But what great iniquity is it now to neglect this grace, and, leaving the principles of Protestant religion, to rely upon, and trust to our own works for salvation? My brethren, how think ye to mingle the Law with the Gospel? the righteousness of Christ with your own? your faith, depending alone upon your Savior, with your works? What will ye say, when you will die, and this weighty case of conscience comes to be resolved, how shall my poor, guilty and sinful soul be justified before a righteous God? How can ye thus prepare the way to return, and lead your followers back again unto Babylon? What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? or what communion hath light with darkness?This is it, then - and the root of the conflict that Brown will explore in the book to whose preface Leydecker contributed these words. Brown sees in the doctrinal struggles over justification in his day a fight for the core of the Gospel - whether a sinner will be justified by means of the gracious imputation of the substitute's perfect righteousness, or by a justification grounded upon something in or done by the sinner, without reference to that perfect righteousness. Leydecker very clearly and directly brings us to the main point. The question centers on what God declares to be righteous, and in what way that righteousness is accounted to the sinner. Leydecker compares mingling works with faith with a return to Babylon - with a return to the Romanist error from which the Reformed church had escaped. It is no idle conflict, but a dispute of greatest moment. Hope resting on ANYTHING but Christ's righteousness alone is a false hope.
Leydecker closes his preface with these words, commending the work, and its author to us as readers, for the good end edification of our souls. I pray together with Leydecker that Brown's work might be useful to this end.
For I must give testimony to the Reverend and Learned Author of this work, that he wisely expounds the mysteries of justification according to the Doctrine of the Gospel, and the principles of the Reformed Churches: that he confirms the expounded Doctrine with efficacious arguments able to stop the mouths of all adversaries; that he prudently dissolves all their oppositions; that he shows himself a true Christian Minister, and a Scribe well instructed by the Holy Spirit unto the Kingdom of God. And therefore this excellent book was worthy to be printed, to be esteemed and loved among the best Treatises upon this great and weighty Doctrine of Justification. I need say no more, the work will speak for itself, and the judicious reader’s own experience will testify that it is written in the demonstration of the Spirit and Power, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness and consolation of penitent souls. I pray the God of all grace, that he would give the readers the spirit of wisdom and of a sound mind, that having the eyes of their understand enlightened, they may know what are the great mysteries of redemption, and may be sound in the Faith in order to this fundamental point of Justification here expounded and vindicated, with this full persuasion of mind that the Reformed profession is the true way of Salvation, able to save a sinner eternally, according to the Covenant of Grace revealed in the Gospel.