seek the Word of God in all things, and without the Word of God do nothing” (p. 97).
Again, no abridgement will be perfect in everyone’s eyes, but if you’re looking for a more readable version of Fisher’s Marrow, you should for sure check out Wilson’s summary. If you read the summary first, I’m pretty confident it will help you better read and understand the full text of The Marrow. In fact, one of Wilson’s goals of writing the summary was to get more people to read the original Marrow. Both the abridgement and the full text will help you understand what Scripture says about “free grace,” “faith alone,” and “Christ alone” in the sinner’s justification.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015