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Full text of "The whole works of the late Reverend Thomas Boston, of Ettrick : now first collected and reprinted without abridgement; including his memoirs, written by himself"

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Donati on of 
Samuel. Acrnew 
B rch 25, ^5 3 

BX 8915 .B67 1848 v. 12 
Boston, Thomas, 1677-1732. 
The whole works of the late 
Reverend Thomas Boston, of 








"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, rmd 1 will declare what he hath done for my soul.' 
P^alw lxvi. 16. 

"The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance."-PsALM cxii. 6. 
,L By it he being- dead, yet speaketh."— Heb. xi- 4. 






The Author's address to bis children, 

Period -, 

1. From his birth [1676], till he left the grammar school L lt>89 J. 

2. From his leaving the grammar school to his laureation [1694], 
3' From his laureation to his being licensed to preach the gospel [1697], 

4. From his being licensed till he removed into the bounds of the Presbytery of 

Stirling [1698], 

5. From his removal into the bounds of the Presbytery of Stirling to his return 

unto the Merse, [1699], 

6. From his return unto the Merse to his ordination to the holy ministry at 

Simprin, Sept. 21, 1699, 

7. From his ordination to his marriage, July, 1700 ... ••• 6J > 

8. From his marriage to his removal to Etterick [1707], .. ••• • ° 

9. From his removal to Etterick, to the oath of abjuration refused by him 

[1712], 197 

10. From the oath of abjuration refused till his transportation to Closeburn, re- 

fused by the Commission of the General Assembly [1717], ... 248 

11. From the transportation to Closeburn refused, to the notable breach ia his 

health, and alteration in his constitution [1724], ... •• 301 

12. From the notable breach in his health, to the time of closing this account 

[Nov, 1731, six months before his death], 

r. ... ... ••• 44 ? 



1. Note on p. 226, concerning the situation of the parish of Etterick, ... 457 

2. Ditto on p. 272. Advice to the parish, with respect to their duty as loyal 
subjects in the rebellion, 1715, 

3 Ditto on p. 309. Overtures of admission to the Lord's table, and debaning 

, \ 461 

irom it, 

4. Mr. Gabriel Wilson's speech before the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, in 
defence of his sermon before that Synod, October, 1721, ... 463 

5. Note on p. 350. The Author's memorial concerning his Essay on the He- 
brew text of Genesis, 

6 Ditto on p. 359. Paragraph of a letter from the Author to the minister of 

E r, 469 

7. Ditto on p. 411. The Author's memorial concerning his Essay on the 

Hebrew accentuation, 

8. Letter from the Rev. Daniel Waterland, D.D., Master of Magdalene college 

in Cambridge, and chaplain in ordinary to his Majesty, to Mr. G., rela- 
tive to the Author's work on the Hebrew text of Genesis, 


V, l'age 
9. Letters from the Rev. Mr. Henry Davidson, late minister of the gospel at 

Galashiels, to the Author, ... ... .. ... 471 

10. Letter to the Author, in the Latin tongue, from the very Rev. William 

Hamilton, Professor of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh, upon the 

subject of the Hebrew accentuation, ... ... ... 474 

11. Extract of a letter from Mr. Grant to the Author, concerning Sir Richard 

Kllvs, ... ... ... ... ... ... ib. 

12. Letter from the Author to Sir Richard Ellys, Bt., Member of Parliament, 475 

13. Sir Richard Elly's reply, ... ... ... ... ... 477 

14. A second letter from the Author to Sir Richard Ell ye, ... ib. 

15. A third letter from the Author to Sir Richard Ellys, ... ... 479 

16. Letters from the Author to his Correspondent in Edinburgh, ... 480 

17. Letter from the Author to the Rev. Mr. James Hogg, Minister of the Gospel 

at Carnot.k, ... ... ... ... ... ... 497 

IS Letter from an eminent Dissenting Minister in Essex to the Author's grand- 
son, concerning the Author's appearance before the General Assembly 

of the Church of Scotland, 1729, in Professor Simson's process, 498 

Letter from the Author to the Presbytery of Selkirk, ... ... 500 

Part of the latter Will of the Author, ... ... ... 501 

Epitaphs, by the Rev. Ralph Erskine, ... ... ... ... 502 

Inscription on the Author's Monument, ... ... ... 503 




Mt Dear Children, 

I apprehend, that by the time it is de- 
signed, under the conduct of all-disposing Providence, this should 
come into your hands, ye may be desirous to know your father's 
manner of life, beyond what ye saw with your eyes ; and it is very 
pleasing to me that, as to that point, I am capable, in some mea- 
sure, to satisfy you, by means of two manuscripts, which I leave 
unto you, committing them to the Lord my God for preservation, 
and a blessing on them. 

The one is a bound book in quarto, intitled, "Passages of my 
Life," at writing hereof, consisting of three hundred and sixty-two 
written pages, beginning from my birth, ending October 19, 1730, and 
signed.* I was not arrived at twenty years of age when, without 
a prompter, so far as I know, I began collecting of these passages, 
for my own soul's benefit ; and they being carried on, have often 
since that time been of use to me. For which cause I recommend 
the like practice to you; remembering the promise, Psalm cvii. 43, 
" Whoso is wise, and will observe those things, even they shall 
understand the loving-kindness of the Lord." 

The other is the following general account of my life, at writing 
hereof, consisting of two hundred and seventy-nine written pages,t 

* The author, before his death, added some pages more, 
t In the years 1730 and 1731 the author added a good many pages more. The first 
]\IS. consists in *hole of 371 pages, and the latter of 342. 


beginning from ray birth, ending October 24, 1730, and sigued. 
How I was led thereto, much contrary to my inclination, you will 
find in the manuscripts themselves. But, now that it is done, I am 
obliged to say, " The foolishness of God is wiser than men;" and I 
bless the Lord who gave me counsel. It was in obedience to his 
call that I did it ; " Let the Lord do with it what seemeth him 
good." Ye will not readily have meaner thoughts of that matter 
than I myself had. 

I presume you will judge that it had beeu more natural to have 
made one continued history of both ; and I, being of the same mind, 
would indeed have so dono, had I thought it worth my pains, in this 
decline of my age and strength. But not seeing myself called 
thereto, I am satisfied as to the design of Providence, which hath 
modelled that matter as said is.* 

You will not therein find yourselves descended, by me at least, 
from any ancient or honourable family in the sight of the world ; 
which is a matter of some significancy, I own, before men, for a few 
passing years; but you will find yourselves children of the cove- 
nant, devoted unto the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
ray God, by me having power over you for that effect; whom there- 
fore I charge to ratify the same with your own consent, and personal 
acceptance of the covenant ; and to cleave to this God as your God, 
all the days of your lives, as being his only, wholly, and for ever; 
so shall that be to you a matter of eternal value and significancy, 
before the Lord, of value to you in this and the other world. 

If some things in these manuscripts appear trifling, bear with 
them. Ilad I thought it worth time and pains to have written them 
over a second time, it is likely several things now found in them had 
been dropped. Meanwhile it may reasonably be allowed that some 
things now appearing trifling to you, might have been of some weight 

* In preparing this work for the pre98, it wa9 judged absolutely necessary, in order 
to prevent repetitions, and references from the one volume to the other, to reduce 
both into one continued narrative or hi>tory, taking care all along to insert the pas- 
sages of his life in tho general account, in their proper places, according to their re- 
spective date9 and years, and as the nature of the subjects treated of required. — Note 
to First Edition. 

tui: author's address to his children. vii. 

to uie, and may be so to you afterwards ; and if never to you, yet 
some one time or other to yours after you. 

I hope you will find some things in them worthy of your imita- 
tion; the which I was the more willing to record, that I did not 
think I ever had the art of education of children ; but might thereby 
do somewhat toward the repairing of the loss you by that means 
sustained. It is my desire and will that, while the Lord is pleased 
to preserve them, and that in the power of my offspriug, any of 
them whosoever be allowed free access unto them ; yet so that the 
property thereof be vested from time to time, in such an one of them, if 
any such there shall be, as shall addict himself to the holy ministry. 
And in case I be allowed by him in whose hand is my life and 
breath, and all my ways, to make any continuation of the purpose 
of these manuscripts, the same is to be reckoned as here included. 

I hope you will use no indecent freedoms with them ; considering 
that, for ought you or I know, there is a jus tertii, a right of a third 
party in the matter, whom also I have a view to, with an awful re- 
gard to the sovereign disposal of holy Providence, to which I de- 
sire to submit all. Some few things which I saw meet to delete, I 
have signified and signed on the margin. 

And now, my dear children, your lot is fallen in a sinning time, 
beyond the days of my fathers : and I am mistaken if it issue not in 
a time proportionally trying, by '' the Lord's coming out of his place 
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.'' I obtest 
and beseech you, as you regard your eternal welfare, " save your- 
selves from this untoward generation." See the absolute necessity of 
regeneration, the change of your nature, by union with Jesus Christ 
the second Adam ; as it was corrupted by means of your relation 
to the first Adam fallen. Labour for the experience of the power 
of religion in your own souls, that you may have an argument for 
the reality of it, from your spiritual sense and feeling; and cleave 
to the Lord, his way of holiness, (" without which ye shall not see 
the Lord,") his work also, his interests, and people, on all hazards ; 
being assured, that such only will be found wise in the end. If 
your mother, undoubtedly a daughter of Abraham, shall survive me, 
let your loss of a father move you to carry the more kindly and 


affectionately to her, supporting her in her desolate condition. Let 
the same likewise engage you the more to be peaceful, loving, and 
helpful, among yourselves. 

The Lord bless each one of you, and save you, cause his gracious 
face shine on you, and give you peace ; so as we may have a com- 
fortable meeting in the other world. — Farewell. 

T. Boston. 

From my Study in Eitrick Maoe, 
Oct-bor 28, I7.°0. 




That ray life may be more fully known unto ray posterity, for their 
humiliation on the one hand, and thankfulness on the other, upon 
my account ; for their caution also in some things, and their imita- 
tion in others; and that they may set their hope in God, and not in 
the empty creation, — I have thought it meet to give the following 
general account of the days of my vanity, in the several periods 



I was born of honest parents, of good reputation among their neigh- 
bours, in the town of Dunse, on the 17th, and baptized on the 21st, 
of March, in the year 1676; being the youngest of seven children, 
four brothers and three sisters, pro-created betwixt John Boston, and 
Alison Trotter, a woman prudent and virtuous. I was born at a 
time when my mother was thought to have left bearing ; for which 
cause a certain woman used ordinarily to call me God's send. The 
youngest of my sisters I saw not ; but the rest lived, and had all of 
them several children ; many of whom have now children of their 
own. Meanwhile my brothers and sisters are all of them goue, se- 
veral years ago, into the other world, which I have now in view. 

Andrew Boston, my grandfather, came from Ayr to Dunse, and 
possessed the tenement given afterward by my father to my eldest 
brother, and belonging to his heirs to this day. But before him had 
come William, his brother, as I suppose ; whose name the tenement 
next on the west side, to that which my father gave me, bears. 
"When I was a boy, I saw a grand-daughter of his from England, 
by his son Mr. William, a churchman there; a very devout woman 
in her way, and married to one Mr. Peter Carwain, another church- 
man ; but I suppose childless. 

My father was a knowing man, having in his youth, I think, got 
good of the gospel. Being a nonconformist during the time of 

Vol. XI. b 


Prelacy, he suffered upon that head, to imprisonment and spoiling of 
his goods. When I was a little boy, I lay in the prison of Dunse with 
him, to keep him company ; the which I have often looked on as an 
earnest of what may be abiding me ; but hitherto I have not had 
that trial. My mother onco paying, to one Alexander Martin sheriff- 
depute, the sum of £50 as the fine of her imprisoned husband, for 
his nonconformity, desired of him an abatement; whereupon he, 
taking up a pint stoup standing on the table, therewith broke in pieces 
a part of a tobacco pipe lying thereon ; bidding the devil beat him as 
small as that pipe stopple, if there should be ought abated of the sum. 
And once walking through the street, while my father was with 
the masons that were building his house, he looked up, and said to 
him, that ho would make him sell that house yet. Nevertheless he 
and his posterity were not long after rooted out of the place ; and that 
house was not sold, until I, not for need of money, but for my own 
conveniency otherwise, sold it some years ago. May all my offspring 
be saved from ever embarking with that party ; of whom I say from 
the heart, " my soul, come not thou into their secret ; mine honour, 
be not thou united with them." 

The schoolmistress having her chamber in my father's house, I was 
early put to school ; and having a capacity for learning, and being 
of a toward disposition, was kindly treated by her ; often expressing 
her hope of seeing me in the pulpit. Nevertheless, for a consider- 
able time, I wept incessantly from the time they began to put on my 
clothes till I Avas up stairs in the school. Thus my natural temper 
of spirit appeared, being timorous and hard to enter on, but eager 
in the pursuit when once entered. 

By the time I was seven years old, I read the Bible, and had de- 
light in reading it ; would have read with my schoolmistress in the 
winter nights, when the rest of the children were not present ; yea, 
aud got the Bible sometimes to the bed with me, and read there. 
Meanwhile I know nothing induced me to it, but the natural vanity 
of my mind ; and curiosity, as about some scripturo histories. How- 
ever, I am thankful, that it was at all mado my choice early ? and 
that it hath been the study of my ripest years, with which I would 
fain close my life, if it were his will. 

Sometime in the year 1684, or at farthest, 1G85, I was put to the 
grammar school, under Mr. James Bullerwall, schoolmaster in the 
town, and continued at it till the harvest, 1689, save that one sum- 
mer I was kept at home, while tho rest of my class were going on in 
the grammar. 

AVhen I was very young, going to a neighbour's house, with a 
halfpenny, or some such reward of divination, in my hand, to a 

1684.] MK. THOMAS BOSTON. 11 

fortune-teller ; after entering the outer door, I was suddenly struck 
in my mind, stood musing a little between the doors, durst not go 
forward, but came stealing away again. Thus the unseen Counsellor 
preserved me from that snare. 

I remember some things which I was, by hearing or seeing, in per- 
sons come to years, witness to, in these days, leaving an impression 
on me to their disadvantage. "Wherefore care should be taken, that 
nothing should be done or said, sinful or indecent, before children ; 
for their memory may retain the same, till they are capable to form 
a right judgment of it, to the staining of the character of the party 
with them afterward. 

By means of my education, and natural disposition, I was of a 
sober and harmless deportment, and preserved from the common 
vices of children in towns. I was at no time what they call a 
vicious or a roguish boy ; neither was I so addicted to play as to for- 
get my business ; though I was a dexterous player at such games as 
required art and nimbleness ; and towards the latter end of this pe- 
riod, having had frequent occasion to see soldiers exercised, I had 
a peculiar faculty at mustering and exercising my school-fellows ac- 
cordingly, by the several words and motions of the exercise of the 
musket ; they being formed into a body, under a captain. The which 
exercise I have managed, to as much weariness and pain of my 
breast, as sometimes I have preached. 

During the first years of my being at the grammar school, I kept 
the kirk punctually, where I heard those of the Episcopal way ; 
that being then the national establishment ; but I knew nothing of 
the matter, save to give suit and presence within the walls of the 
house ; living without God in the world, unconcerned about the 
state of my soul, till the year 1687. Toward the latter end of sum- 
mer that year, the liberty of conscience being then newly given by 
King James, my father took me away with him to a Presbyterian 
meeting in the Ne.wton of "Whitsome. There I heard the worthy 
Mr. Henry Erskine,* minister of Cornhill before the Restoration, 
mentioned in Calarny'sAccount of the Ejected Ministers, vol. II. p. 518, 
and in the continuation of that Account, vol. II. p. 678 ; ct seq. ; by 
whose means it pleased the Lord to awaken me and bring me under 
exercise about my soul's state ; being then going in the twelfth year of 
my age. After that I went back to the kirk no more, till the Epis- 
copalians were turned out ; and it was the common observation in 
these days, That whenever one turned serious about his soul's state 

* This Mr. Henry Erskine was father to the late Messrs. Ebenezer and Ralph 
Erskines, whose praise is in all the churches. 

B 2 


and case, bo left them. The which experience in my own case, 
founded my aversion to that way, which hath continued with me all 
along to this day. 

But how blameless and harmless soever my life was before tbe 
world during my childhood, and while I was a boy, whether before 
or after I was enlightened, tbe corruption of my nature began very 
early to shew aud spread forth itself in me, as the genuine offspring 
of fallen Adam. And this not only in the vanity and ungodliness 
of tbe general course of my life before I was enlightened, living 
without God ; but in particular branches thereof, wbicb I remember 
to tins day with sbame and confusion before tbe Lord. And indeed 
in this period were some such things as I bave ever since looked 
upon as special blots in my escutcheon; the which, with others of a 
later date, I have been wont, in my secret fasts all along, still to 
set before mine own eyes, for my humiliation, and lay before the 
Lord, that he may not remember them against me ; though I hope 
tbey are pardoned, being washed away by the blood of Christ my 
Saviour. I remember my gross and unbecoming thoughts of the 
glorious, incomprehensible God ; keen batred of my neighbour, upon 
disobligations received ; and divers loathsome sproutings of tbe sin 
which all along hath "most easily beset me," as the particular bias 
of my corrupt nature. Two snares I fell into in that period, which 
have been in a special manner heavy to me, and bave occasioned me 
many bitter reflections ; and, I think, tbey have been after the Lord 
bad begun to deal with my soul, aud enligbtened me. The one I 
was caught in, being enticed by anotber boy to go to Dunse-law with 
bim on a Lord's day, and, when on the head of tbe hill, to play 
pins with him. The other I narrowly escaped, being put into the 
snaro by the indiscretion of one who then had the management of 
me ; all circumstances favouring the temptation, God alone, by his 
Spirit, working on my conscience, delivered me as a bird out of the 
snare of the fowler. The particular place I well remember, whither 
after the escape I went, and wept bitterly, under the defilement I 
had contracted, in tampering with that temptation. Such is the 
danger of ill company for young ones, and of indiscreet management 
of them. However, that they wero the genuine fruits of my corrupt 
nature 1 do evidently see ; in that, however bitter both of these had 
been to me, I did some years after run, of my own accord, into two 
snares much of the samo kinds, narrowly also escapiug one of them, 
but so as it occasioned to me great bitterness. 

Two of Mr. Erskino's first texts were, John i. 29, " Behold the 
Lamb of God," &c. ; and Matth. iii. 7, " generation of vipers, who 
hath warned you to fleo," &c. I distinctly remember, that from this 

1686.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 13 

last he ofttimes forewarned of judgments to come on these nations, 
which I still apprehend will come. By these, I judge, God spake 
to me ; however, I know I was touched quickly after the first hear- 
ing, wherein I was like one amazed with some new and strange 

My lost state by nature, and my absolute need of Christ, being 
thus discovered to me, I was set to pray in earnest ; but remember 
nothing of that kind I did before, save what was done at meals, and 
in my bed. I also carefully attended for ordinary the preaching of 
the word at Revelaw, where Mr. Erskine had his meeting-house, 
near about four miles from Dunse. In the summer time, company 
could hardly be missed ; and with them something to be heard, espe- 
cially in the returning, that was for edification, to which I listened ; 
but in the winter, sometimes it was my lot to go alone, without so 
much as the benefit of a horse to carry me through Blackadder 
water, the wading whereof in sharp frosty weather I very well re- 
member. But such things were then easy, for the benefit of the 
word, which came with power. 

The school-doctor's son having, in his childish folly, put a pipe- 
stopple in each of his nostrils, I designing to pull them out, hap- 
pened so to put them up that he bled. "Whereupon his father, in 
great wrath, upbraided me ; and particularly said, Is that what you 
learned at Revelaw ? which cut me to the heart, finding religion to 
suffer by me. 

In these days I had a great glowing of affections in religion, even 
to zeal for suffering in the cause of it, which I am very sure was 
not according to knowledge ; but I was ready to think, as Zebedee's 
children said; Matth. xx. 22, " We are able." I was raw and in- 
experienced, had much weakness and ignorance, and much of a legal 
disposition and way, then, and for a good time after, undiscerned. 
Howbeit I would fain hope, there was, under a heap of rubbish of 
that kind, " some good thing toward the God of Israel" wrought in 
me. Sure I am, I was in good earnest concerned for a saving interest 
in Jesus Christ ; my soul went out after him, and the place of his 
feet was glorious in mine eyes. 

Having read of the sealing of the tribes, Rev. vii., Satan wove a 
snare for me out of it, viz. That the whole number of the elect, or 
those who were to be saved, was already made up ; and therefore 
there was no room for me. How that snare was broken, I do not 
remember ; but thereby one may see, what easy work Satan, brood- 
ing on ignorance, hath to hatch things which may p.rplex and keep 
the party from Christ. 

At that time there was another boy at the school, Thomas Trotter of 


Catchilraw, whoso heart the Lord had also touched; and there came 
to the school a third one, Patrick Gillies, a serious lad, and elder 
than either of us ; but tho son of a father and mother, ignorant and 
carnal to a pitch ; which made the grace of God in him the more 
remarkable. Upon his motion, we three met frequently in a 
chamber in my father's house, for prayer, reading the scriptures, 
and spiritual conference; whereby wo had some advantage, both in 
point of knowledge and tenderness. It was remarkable concerning 
the said Thomas, that being taken to the first Presbyterian meeting 
that was in the country after the liberty ; where I suppose the wor- 
thy and famous Mr. James "Webster, afterwards a minister in Edin- 
burgh, preached ; he, upon his return from it, giving an account in 
the school concerning his being there, ridiculed the "Whigs ; the 
which I, who nevertheless was not there, was very sorry for, on no 
other account, I reckon, but that my father was one of that sort of 
people. But going afterwards to the like meetings, ho turned a 
very devout boy. 

To bind myself to diligence in seeking the Lord, and to stir me 
up thereto, I made a vow, to pray so many times a-day ; how many 
times, I cannot be positive ; but it was at least thrice. It was the 
goodness of God to me, that it was made only for a certain definite 
space of time ; but I found it so far from being a help, that it was 
really a hinderance to my devotion, making mo more heartless in, 
and averse to duty, through the corruption of my naturo. I got the 
time of it driven out accordingly ; but I never durst make another of 
that nature since, nor so bind up myself, where God had left mo at 
liberty. And it hath been of some good use to me, in the course of 
my after life. 

The school-house being within the churchyard, I was providen- 
tially made to see there, within an open cofiin, in an unripe grave 
opened, the consuming body just brought to the consistence of thin 
mortar, and blackish ; the which made an impression on me, re- 
maining to this day ; whereby I perceive what a loathsome thing 
my body must at length become before it be reduced to dust ; not 
to be beheld with the eye but with horror. 

In the course of years spent at tho grammar school, I learned the 
Latin rudiments, Despauter's grammar, and all the authors, in verse 
or prose, then usually read in schools; and profited above the rest 
of my own class, by means of whom my progress was tho more slow. 
And before I left tho school, I, generally, saw no Roman author, 
but what I found myself in some capacity to turn into English; but 
wo were not put to be careful about proper English. Towards the 
end of that time, I was also taught Vossius's Elements of Rhetoric ; 

1689.] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 15 

and May 15, 1689, began the Greek, learned some parts of the New 
Testament, to wit, some part of John, of Luke, and of the Acts of 
the Apostles. And helping the above-mentioned Patrick Gillies, in 
the Roman authors, in our spare hours, I learned from him, on the 
other hand, some of the common rules of arithmetic, being but a 
sorry writer. And this was the education I had at school, which I 
left in harvest, 1689, being then aged thirteen years, and above five 



Between my leaving of the grammar school, and my entering to the 
college, two years intervened. And here began more remarkably 
my bearing of the yoke of trial and affliction, the which laid on in 
my youth, has, in the wise disposal of holy providence, been from 
that time unto this day continued, as my ordinary lot ; one scene of 
trial opening after another. 

Prelacy being abolished by act of parliament, July 22, 1689, and 
the Presbyterian government settled, June 7, 1690, and the curate 
of Dunse having died about that time, the Presbyterians took pos- 
session of the kirk, by the worthy Mr. Henry Erskine's preaching 
in it on Wednesday, being the weekly market day ; the soldiers 
being active in carrying on the project, and protecting against the 
Jacobite party. The purity of the gospel being new to many, it had 
much success in these days, comparatively speaking; and in the 
harvest that year, my mother fell under exercise about her soul's 
case, and much lamented her misspent time ; and there was a re- 
markable change then made upon her. 

My father, as well as myself, inclined that I should proceed in 
learning ; but apprehending the expense unequal to his worldly cir- 
cumstances, was unwilling to bear the charges of my education at 
the college ; whereupon he tried several means for effectuating the 
design otherwise, particularly in the year 1690 ; but prevailed 
not. Hereby I was discouraged, and had some thoughts of betaking 
myself to a trade ; the which being intimated to him, he slighted, as 
being resolved not so to give it over; and I entertained them not, 
but as the circumstances seemed to force them on me. 

In the end of that year he took me to Edinburgh, and essayed to 
put me into the service of Dr. Rule, principal of the college, not 
without hope of accomplishing it ; but one who had promised to re- 
commend me to the Doctor, having forgot his promise, that essay 
was made in vain ; and I returned home, having got that notable 
disappointment on the back of several others. 


Meanwliile the difficulties I had to grapple with, in the way of ray 
purpose, put me to cry to the Lord in prayer on that head, that he 
himself would find means to bring it about. And I well remember 
the place whero I was wont to address the throne of grace for it, 
having several times thereafter had occasion to mind it, in giving 
thanks for that he had heard the prayers there put up for that 

About, or before this time, was the melancholy event of Mr. J. 

B 's falling into adultery. He was born in Dunse, and so an 

acquaintance of my father's ; and he was minister of the meeting- 
bouse at Mersingtou, and not young. This dreadful stumbling-block, 
laid especially at sucb a critical juncture as the Revolution, filled 
the mouths of the ungodly with reproach against the way of religion, 
and saddened the hearts of the godly to a pitch. I well know, that 
many a heavy heart it made to me, and remember the place where I 
was wont heavily to lament it before the Lord in secret prayer. 

On the 1st day of February 1691, it pleased the Lord to remove 
my mother by death, not having lain long sick. To the best of my 
knowledge, she was not above fifty-six years of age, ray father and 
she having lived together, in the state of marriage, from their youth, 
about thirty years. While she died in one room, ray father was 
lying in another sick, as was supposed unto death; and heavily re- 
ceived the tidings of her departure. Returning from bidding some 
friends in the country to her burial, I met on the street one whom 
I asked concerning my father, that told me, in all probability he would 
never recover. This so pierced me, that getting home, I went to the 
foot of the garden, and cast myself down onthe ground, where, accord- 
ing to the vehemeucy of my passion, I lay grovelling and bemoaning 
my heavy stroke in the loss of my parents, looking on myself as an ab- 
solute orphan, and all hopes of obtaining my purpose now gone. 
Thus I lay, I think, till my eldest brother, a judicious man, came 
and spoke to me, and raised me up. But it pleased the Lord that 
I was comforted in the recovery of my father some time after. About 
this time, I suppose, I myself was sick about eight days. 

Some time after, my father, in pursuance of what had passed be- 
twixt him and the town-clerk, sent me, at his desire, to write with 
him. But whatever way they had concerted their business, he drew 
back, took no trial of me in the matter, and I returned. And that 
project was blown up. 

J Jut being, it would seem, put in hopes by my father of proceeding 
in learning, towards the middle of June I betook myself to my books 
again, which I had almost given over; and I applied myself to the 
reading of Justin at that time, the raalt-loft being ray closet ; but 

1691-] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 17 

beginning thus to get up my head, iny corruption began to set up its 
head too ; so necessary was it for me to bear the yoke. 

Meanwhile I was, that year, frequently employed to write with 
Mr. Alexander Cockburn, a notary. The favourable design of 
providence therein, then unknown to me, I now see, since it could 
not be but of some use to help me to the style of papers ; the which, 
since that time, I have had considerable use for. And thus kind 
providence early laid in for it. 

But here I was led into a snare by Satan and my own corruption. 
Mr. Cockburn being in debt to me on the foresaid account, I saw 
Dickson on Matthew lying neglected in his chamber ; and finding I 
could not get the money due to me out of his hand, I presumed to 
take away the book without his knowledge, thinking I might very 
well do it on the foresaid account. I kept it for a time ; but con- 
science being better informed, I saw my sin in that matter, and 
could no more peaceably enjoy it, though he never paid me ; so I re- 
stored it secretly, none knowing how it was taken away, nor how 
returned; and hereby the scandal was prevented. This, I think, 
contributed to impress me with a special care of exact justice, and 
the necessity of restitution in the case of things unjustly taken away, 
being like a burnt child dreading fire. 

