« PreviousContinue »
THEREAS it hath been handed about, and by
some published, to diminish the credit of the i ensuing book, That the author, Edward Fisher, was a poor illiterate barber, without any authority to vouch it; it is thought proper to prefix the follow: iog account of him, from Wood's Athena Oxoniensis. Vol. II. Page 198.
“ Edward Fisher, the eldest son of a knight, be: came a gentleman-commoner of Brasen-nofe college,
Aug. 25. 1627. took on his degree in Arts, and “ foon after left that house. Afterwards, being callos ed home by his relations, whó where then, as I 6 have been informed, much in debt; he improved " that learning, which he had obtained in the uni“ versity, so much, that he became a noted person « among the learned, for his great reading in eccle“ fiaftical history, and in the fathers, and for bis “ admirable skill in the Greek and Hebrew languages, “ His works are,
“ I. An appeal to the conscience, as thou wilt an« swer it at the great and dreadful day of Jesus Christ. “ Oxford, 1644. Quarto.
“ II. The marrow of modern divinity. 1646. Octavo.
« III. A Christian caveat to old and new Sabba. tarians. 1650.
" IV. An answer to fixteen queries, touching the " rise and observation of Christmas."
CCASIONALLY lighting upon this dialogue up
der the approbation of a learned and judicious divise, I was thereby induced to read it, and afterby
, on a serious consideration of the usefulness of it, he to commend it to the people is my public ministry.
Two things in it especially took with me: First, The Matter, the main substance being distinctly to discover
lze nature of the two covenants, upon which all the is.myllertes
, both of the law and gospel, depend. To fee the first Adam to be primus fæderatus in the one; and the second Adam in the other: to distinguish rightly
Berwise the law fandiag alone as a covenant, and stanid
ding in subordination to the gospel as a servant ; this
Ialfore myself to be the key which opens the hidden 1
treafure of the gospel. Affuon as God had given Luther but a glimpse hereof, he professeth that he seemed to be brought into Paradise again ; and the whole face of the scripture to be changed to him *; and he looked upon every trath with another eye.
Secondly, The mapper; because it is an ironicum,
and tends to an accommodation and a right underftan, S.
ding. Times of reformation have always been times of division: Satan will cast out a flood after the womad, as kaowing that more die by the disagreement of the
humours of their own bodies, than by the fword; and 1
, if men be once engaged, they will contend, it not
for truth, yet for victory. 3.
Now, if the difference be in things of lesser confequence, the best way to queach it were fileoce. This was Luther's counsel, given in an epistle written to the divines assembled in a synod at Nuremberg, Meum confilium fuerit (cum nullum fit ecclefiæ periculum) ut hanc caufam fenatis, vel ad tempus fopitum (utinam extinctam) jacere, donec tutiore et meliore tempore, animis in pace firmatis, et charitate adunatis, eam difputetus. I think it were good counsel concerning many of the disputes of our times.
* Portis aportis Paradifum intraffe. Tom. I.
But if the difference be of greater concernment than this is, the best way to decide it, is to bring in more light ; which this author has done, with much evidence of scripture, backed with the authority of most modero divines. So that whosoever desires to have his judgment cleared in the main controverfy between us and the Antinomians, with a small expence, either of money or time, he may here receive ample fatisfaction. This I testify upon request, profelling myself a friend both to truth and peace, November 12.
To the R E A D E R.
Thubbies a teftimong as Mr. Caryl's; beides
its better approving itself.to the choicer spirits every where, by the speedy distribution of the whole in pression; it might seem a needless or superfluous thing to add any more to the praise thereof : yet meeting with detracting language from some few, (by reason of some phrases, by them either not duly pod. dered, or not rightly understood) it is thought meet, in this second impression, to relieve that worthy testimony, which fill stands to it, with fresh fupplies ; Dot for any need the truth therein contained hath thereof, but because either the prejudice or darkness of some mens judgments doth require it : I there. fore, having thoroughly perused it, cannot but testi. fy, That, if I have any the least judgment, or relish of truth, he that finds this book, finds a good thing,' and not unworthy of its title; and may account the faints to have obtained favour with the Lord in the ministration of it; as that which, with great plainness and evidence of truth, comprises the chief (if cot all) the differences that have been lately ingendered about the law. It hath, I must confess, not only fortified my judgment, but also warmed my heart, in the reading of it; as indeed inculcating through
out the whole dialogue, the clear and familiar potion
of those things by which we live (as Ezek. xvi. och
speaks in another case ;) and it appeareth to me to be written from much experimental knowledge of Christ,
and teaching of the Spirit. Let all men, that taste erly the fruit of it
, confess, to the glory of God, He is po respecter of perfops ;' and endeavour to know
no man henceforth after the flesh,' nor envy the compiler thereof the honour to be accounted, as God
hath made him in this point, a healer of breaches, NG
and a restorer of the overgrown paths of the gospel. As for my own part, I am so satisfied in this testimooy I lend, that I reckon whatever credit is thus pawned, will be a glory to the name that stands by, and avows this truth, so long as the book shall en.
dure to record it. 26
Grace and Peace to you in Christ Jesus.
book, and find it full of evangelical light and life; and I doubt not but the oftner I read it, the more true comfort I shall find in the knowlege of Christ thereby: the matter is pure, the method is apostolical, wherein the works of love, in the right place, after the life of faith, be effectually required. God hath endowed his Fisher with the net of a trying understanding, and discerning judgment and dircretion; whereby, out of the chryftaline streams of the well of life, you have taken a mess of the sweetest and wholesomest fish that the world can afford; which if I could daily have enough of, I should not care for the felu, or the works thereof.
book came to my
moft unexpected disposure of providence, and I read it with great and sweet complacence. It is now entirely out of print, tho' much desired, and highly prized by divers exercised to godliness, who had the happinefs to see and perufe it. But, in regard one copy could not serve many, and the demands for it are strong by sundry excellent'ones of the earth, and come persons of a clear disceroing in these moft necessary and weighty matters; the motion of a new impression fell in, as a native result from desires of more light, excited by the spirit of truth in the hearts of wisdom's children, and fome of these endowed with learning, as well as piety, It contains a great deal of the marrow of revealed and gospel truth, selected from authors of great note, clear. ly enlightened, and of most digested experience; and fome of them were honoured to do eminent and heroje: cal services in their day, Thus the Christian reader hach the flower of their labours communicated to him very briefly, yet clearly and powerfully. And the manner of conveyance, being by way of amicable conference, is not only fitted to afford delight to the judicious reader, but layeth him also at the advantage of trying, thro' grace his own heart the more exactly, according to what eccho it gives, or how it relisheth, or is difpleafed with the several speeches of the communers. Touching the matter,it is of the greatest concernment, viz. The statiog aright both law and gospel, and giving true and clear parrations of the course of the cloud of witnesses in the following of which many have arrived at a glorious rest. The excellent accounts are mana. ged in such a manner, as to detect the rocks on either hand, upon which the danger of splicting is exceedingly great. Here we have the greatest depths, and most paioted delusions of hell, in opposition to the only way of salvation, discovered with marvellous brevity and evidence, and that by the concurring suffrages of burning and shining lights, men of the clearest experience, and honoured of God to do eminent service in their day, advancing the interests of our Lord's kingdom and gospel.