The Crook in the Lotby Thomas Boston
When calamity and disaster strike, many people begin to ask, "Where is God?" and "Why did God allow this to happen?" These are the very questions Thomas Boston addresses in this timeless book. Thomas Boston explains how the sovereignty and wisdom of God is displayed in the afflictions of men. In his approach to this difficult subject, he is both theologically precise and pastorally tender. Boston does not commit the error of needlessly trying to protect God's reputation, nor does he go to the opposite extreme of making God a compassionate but helpless bystander. Rather, Boston brings God right into the mix of even the most disastrous events, and shows how He is actively involved in both the events and their resolution. May the God of all comfort be your comfort in troubled times.
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Boston was born at Duns. His father, John Boston, and his mother, Alison Trotter, were both Covenanters. He was educated at Edinburgh, and licensed in 1697 by the presbytery of Chirnside. In 1699 he became minister of the small parish of Simprin, where there were only 90 examinable persons.
In 1704 he found, while visiting a member of his flock, a book brought into Scotland by a commonwealth soldier. This was the famous Marrow of Modern Divinity, by Edward Fisher, a compendium of the opinions of leading Reformation divines on the doctrine of grace and the offer of the Gospel, which set off the Marrow Controversy. Its object was to demonstrate the unconditional freeness of the Gospel. It cleared away such conditions as repentance, or some degree of outward or inward reformation, and argued that where Christ is heartily received, full repentance and a new life follow. On Boston's recommendation, James Hog of Carnock reprinted The Marrow in 1718; and Boston also published an edition with notes of his own. The book, being attacked from the standpoint of high Calvinism, became the standard of a far-reaching movement in Scottish Presbyterians.
The Marrow men were marked by the zeal of their service and the effect of their preaching. As they remained Calvinists they could not preach a universal atonement; rather they were particular redemptionists. In 1707 Boston was transferred to Ettrick, Scotland. He distinguished himself by being the only member of the assembly who entered a protest against what he deemed the inadequate sentence passed on John Simson, professor of divinity at Glasgow, who was accused of heterodox teaching on the Incarnation.
Boston, if unduly introspective, was a man of singular piety and amiability. His books, The Fourfold State, The Crook in the Lot, and his Body of Divinityand Miscellanies, had a powerful influence over the Scottish peasantry. His Memoirswere published in 1776. An edition of his works in 12 volumes appeared in 1849.
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