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CROOK IN THE LOT.
REV. THOMAS BOSTON.
WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR.
THOMÁs Boston, formerly a well-known preacher, was born at Dunse on 7th March, 1676. His parents were poor; but being the youngest son, it was their earnest desire that he should enter the ministry. In his boyhood he took great delight in reading the Scriptures, more particularly the historical portions. At the age of twelve he was fully awakened to a sense of his natural sinfulness, and with a few companions formed a meeting for religious conference and prayer. Only after rigid household economy he attained the object of his ambition-attendance at the University of Edinburgh—which he entered in 1691. Having passed the three preparatory sessions, in 1695 he entered the Divinity Hall-at first being compelled to support himself by teaching, which happily he was enabled to abandon for the duties of tutor in the family of Lieut.-Colonel Bruce of Kennet -his residence with whom was of great service in improving his knowledge of the world. Being licensed to preach in 1697, he was unable to obtain a charge, on account of his uncompromising disposition, although his preaching gave great satisfaction to the seriously minded. In 1699 he was appointed minister of the parish of Simprin, the smallest in Scotland, the parishioners of which lived near, and were at all times accessible. *
labours were continued for eight years, during the whole of which time he wrought incessantly in the duties of his office, the week being divided among the various good works he undertook. In 1700 he married Catherine Brown, in whom he found a congenial partner, but whoso delicate frame of body caused him continual anxiety. While living here Boston came to the knowledge of the famous work, the Marrow of Modern Divinity, the views propounded in which, though finally condemned by a majority of the General Assembly in 1720, he, along with a few other ministers, approved and continued to maintain. In 1707 he accepted a call to Ettrick, a large straggling parish, which he found very different from Simprin, and where not only great ignorance of religious doctrines, but much vice and profanity prevailed. His welcome here was not a cordial one. His zeal and disinterestedness, however, accomplished much, and the refusal by him of a more lucrative parish, caused him to be more highly esteemed. And here, after labouring long, he died, deeply regretted, on the 20th May, 1732, at the age of fifty-six.
Of his works, which are voluminous, the best known are Human Nature in its Fourfold State, and The Crook in the Lot. The Fourfold State was published in 1720, and treats of man in his state of integrity-in his fallen condition-in his begun restoration-and in his final state of happiness or misery in the spiritual world. His Autobiography was formerly a great favourite among the Scottish peasantry. The present work, The Crook in the Lot, is a serious, yet withal agreeable little treatise, and presents Boston's peculiarities in their most striking light.
CROOK IN THE LOT
Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which
He hath made crooked ?--Eccles. vii. 3.
A JUST view of afflicting incidents is altogether necessary to a Christian deportment under them; and that view is to be obtained only by faith, not by sense; for it is the light of the word alone that represents them justly, discovering in them the work of God, and, consequently, designs becoming the Divine perfections. When these are perceived by the eye of faith, and duly considered, we have a just view of afflicting incidents, fitted to quell the turbulent motions of corrupt affections under dismal outward appearances.
It is under this view that Solomon,' in the preceding part of this chapter, advances several paradoxes, which are surprising determinations in favour of certain things, that, to the eye of sense, looking gloomy and hideous, are therefore generally reputed grevious and shocking. He pronounceth the day of one's death to be better than the day of his birth; namely, the day of the death of one, who, having become the friend of God through faith, hath led a life to the honour of God, and service of his generation, and thereby raised to himself the good and savoury name better than precious ointment.