My father being fully resolved to put me to the college on his own 
charges, I began on the 15th of October, to expound the Greek New 
Testament : which, I think, I completed betwixt that and December 
1 ; at which time he took me to Edinburgh, where being tried in the 
Greek New Testament by Mr. Herbert Kennedy, regent, I was 
entered into his semi class, my father having given him four dollars, 
as was done yearly thereafter, paying also all other dues. 

Thus the Lord, in my setting out in the world, dealt with me, 
obliging me to have recourse to himself for this thing, to do it for me. 
He brought it through many difficulties, tried me with various disap- 
pointments, at length carried it to the utmost point of hopelessness, 
seemed to be laying the grave-stone upon it at the time of my mother's 
death ; and yet after all he brought it to pass ; and that has been 
the usual method of providence with me all along in matters of the 
greatest weight. The wisdom appearing, in leading the blind by a 
way they knew not, shinned in the putting on that matter to this 
time, notwithstanding all endeavours to compass it sooner ; for I am 
convinced I was abundantly soon put to the college, being then but 
in the fifteenth year of my age ; and the manner of it was kindly 
ordered, in that I was thereby beholden to none for that my educa- 
tion; and it made way for some things which providence saw needful 
for me. 

18 10IRS OF [l'KRIOD II. 

During the whole time I was at the college, I dieted myself, being 
lodged in a private house, to which I was led by kind providence, 
as fit for my circumstances. 

1692. The first year, being somwhat childish, but knowing with 
what dilliculty I had reached what I had obtained, I lived sparingly, 
and perhaps more so than was needful or reasonable. Being deject- 
ed and melancholy, I went but little out of my chamber, save to the 
class; and thus my improvement was confined in a manner to my 

1693. The second year I attended the college, I had an entire 
comradeship with Andrew (afterwards Mr. Andrew) Elliot, a minis- 
ter's son, and now minister of Auchtertool in Fife, which several 
ways contributed to my advantage, and lasted during the rest of 
the time we were at the college. Meanwhile I still lived sparingly. 

In the spring that year began a breach of my health, whereby I 
became liable to swoouings, which continued for several years after. 
It was, I think, in the month of April, when being on my knees at 
secret prayer, my heart began to fail, and I rose up, and fell on my 
back on the floor, and lay a while in a swoon. Recovering, I called 
the landlady ; then I went to bed, but fainted a second time, in 
which she took care of me. Afterwards she unwarily suggested to 
me, that it might bo the falling-sickness, which occasioned me se- 
veral thoughts of heart. Wherefore as I came homo in the middle 
of May, I consulted it ; and was delivered of these fears, which were 
groundless ; but being at home, I was, on the 2d of June, overtaken 
with another fainting-fit, in which beckoning with my hand I fainted 
away ; and while they were lifting me into bed, I heard my sister 
say, that I was gone. In a little I recovered, and ray father went 
to prayer at my bed-side. 

The first or second winter I was at college, being in company with 
a dumb man, I was urged by some to ask him a question about 
my brother William, lie answered me in writing, as it is Deut. 
xxix, ult., " Secret things belong unto the Lord our God," &c. ; and, 
moreover, that there is no such thing communicated to the dumb, but 
that through importunity lie himself had sometimes spoke what he 
knew not. Thus was I reproved. And I desire that all who may 
read this or such like my failings, may beware of splitting on tho 
same rocks, so heavy to me. 

About December 20, I gladly went to Edinburgh again for the 
last year, thinking that course of difficulties near an end. I was 
therefore more cheerful, and in point of diet managed more liberally. 

1694. About tho latter end of February, I came home with John 
Cockburn, a comrade, son to John Cockburn in Preston. I could 

1694.] MR. Til Oil AS BOaTOX. 19 

not get him out of the town till a good part of the day was spent; 
and wlien we were come out, he expended a little money he had left, 
without asking questions till it was done. Then finding there was 
no money with us but what I had, which could scarcely procure us 
both a night's lodging, we resolved to hold on our, way, though 
our journey was in all twenty-eight miles long. Night drawing on, 
we were twelve miles from home, and got nothing in the inn but 
bread and water ; there being no ale in it, it seems. Then under 
night we went on our way, in the moonlight; but on the hills we 
began to fail, travelling a-foot, and having had but sorry refresh- 
ment at the inn. Meanwhile, as we lay on the highway to rest our 
weary limbs a little, a farmer came up to us, who offered to lodge us 
with him near by ; which was gladly embraced. 

That youth and I had been schoolfellows at Dunse, and so much 
resembled one another in face and stature, as if we had been twins; 
the which being noticed by our fellows, made a most entire friend- 
ship between us at school. It lasted for a while ; but was at length, 
upon some childish controversy, quite blown up, and was never re- 
covered. For at the college, being more liberally furnished, he over- 
looked me, and gave himself to diversions ; so that there was no 
communication, but what was general, betwixt him and me, as I re- 
member, till the last of the three years. At what time, being once 
in company with him, I was like to have a plea to rid betwixt him 
and another ; and, to the best of my knowledge, left them at length. 
And then again I came home with him as aforesaid. He and I both 
were designed for the study of divinity ; but in a little time he gave 
up with it, went to London, applied himself to book-keeping, and 
went abroad, I suppose, and died. Wherefore, when I was honour- 
ed of God to preach the gospel of Christ, I was often a moving sight 
to his sorrowful father. Whence I must needs conclude, that " it is 
good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth ;" and surely it was 
good and necessary for me. 

Being allowed only £16 Scots by my father for the laureation, I 
borrowed 20 merks from one of my brothers, and so went to Edin- 
burgh for that end in the summer. But the day signified to me not 
being kept, I returned without my errand. This disappointment, 
with other discouragements I had met with in prosecuting my 
studies, furnished my evil heart, when going in a second time that 
season to the laureation, the occasion of that unbelieving thought 
that I would never believe I could obtain it till I saw it. For this 
thought I presently smarted, meeting suddenly on the back of it 
with a dispensation which threatened to lay the grave-stone upon all 
that I had hitherto attained; for some officers took me up by the 
way to be a soldier; but the Lord delivered me quickly. 


Thus holy wise providence ordered my education at the college; 
the charges whereof amounted in all but to £128, 15s. 8d. Scots; of 
the which I had 20 merks as aforesaid to pay afterwards. Out of 
that sura were paid the regent's fees yearly, and the college-dues, 
and also my maintenance was furnished out of it. By means there- 
of, I had a competent understanding of the logics, metaphysics, 
ethics, and general physics ; always taking pains of what was be- 
fore me, and pleasing the regent; but I learned nothing else, save 
short-hand writing, which an acquaintance of mine taught me, 
namely, a well-inclined baker lad. My design in acquiring it was 
to write sermons; but I made little use of it that way, finding it to 
mar the frame of my spirit in hearing, which obliged me to quit that 
use of it. But kind was the design of providence in it notwithstand- 
ing ; for besides its serving me in recording things I designed to 
keep secret, and otherwise, it has been exceeding useful to me of 
late years, in making my first draughts of my writings therein. 
" Known unto God are all his works from the beginning." 



That summer the bursary of the Presbytery of Dunse was conferred 
on me, as a student of theology ; as was that of the Presbytery of 
Churnside on my comrade John Cockburn. And after the lauda- 
tion, sometime before harvest, I entered on the study of tluolqgy; 
Mr. James Ramsay, minister then at Eymouth, now at Kelso, having 
put the book in my hand, viz, Pareus on Ursin's Catechism ; the 
which I read over three or four times ere I went to the school of 
divinity. Among the first books of that kind which I had a par- 
ticular fondness for, was " "Weem's Christian Synagogue." 

I went, on invitation, to F s, and spent some weeks there, 

after the haivest, with his two sons, and James (after Mr. James) 
Ridpath, students in philosophy, to whom I was there helpful in 
their studies- And that I may reckon the only time of my life 
in which I had a taste for youthful diversions ; whereof I soon saw 
the vanity, and wherein I drove but heavily, the family being alto- 
gether carnal. But while I was there, I kept up the worship of 
God in the family ; nevertheless I found that maunor of life en- 

1695. About January 20, 1695, 1 went to Edinburgh to the school 
of divinity, then taught by the great Mr. George Campbell. There 
was then a great storm of snow on tho ground. By the way, being 
extremely cold, I alighted olf my horse, (I think it was betwixt 

1695.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 21 

Ridpath-edge and Redstone-ridge), and walked. Having walked a 
mile, a swoon began to seize rae, and I could walk no more. I took 
horse, but was scarcely able to sit on it. My brother, who by good 
providence was with me, put a bit of bread in my mouth ; and I 
had scarcely as much strength left as to lift my jaws and chew it. It 
would have been desirable to me to have been near the meanest cot- 
tage. And I recovered. At that time I took a chamber, and dieted 
myself again, about the space of a month ; but weary of that way, 
Mr. Ridpath aforesaid, and I tabled ourselves as most convenient. 
He being a smart youth, and disposed to profit in philosophy, I did 
good to myself, by being serviceable to him in the matter of philoso- 
phy, which was his only study at that time. Having some taste of 
music before, we went to a school one month, and made good pro- 
ficiency ; pressing forward our teacher, and pursuing it in our cham- 
ber ; so that by that means we had the tenors, trebles, and basses, 
of the common tunes, with some other tunes, and several prick-songs. 
My voice was good, and I had a delight in music. 

A few of us, newly entered to the school of divinity, were taught 
for a time Riissenius' compend, in the professor's chamber. Pnblicly 
in the hall he taught Essenius' compend. For exercises that session, 
I had a paraphrase on Isa. xxxviii. 1 — 9 ; a lecture on Prov. i. and 
an exegesis de certitudine subjectiva electionis ; and in a private society, 
another de jure divino presbyter atus. I was also for a while, at that 
time, I suppose, with Mr. Alexander Rule, professor of Hebrew; but 
remember no remarkable advantage I had thereby. 

About the latter end of April, I returned home, clothed with tes- 
timonials from Professor Campbell, bearing, that I had diligently 
attended the profession, dexterously acquitted myself in several 
essays prescribed to me, behaved inoffensively, gravely, and piously. 
He was a man of great learning, but excessively modest, under- 
valuing himself, and much valuing the tolerable performances of his 

Mr. James Murray, minister of Penpont, whose schoolfellow I 
had been at Dunse a little while, having engaged me to embrace the 
grammar school of Penpont, came to the Merse about the harvest, 
and invited me to go with him, shewing considerable encouragement. 
1 could not then go along ; but afterwards I made ready for it, and 
exhausted what remained of my burse, which was in all, £80 Scots, 
in fitting out myself. Upon this view, shewing a minister of the 
presbytery, a wise man, that I minded not to desire the burse again, 
he bade me fasten one foot before I loosed the other ; an advice 
which I had frequent occasion of minding thereafter. 

In September, Mr. Murray having sent his horse for me, but withal 

■22 ME Mollis OF J l'ERIOD III. 

iu a letter signified his fears of the miscarrying of that project, but 
that in that case I might have another school ; I, not a little 
troubled at the sudden change, did notwithstanding go to Penpont, 
in company with the worthy Mr. Henry Erskine aforementioned. 

There I continued with Mr. Murray about a quarter of a year, in 
suspense with reference to that project; in which time, Mr. G. B., 
minister of Glencairn, desired me to take the school of that parish ; 
which I was unwilling to accept. All hope of the school of Penpont 

being at length cut oft", and I ashamed to return home, Mr. B 

was wrote to, for what was before refused ; and he made return, 
that he could not be positive as to the matter. Under this trial, 
which I was brought into by precipitant conduct, 1 was helped in 
some measure to trust God. 

After this, Mr. Murray being in Edinburgh, Mr. B sent for 

me, and agreed with me to teach the school there for 100 nierks of 
salary. Thereafter came to my hand a letter from Mr. Murray, de- 
siring me to come in to Edinburgh for a pedagogy provided for me. 

Whereupon I earnestly dealt with Mr. B to quit me, while I was 

not yet entered ; which nevertheless he would by no means agree to. 

1696. On the first day of the new year, 1696, being in his house, 
his manner was most grievous and loathsome to me ; so that I feared 
I might there come to be hardened from God's fear. On the 9th, 
much against the grain, I took up the school, never having inclined 
much to that employment, but being quite averse to it there. I was 
kindly and liberally entertained in Mr. B — ^'s house, and that 
freely ; but the vanity and untenderness of his carriage, and of his 
wife's, I was not able to digest. He was wont, among other pieces 
of conduct very unacceptable to me, to go to an alehouse, taking me 
along with him, much against my inclination, under pretence of dis- 
coursing with an old gentleman. There we were entertained with 
warm ale and brandy mixed, and with idle stories ; I obtaining by 
his character not to be pressed to drink. These things made me 
earnestly cry unto the Lord, that he would rid and deliver me, and 
dispose of me so as I might be freed from them and their society. 
He was a young man, his wife an old woman ; they had no children ; 
and there, I think, was their snare. Being sunk in debt, they left 
the country at length. 

After 1 had kept the school a little while, the lady Mersington 
wrote a pressing letter to Mr. Murray, that I should take the charge 
of her grandchild Aberlady, as his governor. "Whereupon Mr. 

B was again addressed to quit me ; but could not be prevailed 

with. I committed the cause to God, to be by him determined what 
to do. And considering that no time of my continuance there had 



been condescended on, that the scholars were but few, and that the 
presbytery was clear for rae going away ; and above all, considering 
that Grod, according to my earnest prayer, had opened an outgate 
from the heavy situation I found myself in, as above said, I began 
to question, if I could, without sin, let such an occasion of riddance 
from it slip ; so being at length fully determined, I gave up the 

school on the 8th February, much against Mr. B 's will, having 

kept it a month. At Candlemas the boys had gifted me about 10s. 
sterling, which I took from them with the usual civilities, but imme- 
diately returned each one his own ; so that I had nothing by them. 

"While I was in that country, I had advantage of converse with 
Mr. Murray, a learned and holy man ; the meeting of which two in 
a character was not very frequent there; as also of Janet Macleunie, 
an old exercised godly woman. She obliged me to take from her 
about half a dollar ; which, as a token of that woman's Christian 
love, I do to this day value more than gold. I remember not but 
another instance of that nature, which I shall also mention in the 
due place. I bless the Lord, who gave me counsel then and after- 
wards, to seek and value conversation with serious Christians, in the 
places where my lot was cast ; boing confident, I had much advant- 
age thereby towards my preaching of the gospel. But the small 
number of hearers I often saw in the kirk of Penpont, and the 
thronging away to separate meetings, kept, I think, by Mr. Hep- 
burn, with other things respecting ministers and people, made a 
lasting bad impression of that country on me. Meantime it was my 
endeavour to live near God, and I was helped, while there, in some 
measure to live by faith. And there it was, that I first of all began 
to record passages of my life ; the which I did on loose papers. 

Having gone to Edinburgh, in pursuance of the proposal above 
mentioned, I did on February 18, take the charge of my pupil, 
Andrew Fletcher of Aberlady, a boy of about nine years of age; 
whose father having died young, his mother was married again to 
Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce of Kennet, in the parish of Clackmannan. 
The boy being at the high school, with a servant waiting on him, I 
waited on the school of divinity ; which advantageous occasion pro- 
posed, had been a great inducement to me to engage in that busi- 
ness. And there I had a homily on Mark x. 27, which is in retentis ; 
but to my great disappointment we were removed from Edinburgh to 
Kennet, whither we came on the morrow after, viz. March 7, and 
where we continued all along till I parted with him. 

At Kennet, my pupil going to the grammar school at Clackman- 
nan, with the servant attending him, and being of a towardly and 
tractable disposition, my business with him was no burden ; taking 


notice of him at home, and sometimes visiting liim in the school. 
But my business was increased toward the latter end of the year, 
teaching two boys of Keunet's to read. My pupil died afterward in 
his youth, while I was at Simprin. 

I gave myself to study, kept a correspondence with the neigh- 
bouring ministers, there being an Episcopal incumbent in the 
parish when I went thither, and conversed much with some serious 
Christians about the place. 

Though I was not properly the chaplain of the family, nor had, 
that I remember, any particular order from the master of the fa- 
mily, and neither laird nor lady were at home for a considerable 
time after 1 went thither; yet finding myself providentially settled 
there, in the character I bore, I judged myself obliged in conscience 
to seek the spiritual good of the family, and to watch over them, 
and see to their manners. Accordingly I kept up family worship, 
catechised the servants, pressed the careless to secret prayer, re- 
proved and warned against sinful practices, and earnestly endea- 
voured the reformation of the vicious. 

This course not having the desired effect on some, created me a 
great deal of uneasiness for the most part of the time I was there, 
the which arose especially from an ill-disposed and incorrigible wo- 
man, who was steward, and so did of course sometimes extend itself 
to my entertainment ; which I bore with, that I might not mix quar- 
rels on my private interest with those I was engaged in for the ho- 
nour of God. And this principle 1 have all along, in the course of 
my ministry, aimed to walk by. 

Meanwhile the united Presbyteries of Sterling and Dumblane meet- 
ing at Tulliallan, a neighbouring parish, June 22, a motion was 
made to give me a piece of trial, which I refused ; but afterward 
Mr. George Turnbull, a grave learned man, then minister at Alloa, 
now at Tinninghame, gave me a text ; John viii. 32, which I re- 
ceived, declaring it to be without view unto my entering on trials 
before the presbytery, being convinced I was not ripe for it. On 
that text I wrote a discourse, and gave it him. Afterward he shewed 
me, by a letter, what he judged amiss in it ; but was pleased to add, 
that he observed a very promising gift in it. Thereafter Mr. Thomas 
Buchanan, then minister at Tulliallau, afterward at Dunfermline, 
gave mo another text, viz. Acts xxi. 28, on which also I wrote a 
discourse, not unsatisfying to him. Both these discourses are in 
/■' 1 1 ntis. 

My circumstances continuing uneasy through the means aforesaid, 
Mr. Turnbull did, on the 7th of September, by appointment of tho 
presbytery, desire me to wait on them, bringing my testimonials 

1696.] MB. TH03IAS BOSTON. 25 

along with me, on design to enter me on trials. He also spoke to 
Kennet about my removing out of his family ; an opportunity of my 
going into the family of Colonel Erskine, then governor of Stirling 
castle, offering at that time ; but Kennet shewed an unwillingness 
to part with me ; in which I believe he was very ingenuous, being a 
man that had some good thing rooted in him. Wherefore, though I 
inclined to, I could not insist for the removal ; but the entering on 
trials I was not clear for, and so could not promise to go to the Pres- 
bytery. Howbeit, being afterward persuaded to go to their meeting, 
I was minded to do it ; but was providentially stopped. 

But on the 23d I waited on them at Stirling, leaving my testimo- 
nials at home, of set purpose. Notwithstanding they appointed me 
to give in my thoughts on Phil. ii. 12, the following presbytery-day, 
producing my testimonials. This I could not undertake, having no 
freedom to enter on trials as yet ; and, I think, I saw them no more 
till 1 was going out of the country. But these things obliged me to 
lay that matter to heart, for light from the Lord therein, to know 
what I was called of him unto. 

I had in the summer represented to the lady the careless and un- 
godly lives, cursing and swearing of the steward and another ser- 
vant, persisted in after many admonitions ; and hinted to her, that 
it was her duty to reform them ; and if they would not be reformed, 
to dismiss them from her service. The answer was favourable ; but 
the terra drawing near, she gave over the only two common ser- 
vants who had any shew of religion, keeping the rest. This was 
very grievous to me ; I told her the evil, and at large testified my 
dislike of that manner of management; and it was received civilly, 
but prevailed nothing. Meanwhile I wag still acceptable to Kennet ; 
who, when again I had an occasion of entering into Colonel Erskine's 
family, still refused to part with me. But by reason of his post in 
the military he was not much at home. 

I held on, as new occasions offered, to discharge my conscience, 
until I left the family. And though it prevailed not accordiug to 
my desire ; yet, by the good hand of God fencing me, my struggle 
had an awe with it, and was not openly treated with contempt; 
though their words of me were like sharp swords, yet to me they 
were smooth as butter. I remember, that one Saturday's night they 
had set on a fire in the hall for drying their clothes they had been 
washing, not to be removed till the Sabbath was over. Grieved with 
this as a profanation of the Lord's day, I spoke to the gentlewoman ; 
who insinuating, that she had not done without orders what she had 
done, refused to remove them ; whereupon I spoke to the lady, who 
soon caused remove the clothes, and dispose of them otherwise. In 

Vol. XT. c 

26 MEMOIRS OF L l>EUI0D m - 

like maimor, ou a Lord's day, word being sent me that my pupil was 
not going to church that day, I went and inquired into the matter, 
and he was caused to riso out of his bed ; and both the mother and 
son went to church that day. 

On tho 6th of June, there was a sacrament at Culross, which I had 
no mind to go to, upon the account of a carnal reason. On the Sa- 
turday night, God reached mo a reproof by one of the servant-wo- 
men ; which filled me with confusion, set me to prayer, and to 
re-examine my reasons, which I found to be but consulting with flesh 
and blood. I went away therefore on the Lord's day, was deeply 
humbled, and had very much ado with unbelief, struggling to get 
my feet fastened. But at the table my soul, I thought, met with 
him iu such measure, that ofttiines I have remembered my God from 
Culross and Tulliallan, when ho has hid his face from me. On the 
Thursday before I had kept a secret fast. 

July 26. — The Lord's day after the sacrament at Tulliallan, where 
tho Lord was very kind to my soul, a godly family that had been at 
the samo sacrament, had forgot it was the Lord's day ; so that they 
told me afterward, they had fallen to their work, had I not come to 
their house, and asked them if they would go to the church. 

On the second of August, I was at a sacrament, where I thought 
myself sure of great things, from the Lord's former kind dealing 
with me, I think ; but before I went to the table, I was deserted, 
tempted, perplexed with doubts whether to partake or not; yet I 
thought it duty to go forward, I endeavoured to tako hold of the 
Lord; but staggered sore, came away with that it had been better 
I had not gone. But there I saw how little I could do without 
Christ, thought the Lord would come back again, and I had a long- 
ing to bo in heaven. Betwixt sermons I went to a place I will ever 
mind, and would have been content there to have ventured on eter- 
nity as I was ; desertion, a body of sin, &c, being very heavy, and 
recommending heaven to me. 

On the 30th of November, having prayed with confidence to the 
Lord for light and direction concerning my passing trials boforo the 
Presbytery of Stirling, which they had been for some time urging, 
as I have noticed above, I took up my Bible, and going to turn to 
my ordinary, there cast up to me, Job xxii. 28, " Thou shalt decree 
a thing, and it shall bo established unto thee ; and tho light shall 
shino upon thy ways." This passage was very refreshful, coming 
so surprisingly, whilo 1 was turning to another place. 

The space of a year being near expired, without any motion of a 
new bargain, on Jauuary 25, 1697, I wrote to Kennet, signifying, 
that I desired not to stay, being useless, and in a sort noxious, in 

1697] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 27 

his family. This letter I showed to the lady before I sent it off, 
and she quarrelled nothing in it ; we being both, I believe, weary. 
This done, finding my heart disposed to sing, I sang in secret, Psalm 
xxxvii., near the latter end ; whereby I was much cheered, and 
prayed cheerfully after. I was then, as it were, in sight of the shore 
of that troublous sea. 

A little after that, I found there was no hope of entering into 
Colonel Erskine's family ; and on Feb. 17, just the day before the 
year's expiring, I was told that Coulter had no mind to keep a peda- 
gogue for my pupil. And thus providence shuffled me out of busi- 
ness of that kind, being entangled there, when a door was opened 
elsewhere; which again was shut when I was disentangled; thus 
working towards the leading me into business of another kind. So 
on Monday, Feburary 22, I took leave of my pupil, and that family. 
The day before, I thought it my duty to speak some things to the 
servants before I left them. I prayed to God for light ; but was 
deserted, and could get nothing. I lay down on my bed in great 
heaviness, and thought with myself, "What folly is it for me to think 
of passing trials to preach the gospel, seeing I cannot buckle two 
sentences of good sense together in my own mind ? In this per- 
plexity I went out to the field, and prayed earnestly ; came in again, 
had no time longer to think ; but was helped of God to speak with- 
out confusion, and with great facility, to my own wonder. This was 
useful to me afterwards, and did drive the bottom out of a grand 
objection I had against passing my trials, taken from my unreadi- 
ness in ordinary discourse. 

The time I was at Kennet, continues to be unto me a remarkable 
time among the days of my life. Once I fainted there, being on my 
knees at evening secret prayer ; and coming to myself again, was 
cased by vomiting. Another time praying in the Ferrytown, in 
Thomas Brown's family, I found my heart beginning to fail ; which 
obliged me quickly to break off, and go to the door, where I was 
eased the same way as before. It was a time of much trouble to me 
yet in the main, a thriving time for my soul. My corruption some- 
times prevailed over me ; but it put me to the using of secret fasting 
and prayer ; whereunto I was also moved by the case of the poor, 
it being one of the years of dearth and scarcity that the Lord was 
then contending by year after year. And this I did not without some 
success. Then it was on such an occasion I drew up a catalogue of 
sins, which, with many unknown ones, I had to charge on myself; 
the which hath several times been of use to me since ; there I had 
some Bethels, where I met with God, the remembrance whereof hath 
many times been useful and refreshful to me, particularly a place 



under a tree in Kennet orchard, where, January 21, 1697, I vowed 
the vow, and anointed the pillar. That day was a public fast-day ; 
and the night before, the family being called together, laid before 
them the causes of the fast, and thereto added the sins of the family, 
which I condescended on particularly, desiring them to search their 
own hearts for other particulars, in order to our duo humiliation. 
After sermons, going to the Garlet to visit a sick woman, I was 
moved, as I passed by the orchard, to go to prayer there ; and being 
helped of the Lord, 1 did there solemnly covenant with God under a 
tree, with two great boughs coming from the root, a little north- 
west from a kind of ditch in the eastern part of the orchard. 

Though it was heavy to mo that I was taken from the school of 
divinity, and sent to Kennet ; yet I am convinced God sent me to 
another school there, in order to prepare me for the work of the 
gospel, for which he had designed me ; for there I learned in some 
measure what it was to have the charge of souls; and being na- 
turally bashful, timorous, and much subject to the fear of man, I 
attained, by what I met with there, to some boldness, and not re- 
garding the persons of men when out of God's way. There I learn- 
ed, that God will countenance one in the faithful discharge of his 
duty, though it be not attended with the desired success; and that 
plain dealing will impress an awe on the party's conscience, though 
their corruption still rages against him that so deals with them. It 
was by means of conversation there that I arrived at a degree of 
public spirit which I had not before ; and there I got a lesson of the 
need of prudent and cautious management, and abridging one's self 
of one's liberty, that the weak be not stumbled, and access to edify 
them be precluded; a lesson I have in my ministry had a very par- 
ticular and singular occasion for. 

On the Friday before I left Kennet, it was proposed to me by 
Messrs. Turnbull and Buchanan, that I should now enter on trials; 
and withal, that the elders of Clackmanan being unwilling I should 
go out of the country, it was desired, that I should take for myself, 
or allow to be taken for me, a chamber in the town of Clackmanan ; 
and they desired me to give my answer on the Tuesday, and go along 
to the Presbytery on the Wednesday thereafter. Having taken 
these things under consideration, I was that same night almost re- 
solved to comply with the call of that Presbytery for entering on 
trials before them. lint just next morning 1 received a letter from 
Mr. Murray, desiring me to come with all speed, and pass trials be- 
fore the Presbytery of Penpont ; withal, shewing that if I pleased I 
might in the meantime keep the school of Penpont, it being then 
vacant. Thus providence opened a door for my entering into an- 

1697] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 29 

other station, and doubled the call thereto. But then I was in doubt, 
racked betwixt these two, whether to address myself to the Presby- 
tery of Stirling or Penpont; which I endeavoured to table before 
the great Counsellor for his determination. In this suspense, I 
went, on "Wednesday, February 24, to the Presbytery of Stirling, 
where I obtained their testimonial, having promised to return to 
them if my circumstances would permit. Having spent some days 
more in that country, I came to Edinburgh by sea on the 4th of 
March, having got an edge put on my spirit for passing my trials, 
by the dishonour I heard done to God on the shore of Leith, where 
we landed. The case is as follows. Sailing by the shore, I heard 
such cursing, swearing, &c, as made me to wonder at the patience 
of God towards sinners, and to think I would be very willing to do 
any thing I could for suppressing these horrid sins or the like. This 
was useful to clear me in that point, which was now, and had been, 
ray exercise for a good time. 

About this time twelvemonth there came a young gentlewoman 
to see my pupil, with her face bespattered with patches ; and draw- 
ing him to her to salute him, he endeavoured to pull oft' her patches. 
She put back his hand, that he could not reach her face; but he 
pulleJ a paper out of his pocket, giving an account how the devil 
murdered a gentlewoman for pride, and gave it her; which did 
much confound her. 

