Hell By A Devout Path

“Now, seeing it is the fashion to recommend religious books, I am willing to comply with it for once. If any one chooses to go to hell by a devout path, rather than by any other, let him study to form his heart on any one of these four famous treatises, Mr. Guthrie’s Trial of a Saving Interest in Christ; Mr. Marshall’s Gospel-mystery of Sanctification; Mr. Boston’s Human Nature in its Fourfold State; and Dr. Doddridge’s Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. In any profane person, who desires to be converted, shall take pains to enter into the spirit of these books , it will be easy to show, from the New Testament, that he thereby becomes twofold more the child of hell than he was before. If none of these four are at hand, he may, without travelling far, easily read or hear plenty of sermons and books to the same purpose.

On the other hand, if any one has got an ear for the truth of God, and desires to have his mind established therein, let him read the history of Jesus Christ, and the Acts of the Apostles, recorded by the four evangelists. Would he be skilful in distinguishing the ancient gospel from all counterfeits, and so expert in fighting the good fight of faith? Let him read Paul’s epistles. Would he know what is pure and undefiled religion before God, in distinction from idle talking about it? Let him read James. Would he learn sobriety of mind, and patience in suffering for the truth, and have his veneration for the greatest names in the Antichristian world abated? Let him read Peter and Jude” (Robert Sandeman, Letters On Theron & Aspasio).

This, of course, is one of Sandeman’s great and spot on quotes. But then (could it really be) it appears a wolf in wolves’ clothing comes to the aid of some of his brothers in Satan. This is alleged to be Wesley’s response to Sandeman:

“One specimen more of your unparallel’d charity, which in any but yourself would be astonishing.

‘Is any one chuses [sic] to go to Hell by a devout Path, let him study any one of those four famous Treatises, Mr. Guthrie’s Trial of a Saving’ Interest in Christ, Mr. Marshall’s Gospel-Mystery of Sanctification, Mr. Boston’s Human. Nature in its four-fold State, and Dr. Doddridge’s Rise, and Progress of Religion in the Soul. If any profane Person who desires to be converted, enter into the spirit of those books, he thereby becomes twofold more a child of hell than he was before.’ — p. 436.

Such is the doctrine! Such is the spirit of Palaemon! Condemning the whole generation of God’s children! Sending all his opponents to hell at once: Calling arrows, fire brands, death on every side! But I stop, God be merciful to thee a sinner! And shew thee compassion though thou hast none for thy fellow servants. Otherwise, it will be more tolerable, I will not say for Seneca or Epictetus, but for Nero or Domitian in the Day of Judgment than for thee!”

Tell us how you really feel, John “unparalle’d charity” Wesley.

Sandeman had recommended close adherence to Walter Marshall’s Gospel Mystery of Sanctification for those who would desire “to go to hell by a devout path.” Here is an excerpt from Marshall’s famous treatise (as quoted by Tullian Tchividjian):

“In his book The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, Walter Marshall succinctly puts his finger on what our default mode is and how it can rob us of the joy of our salvation:

‘By nature, you are completely addicted to a legal method of salvation. Even after you become a Christian by believing the Gospel, your heart is still addicted to salvation by works. In your heart you still want to make the duties of the law come before the comforts of the Gospel. You find it hard to believe that you should get any blessing before you work for it. This is the mindset you tend to fall into: You sincerely do want to obey the laws of God. Therefore, to make sure you obey the law of God you make all of God’s blessings depend upon how well you keep his law. Some preachers even tell you that you had better not enjoy the blessings of the Gospel! They tell you to diligently obey the law first and that only by doing this will you be safe and happy before God. Just keep in mind, however, that if you go this route, you will never enjoy your salvation for as long as you live in this world.’

The pernicious Puritan heretic Walter Marshall indeed paves a “devout path to hell” by asserting that regenerate persons are “still addicted to salvation by works” and can go for periods of time not submitted to the righteousness of Jesus Christ revealed in the gospel as the sole ground of their assurance and acceptance before God (contra Romans 10:1-4). Next Page (3)

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