Memoirs Of Thomas Boston

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Weight 1.92 lbs
Dimensions 8.8 × 5.75 × 1.5 in
ISBN 9780851515281



18th Century, 17th century, Pastoral Biography

Original Pub Date


Banner Pub Date

Mar 1, 1988

Page Count




Book Description

Memoirs of Thomas Boston records the joys and sorrows, the burdens and victories of Thomas Boston’s life. Here we read of his love for Catherine Brown and of their marriage, of death in the family circle, of the dark cloud of his wife’s affliction, and of Boston’s own ceaseless gospel labours. Out of these labours, and his deep Christian experience, Thomas Boston gave the church one of its most enduring spiritual autobiographies.

Born into relative obscurity in 1676 in Duns, Berwickshire, Thomas Boston died in 1732 in the small parish of Ettrick in the Scottish Borders. But his 56 years of life, 45 of them spent in conscious Christian discipleship, lend credibility to the spiritual principle that it is not where a Christian serves, but what quality of service he renders, that really counts.

Graduating in Arts from Edinburgh University, Boston spent only one session in theological college before completing his studies extramurally. With arduous discipline, his private studies, sustained by a meagre library, earned him a widespread reputation. As a Hebrew scholar he was, writes George Morison, ‘welcomed as an equal by the finest Hebrew scholars in the world’; as a theologian, Jonathan Edwards wrote that he was ‘a truly great divine’.

But it is a loving, faithful, rigorously self-disciplined Christian pastor, and one deeply committed to the grace of God, that Boston is best remembered. Leaving his first charge at Simprin (where he served 1699-1707), he settled in Ettrick for a 25 year ministry that saw the numbers of communications rise from 60 to 777. Constantly burdened for his congregation, Boston taught them in season and out of season, in pulpit and in home; burdened for the truth of the gospel, he overcame all natural timidity to engage in controversy over the teaching of Professor Simson (who was charged with heretical doctrine), and in the famous ‘Marrow Controversy’.

It is, however, as a preacher that Boston’s influence was most widely felt; ‘There was a grip in it that no preacher wins who is a stranger to his own heart’. Out of this ministry came Human Nature in Its Fourfold State and other works of enduring value.

Table of Contents Expand ↓

The author’s address to his children 1
From his birth till he left the grammar school 5
From his leaving the grammar school to his Laureation 13
From his Laureation to his being licensed to preach the gospel 20
From his being licensed till he removed into the bounds of the presbytery of Stirling 34
From his removal into the bounds of the presbytery of Stirling to his return unto the Merse 42
From his return unto the Merse to his ordination to the holy Ministry at Simprin, 21st September 1699 64
From his ordination to his marriage, 17th July 1700 96
From his marriage to his removal to Ettrick 158
From his removal to Ettrick to the oath of abjuration refused by him 214
From the oath of abjuration refused till his transportation to Closeburn refused by the commission of the general Assembly. 270
From the transportation to Closeburn refused to the notable breach in his health, and alteration in his constitution 329
From the notable breach in his health to the time of closing this account, November 1731, six months before his death 377
Postscript 477
1) Note on page 244, concerning the situation of the parish of Ettrick 483
2) Note on page 297, advice to the parish, with respect to their duty as loyal subjects in the rebellion, 1715 486
3) Note on page 338, overtures of admission to the Lord’s table, and debarring from it 487
4) Mr. Gabriel Wilson’s speech before the synod of Merse and Teviotdale in defence of his sermon before that synod, October 1721 489
5) Note on page 391, paragraph of a letter from the author to the minister of e__ r 493
6) Letters from the Rev, Mr, Henry Davidson, late minister of the gospel at Galashiels, to the author 494
7) Extract of a letter from Mr, Grant to the author, concerning Sir Richard Ellys 496
8) letters from the author to his correspondent in Edinburgh 497
9) Letter from the author to the Rev, Mr, James Hog, minister of the gospel at Carnock 512
10) Letter from an eminent dissenting minister in Essex to the author’s grandson, concerning the author’s appearance before the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1729, in professor Simson’s process 513
11) Note on the bicentenary services held at Simprin, 24th September 1899 515
Index, 517


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