While I was at Kenuet it was a time of much trouble to me, but 
a time wherein the Lord was very kind to me. I was helped of 
God in some measure to my duty, as has been [observed, and it'was 
that which enraged them against me. The lady was my great enemy ; 
but professed great kindness to me when she spoke to me, or to the 
ministers of me. One of those profane servants whom I could not 
induce her to put away, she was afterwards obliged to discharge 
with disgrace. I have often looked on the Lord's sending me 
thither, as done in design to fit me for the work of the ministry, to 
which it contributed many ways, as I have already noticed. 

At Edinburgh I received my wages, being 100 merks ; wrote a 
letter of excuse to Mr. Murray, and another letter to the place 
whence I had come, bearing my design to return thither shortly. 
And indeed, when I came to Edinburgh, I was not fully resolved to 
go home at all ; and having writ to my father, I signified the same 
to him, who being, unknown to me, in terms of a second marriage, 
gave me an answer, advising me to return to Stirling, as I had said. 
Howbeit I afterwards saw a necessity of going home, to procure 
money for my maintenance, during the time of passing my trials be- 
fore the Presbytery of Stirling, being unwilling to accept of the offer 


of the elders of Clackmannan aforesaid, and the money received not 
beiug sufficient for that and other necessary uses. Accordingly, just 
upon that design, I went home to Dunse, March 13 ; but he who 
" leads the blind by a way they knew not," led me hither on two 
material designs hidden to me ; namely, the diverting of the mar- 
riage, which was unknown to me, and the passing of my trials there, 
which 1 was far from having in view. 

The week after I went home, being still bent to return to the 
Presbytery of Stirling, and there being no small hope of getting the 
money for which I had come, I received another letter from Mr. 
Murray, wherein having answered all my excuses, he still insisted 
on my coming to Penpont to pass trials. Thus 1 was again put 
upon the rack between the two ; and not knowing whither to go, I 
earnestly desired counsel of God, both as to the main thing, and the 
circumstance of place; and shewing my situation to Mr. Alexander 
Colden, then Minister at Dunse, now at Oxnhara, he proposed, and 
persuaded me, to enter on trials before the united Presbyteries of 
Dunse and Churnsido. Considering the course of Pnmdence, and 
finding myself by his proposal freed from the former perplexity, 
which I could no otherwise get over, I yielded. And certainly it 
was a kind conduct of providence that led me to pass trials in the 
place of my nativity ; though, for that very reason, it would seem, 
that it was my native country. I had no thoughts of passing there ; 
for it was most for my reputation to pass trials where I was known 
from my childhood ; and, besides, it was the more convenient for me 
in my then circumstances, having my father's house to remain in. 

Accordingly, on the 23d of March, 1697, I being, just the week 
before, twenty-one years of age complete, Mr. Colden went to the 
Presbytery, sitting at Churnside ; aud having proposed their taking 
me on trials, they appointed mo a piece of trial on James i. 5, " If 
any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men 
liberally," &c, and that to be delivered at their next meeting in 
Dunse. The which being reported to me by Mr. Colden, I addressed 
myself to that work, kind providence having, on the Friday after, 
prepared mo a private chamber in my father's house, which had been 
occupied by another when I came home. 

On the 2d of April I spent some time in fasting and prayer, for 
the divine assistance in what I was called to, and was going about ; 
and in the time I found myself helped, in prayer, to particular trust 
and confidence, that (Jod would actually grant what I sought. The 
Presbytery meeting at Duuso on tho 6th, I delivered before them a 
homily on tho foresaid text, and was helped of God therein accord- 
ingly ; and to this day I have a sense of tho divine indulgence, de- 

1697-] MB. THOMAS BOSTON- 31 

termining them to prescribe rae that text which was so much suited 
for my support in the disposition I was in. They appointed me 
then a common head, De viribus libcri arbitrii circa bonum spirhuale. 

I delivered an exegesis on that head, after prayer made, both in 
Latin, May 11, at Churnside. Much time being spent ere they 
called for that piece of trial, I went out a little to revise it ; but by 
the time I had come the length of what I reckoned myself least 
master of, I was called to deliver it ; but withal, by the kind con- 
duct of providence, when I was coming on to that part of it, they 
stopped me. I distributed ray thesis on that head, and was appoint- 
ed to exercise and add next presbytery-day on Jude 15. 

On the 1st of June they met at Dunse. The day before it was 
the great fair in that place ; but I was earnest with God for his 
assistance in the work before me ; and was helped of him to seek 
his help. In the morning before I went to the kirk, I renewed co- 
venant with God in my chamber ; and I had much encouragement 
from the help of the prayers of my godly friends in Clackmannan, 
who, I trusted, were concerned for me. By a peculiar kind disposal 
of providence, when I went to the pulpit, the precentor, who used to 
keep an ordinary, was not come ; so, according to my own desire, I 
pitched on Psalm xviii. 25 — 29, and precented myself; and was 
greatly strengthened by the singing thereof. I delivered the exer- 
cise and addition to the foresaid text, being well helped of the Lord 
therein. I have still a peculiar remembrance of that part of the 
Psalm, as occasionally it comes in my way. I admire the indulgence 
of providence in the matter ; for the prcentor should have been sing- 
ing when I went into the pulpit. And withal I have often wondered, 
how, considering my temper, I got confidence to give out that psalm 
on that occasion ; but the obvious difficulty on that head was then, 
for any thing I know, hid from mine eyes, which were fixed depend- 
ing on God alone, according to his word. They appointed me a po- 
pular sermon on John i. 16, against their next meeting, with the rest 
of my trials, if I could get them ready. 

At Churnside, June, 15, I delivered my popular sermon on the 
foresaid text, as also a chronological discourse in Latin ; which, 
with the other discourses aforementioned, are yet in retentis. The same 
day, all the rest of my trials, viz. in the languages, and catechetics, 
were taken ; the which last are now, and have been for many years, 
taken first, with more reason. Thus all my trials being expeded, 
I was that day licenced to preach the gospel, as a probationer for the 
holy ministry, near about three years from my entering on the study 
of divinity. And looking on myself as a child of providence, and 
considering the manner of my education, I cannot but observe the 


kind conduct of that providence in carrying me through sundry- 
states of life, and parts of the country, in that short time allotted for 
me, in the character of a student. 



Being licensed to preach the gospel, I passed two years and three 
months in the character of a probationer ; the first part of the same 
in my native country, the second in the bounds of the Presbytery of 
Stirling, and the third in my native country again, where I was 
settled. These years brought in continued scenes of trial to me ; 
being through the mercy of God, generally acceptable to the people ; 
but could never fall into the good graces of those who had the stroke 
in the settling of parishes. 

Having, on the 18th of June, studied, and once mandated, the first 
sermon I preached, and having gone to a fellowship meeting, and 
upon my return fallen again to work, I was so confused, that I lay 
grovelling on the ground for some time in great perplexity, wishing 
I had never undertaken that work. But recovering myself, I betook 
myself to prayer ; and thereafter it came so easily toMiand, that I 
saw the finger of God in it. 

According to the impressions wherewith I was prompted tc enter 
on trials, I began my preaching of the word in a rousing strain ; and 
■would fain have Bet fire to the devil's nest. The first text I preached 
on, the Sabbath after I was licensed, was Psalm 1. 22; the second, 
Matth. vii. 21 ; the third, on a week-day, llos. xiii. 13 ; the fourth, 
Psalm 1. 21 ; the fifth, Ezek. ix. -4 ; the sixth, Prov. xxix. 1 ; and 
the seventh, Matth. iii. 7. Thus I went on for the first two months. 
But speaking with Mr. John Dysart, minister at Coldinghame, of 
the strain of preaching I had continued in, he said to mo to this 
purpose : But if you were entered on preaching of Christ, you would 
find it very pleasant. This had an effect on me so far, that imme- 
diately I did somewhat change my strain ; where I had occasion to 
enter on a new text; and then I preached, first, on Isa. Ixi. 1, and 
next, on 1 Pet. ii. 7. I have often, since that time, remembered 
that word of Mr. Dysart's, as the first hint given me, by the good 
hand of my God, towards the doctrine of the gospel. 

The first Sabbath I preached, being timorous, I had not confidence 
to look on the people ; though I believe I did not close my eyes . 
yet, as a pledge of what I was to meet, an heritor of the parish, on 
that very sermon, called me afterwards, in contempt, one of Mr. 

1697] MR. THOMAS B0ST0X. 33 

Henry Erskine's disciples. In which he spoke truth, as Caiaphas 
did, that worthy minister of Christ being the first instrument of 
good to my soul ; but the thing he meant was, that I was a railer. 
The second Sabbath I had more confidence ; and the next again more, 
till very soon I had enough; and was censured as. too bold, parti- 
cularly in meddling with the public sins of the land. The truth is, 
my God so far pitied my natural weakness, indulging me a while 
after I had first set out to his work, that, whatever fear I was liable 
to ere I got into the pulpit, yet when once the pulpit-door was 
closed on me, fear was as it were closed out, and I feared not the 
face of man when preaching God's word. But indeed that lasted 
not long, at least after I was a minister. 

Soon after I was licensed, I was peremptorily resolved not to con- 
tinue in the Merse, though there was appearance of encouragement ; 
and I received a letter from the Presbytery of Stirling, inviting me 
to their bounds, whether it was my own inclination to go. So, on 
July 27, I craved of the Presbytery an extract of my licence. But 
they, designing to have me settled in Foulden, would not grant it. 
By this time I had preached once in that perish, and they were in- 
clined to have me to be their minister; but I was not fond of it. 
Their Episcopal incumbent had newly removed from them ; and 
when I was to go thither, I foresaw a strait, in allowing his precen- 
tor to officiate as snch to me, without a judicial acknowledgement, 
which I, not being a minister, could not take. Consulting it with 
Mr. Colden, he would not urge me against my light; but told me, he 
feared the bailie, being Episcopal, would take it ill. I resolved to 
venture on that. So when the precentor came to me, in the Sabbath 
morning, I told him, I myself would precent ; but shewed him no 
reason why. This I took to be the most reasonable course in my 
circumstances, having no authority. Nevertheless the bailie was 
favourable. Thereafter I preached frequently in the parish while I 
continued in the country; had many good days in it, the meetings 
frequent, and people very desirous to hear the word. Meanwhile I 
still precented there, till about two Sabbaths before I left the coun- 
try ; by which time the Presbytery had confirmed the precentor in 
his office. 

I was still detained in the country by the Presbytery, that I might 
be settled in that parish aforesaid. But that could not be done 
without my Lord Ross' concurrence- Wherefore the Presbytery 
appointed Mr. Colden aud Mr. Dysart to speak to him at Edinburgh 
for that effect. And the former, upon his return from Edinburgh, 
told me, on September 10, that my Lord Ross did not refuse his 
concurrence ; only he desired me to come to Paisley to see him, that 


ho might go on with the greater clearness ; and hereto he withal 
advised rae. But I had no freedom for it. So, October 5, I desired 
of the Presbytery my liberty to leave the country, which I had in 
vain desired of them three several times before. In answer to which, 
Mr. Colden afterwards told me, that the Presbytery would let me go, 
providiug I would go to Paisley to see my Lord Ross. I would have 
been content to have been providentially led to have preached in 
my Lord's hearing ; but to go to him directly on that 'purpose, was 
what I could never digest, though I was dunned with advice for it, 
and had no body to bear with me in resisting it, but the unhappy 
Mr. J B' , then living a private man in Dunse. I consider- 
ed, that I had done all that lay in my road in the matter, having 
preached several times in the parish which in the designed event 
was to have been my charge ; they were satisfied, and should have 
had their Christian right to choose their minister ; I looked on the 
method proposed, as an interpretative seeking a call for myself; a 
symbolising with patronages, and below the dignity of the sacred 
character ; and I never durst do any thing in these matters which 
might predetermine me ; but behoved always to leave the matter 
open and entire, to lay before the Lord for light, till he should 
please to determine me by the discovery of his mind therein ; and I 
could not look on the matter of my compliance Avith the call of 
Foulden as entire, after I should have done as I was advised. 

Wherefore, upon the 13th, I insisted as before, and the Presby- 
tery granted my desire ; but withal demanded of mo, 1. That I 
should preach a day at Abbay before I went away; 2. That I should 
go by Paisley, and see my Lord Ross ; 3. That my licence should 
bear, that I should not, without their advice, engage with any 
parish. To the first and last I readily yielded ; but the second I 
could by no means comply with. 

Being resolved to take my journey for the bounds of the Presby- 
tery of Stirling, on the Tuesday after the October synod, now at 
hand, I sent to the presbytery-clerk for my licence accordingly ; the 
which I received; but so very informal, that it could not well be 
presented to a Presbytery. Whereupon I was persuaded to go to 
Kelso to the synod, that I might get it drawn there in duo form ; 
resolving to go straight from thence, without returning to Dunse. 
But providence had more work for me to do at homo. 

The Presbytery having appointed mo nowhere, for the third Sab- 
bath after I was licensed, I was invited to preach that day in the 
parish of Abbay, one of the four kirks of Laramermoor ; the which 
invitation I accepted, and studied a sermon for that end on Rev. 
iii. 20, which I believe was never delivered. But Mr. Colden being 

1698 ] ME. TIIOilAS BOSTON. 35 

on the Saturday called to a communion at Earlston on the morrow, 
I was obliged to preach for him at Dunse that Sabbath. The Pres- 
bytery would never send me to the said parish of Abbay till I was 
just going out of the country, as said is ; they having a design to 
transport unto it the laird of Abbay, minister of Aiton, whom they 
looked on as unfit for that public post. But he being both a weak 
and untender man, was unacceptable to the parish of Abbay, as well 
as to his brethren. By their appointment foresaid, I preached there 
the Sabbath before the synod, October 17. There had been before 
that an inclination in that parish to me to be their minister ; the 
which was first moved to me by Abbay himself, and afterward by 
an elder with much affection. After being appointed to preach 
there, they shewed themselves very cordial for my settlement among 
them, very affectionate to me, and unwilling that I should go out of 
the country. 

Having come to Kelso as aforesaid, the drawing up of my licence 
in due form was shifted and put off. It was represented, that a 
lady had engaged to write to Lord Ross in my favour ; I was urged 
to fall from my intended departure ; and Mr. Colden, whom I par- 
ticularly regarded, told me, he thought providence lay cross to it. 
So I behoved to return home again without my licence, unexpected, 
to my friends. 

Being thus locked in at home for that season, I preached several 
times at Abbay during the winter, lodging ordinarily in Blacker- 
stone ; where, at family prayer, December 14, I fainted away, not 
having got the prayer formally closed, as they afterwards told me. 
There was an appearance of my settling there ; the people were knit 
to me ; aud that was the only parish, I think, that ever I was fond 
of. But I smarted for the loose I foolishly had given to my heart 
upon it. I proposed to myself to be very happy in such a small 
charge, being told that they would be but about four score people ; 
but then there appeared to be an occasion of diffusive usefulness in 
that hill country, the other three kirks thereof being still possessed 
by curates. The stipend was about 700 merks, the place retired 
among the hills, the manse pleasantly situate on "Whitwater, and 
within three or four miles of Dunse. But the Presbytery was still 
against settling me there. 

1698. On January 16, 1698, the elders, who twice before that had 
desired a minister to moderate in a call there, but were repulsed, ap- 
plied to them again for the same end, and were repulsed as formerly ; 
notwithstanding that the same day there was read before them a 
leter from Lord Ross, bearing, that since I had not come to him, ho 
had another in view for Foulden. 


About the latter end of that month, Abbay being in Dunse, told 
me, that sometime he had a mind for that parish himself, but now 
he had changed his resolution, and would join with the elders, in 
order to my settlement there. And about the 8th of February, the 
ciders appearing again before the Presbytery, renewed their ad- 
dress for a minister to moderate in a call there ; and Abbay himself 
joining them accordingly, as an heritor, the Presbytery could no 
longer refuse it; but, in the meantime, they took a long day for it, 
purposely it would seem, and appointed the 10th of March for that 
effect. As we came out of the Presbytery, Abbay told me, according 
to his manner, he would preach my ordination sermon. 

Now the poor parish thought themselves secure ; and things seem- 
ing to go according to my heart's wish, I was much comforted in tho 
thoughts thereof. But, behold, in a few days Abbay changed his mind, 
and all endeavours were used to turn about the call for him; which 
with the heritors was easily obtained, none of them residing within 
the parish. The point on which it seemed to turn was, that now or 
never was the occasion of consulting his interest ; which missed, tho 
Presbytery would by some means get him turned out of Aiton. 
This, I was informed, some ministers did put in the head of his 
'friends, by whose persuasion he changed his min d and courseagain 
in that matter. 

Observing the matter to be going thus, 1 fell under great dis- 
couragement, by means of the disappointment, having foolishly 
judged that place the fittest for me. Then it was my exercise, and 
a hard one, to get my heart brought to a submission to providence 
in tlmt. point; the which submission I desired, if my heart deceived 
me not, more than the removal of the stroke. Being sore broken 
by the disappointment, I took hold of an occasion to preach, for my 
own ease, a sermon on 1 Sam. iii. 18, on a week-day at Dunse. 
After sermon, one of the hearers came to me, and thankfully ac- 
knowledged God's goodness in bringing her to that sermon, so suited 
to her case. She was a godly woman of Polwarth parish, who 
shortly before had lost her husband. This sermon was not without 
advantage to myself in tho point I was aiming to reach, llowbeit, 
that discouragement and the spring season try sting together, there 
was a notable breach made in my health, which continued for a long 
time after, the which I dated from the beginning of that month of 
March. When I had near studied that sermon, I was in hazard of 
fainting away ; but being taken care of, aud laid to bed, I re- 

March G — Preaching in Dunse, such an indisposition of body and 
faintness was on me, that I thought either to have swooned in the 

1698.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 37 

pulpit, or to have been obliged to go out abruptly; but, by good 
providence, there was opposite to the pulpit an aisle wanting some 
of the roof, by which came a refreshing gale that supported me, and 
the Lord carried me through, giving me a taste of his goodness, of 
which I was preaching.. The same day eight days, after preaching 
in the same place, the indisposition recurred ; and as I was going into 
the kirk very pensive, and thinking of the hazard of swooning in 
the pulpit, and how it would be matter of reproach, I heard the 
precentor reading, and found them singing Psalm lvii. 3, " From 
heaven he shall send down, and me from his reproach defend," &c. 
which was sweetly seasonable to my soul. 

Having been for some time very indisposed, I was under some ap- 
prehensions of death, but very unwilling and afraid to die ; in which 
case I had occasion to ride by that spot of ground where I was 
formerly so content to die, (see p. 26), winch let me see a great 
difference in the frame of my spirit now from what it was then. 

March 10. — The call was drawn up for Abbay himself, my lord 
Mersington, a good-natured, well-inclined man, being the main 
agent in the affair ; at whose door the poor people, among whom 
there were wet cheeks on that occasion, laid the blood of their souls ; 
but it prevailed not with him. One of the elders, Abbay's own 
tenant, was brought to subscribe the call. It was brought before 
the Presbytery on the 15th ; and Mersington having a commission 
from Abbay, had signed it for him in his name as an heritor. Two 
elders and a parishioner appeared that day before the Presbytery, 
and reclaimed, earnestly entreating them to consider, that they be- 
hoved to answer to God for what they did. But the Presbytery 
sustained the call. Mr. Colden would say nothing in the matter, 
but went out in the time. They appointed him to write to lord 
Ross, and to the minister of Paisley, to deal with my lord on my 
account with respect to Fouldeu. This was the ungospel-like way 
that even then much prevailed in the case of planting of churches ; 
a way which I ever abhorred. I had been named by the commission 
of the assembly to go to Caithness, a few days before the moderat- 
ing of that call ; but Mr. Colden telling them, that, on the Thurs- 
day after, a call was to be moderated for me, it was dropped. So 
by it providence diverted that mission of me, which would have been 
very heavy. 

On the 29th, the writing of the letters aforesaid having been for- 
got, a letter from Mr. Wilkie, bailie of Foulden, was read coram, 
bearing, that he would cordially concur for my settlement in Foul- 
den ; but thought reason and good-breeding required that I should 
go to lord Ross. Whereupon they peremptorily enjoined me to go 

38 MEMOIRS OF [l'ERI01> IV. 

to him ; and Mr. Colden told me, I would be out of my duty if I 
went not. Nevertheless, having no clearness for it in my own con- 
science, I continued unmoved in my resolution ; though it troubled 
me that they should have appointed me. 

At the April synod I was invited to the Presbytery of Kelso ; 
but being advised to wait till the following presbytery-day, I preach- 
ed at Foulden ; and, May, 1, hearing there that my lord Ross was 
was to send them another man, I resolved forthwith to go to the 
Presbytery of Stirling, having given over thoughts of Kelso. 

Accordingly, having got up the extract of my licence, and testi- 
monials on the 10th, I went away on the 15th ; and having come 
to my quarters at Edinburgh, I was overtaken with a fainting-fit. 
On tho 17th I arrived in the bounds of tho Presbytery of Stirling. 

Providence having thus tried me in my native country, especially 
in tho affair of Abbay, I was so taught, that no place did ever after 
get so much of my fond affection. But, notwithstanding all the 
bustle made for the laird's transportation to that, place, it did not 
at this time take effect : but, after I was gone, Mr. George Home 
minister of Selkirk was planted in it, he having been uneasy in that 
public post. And afterward, when I was a member of the Presby- 
tery of Churnside, a process of drunkenness was commenced against 
Abbay, which yet proved ineffectual for his removal out of Aiton. 
But Mr. Homo boing dead, ho was at length, I think, before I came 
to Ettrick, transported thither ; the people by that time being 
taught more tamely to bear the yoke. 



Having come into the bounds aforesaid, I took up my lodging with 
Thomas Brown of Barhill in Ferritown, with whom I had contracted 
a particular friendship when I was at Kennct, ho being a good man. 
I was once and again invited to Kennet's family to lodge there, but 
declined it ; a plain evidence of no real inclination to settle in 
Clackmannan parish. I continued with Thomas Brown while I re- 
mained in that country, which was near about a year; and in these 
days that text had weight with mo, " Go not from house to house :" 
judging that course unworthy of the sacred character. 

Tho parishes which I preached mostly in, while in that country, 
were Clackmannan and Airth, and after some time Dollar, all of 
them boing then vacant. The Lord was with mo iu my work there, 
and did some good by me, especially in Airth and Dollar. The 

1698.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 39 

minister I conversed most with was Mr. Turnbull in Alloa, a steady 
friend. Mr. Hugh White in Larbert, a man of considerable abilities, 
great piety and tenderness, was also very friendly and affectionate ; 
but I had little occasion of converse with him, being on the other 
side of Forth. 

Having preached some time in these parts, and before the Pres- 
bytery of Stirling on July 13, some of the parish of Carnock, in the 
Presbytery of Dunfermline, took occasion to hear me at Clack- 
mannan and Airth. Whereupon I had two letters from Mr. John 
Wylie, then minister of Saline, afterwards of Clackmannan, inviting 
me to preach at Saline, a parish neighbouring with Carnock ; but 
Mr. Turnbull shewed me, that I behoved not to go ; and I went not. 
William Paton, one of the elders of Clackmannan, was clear for my 
going, and told me, what others kept secret from me, that they had 
a design on me for Clackmannan ; but withal, that Mr. Inglis, tacks- 
man of the estate of Clackmannan, whose coal grieve he was, and 
Kennet, would set their foot against it. But on July 26, two of the 
elders of Carnock came to the Ferritown unto me, trying how I 
would relish a call to their parish. I left the matter open, saying 
little, and desiring them to seek a minister from the Lord. 

About the beginning of August, Mr. Wylie wrote to the Presby- 
tery of Stirling, in name of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, desiring 
them to allow me to come a day or two to them ; the which they 
absolutely refused ; and that day, or soon after, I perceived the 
Presbytery had a design on me for Clackmannan. That their re- 
fusal I did not take well ; but they never asked my inclination, and 
I had no freedom to urge their letting me go. However, after- 
ward, on a letter from Mr. James Fraser of Brea, minister of Cul- 
ross, inviting me to assist by preaching at the communion there, on 
the 21st, I went and preached there accordingly in the churchyard ; 
Mr. Turnbull having allowed, if there was such a necessity as was 
alleged in the letter, it could not well be refused. At this time be- 
gan my acquaintance with the worthy Mr. George Mair, Brea's col- 
league, whose conversation was afterwards of good use to me, in 
regard to the spirituality of it, and the insight he had into the doc- 
trine of the gospel. I think, that holy and learned man Brea died 
not very long after. 

On the 14th of August 1 communicated at Larbert, and was not 
altogether deserted in it ; but I think, as I was walking alone to 
my lodgings, I got my communion indeed. Two or three days be- 
fore, I did endeavour to examine myself thus : They that have a 
sincere desire of union and communion with Christ, have true faith, 
Matth. v. 6; 2 Cor. viii. 12; and such are those who, 1. Choose 

40 IIUJIOIRS OF [period v. 

and desire Christ, without dcsiro to retain sin ; that choose Christ 
whatever may follow ; Ileb. xi. 25. 2. That are not carried forth 
after spiritual good things merely as profitable to themselves, but 
as things in themselves good and desirable; Psalm lxxiii. 25 ; 3. 
"Who desire a whole Christ, as well for sanctificatiou as justification ; 
1 Cor. i. 30; 4. Who esteem Christ above all ; 1 Pet. ii. 7 ; 5. Who 
have a sense of sin pressing the conscience, and serious displeasure 
with it ; Matth. xi. 28. 6. Who make suitable endeavours after 
Christ ; Prov. xxi. 25. But I (I appeal to God's omniscience) have 
such a desire. For, 1. I desire Christ without exception of any sin, 
or the cross; I am content to part with all sin, aud take Christ to 
follow him in his strength whithersoever he goes. 2 I desire union 
and communion with Christ, though there were no hell to punish 
those who are united to their sins. 3. I desire a whole Christ, and 
would as fain have sin subdued and mortified, as guilt taken away. 
4. I esteem Christ above all ; give mo Christ, and take from rao 
what thou wilt. 5. Sin is a burden to me, especially my predo- 
minant lust. 6. I endeavour, in somo measure, to seek after Christ; 
Lord, thou knowest. Therefore I have true faith. 

The week after the communion at Culross, my acquaintance with 
Katharine Brown, now my wife, was carried on to a direct proposal 
of marriage made to her. She was fifth daughter to Robert Brown 
of Barhill, in the parish of Culross ; her mother, then a widow, and 
her eldest sister, who had been married to Thomas Brown above 
mentioned, being dead more than a year before. I had, while I was 
at Kennet, heard a very favourable report of her; and from the 
first time that I saw her, which was March 3, 1697, the day on which 
I left that couutry, something stuck with me. A few days after I 
had returned, as said is, she had occasion to come and tarry some 
time with her brother-in-law. Aud my health being broken as 
above mentioned, I was valetudinary, aud particularly subject to 
faintiugs ; with one of which I was seized, Juno 3, she being pre- 
sent; but by her advice, whose father had been a practitioner in 
physic, I used wormwood boiled, and applied it to my stomach in 
linen bags, that month, and was much relieved of these faiutings. 
liowbeit, when they left me, I was seized with a binding at my 
breast ; and for a long time that year I used Lucatellus' balsam by 
tho same advice. What engaged mo to her, was her piety, parts, 
beauty, cheerful disposition fitted to temper mine, and that I reckoned 
her very fit to sec to my health. 1 never was in a mind to marry 
beforo I should be settled; but 1 judged both the one and tho other 
requisite for my health. But though I made choice of a most wor- 
thy woman, I was afterwards obliged to confess, before God, my sin, 

1C98.] ilB. THOMAS BOSTON. 41 

in that I had not been more at pains to know his mind in the matter 
before I had proposed it. And howbeit I did frequently that sum- 
mer lay it before the Lord, and consider it ; yet I can never forgive 
myself, though I hope my God hath forgiven me, that I did not set 
some time or times apart for fasting and prayer for that end, before I 
made the proposal. But God did chastise my rashness, partly by my 
finding that process very entangling to me in my vagrant circum- 
stances, partly by suffering perplexing scruples to rise in my mind 
about it : while yet he did, in the issue of them, convincingly shew 
the matter to be of himself, and bound it on my conscience as duty ; 
which cleared, my difficulty was not to get love to her, but rather to 
bound it. 

In the beginning of September I had a letter from Mr. "Wylie, 
desiring me to preach a Sabbath-day, either at Salin or Carnock, 
or on a week-day at Carnock. In answer to which, I promised to 
preach a Sabbath-day at Salin, if they would procure the day from 
the Presbytery ; but declined seeking it for myself. 

About the middle of that month, I received a letter from Mr. 
Murray, inviting me to Nithsdale ; and had thoughts of complying 
with it. On the 11th, being a national fast-day, I had preached at 
Clackmannan, the Lord helping me; and that night going to bed 
weakened and wearied, I found myself, notwithstanding, able to lie 
on my back ; a posture which for a long time before I could not 
place myself in, without being in hazard of fainting. Some were 
offended at that day's work, others much endeared to me. But 
about this cime the business of my settlement there being still in 
agitation, and the elders not speaking of it to me, till they might 
see the matter brought to a bearing, I thought it meet to shew one of 
them, that it was needless to make a bustle between heritors and 
elders on my account, in regard, for any thing I knew, I should 
never accept of a call to Clackmannan. 

So, on October o, I went to the Presbytery, with an intention to 
crave my testimonials, in order to leave that country ; but ere I got 
it moved, there was produced and read a letter from Kennet, desir- 
ing, that in regard, the parish of Clackmannan had a desire for me 
to be their miuister, they would interpose with me not to leave the 
bounds, and appoint me to preach three Sabbaths at Clackmannan, in 
regard some of the heritors had not heard me. Whereupon the 
Presbytery urged me to stay till the next presbytery-day at least, 
and appointed me two days at Clackmannan ; whereto I at length 
yielded ; though it troubled me somewhat after, that I should have 
consented to preach there on that account. 

On the 18th came to me an elder of Carnock, with a line signed 

Vol. XI. d 


by five of their number, shewing that they had the Presbytery's al- 
lowance for drawing up a call to me ; but that Kincairdine and Sir 
Patrick Murray would not allow it to be done for any young man, 
till once the parish had a hearing of him ; and desiring me to shew, 
whether they might go on or not. I found by the bearer that they 
were not unanimous ; shewed them I could not have access to preach 
a day to (hem ; left them to their liberty ; and desired they might 
not on my account deprive themselves of any other whom they 

Having preached the two days at Clackmannan, the elders could 
not prevail with the heritors to join in a call to me. Mr. Ingles 
aforesaid set himself against me particularly, alleging for a reason, 
that I was young, and but a probationer. It was supposed, that my 
not bowing in the pulpit, and going with none of them on the Sabbath- 
nights, rendered me unacceptable ; and I do believe, that they and I 
both agreed, that, in respect of my temper aud way, I was not fit 
for the parish of Clackmannan. However, the said Mr. Ingles, who 
was a friend of Brea's told me some time or other, while in that 
country, (I apprehend it has been after this, when Brea was deceas- 
ed), that there was something in my sermons so like Brea's, that 
one would have thought I had seen his notes, but that he knew I 
had no access to them ; which last was very true. 

By this time I had preached twice at Dollar, then lately become 
vacant through the removal of the Episcopal incumbent; and an in- 
clination towards me there was signified by some of them ; and 
thinking about settling in that country, I could scarcely be able to 
say in my own heart, where I would desire to settle in it, if it was 
not in Dollar ; and hardly there either. But went to the Presby- 
tery, November 2, fully resolved to have my liberty, thinking to go 
to Nithsdale. Accordingly I desired their testimonial, shewing that 
I could stay no longer. Mr. White, being moderator, did long press 
my stay; which, with all the modesty I could, I declined, represent- 
ing, that if I continued longer, I behoved to continue all the winter, in 
respect of the broken state of my health. (I was now using con- 
serve of roses, by the advice aforesaid). After they had urged me 
till 1 was ashamed, two ministers, whereof Mr. Turnbull was one, 
took me out to converse with me privately. In the meantime a man 
from Dollar, with much concern, addressed himself to me, that I 
might not go away, shewing the inclination of that parish toward 
me ; and elders of the other vacant parishes urged mo. Finding 
myself perplexed, and not knowing what to say, I left myself to 
the Presbytery's disposal, and so received their appointments after. 

Being thus locked in tlicro again, the tongues of many were let 

1698.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 43 

loose on mo ; and my railing and reflecting:, as they call it, came 
often to my ears. Preaching at Clackmannan on the 27th, some 
were vexed, and one in a rage went out of the church. When I 
came home to my lodging, I was much affected that my preachiug 
was so stormed at; and the rather, that 1 thought 1 had not the in- 
ward support requisite in such a case; hut I was comforted at fa- 
mily-worship, singing, Psalm lxix. 7, and downwards. That same 
week, it was uneasy to me to hear that some concluded I had an in- 
clination for the parish of Clackmannan, for the zeal shown for it 
by my most intimate acquaintance, thinking they could not have 
done so without encouragement from me. Upon which I find I 
made this reflection, setting that matter in a due light, viz. "But, 
Lord, thou knowest, that it was not my inclination, though in 
my thoughts I would not be too peremptory, not knowing how God 
might call me." 

In the month of December, some of the elders of Dollar signified 
to me their inclination to give me a call, if they could get it done; 
but withal I had an account of an appointment on me to go to the 
north; and, on the 27th, came to my hand the commission's letter, 
requiring me forthwith to go to Angus and Mearns. On the morrow I 
went to the Presbytery, where Mr. John Forrester, one of the mi- 
nisters of Stirling, keenly urged my going to the north ; but I told 
them I could not go, in respect of the state of my health ; and they 
did not so much as recommend it to me to go. By this I judged, 
that providence did not call me to that removal, and the rather that 
the motion had been made about a call to Dollar. Howbeit, the 
going to the north was, for a long time after, a sore exercise to me 
at times, as will be observed afterwards. That same day, the fast 
of January 4, 1699, being appointed, the land still groaning under 
dearth and scarcity, year after year, the said Mr. Forrester moved, 
that it should be recommended to the brethren that to deal prudently 
in their preaching with respect to the cause of the fast, and hinted 
at some affecting singularity, which I knew very well to be directed 
against me ; but since he named me not, I said nothing on the head. 
That month also was observed, that one Alard Fithie in Powside of 
Clackmannan, who being enraged at my sermons at Clackmannan, 
September 11, was wont to go out of the parish after, when I preach- 
ed in it, was then broken, and obliged to leave the parish, it not 
being known whither he had fled. 

On the 29th, I found that my friend Katharine Brown, who some 
time before had given a favourable answer to my proposal, had after- 
wards been much troubled about it, that it was not enough deliberate. 
Had I taken that way in my own case, which I ought to have done 


44 mbmoibs ov [rEniorj v. 

as aforesaid, it is likely I would have put her on the same method, 
whereby this might have been prevented. But one error in conduct 
makes way for another. 

For about fourteen months after this I kept a large diary, moved 
thereto by converse with Mr. Mair. In that time I filled up the 
book I had then begun, and a whole second book, though I wrote in 
short-haud characters, till July 7, 1699. Several of the passages of 
that time aro from thence transcribed into this account of my life. 

January 1, 1699. — I had more than an ordinary measure of God's 
presenco and help in preaching. In the morning in secret I was 
earnest with God for it, but had a temptation to think that God would 
leave nie, which did perplex me sore. When I was coming home from 
the sermons, Satan fell to afresh again, the contrary way, tempting 
me to pride. It came three times remarkably on me, and was as 
often repelled by that word, <( "What hast thou that thou has not 
received ?" 

During the remaining time that I continued at Ferrytown, I wrote 
a " Soliloquy on the Art of Man-fishing," which was never finished, 
but is in retentis.* The occasion thereof was this, January 6, 1699, 
reading in secret, my heart was touched with Matth. iv. 19, " Follow 
me, and I will make you fishers of men." My soul cried out for 
accomplishing of that to me, and I was very desirous to know how 
I might follow Christ, so as to become a fisher of men ; and for my 
own instruction in that point, I addressed myself to the considera- 
tion of it in that manner. And indeed it was much on my heart in 
these days, not to preach the wisdom of mine own heart, or produce 
of my own gifts ; but to depend on the Lord for light, that I might, 
if I could have reached it, been able to say of every word, " Thus 
saith the Lord." That scribblef gives an idea of the then temper 
of my spirit, and the trying circumstances I then found myself in, 
being every where scared at by some. 

January 21. — When I arose this morning, I began to look for 
something to meditate on, and that word came ; Jcr. xxxi. 3, " I 
have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving- 
kindness have I drawn thee." My soul grasped at it ; I meditated 
on it with a heart somewhat elevated ; yet I saw much unbelief in 
my heart, which was my burden. I thought I loved Christ ; and 
then that word ; 1 John iv. 19, " Wo love him, because he first 

* This " Soliloquy" was published in 1773, being prefixed to a collection of the 
author's sermons, intitled, " The Distinguishing Characters of True Believers," &c. 

f So the author modestly calls his " Soliloquy," though, since its publication, it 
has been universally admired, and considered as a masterpiece of the kind. 

1699.J MR. THOMAS BOSTOK. 4.j 

loved us," came. I saw love began ou Christ's side; yet I could 
not but with doubting assent to the conclusion, that God loved me. 
I went to prayer, poured out my soul, lamenting over my unbelief, 
which did then eminently appear and shew itself to me. I was 
called thereafter to breakfast, but that word, Jer. xxxi. 3, stuck 
with me, and yet does; it is sweet as the honey-comb. When I was 
at prayer, I thought the Lord explained that word to me ; " There- 
fore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee," that God's drawing 
me to himself by the gospel in a loving way, was an evidence and 
token of his everlasting love. "While I meditated on my sermon, 
that word, Psalm cii. 16, ' : When the Lord shall build up Zion, lie shall 
appear in his glory," came again to me, (for at this time it was much 
on my heart). I thought on it. My soul was deeply affected under 
the sense of Christ's withdrawing from ordinances, and my heart 
groaned under the sense of his absence. My boh] longed for the 
day that the house should be built, and the rubbish taken away. It 
sent me to prayer. I began to this purpose, Why hast thou for- 
saken thine own house \ and it was presently suggested to me, that 
Christ doth as a man that hath Lis house a-building; he comes now 
and then and sees it, but does not stay, and will not come to dwell 
in it till it be built up. My heart and soul cried vehemently to the 
Lord for his return, and the grief of my heart often made my speech 
to fail. I cried to the Lord as the great watchman, " What of the 
night ?" this sad night, when the sun goes down at noon-day \ I was 
once going to say, Lord, what need I preach ? but I durst not bring 
it out ; so I was silent for a time. My soul desired, that either he 
would come to me in ordinances, or take me to him in heaven, if it 
were his will. When I arose from prayer, I could get nothing but still 
that word ; Psalm cii. 16. Lord, hasten the day then. When I 
went to bed this night, that word came into my mind ; •'• Whom 
shall I send \ Send me." I thought on going to the north, and was 
content to go any way, north, south, or wherever. My heart began 
to wander (I think, falling asleep) ; and I said in my heart the 
words of a curse against myself used by rude ungodly people, '■' If," 
&c. They came like a flash of lightening, and immediately made 
my very heart to leap for dread. This, I saw, was one of Satan's 
fiery darts. To-morrow morning, being the Lord's day, I found my 
heart dull ; I endeavoured to apply that word ; Hos. xiv. 5, " I will 
be as dew unto Israel;" and was somewhat revived. But in prayer 
thereafter he covered himself with a cloud. I cried, that if there 
were any accursed stuff I knew not of, he would discover it to rae; 
and had a sad prospect of this day's work. I would have been con- 
tent with a sick bed, rather than to be carried hence without his pre- 

46 MEMOIKS OF | period v. 

scnce to the pulpit. Intending to read, I prayed for a word that 
might revive me; and reading in my ordinary; Matth. xvi., my 
heart moved and leapt, I thought within me, when I read ver. 8, 
" ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye 
have brought no bread?" I took it to myself; 1 saw it was my 
unbelief, and that I behoved to depend on God, laying all the stress 
on him. Afterward I got that word, " When I sent you out, lacked 
ye any thing ?" I poured out my soul when in the manse, and suf- 
fered the bell to toll long ; and when I was going out and heard it 
tolling I thought it was now tolling for me to come to preach, maybe 
ere the next Sabbath it may toll for me to the grave. This was useful. 
The Lord was sweetly and powerfully with me through the day. 
After the lecture we sung part of Psalm li., the last line of it, at which 
I stood up, was, " With thy free sp'rit me stay ;" I stood up with 
courage, for I thought the Spirit of God was my stay; and iu the 
night when I awoke, I was still with God. 

On the 23d, reading in secret, Matth. xix. and coming to ver. 29, 
" And every one that hath forsaken houses," &c. I found my heart 
could give no credit to it. I would fain have believed it, but really 
could not. I meditated a while on it, with ejaculations to the Lord, 
till iu some measure I overcame. I then went to prayer, where the 
Lord gave me to see much of my own vileuess, aud particularly that 
evil and plague of my heart. I blessed the Lord for sealing ordin- 
ances, for then I saw the need of them to confirm faith. 

On the 24th came to me one of the elders of Carnock, and shewed 
me a letter they had from the Countess of Kincardine, desiring 
them to go to the Presbytery of Stirling, to get me to preach two or 
three days with them ; and if they and I should be both pleased, sho 
would concur in a call, and Sir Patrick Murray would join with her. 
But by means, I think, of a sister of my friend's living in their 
neighbourhood, I had been strongly impressed with a very hard no- 
tion of that parish, as a self-conceited people, among whom I would 
have no success ; and though 1 durst not forbid them to proceed, 
yet I told plainly, that I found my heart was not with them, think- 
ing myself obliged, in justice to them, to declare the matter as it 
really was. Thus I stood in my own way with respect to that pa- 
rish ; but providence had designed far better for them, the worthy 
Mr. James Hog being thereafter settled there, where ho contiuues 
to this day, [1730], faithfully declaring the gospel of God. And 
there fell to my lot, several years after, a people fully as conceited 
of themselves as those of Carnock could be. 

On the 27th, I wanted to be determined what to preach, even 
after I had prayed to the Lord for his help ; prayed again, aud was 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 47 

nothing cleared ; and so was much cast down. I thought of praying 
again ; but, alas ! thought I, what need I go to prayer ? for I can 
get no light. I urged my soul to believe, and hope against hope ; 
but I found I could not believe. Thus was my soul troubled. Some- 
times I stood, sometimes sat, and sometimes walked ; at length I 
went to my knees ; and so I sat a while, but not speaking one word. 
At length 1 broke out with that, " How long, Lord ?" — and panting 
a while again, I cried to the Lord to shew me why he contended 
with me. "Whereupon conscience spake plain language to me, and 
told me my fault of self-seeking in speaking to a man yesterday, 
and writing to my brother ; for which I desired to humble myself 
before the Lord. In the issue I was determined what to preach. I 
had many ups and downs that day. This sermon was for Airth ; 
and on the morrow, when I was going there, I observed how I was 
two several times kept back by storm of weather from that place, and 
how these two last times I have, in my studies for it, been plunged 
deeply; which made me wonder what might be the matter. But the 
storm was not yet over ; for though the Saturday's night was a good 
time to my soul, and I think I will scarcely ever forget the relish the 
21st chapter of Johu, especially that word, " Children, have ye any 
meat?" had on my soul being the ordinary in the family-exercise; 
yet to-morrow morning I was indisposed both in body and spirit. I 
thought I lay a-bed too long in the morning, and that gave me the 
first wound. The sweet word aforesaid I did reflect on ; but now 
the sap was gone out of it, as to poor me. The public work was 
heavy. I had much ado to drive out the glass with the lecture ; 
and so confounded and deserted was T, that I could not sing the 
psalm with my very voice. 1 could scarcely pray at all. I had 
neither light nor life in the first part of the sermon ; the little light 
I had in it went away by degrees, as ever the light of the sun did by 
a cloud's coming over it, till 1 thought I should quite have given it 
over. At that juncture of time, a word was given me to speak, and 
the gross darkness was dispelled ; and this continued till the end. 
In the afternoon I had some help from the Lord, which I had now 
learned to prize. As I was going to the afternoon's sermon, I thought 
the people in that place esteemed me too much, and took that as a 
part of the cause of this desertion. When I came out to my lodg- 
ings, one says to me, You need not shun to come to Airth, you are 
so well helped to preach there. When, said I, was I so helped ? 
Answ. In the forenoon, (for the speaker was not present in the 
afternoon.) The rest said, it was a satisfying day's work to the 
souls of many. This was astonishing. The same thing I heard of 
it, next day, from another godly woman. The causes of this deser- 


tion I afterwards inquired into ; and found, 1. There was something 
of that former quarrel, because of self-seeking in the particular above 
said; 2. My sleeping too long in the morning ; 3. The people of Airth's 
esteem of me, as noticed above, or to keep me humble ; 4. That tho 
Lord might let me see, it is not by might nor by power, but by his 
own Spirit, that souls are edified ; 5. To learn me to be thankful for 
a little. Several years after this, meeting with the minister of Airth 
at the assembly, he told me, that by conference with some of his 
parish before the administration of the sacrament, he found several 
persons there own me as the instrument that the Lord made use of 
to do good to their souls. 

There was at that time, for tho encouragement of probationers 
preaching in vacancies in that country, on the north side of Forth, 
a legal allowance of 18 raerks a-sabbath, as in the north ; the which 
fell to me in Clackmannan, and I suppose also in Dollar. I had 
been appointed to preach at Clackmannan on the 8th of January, but 
was called to go to Airth that day, exchanging my post with another 
probationer who could not go thither. On that occasion I received 
a compliment of two dollars at Airth, being the first money I got 
in that country. 

The affair of Dollar was now in agitation. And coming up to tho 
Presbytery, February 1, I found an elder of that parish there, who, 
it would seem, had been moving for their proceeding to a call, with- 
out having his commission in writing; which was appointed to be 
seen to, in the caso of any that should come to the next Presbytery 
from thence. In a private conference 1 had with him at his desire, 
he shewed mo, that Argyle, their superior, had signified his willing- 
ness to concur in a call to any whom the parish and Presbytery 
should agree on, and that the call was designed for me; but withal, 
that eight or ten of their parish had subscribed and sent to Argyle, 
a paper, bearing their dislike of me ; that one John Burn was 
reckoned an enemy to my settlement there, yet would not sign it, in 
regard, ho said, I was a servant of God. I learned afterwards, that 
one of the subscribers wished he had quit a joint of his finger, or tho 
like, rather than he had subscribed that paper; as also, that Mr. 
Forrester had given the foresaid elder but a very indifferent cha- 
racter of me, saying, that now they were going to call a new upstart, 
one that broke the thctes. This character from that good man was 
affecting to me ; considering that going under such a character, I 
was so unholy, my corruption prevailed so much over me, and that I 
was really weak in comparison of others, who took a more smooth 
way than I durst take in my public performances ; and so it con- 
vinced me of my need to live more near God. 

1699.] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 49 

Being to preach, Feburary 5, at Alloa, on Zech. xiii. uh., I was 
somewhat shaken in my mind about my call to preach it ; the doc- 
trine thereon being almost only for exercised souls; but going to 
family duty, which the landlord performed, he sung Psalm cxi. by 
which, especially vers. 2, 4, I was cleared in this point, instructed, 
and comforted ; and was also cleared somewhat by the chapter 
read. But that which did fully confirm me, was a word brought to 
me by the way, " When thou art converted, strengthen thy breth- 
ren." So that I was assured I was called to preach that doctrine there. 
That word foresaid was very applicable to ray case ; for on the 
Thursday before I had a very sharp exercise, and a sad struggle. 
The matter was this : — 

Awakening a long time ere day-light, I found my dream had been 
sinful. At first I was rather amazed than truly affected with it, 
being overwhelmed with sleepiness. I thought to lie waking, and 
think on it sometimes, and sometimes I thought to pray in my bed ; 
but while thus minded, the temptation I had while asleep, set on 
me when awake ; and sleep prevailed so, that I had almost given myself 
up to it ; and while I was thus slumbering, I said twice or thrice 
within myself, with a terror from God on my soul, What if I be 
damned before I awake ? After this, my soul was under so great 
terror from the Lord, that my very heart began to fail ; and I want- 
ed not thoughts of expiring jnst there where I was. Yet I cast up 
ejaculations to the Lord, put on my clothes, and lighted a candle, 
groaning under the sense of guilt. While I walked up and down, 
that word, 1 John i. 7, " The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from 
all sin," came into my mind, and did somewhat fasten my sinking 
soul. I then went to prayer, confessed, and poured out my soul be- 
fore him, and that with some confidence of mercy. Then I feared 
that confidence was not well got, and was afraid God would givo 
me up to hardness of heart, which plague I feared as death, and 
cried that the Lord would not plague me with that, which was ter- 
rible as hell to my soul. I made use of that promise ; Prov. xxviii. 
13, " He that confesseth and forsaketh, shall find mercy," and grip- 
ped it as spoke by the God of truth. But my soul began again to 
sink and dsspond. I wrestled against it; cried to the Lord, that 
he would not be terrible to me, &c. till I got up again somewhat. 
When I arose from my knees, I walked up and down with ejacula- 
tions, striving to grip to that foresaid promise, and I thought it was 
faith whereby I did so. 1 made mueh use of that promise, thought it 
was God's word, and that God would net deny his own word. The 
causes of the Lord's leaving me I found to be, 1. My coldrife prayers 
the preceding night ; 2. Some guilt the day before not yet mourned 


over, viz. a blasphemous thought that went through my soul at the 
blessing before the exercise. 3. I was even thinking last night 
while a-bcd, what victory I had got over, that which so overtook 
mo ; so that it seems I was too secure. The effects of this tragedy 
were, that I saw ray own vilencss, and felt what it was to be near 
giving over hope ; but thauks be to God that givoth me the victory 
through the Lord Jesus Christ. I love the Lord, my soul loves him 
for his wonderful mercy towards me, supporting rae, hearing my 
prayers, aud helping me to grip a promise. But how will I get 
through the world ? Happy are they that are in heaven. I made 
much use, in that sad hour, of the covenant, namely, ray engaging 
with him at Culross, Tulliallan, and under the tree in Kennet or- 
chard. After this tho lauguage of my soul was, " My feet had al- 
most slipt, but thy mercy held me up ;" while I proposed the question 
again to my soul, How will I get through the world? and that word 
came ; Cant. viii. 5, " I raised thee up k under tho apple-tree;" and 
that, Psalm xxii. 8, " He trusted in the Lord, that he would deliver 
him ;" and I sang, Psalm Ixxiii. 21, to the end, but with a weak 
body. That word was sweet to me, "Go thy way, thy faith hath 
made thee whole." Satan set again on rae with the same ; but I 
cried to the Lord, and he fled. When I went in to tho morning- 
exercise, (which the landlord always performed), lie gave out Psalm 
cxxxviii. 6, which was very confirming to my soul, especially ver. 8; 
it answered my question foresaid. Ho read 2 Cor. vii., whereby I 
was instructed, comforted, and edified, so as I saw a special hand of 
God in his reading that chapter, and singing that psalm. "When I 
came away, these words were to me sweeter than honey. I could 
have put the Bible in my heart, and was helped to believe, &c 

On the 13th, arising from prayer iu a dead frame, and having en- 
deavoured to descend into myself, I thought I saw my heart like a 
clear pool. I thought 1 knew there were many things there to 
humble me, but I could not at all see them. At last I remembered 
my miscarriage this day, in not giving testimony against one pro- 
faning the name of Christ by a vaiu obsecration. Whereupon going 
to prayer, and reading the Lord's word, I recovered my frame. I 
remember, on this occasion, that being in company with Brea, a 
gentleman said to him, For God's sake do so and so; and he re- 
plied, Nay, I will do it for your sake. Tho day before I preached 
in Airth, and reflecting on tho last time I was there, that word 
came, " He will not chide continually," &c, and was sweetly veri- 
fied in ray after experience. 

On the 19th I preached at Dollar, where, on the Saturday's night, 
it was shown me, that some there had littlo liking of me, because of 

1699.] MR. TIIOMAS BOSTON. 51 

my severe preaching; and James Kirk, an elder, told me of Paul's 
catching men with guile ; signifying, that some of the heritors, when 
desired to subscribe a commission as aforesaid, said they would hear 
me again before they did it ; and therefore he wished they might 
not be angered any more, for that the elders had enough ado with 
them already. I told him my resolution to speak what God should 
give me, without feud or favour; and could not but observe that 
special providence, which after this conference, ordered our singing at 
family worship the two last verses of Psalm xxvii., and our reading 
Matth. where, in this case, I was instructed, forewarned, and 
comforted. But thereafter I was baited with a temptation to 
fainting in the matter, and my courage damped. And here lay 
my snare, that being at this time in fear of a mission to the north, 
which I had a great aversion to, I was afraid the people of Dollar 
might be quite scared at my freedom in delivering the word, and so 
that mission might take place. This was a heavy exercise to me 
that night. I prayed, read, meditated, struggled, ui'ged my heart 
with these scriptures; Matth. xx. 39 ; Prov. xxviii. 21; Acts. xvii. 
26, hard put to it, but still in hope the Lord would not leave me 
to " transgress for a piece of bread." But as I was putting off my 
clothes for bed, my text I was to preach on came into my mind ; 
John i. 11, " He came unto his own, and his own received him not.'' 
This enlivened my heart with zeal and courage to speak without 
sparing in his cause. But next morning the temptation was re- 
newed ; and I never had seen my own weakness in that point 
so much as I saw it then. Nevertheless I was still in hope, 
that God would not suffer me to yield, but would help to speak 
freely the word he should give me. After all this, as 1 was goiug 
down to the kirk, John Blackwood, another good man, and an elder, 
put me in mind, to be sure to hold off from reflections as far as I 
could ; for the which I reprimanded him. In the issue the Lord 
gave me freedom to preach his word, whatever was to become of me ; 
and my soul found cause to bless the Lord, that that temptation, 
had not prevailed to render me unfaithful in his work. 

That Sabbath-night I catched cold in my head while I sat at 
family worship, by an open window, which I apprehend I had not 
observed. It issued in a suppuration in my left eai*, and was for 
many days a grievous trouble to me. On the Saturday's night after 
my pain being very violent, I had a weary night of it ; but being to 
preach in Clackmannan, I ventured iu the morning to cause ring the 
bell, the pain being somewhat assuaged, and finding it would be a 
grievous affliction to me to have a silent Sabbath, the Lord's word 
being the joy and rejoiciug of my heart. In the issue I felt no pain 

52 memoirs or [period v. 

in preaching, but was strengthened both in body and spirit for my 
work. But I had a weary night of it again. 

On the 22d those of the parish of Dollar craved of the Presbytery 
a minister to moderate in a call ; but they delayed it till their next 
meeting at Alloa, March 1. That day they delayed it again, till 
they should get an answer of a letter they were to write to Argyle ; 
and Mr. White told me, there was some mention of another young 
man whom that noble person minded for Dollar. On the 15th, as I 
was going to the Presbytery, Mr. Turnbull told me, that Argyle had 
returned an answer to their letter, and therein told them of the 
young man he designed for the parish, but took no notice of me. 
By the Presbytery's minutes that day, I understood their letter had 
been to take off some misrepresentations made of me to him. 

The meeting of the commission of the General Assembly was now 
near ; and Argyle's letter aforesaid trysting therewith, seemed to 
be a providential inclosing of mo for the north; which occasioned 
me great heaviness. On the morrow the Lord comforted me, by 
giving me light into that word, " That stons is made head corner- 
stone which builders did despise ;" thinking, that if Christ was de- 
spised by the builders, no wonder I should be so too ; and that how- 
ever I was despised by them, God might do great things for me, and 
by me. At this time the trouble in my ear was but going off, so 
that it kept me near a month. I wonder that I do not find that I 
took it for a rebuke of my listening so far to that tcmpt?tion to 
fainting aforementioned. 

March 20. — Being on my way to Edinburgh to the commission, I 
was by storm stopped at the North-Ferry that night. Then aud 
there were two words brought to me ; the one, Zech. iv. 6, " Not by 
might, nor by power," &c. ; the other, Dan. i. 15, " At the end of 
ten days, their countenances appeared fairer, and fatter in flesh, 
than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat." 
This also was made sweet and strengthening to my soul ; and I en- 
joyed a great calm and serenity of mind, which, by the mercy of 
God, lasted all along with me, till on the 23d I was freed from the 
mission to the north, which for a long time before had occasioned 
me much perplexity. I had resolved to attend the Presbytery, to 
get them to speak for mo to the commission ; but was hindered by 
the boil in my ear; and minding to make up that with a letter to one 
of the Presbytery, it was miscarried ; and this was the reason of my 
going to the commission. As I was blessing the Lord with my soul 
for the serenity arising from the consideration of the aforesaid scrip- 
tures, Satau set on mo with a fulsome temptation, as if God had 
dealt so with mo for my preaching so yesterday. I presently no- 

1699.] ilH. THOMAS BOSTON. 53 

ticed it, prayed, and protested against it, and disowned it; and took 
a look of my black feet, particularly as they appeared that day. 
The main stress of the business, as to the mission, was at a com- 
mittee, where I had no acquaintance but one, who was none of my 
best friends. Having been advised before to cut out my hair, for 
my health, at that time I got a wig; and thereafter wore one all 
along ; till after my coming to Ettrick, finding it troublesome when 
going abroad, I laid it aside, and betook me again to my own hair ; 
which to this day I wear. 

Upon my return to the Ferrytown, considering that Dollar, the 
only place in that country where I could have desired to settle, 
was now blocked up ; I was in a strait how to dispose of myself 
next, knowing of nothing, but to go to Xithsdale, which I had no 
great inclination to. In that case was useful to me that word, which 
used to come slipping in, as it were, into my mind ; Psalm Ixxi. 20, 
" Thou, Lord, who great adversities, and sore, to me didst show, 
Shalt quicken, and bring me again, from depths of earth below ;" 
and on the 31st, together with it, that text ; 2 Cor. iv. 8, " Per- 
plexed, but not in despair ;" and Psalm Iv. 22, " Cast thy burden 
on the Lord, and he will sustain thee." 

Robert Kemp, a noted professor of the stricter side, in the parish 
of Airth, had, on March 10, asked me, if a certain elder had spoke 
to me about their calling me to be their minister ; the which I hav- 
ing answered in the negative, he told me there was snch a motion ; 
and that if the elders would not move in it, they would present a 
supplication to the Presbytery for that effect. But having, on 
April 16, preached the last sermon I had there, on the morrow after, 
that elder, NVilliam Colvan in Powside, did signify their design to 
call me. I told him very seriously, that such an attempt would be 
needless; the thoughts of it were indeed terrible to me, being very 
sensible of my unfitness for such a post. But there was no pro- 
bability of that project's taking effect, my friends being, part of 
them, not acceptable to the Presbytery; and a certain person of 
eminence there, upon hearing sometime that I was to preach there, 
had cursed me ; at the report whereof coming to me, I thought upon 
and saw the use of, that word ; Matth. v. 11, " Blessed are ye, when 
men shall revile you," &c. That Sabbath at Airth, I found, 1. That 
in the morning, especially in prayer before I went to the kirk, I was 
tempted to think I had been rash in a certain business, not yet ac- 
complished. I slighted the temptation, knowing it to be a device of 
Satan to mar me of what I was about. I thought it no time then to 
consider, whether it was really so or not, it being a thing that could 
not be quickly cleared. 2. That in the forenoon I had light, but 


little life ; in the afternoon I had both, and some things useful and 
seasonable were laid to my hand. 3. That I was helped betwixt 
sermons and in the afternoon, to live by faith ; aud I had a serenity 
of mind, and contentment of heart, flowing from dependence on the 

Being resolved to part with the Presbytery of Stirling in a little 
time, I had also got over the perplexity by the strait aforesaid, how 
to dispose of myself nest, resigning the matter freely to the Lord ; 
till on April 20, it began to recur. I considered then the two 
words given me at the North Ferry, viz. Zech. iv. 6, aud Dan. i. 11, 
that the former was accomplished already, in the manner of my de- 
liverance from the northern mission, and hoping the latter would 
be accomplished too in its time. And that very day, in the after- 
noon, I received a letter from ray father, desiring me, on the account 
of private affairs, to come home. Hereby the Lord himself did sea- 
sonably mark out to me ray way, in the which he hath by this time 
fulfilled that word also unto me. 

About this time began a second alteration in the strain of my 
preaching, which by degrees, though with much difficulty in the way 
thereof, ripened into a more clear uptaking of the doctrine of the 
gospel ; which by the mercy of God I arrived at, after my set- 
tlement in Simpriu. Having been at Barhill on the 11th, I 
heard at Culross a week-day's sermon, on the excellency of Christ, 
from Phil. iii. 8, by Mr. Mair ; and thereafter was entertained 
by him with edifying discourse suitable thereto. Upon the back 
of this, I sometimes thought I had preached but too little of 
Christ, which I would have been content to have reformed. On the 
18th I went to God, and begged an answer of some suits I had had 
long depeuding before the throne of grace ; which were especially 
two. Tho one was, That I might see Christ by a spiritual illumina- 
tion, with more fulness of the evidence requisite to believing on him, 
according to that word ; John vi. 40, " That every one which seeth 
the Son, and believeth on him ;" to a particular notice of which 
passage, I had sometime or other, been led by Mr. Mair's means also. 
The other was, that I might be helped to live, by faith, above the 
world. On the morrow after, as 1 arose, I thought on theso words ; 
Psalm cv. 13 — 15 ; and the view of the Lord's coucern about his 
people, in all their removes, was sweet. After which, going to 
prayer, the Lord was with me in it. My soul went out in love to 
Christ, followed hard after him, and I saw much content, delight, 
and sweet in him. The issue hereof was, that I found myself some- 
what helped to believe ; the which, though it carried me not so far 
above the world as I would fain have been, yet it rendered tho 

1699.] am. tiiomas boston. 65 

world in some sort contemptible in mine eyes ; and I found my 
heart desirous to preach Christ's fulness, his being " all, and in all." 
This issued in my being determined, on the 21st, to that text; 
Matth. xiii. 45, 4G, unto which I addressed myself, after bemoaning, 
before the Lord, my ignorance of Christ, and begging the revealing 
of him to me ; being convinced I was but a child in that matter, yet 
seeing it my duty to preach him. Having entered upon it, I saw it 
a very full text; but going on in it, I found myself dry and barren 
upon it; which left me much dejected, seeing I could not preach 
Christ, and beholding much of my ignorance of him. On the morrow 
I got more light, ease, and insight into the excellency of Christ, 
from the Lord. And reading in my ordinary thereafter, I fell on 
that Col. iv. 3, 4, which afforded me this instruction, That whereas 
I had been discouraged, for that 1 could not preach Christ : I saw it in- 
deed a mystery ; and such a one as the great apostle found a need 
of the prayers of the saints, that he might be enabled to preach it. 
I saw the preaching of Christ to be the most difficult thing ; for that 
though the whole world is full of wouders, yet here are depths be- 
yond all. I was to preach in Clackmannan, where most were for 
for me to be their minister, and some that had the greatest power 
were against me, as it ordinarily fared with me in the places where 
I used to preach. On the Saturday's afternoon there comes a letter 
to ray hand, desiring me to give the one half of the day to one Mr. 
J. Gr., whom those that were against me had an eye upon. The let- 
ter I received conteutedly, granted the desire of it, and blessed the 
Lord for it. In these circumstances, seeing what hazard I was in of 
an evil eye, I committed my heart to the Lord, that I might be 
helped to carry evenly. I cried to the Lord for it ; and got that 
word, " My grace shall be sufficient for thee." Sabbath morning I 
found in myself a great desire to love Christ, and to be concerned 
solely for his glory; and prayed to that effect, not without some 
success. He got the foreuoon, for so it was desired by them. I was 
helped to join in prayer, was much edified both by his lecture and 
sermon, and I sung with a sweet frame after sermon ; yet in the 
time I was thrice assaulted with the temptation I feared; but look- 
ing up to the Lord, got it repulsed in some measure ; and found my 
soul desirous that people should get good, soul-good, of what was 
very seriously, pathetically, and judiciously said to us by the godly 
young man. Betwixt sermons I got a sight of my own emptiness, 
and then prayed and preached in the afternoon with very much help 
from the Lord. Yet, for all that, I wanted not some levity of spirit; 
which poison my heart sucked out of that sweet flower. When I 
came homo, my heart was in a manner enraged against my heart on 

56 KJBH0IB9 OF L l ' Enl0D v< 

this account, and I confessed it before the Lord, abhorring myself, 
appealing to God's omniscience, that I would fain have had it other- 
wise, and would have been heartily content to have sold my own 
credit in the matter for the glory of Christ. As I was complaining 
that Satan had winnowed me, and brought forth much filthy stuff 
out of my heart, notwithstanding all my prayers, &c. it came into 
my mind, how Christ said to Peter, " Simon, Satan hath desired to 
have thee, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for 
thee, that thy faith fail not;" and yet Peter denied him, even with 
oaths, on a very silly temptation. This was comfortable. There 
were four things suggested to me in the morning, as antidotes 
againt the temptation ; whereof this was one, That I was conscious 
to myself of my being unwilling to engage with such a post, in re- 
gard of my unfitness for it, though they were all willing. In the 
evening, while I sat musing on what I had been preaching, viz. That 
the soul that has got a true discovery of Christ will be satisfied 
with him alone, I proposed the question to myself, Art thou content 
with Christ alone? wouldst thou be satisfied with Christ as thy portion, 
though there were no hell to be saved from ? and my soul answered, 
Yes. I asked myself further, Supposing that, wouldst thou be con- 
tent with him, though likewise thou shouldst lose credit and reputa- 
tion, and meet with trouble for his sake ? My soul answered, Yes. 
Such is my hatred of sin, and my love to Christ. This was the last 
sermon I preached in that place, for I was going out of that country; 
and neither of us two was the person God designed for the place. 

On the 30th I preached at Dollar. The work being closed, think- 
ing with myself, while yet in the pulpit, that might be the last of 
my preaching there, as it indeed proved to be, with my eyes lifted 
up towards heaven, I looked unto the Lord, comforting myself, that 
I had declared to that people the whose counsel of God, as he had 
given it me ; the which was sweeter to mo than their stipend would 
have been, got by following some advices given mo as above men- 
tioned. I lodged in the house of Simon Drysdale, who regretted the 
Presbytery's untenderness in their case ; and on the morrow came to 
me James Kirk, with other three of the elders, who shewed their con- 
cern in the account of my departure, and withal their continued re- 
solution to prosecute the design of my settlement among them, still 
regretting the Presbytery's slipping the occasion that was in their 
hands, and shewing that their two neighbouring miuisters, on the 
west and east, were and had been their enemies in the design. Tho 
same week Mr. Turnbull told me, that the Presbytery might, and, 
if they would take his advice, should go on, withal complaining 
somewhat of them in the matter; so that by him, as well as tho 

1699. J MR. THOMAS BOSTON". 57 

people, the blame of the marring of the settlement, so far, was laid 
at their door. Perhaps the trouble they had by Mr. Mair, in Airth, 
on the strict side, made them the more wary as to me, though I 
never entertained separating principles. 

I had the comfort of the testimony of judicious Christians, that 
my work in that country, and particularly in that parish, was not 
in vain in the Lord; and found from several persons, that the Lord 
had made the word in my mouth to reach their own case, and to be a 
discerner of the thoughts of their hearts. The same which, it seems, 
fell out in the case of some others, who knew not so well how the 
word was directed; whereof a judicious Christian gave me this in- 
stance, namely, that discoursing with a certain man in Dollar, whom 
he knew to be of a violent disposition against Presbyterian preachers, 
and expected accordingly to find ruffled by the sermons on the fast- 
day ; he, on the contrary, found him to shew a liking of me, espe- 
cially by reason of these sermons, for that they had let him see things 
to be sin which he never thought before had been so. Moreover, he 
said, I had great skill, and told things strangely, even some things 
which he thought no body knew, and that he wondered who could 
tell me ; and that if William (his son I suppose) had been any way 
abroad, he would have thought he had told me. His wife sig- 
nified, that some of the parish said, I had more wit than my own. 
These things were encouraging to me, as they discovered the cha- 
racter of the Lord's word in my preaching, namely, that it is " a 
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 

May 3. — The Presbytery granted me testimonials, I promising to 
satisfy them if they should write for me, probable grounds of en- 
couragement appearing ; and they appointed a minister to preach at 
Dollar on the Sabbath was twenty days, and, on the Tuesday fol- 
lowing, to moderate in a call there. On the 8th I took my journey, 
having had an affecting parting with several Christian friends ; and 
some truly it was no small part of my grief, if not the greatest to leave 
serious souls, whom God had made me an instrument of good to, and to 
whose prayers I doubt not but I was obliged. I came that day to 
Barhill, where, upon some event or other I cannot now find, I 
thought I saw an end of all perfection, and that nothing was satis- 
fying without Christ. I think it has been, that having my friend to 
part with, added to the weight on me in leaving that country. How- 
ever it was, the impression lasted with me many days thereafter. 
On the morrow I went to Edinburgh, and the day following got home 
to Dunse ; which, when I saw it, was terrible unto me, my inclina- 
tion not being towards that country ; but thither the Lord led me 
unto the bounds of my habitation before appointed. 

Vol. XI. e 

58 MEMOIRS OF L rF ' T?Ior> VU 

r E R I O 1) VI. 


Being thus returned homo again, I had no occasion to go out of the 
town above a mile, until four Sabbaths were past; and during that 
time, in the end of May and beginning of Juuc, tho thoughts of ray 
uselessnoss wero very heavy to me ; which put mo to beg of God an 
opportunity to servo him, whatever pains it should cost me to ac- 
complish it. ITowbeit I was not altogether idle on Lord's days, 
being employed mostly in Dunse, and onco in Langton. 

While this lay upon me as the main weight, I found myself beset 
with several other difliculties. Tho unacquaintedness of most of my 
friends with religion was grievous, and made their conversation but 
uncomfortable ; but my eldest brother Andrew, being a judicious 
man, and of experience in religion, was often refreshful to me. 1 
had no heart to visit the ministers, knowing none of them I could un- 
bosom myself to, save Mr. Colden at Dunse, and Mr. Dysert at Cold- 
ingham. The binding at my breast had returned, and I was seized 
with pains in my back, and in tho hinder part of my head, so that I 
began to apprehend my time in the world might not be long; and 
on that occasion I found I had some evidences for the better 
world, and was somewhat submissive to tho divine disposal, in the 
caso as it appeared. Withal tho consideration of the case of tho 
land was heavy on mo, and I had a sorry prospect of what might bo 
to come, so that I judged them happy, who, having done their work 
in the vineyard, were called home, and not made to see the dishonour 
done to God amongst us. Wherefore I was desirous to be out of my 
native country again, and wished for a providential relief. But by 
a letter from a friend, shewing that tho business of Dollar was like 
to succeed, I found that I behoved to continue yet a while where I 
was on the account thereof. 

It now lay heavy on my spirit at several times, as above noticed, 
that I was cast out of a corner, in which the Lord was pleased to 
make use of mo, and own mo with somo success in his work, into 
another corner where I had nothing to do. This occasioned variety 
of perplexing thoughts. I inquired what might be the Lord's end 
in it, and nothing doubted but that I was called to leave that place, 
from whenco I came. May 25, in prayer it was suggested to me, 
that God had so dealt with me, for my former levity, and misimprov- 
ing his help given mo in preaching ; for which I endeavoured to bo 
humble. On tho 26th, I had engaged to lecturo next Sabbath for 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 59 

Mr. Golden. Finding my heart disposed for prayer, light from the 
Lord in two or three particulars was mnch in my eye. In prayer I 
had a frame from the Lord, serious, earnest, depending, hare, and 
laid open to hearken to the counsel of God. Before I came to pray 
for what I should lecture on, my heart was raised to an admiration 
of, and love to Christ, and desire to commend him ; and it was laid 
before me as my duty to lecture on Psalm xlv. and this with life 
and elevation of my spirit, which continued with me when I prayed 
for the lecture. Thinking on this after prayer, I began to suspect 
that light; because it came before I had prayed for it, expressly at 
least. But considering that I went to God for light in it, and con- 
sidering that passage, Isa. lxv. 24, and finding my inclination to 
commend Christ remain, I was satisfied. There was a second point 
in my eye, which still remained dark ; and therefore I went back 
purposely to God for it. I found my heart in prayer much goino- 
out in love to Christ; my heart was knit to him as the dearly be- 
loved of my soul ; which made me to express my love to Christ, not in 
an ordinary way, as I used to do. I was helped to depend, and got 
strength to my heart to wait for light in it. And the nature of it 
was such, that it might bear a delay. As for the third point, it was 
not ripe, and I could but table it before the Lord. The Lord was 
not wanting to me in the delivery of that lecture. 

In the meantime, my settling in Simprin had been first moved to 
me on May 19, in Mr. Colden's house, by his wife, in his presence • 
and that, till another occasion should offer. He seemed to me not 
to have confidence directly to propose it,; but told me, the stipend 
was five chalders of victual, and 80 merks. But as I never durst en- 
tertain the thoughts of settling with such a design, I shewed that I 
had no mind to engage with any but such as I might continue with. 
Thinking afterwards on these things by myself, I found no great un- 
willingness to venture on the stipend ; the rather, that my father 
having disponed his interest in Dunse to me, I reckoned I would 
have about £100 Scots yearly there ; but the people being only 
about ninety in number, and in a quite other situation than the 
parish of Abbay, I found I could have no heart to them. On the 
26th again, Mr. Colden proposed to me, that if I would settle there 
he would write for that effect to Langton, to whom the parish en- 
tirely belonged. I told him, that for me to say so, would be to cut 
off all future deliberation, which was what I had no freedom to do; 
the which he acknowledged to be trne, and therefore urged me not. 
That worthy man was indeed concerned for me, and told me, he was 
persuaded God had thoughts of good towards me ; and that, notwith- 
standing all the difficulties that had cast up in the way of my settle- 
is 2 

60 memoirs or [period vr. 

nient, tho event would bo to the glory of God, and comfortable to 
myself. And therein he was not mistaken. In this his concern 
for me, ho took mo to Coldingliam, June 8, to see Mr. Dysart, who 
formerly had been minister of Langton. There they concerted to 
move for that settlement ; and in consequence thereof Mr. Dysert 
wrote to the elders to Simprin, to that effect. And judging the mat- 
ter might easily be compassed, they told mo that I might be settled 
in Simprin, if I would. But having heard them speak of the va- 
cancies in Galloway, and that I was particularly desired by some 
there, I thereupon fonnd an inclination to go to that country, if I 
should not be called back for Dollar. The letter to the elders of 
Simprin, as aforesaid, was unadvisedly put in my hand to dispatch ; 
which I, not having confidence, it seems, to refuse it, did receive ; 
but it was never delivered, for afterwards I tore it in pieces. And 
this their conduct could hardly have had a different issue, accord- 
ing to the principles by which I steered my course, that justly made 
all activity in procuring my own settlement frightful to me. 

Tho bent of my heart to preach Christ continued all along, from 
the time above mentioned, as I had opportunity ; but for a consider- 
able time I met with many rubs in my way. On tho 2d of June } 
after prayer for a text, and help to study, I could fix on none, 
though I sought it till my body was weary, and my spirit much de- 
jected. Next morning ray darkness remaiued, and nothing could 
gain clearness to me. Thus my heart being dejected through deser- 
tion, I went to prayer again ; but my very heart and flesh were like 
to faint. Such was tho grief of my heart, that I could not speak a 
word to God, after I had begun, but groaned to the Lord; I got 
words again, but was interrupted the same way, not being able to 
speak. I saw the misimproveraent of former help still to bo the 
cause of tho Lord's pleading with mo ; but having so often confessed 
it, being grieved for it, &c I thought there behoved to bo something 
else ; and some other thing I suspected, but could not fix on it. I 
thought I was most unworthy to be a preacher, and that it would be 
well done to silence mo, as ignorant of tho mystery of Christ; for, 
from tho beginning of this exercise, it was always in my heart to 
preach Christ, and denying of ourselves to all things but Christ ; and 
though it succeeded ill with me, I durst not change my purpose. My 
soul being somewhat encouraged by that word, Matth. xi. 28, " Come 
unto mo, all ye that labour," &c, I was helped to believe in some 
measure, and conversed with God in prayer, and that word was 
brought to my mind for a text ; Psalm lxxiii. 25, " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ?" &c. I had much difficulty in my studies on it. 
The word read in tho ordinary at evening-exercise, came pat to my 

1699. J MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 61 

case with a check; Heb. xii. 5, "My son, despise not thou the 
chastening of the Lord," &c. My dejected frame of spirit often re- 
curred, and was with me on the Lord's day morning, June 4 ; at 
which time, in prayer, the Lord put in his hand at the hole of the 
lock, and my bowels moved for him ; my heart was touched, and in a 
mournful mood I cried to him. Some time after I found I could not 
believe ; and how shall I preach? thought I ; yet I thought I would 
venture, and lean on Christ; and this I thought was faith, notwith- 
standing my former denial. In the forenoon, I thought my heart 
was very unwieldy. In the afternoon I had several ups and downs 
in the very time of the work. My soul bear me witness, that I was 
not satisfied with ordinances without Christ. And after all was 
over, in my retirement, I was clear, in that, though I many times 
fear I have never yet got a sufficient discovery of Christ, yet what- 
ever discovery I have had of him, I was satisfied to take Christ alone, 
and that I could not be satisfied without him, though I had the 
whole world, yea heaven itself. The Lord gave me such a sight of 
my own vileness, that when I looked to myself in that pulpit, I 
loathed myself, as unworthy to have been there with such a whole 
heart, and without right uptakings of Christ. I examined myself 
on my desire of Christ, saying, What if it be merely from an en- 
lightened conscience ? but my soul said, it would desire him, though 
there were no fear of wrath ; and though (per impossibUe) I had a 
dispensation for my most beloved lusts, I would not desire to make 
use of it. I thought I loved him for himself. I preached this day 
in Langton ; and after the evening exercise Mr. Dysert said to me, 
You would have done better to have gone to the west, beside Mr. 
Murray, for there you would have got a kirk. My proud heart 
took this ill, and I had a secret dissatisfaction with my own lot, in 
that I was not settled. Reflecting upon this in secret, I observed, 
how in three things, siuce I came to this country, Satan has over- 
come me, even in those things that I preached against. 1. Preach- 
ing at Dunse, I preached against immoderate sleep as a great waster 
of time ; and quickly after I fell in to this. 2. Last Thursday I 
preached, that unwatch fulness was the cause why it is not with 
God's people as in times past ; and the very same night my heart 
fell a-roving. 3. At this evening exercise I lectured on Ueb. xiii. 
and particularly that word, " Be content with such things as ye 
have ;" and immediately after this, dissatisfaction seized me, for 
which my heart abhors my heart. Wherefore being convinced of 
my danger, I resolved, iu the Lord's strength, from henceforth to 
make my sermons the subject of my Sabbath-night's meditation, and 
so to improve them for myself. The sermon I found was not lost as 
to some others. 

62 MEM01BS OF [l'KRI0D VI. 

I was also extremely hard put to it the week following, after my 
return from Coldingham, insomuch as having attempted to study 
Cant. i. 3, I was obliged to give it over, and fall on Luke xiii. 24. 
By this means, preaching became, in a sort, a terror to me ; so that 
on tho 14th I quite declined preaching the week-day's sermon for 
Mr. Colden. The reason of which being asked by Mr. Balfour above 
mentioned, as he and I were walking alono by the way ; I freely told 
him, that preaching was become another kind of task to me, than 
sometime it had been ; that I was discouraged, through the straiten- 
ing I found as to the preaching of Christ, arguing my ignorance of 
Christ ; the which ignorance of Christ, in the very time I was speak- 
ing this, was most grievous to my soul ; to that degree, that my very 
body was aiFected, and my legs began to tremble beneath me. Ho 
said, it was an eager temptation, to drive me off from preaching 
Christ. Parting with him, I came home very sorrowful, yet looking 
upward, seeing tho emptiness of all things besides Christ, or without 
him. The Lord was pleased to lay bands on my unstable heart, till 
I got my case shewed before him ; and he let me see my need of 
Christ, and I began to apply the word, Matth. v. 3, " Blessed are the 
poor in spirit." The Lord shewed mo the vanity of health, wealth, 
&c, and made my soul prefer Christ to them all ; and indeed I 
contemned all things in comparison of him, yea even heaven itself. I 
sung with my heart, Psalm xl. 11, and downwards, and in prayer 
pleaded the promise with some confidence ; being resolute for Christ, 
and that no other thing should ever satisfy me. On the morrow, the 
Lord helped me to apply the promise ; Isa. lvii. 15, cited by Mr. 
Colden in his sermon ; the very reading of the words, " to revive 
the heart of the humble," was reviving to my soul, which saw its 
own emptiness. That straitening aforesaid sometime seemed to me 
to say, that for all the motion made for my settlement in my native 
country, I behoved not to think of settling in it, where I was thus 
hardly bestead as to the preaching of tho word. But the issue of 
this exercise was, that I was made less concerned, how I might bo 
disposed of as to my settlement ; not caring what place I should go 
to, so that I got Christ ; and my soul said to him, " Set me as a seal on 
thine heart, as a seal on thine arm !" On the 18th, preaching at 
Berwick, my subject was, a discovery of Christ made to the soul; 
and in the study of it I was not straitened ; but in tho delivery of 
it I was so deserted; that in my retirement after, I had most heavy 
thoughts of my uuworthiness, and unfitness for tho great work of 
preaching Christ. In like manner, after the communion at Colding- 
ham, where I preached on Saturday, and Sabbath afternoon without; 
I was pressed with a seuse of my insufficiency for that work, that 

1G99.J JIU. TUOMAS B0ST0X. 63 

heaven was very desirable to rao ; withal I was but little edified 
with one of the sermons I heard on the Monday, there appearing 
too little of Christ in it. 

Thus it pleased the Lord to humble me to the dust, and to empty 
me of myself, with respect to the great mystery of Christ; and to 
give my heart a particular set and cast towards it, which hath con- 
tinued with me to this day; and shall, I hope, to the end, that I get 
within the vail. 

I had on the 15th received a letter, shewing, that, on the day ap- 
pointed, the votes had been gathered at Dollar ; and that, about 
three of the malignant party and three of the elders being excepted, 
they were all with one voice for me to be their minister ; but that, 
notwithstanding, the Presbytery had still some dependence on 
Argyle in the matter. This account of the state of that affair, as 
being yet undetermined, was straitening to me ; inasmuch as it 
obliged me to continue a while longer in the Merse, which I could 
not well do. 

June 22. — Having been for some time in great deadness, this 
morning I had a kind of impulse to pray, with a willingness in my 
soul to go to duty ; and having found by several sad experiences the 
danger of delays, with all speed I embraced the motion ; and the 
Lord revived me, in so far that my heart and flesh longed for the 
living God, and cried out for him as the dry parched ground for 
rain. The Lord loosed my bands ; and though I studied the sermon 
I preached this day, being the weekly sermon at Dunse, in very bad 
case ; yet he was with me in preaching it, and the Spirit did blow 
on my soul, both in public and in secret thereafter ; so that my 
heart loves Christ. 

On the morrow my frame lasted ; and being to go to the sacra- 
ment at Coldingham, I saw my hazard from my malicious enemy, 
that he would be fair to . 'sault me before such an occasion. I 
thought I endeavoured to commit my heart to the Lord. But, alas ! 
that which I feared came upou me ; which brought me to a sad pass; 
my confidence in prayer was marred ; my guilt stuck close to me, 
and cost me much struggling by the way as I went to Coldingham, 
so that I will not forget the pitiful case I was in while going through 
the whinny moor. I made use of and endeavoured to apply that 
word, " I, even I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions" &c. 
which did some what stay my soul. I went halting all the day ; but 
at evening exercise, to which I went with a deep sense of my un- 
worthiness, the Lord loosed all my bands. But another sharp trial 
followed, a great fear that Satan might as before give me another 
bruise. I went to God with it, prayed for a word of promise to grip 


to for security ; and when I arose from ray knees, that word, Isa. 
xxvi. 3, " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace," &o., came to me with 
some life and support to my soul, and was afterwards sweetly mado 
out to me. 

July 2. — Preaching in a certain place, after supper the mistress of 
the house told me, that I had put not only those that never knew 
any thing of God in the mist, hut. even terrified such as had known 
him. This was hy my doctriue of coming out of self-love, self- 
righteousness, self-ends, privileges, duties, &c. She restrained hy- 
pocrites to that sort that do all things to be seen of men ; thought 
it strange for people to think of meriting any thing at the hand of 
God, or that hypocrites would crush inward evil thoughts ; and 
harped much on that, How can it be that one can be a hypocrite, 
and yet hate hypocrisy in others ; that one could be a hypocrite, and 
not know himself to bo a hypocrite? I have been preaching much 
this long time to drive people out of themselves to Christ, and this 
let me seo the need of such doctrine. 

In the beginning of that month, no word being come from the 
Presbytery of Stirling, I had laid my plot to remove ; and first to 
go to that country upon business, and then to Galloway. Meanwhile 
the Presbytery, whe met at Churnside on the 4th, had desired mo to 
preach at Siraprin the following Lord's day ; to which I consented, 
beiDg to continue in tho country till the Sabbath was over, and no 
where else engaged. 

July 6. — Yesterday and this morning there was in my heart a 
great averseness to duty. I heard Mr. Colden's weekly sermon, and 
got several checks and rebukes from it. The psalm we sung held 
my sin before my eyes. After dinner I began seriously to reflect on 
ray case. 1 dragged myself to prayer, but it was a strange exercise 
to me. Many sad halts I made in it. I saw my dreadful departings 
from the Lord, so that I durst scarcely seek any thing of God, and 
not but with great difficulty seek a crumb of mercy, or that the Lord 
would take away this averseness from duty. I remember I was going 
to seek one drop of Christ's blood for my miserable soul, but with 
horror of mind, and a shivering of my very body, I durst not ask it. 
I thought I would have been content to have been revenged on my- 
self, and to have put a penknife into my heart. I laid myself down 
before the Lord, desiring him to do with me what he pleased, though 
it were to make me a monument of his indignation. Afterwards J 
sat and walked like one out of his wits, took up the Bible to read, 
and that word at the first met me ; Jer. viii. 9, " The wise men aro 
ashamed," &c This put me to a sad pass. I turned to my or- 
dinary ; but there was no help. Afterwards I was saying within 

1699] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 6-5 

myself, what will the Lord do with me ? and that word came into 
my mind ; Tsa. xlix. 16, " Behold, I have graven thee npon the palms 
of my hands," &c. I frequently rejected it, yet it still returned; at 
last, thought I, dare I believe it ? and by this time I had more up- 
takings of mercy, went to prayer, and was somewhat helped to be- 

On the 8th, considering the perplexing circumstances I was in, 
and finding my heart brought to a better temper with respect to them 
than some time before, I began at night seriously to deliberate how 
I might carry under them as a Christian ; which was continued next 
morning, being Friday. There were three things I saw weighty in 
the complication : 1. The broken state of my health ; 2. My being 
in terms of marriage; 3. No probability of my settlement. To 
carry Christianity in these perplexing circumstances, I proposed to 
myself, that I should, 1. Live near God, so as my heart should not 
have wherewith to reproach me, Job xxvii. 6 ; Acts xxiii. 1 ; 2. Be- 
ware of anxious thoughts about them ; lay them before the Lord in 
prayer, and leave them on him, trusting him with him, though in a 
manner blindly, Phil. iv. 6; 3. Believe the promise, that all things 
should work together for my good, Rom. viii. 28 ; 4. Remember 
man's extremity is God's opportunity, with my former experiences 
of the same, Gen. xxii. 14 ; 5. Use of the means with dependence 
on the Lord for success ; 6. Be diligent about the work of my sta- 
tion, and ply my studies more closely ; and for this end, beware of 
sleeping too much ; Lastly, Not think that, because God doth not 
presently answer, therefore he will not answer at all, but wait on 
him ; Isa. xxviii. 16 ; and that if at any time I begin to faint under my 
difficulties, I should press myself to hang by the promises, remember- 
ing the shortness of my time, and that no man knows love or hatred 
by all that is before him; and should read Heb. xii. And my con- 
science bare me witness, that to be helped so to live in a course of 
filial obedience, would be more sweet to me, than to be rid of all 
these difficulties. These measures thus laid down, I thereafter went 
to prayer, especially for direction unto a text for Simprin, and help 
in my studies ; and the Lord dealt well with me. I had light and 
life in prayer, and a contented mind after : and it was but a little 
ere I fell on that text ; John vi. 68, M Lord, to whom shall we go ?" 
&c-, being still resolved to preach Christ ; and I had very satisfying 
and sweet thoughts on it in the general ; but having put off begin- 
ing my study of it till I should consult the commentary, which I had 
not by me, I read on in my ordinary, with much edification, espe- 
cially Deut. viii. and the 2d, 3d, 5th, and 16th verses thereof, par- 
ticularly, were sweet and seasonable to my soul. These things were 
dispatched before breakfast in the Friday morning. 


And here, I think, was the full sea-mark of my perplexing cir- 
cumstances aforesaid ; at which they did immediately hegin to go 
back, and providence began to open toward my relief, though as yet 
I perceived it not. But my God had carried them forward to an 
extremity, and caused them to appear in their full weight, and had 
moulded my heart into a calm, contented, and depending frame. 
And meditating on that, How I should know whether this keeping 
of my heart under my difficulties was Christian or merely rational, 
I thought I knew it to be Christian, 1. In that in some measure it 
was from a sense of the command of God ; 2. By means of the pro- 
mises ; 3. I desired it for God's glory, as well as my own good. 
That word, James i. 4, was brought to me, with a commentary on 
it, q. d. "Wait patiently, and that constantly, till God's time come tor 
deliverance, without which patience is but imperfect. This was oc- 
casioned by a petition I had put up in my giving of thanks after 

Towards the evening of that same day, I understood by a letter, 
that the business of Dollar was still in agitation ; and that they de- 
sired me not to dispose of myself otherwise, seeing they were like to 
succeed in their attempts for my settlement among them ; as also, 
that Mr. William Reid, minister of Dunning, in Strathearn, desired 
that I should come and stay a while with him, He was a worthy 
man, one of the old sufferers in the persecution ; and had a heavy 
task in that parish. Iu the time of the rebelion, several years after 
this, he was lying a-dying, when the news came in the morning, 
that that town was to be burnt by the rebels. His afflicted wife 
being greatly moved, on the account of him, who could not be car- 
ried off, while every moment the rebels were expected to execute the 
fatal design ; he comforted her, and bid her be easy, for that they 
should not have power to hurt a hair of her body. Accordingly his 
master called him borne ; he expired, and was in the grave too, be- 
fore the town was set on fire ; being buried in haste, while ho was 
yet almost warm, the melancholy circumstances of the place so re- 
quiring. This account his widow gave my wife. Before I came 
south, he had invited me to the Presbytery, on a design for Auch- 
terarder, then vacant ; but I could not then answer the invitation. 
This being now providentially laid before me, 1 went to God for di- 
rection in it, being laid open to his determination, and helped to 
trust him for light. Thereafter considering of it, there was one 
scruple in the way of that motion that I could not get over, viz. that 
it might be constructed a-going to seek and hang on tho parish of 

A.nd on tho morrow, beforo I went oil' to Simprin, I received a 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX. 67 

letter from Mr. Robert Stark, minister at Stenton, in East Lothian, 
proposing to me to go to the north for the Presbytery of Dunbar, 
and inviting me to the communion in his parish, on the Sabbath was 
fourteen days after ; and Mr. Colden invited me to preach at Dunse 
the Sabbath preceding that, though in the event I preached that day 
at Eccles. This conduct of providence laying work to my hand in 
the country, considered with my other circumstances, was a plain 
stop to my design of removing at the time I had determined, and 
was determining me to stay at least for that time. But for several 
obvious reasons, I hearkened not to the proposal relative to going to 
the north. 

After some necessary business dispatched, I prayed with con- 
fidence for what I asked ; and having made myself ready, and de- 
voted myself to the Lord, I went towards Simprin, my heart being 
heavenly, and tending upward, by the way. I find I have, in the 
memoirs of that day, called the religious action used before I went 
away, by the name of devoting myself to the Lord ; and though I 
have now no distinct remembrance of the thing, yet I judge, that, 
had it been no more but committing myself to him as usually, I 
would not have so expressed it ; and that it has indeed been such 
an action, as the word bears, an action very suitable to the way the 
Lord was leading me, however unknown to me. That night, being 
at Simprin, I found once a desire to be very remote, and in an incon- 
siderable post, and even a kind of content to be posted there ; and 
this, I think, was an effect of my looking on the vanity of the world ; 
but that lasted not. The day before, ere I entered on the study of 
my text, I had a temptation, not to enter on that great text in such 
a mean place as Simprin, but to reserve it for some other place ; 
but repelled it as a temptation indeed. I was obliged to enter on the 
study of it, without seeing any commentary upon it ; afterward I 
saw two ; but both were unsatisfying, and mainly served to confirm 
me in the great purpose thereof. The Lord was gracious to me in 
the address I made to him, with respect to my study ; and I had 
advantage to my own soul, by getting a view of the emptiness of 
all things besides Christ, and thereby seeing him more precious. On 
the Sabbath morning I had a desire after Christ, and his presenco 
in ordinances ; but was somewhat discouraged with the prospect of a 
small congregation. In the forenoon I was solidly in earnest in my 
discourse, but without the least moving of affections as at other 
times ; but the unbeseeming carriage of the people, few as they were, 
partly by going out, was very discouraging. I had never preached 
there before ; and after the forenoon sermon, I thought I could not 
like to preach to so few ; but in the afternoon, the Spirit blowing 


somewhat on me, I had forgot almost whether they were many or 
few. At night the two elders proposed my settling with them, and 
desired my consent; which I told them 1 could give to none before 
a call. And that night I found my heart somewhat inclined to em- 
brace that charge ; but they seemed not to be very pressing. I note 
the circumstances of this affair so very minutely, because the event 
shewed, that much depended thereon, and that that was the place 
determined of God for the bounds of my habitation ; and in this 
progress towards that event, there was an emblem and pledge of 
what I afterward met with during the time I was minister there. 
On the Wednesday morning after, Mr. Colden coming to my 
chamber, seemed to approve of my going to Galloway ; but did not 
once ask me, what I thought of Simpriu, or how I stood affected to 
it ; but being but little moved towards it, that could not much affect 
me. A little after, one of the parish came and told me, that he had 
spoke with Langton, who shewed a forwardness for my settlement 
there ; and in the evening, Mr. Colden and Mr. Balfour came and 
told me, that Langton and the parish of Siinprin minded to give me 
a call, but feared they would not get me ; to which I answered, 
with an air of indifference, Well, lot them be doing. But, according 
to my manner of too great thoughtfulness on matters of weight once 
set before me, I could sleep none at all that night, though I was 
to preach the week day's sermon on the morrow. On Saturday's 
morning, Mr. Colden told me plainly, that it was not his desire I 
should settle in Simpriu, because I would have so little opportunity 
to do service thero ; yet concluded the necessity of walking by the 
determination of Providence. In the afternoon I went to Eccles. 
In the Sabbath morning at Eccles, July 16, I was concerned 
rather about how to preach, than what; had a prospect of great 
difficulties in a little to bo encountered ; Stenton communion ap- 
proaching, the business of Simpriu now in motion, and the affair of 
Dollar in I knew not what state, together with other straitening 
circumstances. Fearing lest these should make a deep mire for me, 
drove me nearer to God, sensible of my need of a token for good 
from him in such a situation. And I had some help from Cant, 
viii. 5, " Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning 
upon her beloved ?" and Isa. lxi. 8, " I will direct their work in 
truth." 1 had that day much help, light, and life, in delivering the 
word ; and my heart was wound up in prayer, elevated, and entirely 
set on the work. The two Sabbaths immediately preceding, I had 
in converse discovered, in professors of religion, much uuacquainted- 
ness with Christ, and with their own hearts, particularly as to the 
legal bias thereof; which occasioned my preaching the week-day's 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 69 

sermon aforesaid, on Deut. ix. 6. And this Sabbath, in converse 
with a professor, I saw the pride of my own heart, the levity of 
others, with little appearance of the power of religion ; which made 
me sadly to fear settling in the Merse ; where I found I could meet 
with few exercised to godliness, and made partakers of the know- 
ledge of Christ. 

July 22. — Being at Stenton, and in good case spiritually, by rea- 
son of the Lord's helping me to right uptakings of himself in some 
measure, and dealing bountifully with me in prayer, I was attacked 
with discouragement upon the prospect of my difficulties; which 
sent me to the Lord, and I got some help. I heard the sermons 
preparatory for the sacrament in some good frame ; but near the 
close of the last prayer, thoughts of my difficulties bore in them- 
selves on me ; which, as they came, I rejected again and again ; and 
after these repulses they got, I became more serious. But Satan, who 
was in earnest, would not let me pass so ; but in came other thoughts, 
which raised my heart into a violent passion, and in a strange man- 
ner I rejected them, repelling one sin with another, wishing evil to 
the person of whom I thought. This wish came in most suddenly 
upon me as lightning, and did very much confuse me, was heavy to 
me, and marred my confidence with the Lord. So when I came in 
from the kirk, I was most ugly and hell-hued in my own eyes, and 
verily believe there was noue so unworthy as I. Then my heart- 
monsters, pride, worldly-mindedness, discontent, &c, stared me in 
the face, and my poor heart was overwhelmed with sorrow. In the 
meantime that word, Isa. xli. 17, 18, " When the poor and needy 
seek water," &c., came sweetly to me, and was a little supporting- 
but I found it a great difficulty to believe. Being diverted, much 
of this wore off my spirit, and a dreadful deaduess succeeded. To- 
morrow morning I got a revival ; and through the day, for the most 
part, it was not very ill. But being to preach without in the after- 
noon, I got up to Mr. Stark's garret betwixt sermons, and at the 
south-east corner of it, I conversed with Christ, and it was a Bethel 
to me. Long-looked for came at last. If ever poor I had com- 
munion with God, it was in that place. The remembrance of it 
melts my heart at the writing hereof. And accordingly my public 
work was sweet ; for God was with me, and, as I learned afterwards, 
it wanted not some success. God's voice was discerned in it. I 
shall only remark further, that at the communion-table I mainly 
sought, not comfort but grace and strength against corruptions. I 
got both in some measure. 

J had determined to go from Stenton to Clackmannan-shire ; and 
coming home on the Monday, I received a letter from thence, ad- 


vising, that the elders of Dollar had applied once and again to the 
Presbytery; but nothing could prevail with them, till the parish 
should get a new consent from Argyle. This confirmed me in ray 
purpose, as shewing the Presbytery not to be fond of my settling 
there, nay, nor in earnest for it. I went to God for help, to carry 
right in my difficulties ; and was encouraged. After which, provi- 
dentially falling on " Flavel's Mystery of Providence," I got my 
own case seasonably discussed therein, p. 201. And by the means 
of resignation there proposed, I endeavoured to bring my heart to 
that disposition ; and so went to prayer with confidence in the 
Lord. I found also spiritual advantage in this case, by reflecting on 
former experiences; so that I came to be content to follow the Lord 
implicitly, as " Abraham went, not knowing whither he went." 

That afternoon, being at Langton, Mr. Balfour told me, that the 
laird had not taken the method laid down by Mr. Colden and him ; 
whereby the call of Simpriu might have been before the Presbytery 
that day fortnight ; and thereby I saw, that I would not know be- 
fore I went to Lothian, whether tliat affair would issue in a call or 

not. Coming along the way with Mr. N H , then minister 

of Preston, a man of great parts, but not proportionable tenderness 
and now several years ago deposed, I was much satisfied with his 
converse ; so that the night was far spent ere we parted. And as 
we were about to part, ho told me of a design some had for another 
to Simprin ; with which I was surprised and amazed ; but in the pro- 
gress of our discourse, I found that design to be, only in case I 
would not accept. Whereupon he advised me to accept, and was against 
going to Galloway. After I came home, reflecting on these two 
things, I took both of them to be intended by providence, letting 
me see what were my thoughts under both, to clear me towards ac- 
cepting of the call of Simprin, if offered. That night I lay down, 
meditating on that word, " Abraham went out, not knowing whither 
ho went." 

On the morrow after, conferring with Mr. Balfour, we judged the 
affair of Simprin could now hardly be expeded before Michaelmas. 
And finding the hardship of ray being in a fixed charge, for a whole 
year, without receiving any stipend, which in that event behoved 
to be the case, would render my settling there at all impracticable ; 
I thought it necessary to intimate the same to Mr. Dysert beforo 
I went out of the country. 

Next day, being the 20th, I began to study for Stenton communion, 
having the night before gone to God for a text, with confidence and 
particular trust ; and in a little got one ; being to go away the fol- 
lowing day. But betwixt ton and eleven, forenoon, I was sont for 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 71 

to a monthly meeting for prayer, at Polwarth, two miles from 
Dunse. Being strained with this message, I laid it before the Lord, 
and was determined to go ; considering that the day and way were or- 
dinarily alike long with me, as it has continued to be in my experience 
to this day ; and judging that my spirit might thereby be more fit- 
ted for that communion-work ; and that going at God's call I might 
expect necessary furniture for what I had to do after. Accordingly 
I went away, studied by the way a part of the forenoon's sermon 
was countenanced by the Lord there, and returned home again about 
six o'clock. I completed what I minded to deliver, before or in 
time of the action; and having prayed again, went on and studied 
the sermon to be delivered after the action, without, having burnt a 
candle. Thus as much was got done, as 1 would have done had I 
been no where abroad that day. I found my spirit bettered by all, 
my soul somewhat heavenly, and raised towards the Lord ; I saw it 
was good to follow duty, and trust God; and that it is "not by 
might nor by power," but by the " Spirit" of the Lord, things are 
got comfortably done. 

On the 21st I went to Stenton, where that night, in meditation, I 
got a view of the transcendent glory and excellency of Christ, with 
the emptiness of all things besides him; and the desire of my heart 
was towards him. How it fared with me at that communion, I have 
related above. Under the deadness there mentioned, which was on 
the Saturday's night, being to make public exercise in the kirk, I 
went to secret prayer ; but really could not pray, yea, not so much 
as groan sensibly unto the Lord ; only I was sensible of my hard- 
ness of heart, and in a sort grieved for the Lord's absence. So en- 
tering on the work in this heavy case, the tears broke out with me ; 
but all along I was under desertion. When I came in from that 
exercise, I went to prayer; but could not pray ; and joined but very 
lifelessly in family prayer. But afterwards reading over my notes, 
which were on Jer. xxix. 13, " And ye shall seek me, and find me," 
&c. I got somewhat above that deadness, and reached to some 
confidence in the Lord in prayer. The Lord lifted me up in that 
place ; but thus low was I laid before it. Sitting down at the Lord's 
table on the morrow, I took it for a sure sign I should yet sit down 
at the table above ; and among other particular requests there, I 
had one for light in the call of Simprin, if offered; and came away 
with hope, but no more. The remaining part of the night, after the 
happy afternoon's work and entertainment mentioned above, I was 
kept in a heavenly frame, with love to Christ, and admiration of his 
goodness, loving the very place where he manifested himself. And 
on the morrow having insisted on the requests I had at the table, I 


found afterwards the Lord had made my soul satisfied, as to what 
way ho might dispose of me, especially with respect to Simprin. 

Being resolved to go from Stenton as above said, on that Monday's 
afternoon, Mr. Stark having given me a compliment of two dollars, 
and the use of his horse for my journey, I went to Edinburgh ; and 
being engaged to return on Saturday, and in the morning sought of 
the Lord a text for the following Sabbath, I did by the way think on. 
and get some insight into Psalm cxix 32, " I will run the way of 
thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart." On Tues- 
day I went to Barhill ; and on "Wednesday to Clackmannanshire, 
whero I met with one of my correspondents, who told me, that the 
elders of Dollar, whom he had discharged to come near me, were 
wrestling as eagerly as ever to accomplish their designs, and were 
waiting the return of a letter to Argyle. I shewed him my situa- 
tion, and committed to one to shew the Presbytery of Stirling, that 
I looked on myself as absolved from my promise to them. On the 
Tuesday I went back to Barhill, on the morrow after to Edinburgh, 
and returned to Stenton on Saturday about four o'clock. Mr. Stark 
had come back from some intended journey, but would take no part 
of the Sabbath's work ; so after prayer, being cleared and satisfied 
as to the text aforesaid, I studied my sermons with ease in the space 
of little more than three hours ; the Lord laying things to my hand, 
and that with enlargement of heart. So still day and way were 
alike long; and I had much of the Lord's help in the whole Sab- 
bath's work. 

On the morrow, Mr. Stark invited me to go next day to their 
Presbytery of Dunbar, on design I might be appointed to preach at 
Innerwick a day, then vacant. I had some difficulty about it, in 
respect of my situation; but endeavoured to consult God in it once 
and again; and was cleared, that my staying another week in Lo- 
thian, would bo more useful than going home ; but referred the full 
determination of the point aforesaid till the morrow. "Which day 
proved rainy ; and Mr. Stark went off, without moving again my 
going along ; this I took in ill part, not knowing the kind design 
of Providence therein. There Mr. Stark having moved for my 
preaching at Innerwick, it was opposed, particularly by Mr. John 
Forrest, an old man, and rejected, on pretence, they had not seen 
my licence. Some time after, the Lady Prcsmcnnan, she took oc- 
casion to clear herself of her having taken any offence at my after- 
noon sermon without on the communion day, injuriously imputed to 
her ; but declared, that at the Monday's dinner she did say to Mr. 
Forrest, she thought the covenant would be up yet. This seemed 
to point at the spring of the opposition to the motion foresaid. 

1699.] MR THOMAS BOSTOX. 73 

I had been much satisfied in converse with some serious Chris- 
tians in that country : and esteeming the Merse an overgrown piece 
of the vineyard, there sat down on my spirit a great aversion to 
settling in it; insomuch that I prayed against it, but with sub- 

In the middle of the week, one came from Dunbar inviting mo 
thither, intimating to me the desire of some to see me there. I 
went along with him, and spent the time in visits; but mostly with 
Bailie Kellie, who was in distress, and conversed suitably as a good 
man. At night several coming in to the exercise, I lectured. There 
was an Episcopal incumbent then in their kirk ; and the Presby- 
serians had a meeting-house. This meeting-house they proposed to 
me, and urged ; but finding that their preaeher was to continue in 
the character of a probationer, while with them, I could not relish 
the motion ; and their Presbytery's coldness to me justified the re- 

On Saturday August 5, being at Stenton, where I was to preach on 
the morrow, after I had begun my studies, we were called to family- 
worship. Being desired, I prayed with composure for a while ; but 
being in the kitchen, where was a great heat, my heart began to 
fail, so that I was obliged to break off; and going straight to the 
door for air, fainted away. Lying in which case I lifted up my 
heart to the Lord, boding kindness on him ; recovered and was eased 
by vomiting, as usual. I had rested little that week, but had been 
riding hither and thither; which kind of tossing I have seldom been 
the better of. Being confused through the remains of my indispo- 
sition, my studies took all my time. Meantime this new experience 
of my frailty, made the little charge of Simprin more acceptable to 
me. Sabbath forenoon I was indisposed both in body and spirit, yet 
had some help of the Lord. Betwixt sermons I cried for an altera- 
tion, and got it, both in body and spirit ; and was helped to express 
matters of some difficulty, with that distinctness, which I was sure I 
could not have treated of them in private. Hereof I had then had 
frequent experience, and since too. 

On the morrow, August 7, being to return home, I was comforted 
by a Christian woman, goodwife of Roughlaw, blessing God that ever 
she saw me, and shewing that never one had read her case, as the 
Lord had helped me to do, in my sermons first and last. At parting 
she put in my pocket about 2s. sterling, which I value as a token of 
Christian affection. That night I came to Dunse. 

And thus, after all my perplexity, when the matter was brought 
to the utmost pinch, kind providence opened an unexpected way for 
expediting one part of my design ; and removed the other, viz. the 

Vol. XT. b 


going to Galloway, much out of my view. I was, after great straiten- 
ing, liberally provided for, beyond expectation. And the Lord's mak- 
ing my itinerant labours, not unsuccessful, but useful at least to his 
own, and giving me a large room in their affections, afforded me a 
satisfaction, which I thought might be an equivalent of the comfort 
of a settlement. 

Next day, having heard of nothing done in the affair of Simprin, 
it was suggested to me by one, that Langtou minded to shift it till 
Michaelmas were past ; so that night, and the morrow morning, 
being the 9th, thinking with myself that the Lord minded to grant 
my desire of not settling in the Merse, I desired of him he would be 
pleased to shew me how to dispose of myself next; and the same 
day, some time after that, I was surprised with a visit of Mr. 
Murray, who continued to desire me to go to Nithsdale. And 
indeed his coming to me at such a nick of time, did seem at first to 
be determining ; but even while he was with me, came in one from 
Simprin, shewing that Langton had moved in the affair, and that it 
might yet be done in due time ; and a little after I found that he had 
writ to the Presbytery to go on towards my settlement there. Now 
my inclination was to go to Nithsdale, and I was racked betwixt the 
two. Thai night I thought seriously on them, went to God, parti- 
cularly for light and direction therein ; and after, as I was going 
to bed, I found I durst not as yet leave Simprin. On this occasion 
I observed the subtilty of self in two cases; 1. 1 feared my seek- 
ing of light proceeded more from self-love than love to Christ; 
2. That my seeking the very mortification of my idols, discontent, 
worldly-mindedness, &c, did likewise proceed from the same foun- 
tain, which might be in regard of the disquiet the want of the one, 
and having of the other, occasions mo. This selfishness I did ma- 
nifestly observe ; yet I found there was respect to the command of 
God in this, and thought it predominated. I thought I should have 
light from the Lord, or I durst not do it, though it should bo to my 
temporal loss. 

On the 10th, having occasionally continued my former request, I 
found that afternoon my soul content I should settlo in Simprin, 
if the Lord should give me a clear call to it, that being then my 
exercise, of the issue whereof I was much afraid. At night I went 
to the meeting for prayer, found my heart much affected with the 
sad state of my native country the Merse, in respect of religion, and 
cried to God for an alteration therein to the better. 1 desired James 
Minto, a godly man, and a mighty pleader in prayer, though other- 
wise of very ordinary abilities, to remember in prayer my situation, 
and to plead for light to me ; and my difficulties pressed me for- 
ward unto God. 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 75 

The day following having gone to prayer for a text, I was, 
through the blowing of the Spirit on me, brought to a contented 
frame of heart with respect to the affair of Simprin. And indeed at 
what times I was most heavenly in the frame of my spirit, it was 
easiest for me to get over those things that were straitening and dis- 
couraging to me in it, and founded my aversion to it. These were, 1. 
The rarity of the godly there, and in the country ; 2. The very small- 
ness of their number ; 3. The smallness of the stipend ; moreover, 4. 
The temper and way of the fraternity, though good men, and several 
of them learned men too, not agreeable to mine ; the which fully 
opened itself in the different way that that Presbytery and I took in 
the year 171'2, and ever since ; and, 5, which was the main thing that 
then stuck with me, The little opportunity to be serviceable there. It 
indeed bred some scrupling in the matter, that I was not far from think- 
ing I was more useful in my unsettled condition, than I would be if 
minister of Simprin. But I thought with myself, if the Lord will shut 
me up there, why not ? and I feared that in this there might be some- 
thing of the pride of my heart, and of ignorance of the weight of the 
ministerial work ; and therefore desired to say, " The will of the Lord 
be done." At nighthaving gone to myeldest brother's, and joined with 
him in his family worship, to my great satisfaction, he came along with 
me, to my chamber, and by our converse I was led to Psalm cxix. 96 
" I have seen an end of all perfection," for my text, being to preach 
in Dunse the following Lord's day. 

On the 12th I studied my sermons on it ; and in prayer in the 
time thereof I got some sight of the world's vanity, and in praver 
after my studies, the Lord did blow on me, and as 1 was much concerned 
for a lasting impression of the vanity of the world, and of the weight 
of the work of the ministry ; the which two things I reckoned 
would much conduce to the easing, quieting, and clearing of my 
mind, with respect to the affair of Simprin. I thought then I had 
never seen so great difficulty to get my heart weaned from the 
world ; but it was my soul's desire the Lord himself would wean 
me, being content to part with a carnal worldly mind, if he would 
rend it from me, and convinced, that it would abide a pull of his 
hand. After some time spent in necessary business, I betook my- 
self to meditate on my sermons that I had studied; and while, in 
my meditations, I was upon that head of them, the vanities of riches, 
jnst then one knocked at my chamber-door, whom opening to, I 
found to be a man from Simprin, who delivered to me a letter with 
their call. This did somewhat damp me. The letter was from a 
committee of the Presbytery, signifying that the call, being pre- 
sented to them, and sustained legal, they exhorted and invited me 



to accept thereof ; and had appointed me a common head, together 
■with exercise and addition, to be delivered at Churnside on the 22d. 
I read also the call, and returned it to the bearer, shewing him, 
that I would consider of it, attend the Presbytery, and also preach at 
Simprin on the morrow eight day for ray own clearing in the matter ; 
charging him to tell the elders, to be serious with God for light and 
direction to me therein. After his departure, I went and poured 
out my soul before the Lord, for the discovery of his mind con- 
cerning it. Afterwards I thought thereon, and found my unwilling- 
ness on account of the smallness of their number ; but in opposition 
thereto, a fear of my ignorance of the weight of the work of the 
ministry, seized me ; and it seemed to me I had not been enough 
humbled for my former levity, but that the Lord saw it necessary 
to humble me farther for it ; and I got ray heart contented, and 
found that the Lord " strengthened rae with strength in my soul'" 
to wait on him, and follow the conduct of his providence. There- 
after I meditated on the rest of my sermons. 

Having preached at Dunse on the Sabbath, I gave myself on the 
Monday to fasting and prayer, to seek of the Lord a right way, in that 
matter now laid before me ; breaking over an averseness I found to 
that exercise ungrateful to the flesh. Three things were suggested to 
me, prompting me to be so at pains for light in that matter; think- 
ing with myself thus : 1. Unless I be sure of ray call to it from the 
Lord, how will I stand against the discouragements I will meet with 
there? 2. How can I think of profiting them, if ho send rae not to 
them ? 3. How will I stand with them before the tribunal of God, 
if I join with them without a call from himself? Having read Ezra 
ix. and x., I went to prayer, to prepare my heart for the work ; 
thought a while, and then went to prayer again, and poured out my 
soul before the Lord. Thereafter I read the written confession of 
sin, which is above mentioned, and then made an additional one, in 
writing too. Which done, I thought on my sins and heart-monsters, 
till my soul was more humbled in me, then bowing my knees before 
the Lord, I read over the two confessions aforesaid ; poured out my 
soul before him, making a particular confession of my sins, so far 
as I could remember them ; arraigned and condemned myself, and 
looked to the Lord, in the promise, for mercy. After that, minding 
to renew the covenant with God, and subscribe it with my hand, I 
drew it up in writing; which done, I prayed, the Spirit blowing on 
me ; and I was greatly helped to resoluteness for Christ, resolv- 
ing, if I perished, I should die at his door. Then I examined my- 
self, as to my willingness to adhere unto it, and subscribe it, in all 
the parts thereof, severally and distinctly ; and having found my- 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 77 

self willing, I poured out my soul before him in prayer ; in which 
prayer, having some such expression as this, " Lord, art thou 
willing !" that word came to me, " All things are ready, come to the 
marriage ;" to this, " Amen" said my soul. Rising up, I wrote 
down these words in the paper I had drawn, and looking up to the 
Lord, I subscribed it with my hand. I wrote down there also, Jer. 
xxx. 22 ; Deut. xxxiii. 27 ; 2 Cor. xii. 9. That paper is in retentis.* 
After this, I meditated a while ; then I went to prayer for the be- 
nefits of the covenant, particularly for that which was the occasion 
of this day's exercise ; I cried for light, and was laid down at his 
feet; and came away cheerfully and contentedly, my soul saying, 
" Where thou wilt, Lord ; for he strengthened me with strength in 
my soul." Then, thinking on the business, I considered and put 
down in writing, that I might the better judge thereof, First, Some 
things seeming to clear my call to Simprin, as follows: 1. My being 
cast into this country, where I was exposed to it, and God's closing 
up all other doors hitherto. 2. On the 10th of June, Mr. Dysert 
wrote a letter in my favour to the elders of Simprin, and gave it me 
to dispatch to them. I took it, but afterwards tore it in pieces (on 
what occasion, I cannot now find out) ; yet on July 4, being re- 
solved to leave this country next week, being resolved to go over 
Forth first, and then to Galloway, I was obliged to go to the Pres- 
bytery of Churnside, to meet with Mr. Dysert, to borrow some 
money of him necessary for my going out of the country ; but when 
I saw him, 1 could not command so much confidence as to ask it of 
him. But the Presbytery took occasion to invite me to preach at 
Simprin next Lord's day ; which I could not but consent to, know- 
ing of no other place I was trysted to ; and this was the first time I 
ever preached in Simprin. My father went to Mr. Dysert on the 
morrow for that purpose ; but he could not answer my desires. Thus 
was I locked in. 3. I have experienced, that I have been most for 
complying with it, when I saw most of the vanity of the world, and 
had meanest thoughts of myself. 4. On the 8th of August it was 
told me, that Langton minded to shift the business of Simprin till 
Michaelmas were over, which would have made the closing with that 
call almost impracticable, on accouut of my particular circum- 
stances; so that it seemed the Lord had a mind I should not settle 
in the Merse. So that night and the morrow morning, thinking the 
business of Simprin all over, I desired of the Lord he should shew 
me how to dispose of myself. And after this, August 9, I was sur- 

* Aa exact copy of it is annexed to the author's " Body of Divinity," printed in 


prised with a visit from Mr. James Murray, who entreated me to go 
to Nithsdale, giving good hopes of a comfortable settlement there. 
His coming to me at that nick of time seemed at first to be deter- 
mining; but in the very meantime there comes in one from Simprin, 
shewing me, that the Laird had written a letter to one of the minis- 
ters; and that the business might yet be done in due timo. This put 
me again to a stand. Thereafter 1 found the Laird had written to 
the Presbytery to go on. My inclination was to go to Nithsdale, 
and I was racked betwixt the two. After prayer for light, I 
found I durst uot yet leave Simprin. 5. I could not but notice my 
preaching at Simprin on the emptiness of all things besides Christ, 
the only sermon yet preached there by me. On the 12th of August, in 
the forenoon, I studied a sermon of the vanity of the world, on 
Psalm cxix. G6, being to preach it in Dunse ; and just when I was 
meditating on that head of it, the vanity of riches, one knocks at 
my chamber-door, I opened, and found it was a man from Simprin, 
who delivered me a letter from a committee of the Presbytery, with 
the call of Simprin ; which did somewhat damp and discourage me. 
Hereby the Lord seemed to try whether I was really in earnest 
with these things or not. When the man went away, I poured out 
my soul to the Lord for light, afterwards thought on the business, 
got my heart contented, and I thought the Lord strengthened mo 
with strength in my soul, to wait on and follow the conduct of pro- 
vidence. G. The light I have attained in this business bridles my 
corruptions of worldly-mindedness, &c, and my own inclinations. 
And I have attained to a more deep impression of the weight of the 
work of the ministry than before ; which I find, contributes to my 
clearness as to the accepting of that call. The consideration of these 
things after prayer, makes it some more than probable to me that 
this matter is of God, and fully determines me to go on in my trials, 
leaving the more full determination of the main thing till after- 
wards. Secondly, The grounds of my aversion to it. 1. The rarity 
of the godly in this country. This I found to be but a discourage- 
ment. 2. Ths very smallness of the charge. When I was consider- 
ing the weight of the work of the ministry, I got a silencing answer 
to that. 3. The smallness of the stipend. This seems to bo a temp- 
tation. The light I had from the Lord this day hath downweighed 
this. 4. I suspect I am more useful for God in my vagrant stato, 
than I would be if minister of Simprin. It may be otherwise. Tho 
Lord is to make use of me as he pleaseth. I truly fear it is the 
pride of my heart that is the sourco of this. This however I found 
could bo no just ground of scrupling, though a discouragement ; and 
I further considered, that I knew not what honourable use the Lord 

1699] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 79 

might have for me there. I had formerly taken some thoughts of 
my call to the preaching of the gospel in general, which are noted 
in the above mentioned soliloquy, pp. 29, 30, [of the printed copy.] 
And there remained no doubt thereof with me ; and my clearness in 
that point had been a good support to me, under the discourage- 
ments I met with. Haviug thus considered these things, I went to 
God again, poured out my soul, and laid all out before him ; and 
had that word, Matth. vi. 33, " Seek ye first the kingdom of God, 
and his righteousness ; and all these things shall be added unto 
you." Afterward I wrote a line for some books necessary for me 
on my trials ; and in the meantime came in to me the above-mention- 
ed Patrick Gillis, one of my two praying school-fellows. Him sove- 
reign providence had entirely laid aside from his design of pursuing 
learning; and with him I conversed a while, and prayed. After he 
went away, I went to prayer again, with confidence in the Lord, hav- 
ing such clearness as said is. By this time the sun was down ; then 
having given thanks to the Loid, for his assistance through the day, 
and for what light I had attained unto, and sought strength for 
carrying me on in the work immediately before me, viz. my trials, 
I went forth. 

It hath cost no small struggling to put the knife to the throat of 
my inclinations in this affair, and to sacrifice them to the good plea- 
sure of God. In the remaining part of that week, I prepared my 
exegesis cle idololatria, exercise and addition on Eph. i. 5; and on 
the 18th, thinking on a text for Simprin, found none, till in bed in 
my meditations, that word; 1 Pet. v. 5, "For God resisteth the 
proud," &c, came to my mind ; which I thought I would take, and 
that in regard I find the pride of my heart creating me much trouble, 
while I think on the business of Simprin ; for I reckon always, 
that if I were more humble, I would go on more cheerfully in that 
affair. I was waiting for further light therein, to break up to me 
from my trials ; thinking with myself, that if the Lord should please 
to help me in them, it would much contribute to clear me. But 
after my entering on the study of the exercise, with a pretty good 
run, the wind fell ; and I was left to tug and row in it, and in the 
addition, even to the end. But behold ! this very thing, shewing 
me my own emptiness, contributed not a little to the clearing of me, 
that if I was at all to be admitted to the holy ministry, it should 
be at Simprin, as unfit for a more considerable post. Thus the Lord 
brought about what I was waiting for, in a way quite contrary to 
that wherein I was looking for it. 

On the Tuesday after, being the 22d, I went to Churnside to the 
Presbytery, by that time disjoined from the Presbytery of Dunse. 


Before I went to the pulpit, my case, with respect to myself and 
others, lying heavy on me, did, with other needs, send me often to 
God by prayer. But after one prayer in public, wherein I had some- 
thing of liis presence, ray frame much decayed, and the Lord left me 
much to the weight of my natural disposition; fear of man so pre- 
vailing, that the glass being run twice, I thought it had run but 
once, and so held on ; inasmuch that the exercise lasted above an 
hour and a quarter; and they stopped me after delivering a part of 
the addition. This made me wonder how I had passed my first 
trials ; but God fits the back for the burden. I overheard their 
censures. The manner of management could not miss to fret them ; 
but I was approved in that piece of trial, as afterward in the exe- 
gesis. The moderator presented me the call of Simprin, which I re- 
ceived of his hand ; but returned it to the clerk, shewing I would 
further consider of it. At the dinner I was much discouraged, and 
was inclined to wish in my heart I might not be settled in that 

In the latter end of the week, the frame of my spirit being bad, 
and even unfit for study, it was grievous to me in respect of my cir- 
cumstances, which called for another temper of spirit. But preach- 
ing at Lennel on the Lord's day, I got some relief; and on the Mon- 
day after, that word, Numb, xxiii. 19, " God is not a man, that he 
should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent," was ex- 
ceedingly useful to me, for quieting my heart, with respect to all 
baseness concerning me ; having some confidence, that his purpose 
would be found for good to me, what way soever things should go. 
And on the morrow, after reading for my chronologic trials, I was in- 
clined to pray, and did so, rolling all over on God. 

On Wednesday the 30th, Mr. Golden shewed me, ho was sorry I 
had so far accepted the call of Simprin, in regard to a call to IIow- 
nam might have been procured. I told him, I durst not do other- 
wise than I had done; and shewed him a providental step pointing 
that way ; the weight whereof he owned. On the morrow, having 
perfected my popular sermon, I was edified and satisfied therewith. 
At night I began to think of the near approach of the Presbytery, 
when I might be required to give an answer to the call. The pros- 
pect of this was very heavy to me. I considered it a while with a 
sad heart ; Dollar was desirable to me ; Simprin was not so. "When 
J thought how God owned me elsewhere, and what converse I had 
with the godly in that country, my heart was much cast down, being 
to be closed up in such a part of the country as is most dead and 
lifeless. I have little myself of life or heat, and I fear I may lose 
what I have or have had. I saw then my sin in itching after a 

1699.] 1IR. THOMAS BOSTON. 81 

settlement, when the Lord did countenance me so much in my va- 
grant state. So I poured out my soul before the Lord, mainly with 
respect to the present exigence. That word, Psalm xxv. 9, came 
into my mind. Wherefore my soul desires to lay down itself at his 
feet. Let him do with mo as he will ; I am his own. 

Sept. 1. — Being conscious to myself of my desire to follow God's 
call, the above-mentioned word; Psalm xxv. 9 ; "The meek will 
he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way," was 
sweet. I began to think about closing with the call to Simprin. I 
think providence seems to determine to it; but I cannot yet think 
of giving a positive answer against Tuesday next, but would fain have 
some days after to think on it, when I am free of other business : not 
that I think to get free of it, but that in the use of means I would 
wait for such light as may make me go on more cheerfully in it, 
and deliberately, for a foundation for the time to come. So I went 
to prayer ; and thereafter began to think on it ; but could not at- 
tain such serious thoughts of it as I would have had; so that I have 
nothing to mark as the product of it, save the deceitfulness of my 
own heart, which is more ready to close with any thing than what is 
present duty. On this day, I resolved to crave of the Presbytery the 
follov/ing week further to advise, proposing to give my answer to 
him who should be ordered to serve the edict, and might act ac- 
cording to my answer ; for I found not myself in case to do other- 
wise. After this, in the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Colden told 
me, it was still against his will I should settle in Simprin ; and that 
he understood, that Mr. Gabriel Semple, minister at Jedburgh, one 
of the old sufferers, who in the time of the persecution was emiuently 
countenanced of God, with success in the work of the gospel, es- 
pecially in the borders of England, had taken it amiss that I was 
not sent to him ; the design whereof was to be his colleague, though 
there was no legal fund for it in the place. This oftener than once 
had been moved ; but I could by no means listen to it ; but Mr. 
Colden desired me not to consent to the call of Simprin till he 
should speak with Mr. Semple on the affair of Hownam ; the report 
of which conference I should have that day eight days. I being, 
before this proposal was made to me, resolved as aforesaid, had no 
scruple in it ; but told him, that whatever might be the issue of 
that conference, I would not dare to determine the rejecting of the 
call of Simprin by myself ; and I was resolved still to follow on, in 
what appeared present duty, let the Lord do with me as should seem 
good in his eyes. 

On the morrow, September 2, I received letters, but no word 
of the affair of Dollar. In the twilight, weary with study, I went 

82 1IE1I0IKS of [period vi. 

to prayer, and, with confidence in the Lord, unbosomed myself to 
him. And, but a heavenly frame was sweet in my eyes! and I 
saw how pleasant a life a habit thereof, if I could reach it, would 
make. On the morrow after I preached at Simprin. 

On Tuesday the 5th, I did with more freedom than the former 
presbytery-day, deliver my popular sermon, and undergo all the 
rest of my trials, and was approved. At the Presbytery's desire I 
gave answer to the call, and that in the terms I had before resolved 
upon ; but with submission. They appointed the edict to bo served 
the following Lord's day, and my ordination to be on Thursday 
the 21st. 

Sept. 7- — I set some time apart for prayer, in order to get direc- 
tion in this affair. I found no small averseness in my heart to that 
duty. After prayer, my thoughts being hard to be gathered, that 
word cama; Exod. xxxiii. 15, " If thy presence go not with me, 
carry us not up hence." I went to God and poured out my soul, 
wrestling against the bad frame of spirit, blessed the Lord for what 
he had done for me since I was a preacher, and cried for his coun- 
tenance in this, meditated on the matter, but with little success. I 
went to God again ; and afterwards some things came to me, clear- 
ing me further to accept. And as for my inward thoughts, they 
were such, that I saw \ durst not but go on with it, finding that the 
more serious I am about light in it, it is the clearer. Afterwards I 
went to God again, and with much more life and earnestness, the 
Lord helping, I made my requests, and in prayer I found that 
word ; Psalm xviii. 28, " Thou wilt light my candle ; the Lord my 
God will enlighten my darkness ;" which I sung the first time I was 
in a pulpit; and that; Job xxii. 28, "Thou shalt also decree a 
thing," &c, given me before I entered on my first trials ; and that, 
Psalm xxv. 9, [above quoted], very strengthening to my soul, and 
most useful to me. Lest I should have provoked God to withdraw 
the light I have, which I began to fear upon my crying still for 
light, I saw myself called to bless God for what he had given me. 
And now my confidence in the Lord was raised, and my soul blessed 
the Lord ; I am his ; let him do what seemeth him good with me. 
Catching my heart at the season when it was willing, 1 went to God 
again, and poured out my soul ? but really had not freedom to harp 
longer on light as to the main thing, the accepting of Simprin, (but 
rather to seek God's presence to go with me) ; for this seemed to 
me now almost, if not altogether, a tempting of God, who hath 
already made my way clear. Further, I observed, 

1. in the Lord's way of dealing with me, that the Lord has 
brought about for me what I was most against. A notable instance 

1699.] HK. THOMAS BOSTON. 83 

parallel to this I had at the passing my first trials ; in that I was 
brought to pass them in ray own country, which of all other places 
was least in ray eye. This way of providence with me I have so 
often observed, that I have thought indeed such or such a thing 
would come to pass, just because I was averse to it. And as to 
this business, besides my aversion to the whole country, Simprin, 
by any place of it, I never dreamed of, and was very much against 
it since it was talked of. 

2. The Lord liath hitherto prevented such remorse in this busi- 
ness as I expected, other three irons in the fire with this, having all 
got leave to cool, viz, 1. Mr. Mair had resolved to endeavour, that I 
should be invited to their Presbytery of Dunfermline ; but there 
was no word from him. 2. Mr. Murray had told me, he would 
hasten home to prevent my settling in the Merse ; bnt I had not 
heard from him. 13. The affair of Dollar was dead as to me, though 
when I was in that country they were moving in it. 

3. Sometime I thought I would wait to see how the Lord would 
help me in my trials for Simprin ; and I thought I would take it as 
clearing ray call thereto, if I were helped and enlarged in them ; 
and contrariways. But in studying my exercise and addition, 
August 17, 1 was straitened, and was very mnch discouraged through 
that straitening; and behold, this very straitening (reflecting on it 
afterwards) seemed to me to clear my call to Simprin ; if I were at 
all to be a minister, that I should be minister of Simprin, for there- 
by I saw much of my own emptiness. This had a convincing im- 
pression on ray heart ; wherefore I thought I was called of God to 
join with that people ; and the sense of the command of God urged 
me, otherwise unwilling, to it. 

Nota. As to that aversion I had to settle in Simprin, I have oft- 
times since thought it was no disadvantage to me ; in regard it was 
far more easy to me to discern the light of the Lord, and what 
moved me to accept that charge, when it crossed my inclinations, 
than it would have been, had they gone both one way. In that case 
it had been more difficult for me to have known which of them I fol- 
lowed. It has been ofttiraes supporting to me. 

On the 9th I received a letter from my friend, such as became a 
Christian, bearing that her heart did indeed rise at my last, show- 
ing I had received the call of Simprin, but withal desiring me to 
follow ray light, and to be single in my accepting or refusing it, that 
the world might not cast the balance : the same Christian disin- 
terested course she steered all along in these matters being my wife. 

Mr. Colden being returned from Teviotdale on the 11th, spake 
nothing of the affair of Hownara, whereof I was to have the report 


upon his return. He calling me aside that day, I was afraid lie might 
have something to propose in opposition to this current business of 
Simprin ; it was my heart's desire to the Lord, that it might not be 
so; and it was not. Thus did the sovereign Manager, by a train 
of providential dispensations, mark out my way to Simprin. Mean- 
while the man whom he had designed for Hownam, was at that time 
in the seat appointed nest for me, viz., Mr. James Macmichan, mi- 
nister of Ettrick, afterward transported to JJownam. 

Eeing under some discouragements at home, September 13, I be- 
gan to be somewhat uneasy and discontent with my settling in Sim- 
prin. I was now hampered in my chamber; I had lent out my 
money and could not get it back, to procure myself necessaries. 
These, with my future circumstances, were grievous to me. Finding 
myself hereby carried off my feet as a Christian, I resolved to spend 
some time on the morrow in fasting and prayer, for these causes : 
1. To get habitual nearness to God ; 2. For a due impression of the 
weight of the work I am called to ; 3. His presence with me in it ; 
4. For content with my lot. Addressing myself to the intended 
exercise of that day, I added to these aforesaid causes, 5. That I 
might get victory over a particular corruption wherewith I had been 
often foiled ; Lastly, That I might be kept from cooling in my zeal 
in that country. After prayer and meditation with respect to the 
aforementioned causes, I went to prayer with the same requests. 
Meditating how to reach the things above mentioned, I fouud, that 
as to the first, viz., habitual nearness to God, I might attain it, by 
observing what I had written in my sermons, lib. 3. p, 104, and 277. 
As to the second, a due impression of the weight of the work I was 
called to, that helps were laid down in the Soliloquy, p. 22, [of the 
printed copy], and that I should consider the worth of souls, of 
which ibid. p. 34. As to the third, viz., God's presence with me in 
my work, the 1st, The Lord hath been with me, and done good by 
me to souls heretofore, and thereby had sealed my call to the preach- 
ing of his word ; and, 2dly, That I had his promise annexed to his 
call, " Go, and lo I am with you." Now, thought I, I am called by 
himself to undertake that charge, and from a sense of his command 
I do undertake it, therefore he will be with me. As to the fourth, 
viz., contentment with my lot, I fouud that there were helps to it, 
Soliloquy, p. 51, and downwards. I knew I had reached it, hoped 
yet to reach it, and my soul cheerfully desired it. Thinking fur- 
ther on this of my lot at Simprin, I found that it did run almost 
parallel with assurance of my interest in Christ, which at this time 
was much shaken with the last dream. This sent me to God again, 
where again I appealed to the omniscienco of God as to my sincerity. 

1698.] 11 K. TU0A1A3 BOSTOX. 85 

And afterwards I began to examine myself. My trial by the dream 
was, that I was but a hypocrite, and would continue so. Beiug left 
alone, 1 went to prayer ; and was helped to plead and claim an in- 
terest in Christ, come of me what will, resolving to do it ; though 
devils should combine to tear me from it, I should through his 
strength hold the gripe. That word, Isa. 1. 10, " Who is among 
you that feareth the Lord," &c, was comfortable in prayer ; and I 
forced myself as it were to believe, that I should yet praise him, 
pleading that promise; John xiv. 18, "I will not leave you com- 
fortless; I will come to you." So examining myself, I can say, 
1. I am poor in spirit, I have no righteousness of my own ; and if I 
get not a borrowed righteousness, I see I will perish ; and I count 
all my own righteousness as filthy rags, loss and dung ; 2. I hunger 
and thirst after an imputed righteousness and the righteousness of 
a holy life, Lord thou knowest ; 3. Christ is precious to me ; I have 
none in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire be- 
sides thee; and I would willingly quit all for Christ; 4. That was 
supporting to me in prayer, " He will give the Spirit to them that 
ask him ;" I have done it, and do it ; and the Spirit of sanctifica- 
tion is the delight of my soul; 5. My heart approves of and loves 
the law of God, even when it strikes against those corruptions I 
am naturally most inclined to; 6. I have received him, and am will- 
ing to receive him, in all his offices. Lord, thou knowest I speak as 
I think, and my conscience bears me witness ; therefore I am a 
child of God in despite of Satan ; and I will not quit my former 
experiences, nor say that all were delusions ; and whatever come of 
me, I will venture myself on Christ. Afterwards in prayer I was 
resolute ; I would not quit my claim to him, which made me speak 
boldly, and that so as is not ordinary with me. Let the Lord do 
with me as he will. It was he that said to me on the 21st of Ja- 
nuary last, " I have loved thee with an everlasting love," and had 
" therefore with loving-kindness drawn me ;" and I will abide by 
it. He may give his comforts when he pleaseth ; no wonder I want 
them. And now I am content with my lot, and believe I will get 
the things that I sought this day ; for he shall be my God while I 
live ; aud he has said, " All things whatsoever ye shall ask in 
prayer, believing, ye shall receive, Matth. xxi. 22. For the fifth, 
Mic. vii. 19, " He will subdue our iniquities ;" and for the last, 
Mai. iv. 2, " Unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righte- 
ousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go fortli and 
grow up as calves in the stall." Hos. xiv. 7, " They that dwell 
under his shadow shall return, they shall revive as the corn," &c. 
And I resolved to hold by his word, which he neither would nor 


could deny. And now I must say from my experience, that "there 
failed not ought of those good things which the Lord had spoken : 
all came to pass." I am glad to find, that I had marked in the 
memoirs of that day, as ahove inserted, that I really believe I 
would get tlie things I sought that day. Toward the evening, being 
somewhat faint, I closed the work with singing Psalm xlii. 5, " 
why art thou cast down, my soul," &c, to the end, and prayer; and 
my heart was strengthened and encouraged in the Lord. And so I 
took a refreshment. Thereafter I found an inclination to preach on 
the foresaid words ; Psalm xlii. 5, the following Lord's day, mostly 
on my own account. 

Nota. 1. I think God sent all this to shake me out of myself, to 
strike at the root of my corruption with respect to ray settlement, 
and to make me glad to creep into Simprin. 2. I am sure God 
gave mo in Simprin the most of the things above recorded, and 
though I am now, at the writiug hereof, removed from it, I will 
ever remember it as a field which the Lord blessed. 

On the morrow, going to God for a text, laid open to the divine 
determination, I was determined to the text aforesaid, even as I 
was determined to, and confirmed in that of Feb. 5, narrated above, 
p. 51 ; and as after my studies thereon, in which the Lord helped 
me, I was concerned for a blessing on it, not only for the people, 
but for myself; so on my meditating thereon next day, I found ad- 
vantage to my own soul; as also iu the delivering of it on Sabbath, 
September 17, and singing that after sermons ; Psalm xiii. 6, 
" Thee therefore mind I will," &c, my soul was raised in hopes of 
the Lord's return to mo as at some other times of sensible manifes- 
tations, and the unchangeableness of God was sweet to me. But 
after sermons, in converse, speaking of the godly people in Clack- 
mannan, and the paucity of such there, a fit of discouragement 
seized me, where I saw how, after I had been preaching against it, 
I was overtaken with it. But that word is helpful, " When I sent 
you, lacked ye any thing ?" and that, John xiv. 18, " I will not 
leave you comfortless ; I will come to you." 1 find it a difficult 
thing to be really religious. I preached it iu Langton, having pro- 
cured the minister of that place to preach in Simprin that day, 
being the Sabbath immediately preceding my ordination ; and upon 
that day's work, I find I had the following reflection: " What good 
this preaching hath done to others, 1 know not ; yet I think myself 
am not the worse of it ; 0! that it wore written in my heart, as it 
is in my book ?" 

On the Monday I went to Simprin, and found, that Langton had 
ordered a decent entertainment for the ministers at the ordination, 

1699] Jilt. THOMAS B0STOX. 87 

which I was almost hopeless of. On the morrow I went to an or- 
dination, where I saw the candidate answer the questions by a nod 
or bowing of the head, which I wished not to imitate. From thence I 
went to Berwick ; and having nighted at Churnside, returned to 
Dunse on the "Wednesday, where I got some impression of the weight 
of the work of the ministry fixed on my spirit, which continued with 
me, while at my chamber, and while abroad about necessary business, 
and received some comfortable account of the preceding Sabbath's 

Sept. 20, After prayer, meditating on what is before me, I saw 
much of the weight of the work ; wherefore I went to God mourn- 
ing, and poured out my soul to him. I saw it a great matter to 
have the charge of souls, and to be faithful. Two things were 
mainly before me ; the difficulty to carry right in the ministry in 
general ; which was heightened from the consideration of the pre- 
sent state of affairs, and an impression I had of matters turning 
worse ; and then the difficulty of carrying right to the poor parish 
to which lam called. These made my heart almost to sink ; and 
indeed my heart and flesh did faint and fail ; but that word ; John 
xiv. 18, above cited, and especially that, Isa. xl. 11, " He shall feed 
his flock," did bear me up. When I went to prayer again, T had 
more confidence and courage ; and when I came away, that word 
came ; Heb. x. 35, " Cast not away your confidence," &c. And 
while I was meditating, J. F. came in to me; and told me, that last 
Lord's day at Langton was, in her opinion, an extraordinary day, 
particularly to her case and feeling ; and that her case was read in 
the sermons. This is the second time that sermons preached for 
my own case had so reached that woman's. Having spent the time 
in prayer, meditation, and reading, till the night was well far on, 
and remembering how Satan is sure to lay wait for me in a special 
manuer before some great work that I have to do, I committed soul, 
body, and spirit, to the Lord, and so went on with spiritual 

Sept. 21. But that which I feared came upon me ; Satan got ad- 
vantage of me indeed, and his hand appeared eminent in it. This 
did sadly cast me down ; so I poured out my soul before the Lord, 
hoping against hope while I walked up and down ; for in so far as 
it came from the devil, it dashed my confidence the less. After- 
wards I grew more dull in my frame ; but going to God again, I got 
a little more of Grod. I spent the rest of my time in my chamber 
in prayer and meditation. After I bad been a while in company in 
Mr. Coiden's 1 retired to his garden aud medicated, my heart being 
in a tender frame. And when I came away, and through the day 
that word was given mo for support ; Deut. xxxiii. 27, " The eter- 


nal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." 
And I came to Simprin in a solid composed frame of spirit, leaning 
on the foresaid word. This was tho doing of the Lord, and wond- 
rous in our eyes. I heard sermon with some good frame ; but my 
heart was very much moved when I came in to the kirk. Mr. John 
Pow, minister of Lennel preached from Acts xx. 24, " But none of 
these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so 
that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I 
have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace 
of God." After sermon I was ordained and set apart to the holy 
ministry, by prayer made over me, with the laying on of the hands 
of tho Presbytery. I thought the text was ordained of God for me, 
and my heart desired to go along with the doctrine, that ministers 
should prefer the faithful discharge of their ministry to all their 
other concerns in the world. While I answered the questions, 
which I did at some length, being sensible in some measure of my 
weakness and unworthiness to bo a door-keeper in the house of my 
God, my heart being great, I had much ado to contain myself; and 
in that time there were many wet cheeks among the people. So I 
was ordained ; and while the words of ordination were said, I freely 
resigned myself wholly to the Lord, my soul iu effect saying, Even 
so, Lord. After the ordination, I received the right hand of fellow- 
ship from the brethren ; but had no heritor, nor representative of 
an heritor, to take me by the hand; and I think there were but two 
ciders in the place at that time. Then I received some exhortations 
from the minister aforesaid, actor in tho work ; and tho work was 
closed as ordinary. 

In this period of my life the dispensations of God towards mo 
have been very wonderful, as in the former. I must say, upon the 
whole, " The Lord's ways are not our ways, &c. His paths are in 
the deep waters." My soul is well satisfied with the determination. 
He hath inured me to hardness by tho opposition I met with while 
a preacher. lie frustrated all designs for my settlement, till the 
time before appointed, and tho bounds of my habitation determined 
by him were come to; Acts xvii. 26. This was an useful word to 
me in my vagrant state, supported my heart often, and kept me 
from transgressing for a piece of bread. My itching desires he 
would not grant ; but by this he hath tried me how I would deny 
myself, and what 1 would make of my own inclinations. Blessed bo 
my God that has helped me to trample on them, and made me con- 
tent with my lot. It is the Lord's way with mo, to shako mo out of 
myself, and to make me renounce my wisdom, or rather folly. 
When I came homo from Kennet, I little thought of passing trials 

169 9. J MU. THOMAS BOSTON. 09 

here, yet I behoved to do it. "When I had done it, I had no will to 
stay ; yet the Lord would. Afterwards, when I left the country, I 
had ill will to leave it, but God had said it. When I was in Stir- 
ling Presbytery, I would have gladly staid there ; but the Lord 
would not. When I came home, I had no good will to do this 
business : but God had said it, and it behoved to be done. When 
ray head was away, he put his bridle in ray raouth, and turned me 
again. " How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past 
finding out !" And now I have undertaken this work, in confidence 
of support by the everlasting arms. My itching desires after a set- 
tlement have been, and are grievous to me now : but the Lord is my 
God, who blotteth out mine iniquities as a thick cloud. To his 
name be glory in the highest for ever. Amen, yea and Amen. 

And thus I have followed the course of this affair, in order nar- 
rating the several steps thereof, however minute some of them may 
appear ; and that because it issued in what was to me one of the 
weightiest matters of my life ; namely, my ordination to the minis- 
try, and first sitting down in the world. And the reflecting on the 
clear divine conduct, in pointing out unto me, and carrying me to, 
these appointed bounds of my habitation, is like a rock of comfort 
to me unto this day ; as it obliged me to look well about me for the 
like discovery of the Lord's mind before I moved my foot again. 



I ketukxed to Dunse that night. In prayer I had much confidence 
in God. I found ray heart well content with my lot ; and the sense 
of God's calling me to that work, with the promise of his presence ; 
O it satisfies my soul, and ray very heart blesseth him for it; for 
really it is the doing of the Lord, and wondrous in my eyes, T 
have a prospect of comfort and success in my labours among that 
people, and my soul rejoiceth in the Lord. He hath enlarged my 
heart, I will run the way of his commandments. ! my heart is 
almost fond on God's good dealing with me. By the mercy of my 
God, I was not disappointed in my prospect. I closed that night 
with singing Psalm xvi. 5, " God is of mine inheritance and cup the 
portion," &c, to the end, and prayer. 

From this time more than two months passed ere I took up my 
settled abode at Simprin ; during which time, my ordinary residence 
being at Dunse, as before, I applied myself to my work, as I had 

Sept. 22. — It was long ere I got a text for the Sabbath. Win.u I 

Vol. XL g 


got it, my studies went slowly on. On the morrow also my thoughts 
were very confused, and it went very ill with me. I comforted 
myself with the example of Jacob's going at God's command, on 
his return to his own country, and yet the Lord met him as an 
enemy ; so it went some better with mo. Yet while I studied that ser- 
mon, my soul was solidly affected with the weight of the work of the 
ministry. I meditated on the forenoon sermon with more satisfac- 
tion than I studied it. I had desired the people of Simprin to send 
a horse for me ; but it was so long a-coming, that I despaired of its 
coming at all. This was a piece of exercise to me ; for I thought it 
strange to be thus treated at the very first ; so I began to lay my 
account with trouble, and to be concerned for the salvation of the 
people, though I should meet with discouragements from them. The 
horse came, and it was not their fault that it came not sooner. I 
was bettered by the dispensation. After studying the prelimin- 
ary sermons, as above, on Heb. xiii. 17, " For they watch for your 
souls, as they that must give account," I went to Gcd by prayer for 
his countenance, and for direction toward such things as might be 
most profitable for that people ; and found my soul much strength- 
ened in confidence of the Lord's owning me, by means of that 
word, " Go — and lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the 
world." And I was then determined to begin with the book of Psalms 
for lecture ; and for the exerciso on the Sabbath evenings, to explain 
a question of the catechism. 

Sej->t. 2L — Having allotted the morning entirely for prayer and 
meditation, some worldly thoughts crept in ; yea, on a sudden my 
heart made a contrivance for staying in Simprin, which perhaps it 
would not easily have fallen on, if I had thought on the business 
seasonably. But I thought I bought it at the rate of the loss of 
that liveliness I expected. In the afternoon I somewhat recovered 
my forenoon's loss. At night, I had an exerciso on the first question 
of the catechism, with some good frame of spirit; and on the mor- 
row after I visited the people, exhorted to secret prayer, and family- 
worship ; and found in all eighty-eight examinable persons. On 
the Tuesday, returning to Dunsc, I received a letter from Mr. Murray, 
inviting me to the west, and shewing great encouragement , but 
God had now shewed me the appointed bounds of my habitation. 

Sept. 28. — I never found that word, " Go — and lo I am with you 
alway," &c, so strengthening to my soul, as since I was a minister. 
Having that week, upon weighing my circumstances, laid dowu 
a resolution to delay my marriage till the spring, 1701, I was 
brought into a grievous strait on tho Friday's night; finding, that I 
behoved either to hasten it sooner, or not at all. This sent me to 

1699.] MK. THOMAS BOSTON. 91 

God once and again, laying down the whole at his feet ; and the so- 
vereign will of God, tempered with good-will to his people, was my 
stay. But being to preach at Dunse on the Lord's day, and having 
sought a text for that end once and again, but in vain, I was hereby 
led unto one ; viz. Col. iii. 2, " Set your affections on things above, 
not on things on the earth ;" and I gained some advantage in my 
own case, by the study thereof. That Sabbath, having the first oc- 
casion of my administering the sacrament of baptism, I had en- 
deavoured to frame some discourse for it aforehand, but altogether 
unsuccessfully ; howbeit, when the time came, I was sufficiently fur- 
nished for that part of my work, though I could not before so much 
as order the duty of the parent in my own mind, to my own satis- 
faction. Thereafter, coming home to my chamber, I spent some 
time in meditation, and much in prayer, which at that time I could 
not well leave off, which was far from my ordinary. I laid out my 
case to the Lord, and he turned not away his ear. But that night 
it was a concerning question to me, How it came to pass, that I 
could not get above the world, notwithstanding all my endeavours, 
by meditating, praying, and preaching for that effect, being earnest 
to have my preaching effectual on my own heart ? I thought with 
myself, how, in the time of such holy exercises, I was somewhat 
hoised up above it ; but afterward, when the trial comes on, I am 
again just where I was. And I feared it was too much by myself 
that I wrestled against the world; that I was too legal in my en- 
deavours, and knew not the way of making use of Christ for that 
great purpose ; but I found I was content to learn. 

Toward the end of that week, I had a secret check for forgetting 
my charge, and was desirous to be with them fixedly, praying the 
Lord would find out means for that end. I found also my heart 
much quieted, as to the divine disposal of the affair of ray marriage ; 
settling it in my mind not to proceed before a proper time. And 
with respect to my work in my charge, I was determined to begin 
with preaching to them the doctrine of man's natural state; judg- 
ing the sight and sense thereof to be the foundation of all real re- 
ligion. And minding to take it in parcels, for the more clear 
discovery thereof, both in the sinfulness and misery of it, I began 
my study of it, for that Sabbath, on the guilt of Adam's first sin, or 
original sin imputed. On the Saturday, the precentor professing his 
sorrow for his offence, was re-admitted sessionally. On the Sabbath, 
being October 8, entering accordingly on the subject aforesaid, I 
found things palpably laid to my hand; and together with the ex- 
ercise on another question of the catechism, I required of some an 

a 2 


account of what tlicy liad heard, in winch I had bnt little satis- 

On the morrow, having visited the sick, and desired some to meet 
in my chamber on Tuesday's night for prayer and Christian con- 
ference, I went to Kerscfield, the house of the Lady Moriston, with- 
in a mile of Simprin, whither at that time I sometimes resorted. 
There my soul was made to bless God ! for that when I reflected on 
the frame and disposition of my soul as to my marriage, I found my- 
self freed of many things which before disturbed me, and my mind 
resting in the Lord. This was the doing of the Lord, and an answer 
of prayer. On Tuesday's night, returning to Simprin, the meeting 
aforesaid was held accordingly; in which, after singing of a psalm, 
I shewed them from the word the warrantableness of such exercise, 
and withal the seasonableness of it for the time ; prayed with them ; 
and then two of them prayed. And the Lord giving them some mea- 
sure of his countenance, I was encouraged. The day following I 
went home. 

Oct. 13. — I had much difficulty as to the getting of a text. I 
prayed, and thought again and again, but could get none, and so on 
a long time. In the meantime I was much discouraged, saw and 
confessed my distance from God, the cause of it, and pleaded on the 
tenor of my commission. At last, thinking on my own unworlhi- 
ness, I was made to say within myself, " It is of the Lord's mercy 
I am not consumed," This was the text I was thus led to, and de- 
termined after prayer to take. But so few things presented them- 
selves to me, that I feared I would not get two sermons on it. 
Thus being in the same difficulty, September 29, the Lord in his 
providence sent me a piece of trouble, which led me to a text. An 
eminent parallel to this I had, when I was led to that text, Psalm 
exxvi. 5. On the morrow I received a letter, and by it expected 
trouble on trouble. I opened it not till after prayer. Opening it, 
I was freed from that fear ; and going on in my feared studies, 
things were laid to my hands; and my heart blessed the Lord, who 
takes such care of me. And considering how these things put me to 
prayer, I saw them sweet mercies that come as these did, as answers 
of prayer ; and it is much my advantage that the Lord deals thus 
with me. Thereafter I did some business, and found that another 
business was frustrated ; but I was ashamed to distrust God. On 
the loth, being the Lord's day, I preached at Edrom on Lam. iii. 
22, " It is of the Lord's mercies that we arc not consumed ;" unto 
which a!so I was led by my own case, as is above noticed ; and I 
had much of the Lord's assistauce therein all the day, and in my 
prayers more than ordinary. 

1C99.] mb. moMAs uosToar. 93 

I went to the synod on the Tuesday. Returning to Siinprin on 
the Thursday, I visited the school on the morrow, and went to 
Dunse. And having spoke with Langtou on the affair of the stipend, 
I found no great encouragement ; but these things moved me not 
being under apprehensions of public troubles, which were then very 
likely to ensue ; there being a general ferment then in the spirits 
of men through the nation, by means of the disaster of Caledonia. 
At night, upon occasion of discourse concerning the access allowed 
some unto God in duty, I found myself much excited to seek him. 
On the morrow, before I went off to Simprin, beiug somewhat moved 
with the shortness of the time I had to study my sermons, I got 
confidence in God for that effect, by reflecting on former expe- 
riences ; and in the meantime was quieted in another case which I 
had been in fear of. Coming to Simprin about two o'clock, I got 
my studies dispatched accordingly ; and on the Sabbath was much 
helped in the lecture and afternoon sermon. I had ordered the 
visiting the town that day in the time of the public worship, and 
found afterwards there was some need for it. The evening exercise 
was in all respects as before. 

Having come on Friday to Kersefield, on the morrow I studied 
for the Sabbath, having the help of former notes on the subject. 
But I then observed, that I had frequently found I had hastened my 
studies, in as short time when I wanted, as when I had help of that 
kind; and that when I wanted, my studies were more sweet, and I 
saw best into my subject. And that observation hath, in my expe- 
rience, held to this day. At night, being returned to Simprin, to- 
wards the time of going to bed, I heard an unsavoury noise of men 
drinking in a neighbouring house, on the occasion of a wedding in 
view. After waiting a while, and finding they were not dismissed, 
I went out ; and meeting with the master of the family, shewed him 
the evil of that unseasonable practice. Coming in again, I poured 
out my soul to God ; and their case considered with my own was 
heavy; my heart was humbled within me, seeing them an unworthy 
people, and myself an unworthy minister, making an unworthy 
couple in my eyes. As I went to bed, I had a motion to pass my 
ordinary I had studied, and to preach on James iv. 7, " Resist the 
devil, and he will flee from you," being to go abroad from them for 
a time. And having, on the Sabbath morning, cousulted God once 
and again as to that motion, I was reasonably determined to em- 
brace it. So I reviewed my former notes on that text; and having 
no time to study new sermons, had no scruple to preach them over 
again. The which also I did ; but with less assistance in the fore- 
noon's exercise than the afternoon, excepting in the preface. The 


custom of prefacing in the entry of the forenoon's work, I did then 
use ; and I reckon had used from tho time I was licensed, if it was 
not the first day or so I preached ; and having retained it all along 
to this time. Only in planted congregations, where the minister of 
the place used it not, I think I forebore it. I noted that day, that 
I still thought, I rarely, if ever, had such freedom of spirit and as- 
sistance in preaching, in that country, as I had had in the bounds 
of the Presbytery of Stirling ; but, by the mercy of God, that ob- 
servation did not long hold. In the evening exercise I went on as 
before, but got a more satisfying account of the sermons. 

On the 30th I set out for Barhill ; but was in hazard of my life 
in Musselburgh water, having ignorantly adventured to ride it when 
the sea was in. The horse, I think, was quite off his feet, and 
swam. And there being a piece of brae on the far side, he leaped 
up, and I held. In the meantime, with serenity of mind, I lifted 
up my soul to the Lord, not knowing but it might cost my life. On 
the morrow, coming to the ferry, the sea was very rough ; but hav- 
ing secretly poured out my soul to the Lord, my heart was calmed, 
and I took boat, and was safe. I have formerly taken notice, above, 
p. 19, of another hazard I was in. I was in Clackmannanshire the 
two first Sabbaths of November. I had determined in my own mind 
to preach at Clackmannan the first of these two ; but on the Satur- 
day morning early, Mr. Mair entreated me by a line, to preach at 
Culross, in regard he was obliged to go to Edinburgh on a certain 
emergency ; which in these circumstances, though contrary to my 
inclination, I could not refuse. After dinner I went down to the 
manso, supposing him to have taken his journey ; but ho had put it 
off. Wherefore I endeavoured to mako away for Clackmannan; 
but he would by no means allow me to go, urging tho determination 
of providenco for my stay, by the violence of tho weather through 
wind and rain in the time ; Avithal hinting, that he and others de- 
sired my preaching there, on a design to endeavour a call for mo to 
be his colleague, if they could effectuate it. I declared myself as I 
always thought, unfit for such a post; but it was not likely that ho 
would get a colleague of his own choosing, who some years after left 
the place himself, and died minister of Tulliallan. When thus de- 
tained contrary to my inclination, I retired to my chamber, and 
spent some time in prayer, and meditation on my sermon ; but was 
seized with a severe fainting-fit, and had almost fainted away, but 
that I was eased by vomiting, as usual. On tho morrow, Nov. 5, 
he preached in the forenoon, and I was helped to hear, but some- 
what indisposed ; which indisposition it pleased tho Lord timely to 
remove, llowbeit, ray legs trembled underneath mo as I went into 

1699.] 3IK. THOMAS BOSTOX. 95 

the pulpit in the afternoon •, but when I went to prayer, the trem- 
bling went off, and I had much freedom of spirit in preaching the 
word. Most of the remaining time that night I spent alone, and 
with Mr. Mair, of whose conversation I ever reaped advantage. 

On the Monday, some time was spent in his family in prayer, 
with fasting ? of which I had no notice, till about nine or ten o'clock, 
when I was thinking of returning to Barhill. Being desired, I 
stayed, and joined with him in that exercise. The family being 
gathered together, he began the work, shewing the causes of it ; 
which were 1. The afflicting hand of God on his family, particularly 
on a child of his at Edinburgh ; 2. To prepare for a congregational 
fast at Carnock ; 3. To pray God in behalf of his parish. Then I 
prayed ; after which, he, having spoke a little again, prayed also. 
These prayers continued long ; but we had ended about half an 
hour after twelve o'clock. After which, retiring to our several 
apartments, we dined about two, having had no breakfast. This 
was the first example of a family fast I had ever seen, neither do I 
remember to have been witness to another without my own family. 
But I bless God, I saw that, which was the happy occasion of bring- 
ing in that part of family devotion into my family afterward at times. 

Some time after this a blustering student informed me, that Mr. 
Mair taught, that all members of the visible church have a general 
right to Christ, and the benefits of the covenant ; and that baptism 
seals absolutely, that is, as I afterwards understood, that baptism 
seals that right to them all. Both these things were, at that time, 
as strange to me as they were to my informer. But now I believe, 
that sinners of mankind indefinitely, within and without the visible 
church, have a real right to Christ, and the benefits of the covenant, 
so as they may warrantably take possession thereof by faith ; the 
which right is contained in the holy scriptures as the original char- 
ter, and is legally intimated to all that hear the gospel ; all which I 
have elsewhere more fully declared. But as to what concerns bap- 
tism, having conversed Mr. Mair on the head, I could not be of his 
opinion, which I remember he built on that right, at that time not 
appearing to me neither. And though afterwards, in process of 
time, the said right did convincingly appear to me ; yet I could 
never be satisfied as to baptism's sealing of it, so as that ordinance 
might therefore be lawfully administered to all who with us are 
called members of the visible church ; forasmuch as I look on that 
sacrament as a seal of the benefits of the covenant in possession, and 
which the party has a special saving interest in. However, I 
reckon that worthy man one of the happy instruments of the break- 
ing forth of a more clear discovery of the doctrine of the gospel, in 
this church, in these latter days thereof. 


Returning on the Saturday to Ferrytown, ray spirit through grace 
being in good condition, I preached at Clackmannan on the Lord's 
day. At Ferrytown I was called to visit a sick man, whom I knew 
to have been a very profligate person, but found stored with a great 
deal of ill-grounded confidence. I applied myself to bring him to a 
senso of his sin and danger ; but saw no success thereof. That week 
I returned from that country to my charge. 

From thence, on the Tuesday after, being November 22, I went 
to Langton, and on the morrow to Dunse ; found worldly business 
very uneasy to me, and ensnaring to my mind ; and so it hath been 
with me all along, having neither heart nor hand for it. On the 
Thursday I went to Lennet, and married a couple of persons ; in 
which action, relying on the Lord, I found I was helped accordingly. 
Thereafter, meeting with Abbay above mentioned, his foolish talk- 
ing afforded me heavy reflections, on the unedifying converse of mi- 
nisters, and my own among others, as one great cause of the unsuc- 
cessfulness of the gospel. From thence I came to Kersefield, where 
on the morrow I found a dissatisfaction with myself, for that I was 
not more strong in the Lord, but easily brought, on the least temp- 
tation, to distrust God. I continued there till the Sabbath morning 
that I came to Simprin, where the Lord was with me in my work. 
On the 25th I had gone to prayer, in which I found palpably on my 
heart the blowings of the Spirit, loosing my bands, and enlarging 
my heart with ardent desires after Christ ; and these two days ray 
mind has been habitually disposed to spiritual discourse, not finding 
other discourse pleasing to me. But on the morrow, being the 
Lord's day, I found matters were not right, which was occasioned 
by my unwatchfulness, having ventured too far on ground slippery 
to me, wherein though I kept my feet a while, yet I slipt at length. 
My heart not being lively before, became more dead, with unseason- 
able thoughts, or rather fancies. The consideration of which did 
empty mo of myself, and made me see it would not be poor I that 
would work the Lord's work. Yet it pleased the Lord to help me 
well all this day, from the lecture forwards; for I lectured with a 
good frame, having light, life, sense, and heart satisfaction ; and 
had more than ordinary help in the prayer after it. In both ser- 
mons I was helped to be serious for tho good of the people's souls, 
somewhat pithy, peremptory, and particular, in the strength of the 
Lord. Betwixt sermons, walking a little at the end of the kirk, 
reflecting on the unsuccessfulness of the gospel, and withal on tho 
prayer after the lecture, I thought all that was left us now was 
some greedy looks and desires after a hidden Christ. After sermons 
I went to God, and poured out ray soul before him for a blessing ou 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 97 

what he had helped me to deliver ; was owned of him in all the parts 
of the evening exercise, and got a more satisfying account of the 
sermons than sometimes before. 

On the Thursday after was a national thanksgiving to bo ob- 
served. But being now en the point of taking up house, I went on 
the Monday to Dunse, where I continued till Wednesday, finding 
the great disadvantage of an unsettled abode, and more disadvan- 
tage of being employed iu worldly business. That night I returned 
to Simprin, where, with no great difficulty, I studied my sermons 
before I slept, having on the day before, in which I had no oppor- 
tunity of studying, sought light and furniture from the Lord for his 
work, and been determined to a text. I was helped through the 
day. After the public work was over, I had great fear of evil days ; 
and I am almost persuaded that I will see evil days, if God spare 
me any considerable time ; and how to carry rightly through them, 
is my exercise. But that word ; Psalm xxxvi. 9, " With thee is the 
fountain of life ;" in thy light shall " we see light," was sweet and 
seasonable to my soul- On Tuesday last I met with some printed 
scruples concerning this thanksgiving. I sought light from the 
Lord, and they proved no scruples to me ; only one of them had 
some weight with me, which was too scrimp dealing with the Lord, 
in that we were ordered to pour out prayers that day likewise, be- 
cause of the great sickness now raging, and the disaster of Caledo- 
nia, and that there was not a particular day of fasting for them. 
This I resolved to testify against ; yet when the time came, it was 
still kept out of my mind, and I was borne off it. It may be it was 
of God; for it is thought that such a fast at this time would greatly 
weaken the king's interest in Scotland. N. B. — Thus political 
views have influenced our church management all along. The even- 
ing exercise was made that day as on Sabbaths. 

Next day, December 1, I was obliged to go to Churnside fair. 
Having come to my sister's house, it was against the grain with me 
to go to the market-place. Seeing the multitude, I thought I could 
have entered in among them more boldly, if I had been to preach 
the gospel to them ; and I went out forward into the market place, 
but immediately retired into a house, and my father did my busi- 
ness, lleturning that night to Dunse, I was on Saturday taken up 
with business, having only so much time left as to go to Simprin, 
wearied of an unsettled abode, both in respect of its taking me off 
from the work of my calling, and the trouble thereof otherwise. 
After prayer I had very much of the divine assistance in studying 
my sermons, with much satisfaction ; and thereafter was helped to 
pour out my soul before the Lord, feeling the blowings of his Spirit; 


wherefore I took that occasion to mind the affair of my marriago. 
On the Sabbath I had the same assistance in delivering the word. 
And here I find I made the following comfortable rellection, viz. 
The Lord is indeed good to me ; blessed be the name of the Lord : 
for I have now the same freedom every way, in preaching, as when 
in the Presbytery of Stirling. The evening exercise, on the question 
concerning the providence of God, was sweet to me ; and in con- 
verse after it, it was a pleasure to think and speak of the saints' 
grounds of encouragement from that head, under trouble, particu- 
larly, how it is their God that guides the world ; and nothing do 
they meet with but what comes through their Lord's fingers; how 
he weighs their troubles to the least grain, that no more falls to 
their share than they need ; and how they have a covenant right to 
chastisements, to the Lord's dealing with them as with sons, to be 
rightly educated, not as servants, whom the master will not strike, 
but put away at the term. 

On the Monday, being now resolved to remove, I went to Dunse 
to make ready for it. Thence on the morrow I went to Churnsido 
to the Presbytery, where one Mr. Watson, a north-country man, 
rejected before by the Presbytery, was again brought on the field, 
sore against my heart, perceiving him to be a man of no manner of 
modesty, nor sense of the weight of the work ; but a brother from 
his own private motion, had given him a text. He was appointed 
to deliver his discourse on it that day eight days, at Hutton, before 
three brethren, whereof 1 was one. At night I returned to Dunse, 
where, on the morrow, the pressure I had in the presbyterial affair 
foresaid, made me look to the Lord for his own helping in the case, 
and for my direction therein. And such matters have all along, 
generally, been of great weight with me ; judging it always to be a 
most momentous part of the ministerial charge, the admitting of 
men to the preaching of the gospel. That night, being December 
6, I went to Simprin for good and all. 

On Thursday the 7th, came the wains with the household furni- 
ture from Dunse, my father coming along with them on my horse ; 
so that day I took up house with him, and Alison Trotter my consin- 
german, a servant. The manso being in ruins, I settled in an old 
house in the west end of the town, formerly belonging to Andrew 
Dome, sometime portioncr there ; and thero I dwelt till towards the 
latter end of the year 1702. Things being put in some order that 
night and the morrow, as I walked through the floor, seeing myself 
in my own house, I was but little affected with it, and thought that 
now I had it anew confirmed, That worldly things arc greater in ex- 
pectation than in fruition. When wo were quiet, tha.t word ; Psalm 

1699.] Mil. THOMAS BOSTON'. 99 

lxviii. 6, " God setteth the solitary in families," which was once 
very sweet to me when at Kennet, came into my mind. On Satur- 
day, after the morning family worship, viz. singing, reading, and 
prayer, and having determined to read in the Old Testament in 
the morning, and in the New at night, I addressed myself to 
my work for the Sabbath ; and, after prayer, did with some diffi- 
culty fall on a text, viz. Rom. i. 23 ; but I had much of the divine 
assistance in my studies, and meditating thereon ; so that my falso 
heart, taking occasion therefrom to bo lifted up, sent me groaning 
to the Lord, for help against it. 

On the Lord's day, being the 10th, I had signal assistance in 
every part of the public work ; howbeit I had seen no commentary 
on what I lectured ; and I preached with light, life, and zeal, 
man's heart's fulness of all sin by nature ; and some strangers 
seemed to be affected. Coming home, I saw cause to bless the Lord, 
for his return to me in public ordinances ; and went immediately unto 
my closet, to secret prayer; the which, since that time all along 
unto this day, hath been my ordinary practice. After supper, I 
spent the time till the evening exercise, in meditation and prayer, 
with special respect to my not finding on my own heart such impres- 
sions of my own vileness as I ought to have had ; yet so much of it 
I did see, as obliged me to say, " It is of the Lord's mercies that I 
am not consumed." Moreover I found cause of thankfulness, that I 
was in some concern that the devil might not pick up the seed 
sown. In the evening exercise I again found the deceitfulness of 
my heart, so as it immediately after sent me unto God, groaning 
under my mismanagements. I have frequently observed, that as 
soon as I have begun to complain to the Lord of my spending my 
strength in vain, I have been led to lay my hands on my mouth, 
considering how Christ himself spends more invitations, &c, for 
nought ; and what am vile I, that I should be discouraged on that 
account ? Many times I have feared, that the pride of my heart, 
too high thoughts of my own pains, weariness, &c, have had a hand 
in these complaints ; and that I have not, as I ought, been purely 
concerned for the glory of God ; and that the command to preach 
has not sufficiently satisfied me. I have been helped to speak to the 
people by similitudes; but exacting an account of the sermon from 
the people, several of them told me the earthly part, but quite for- 
got the heavenly part ; which was very wounding to me; so that I 
know not how to preach so as they may be profited. I have been 
made sometimes this night to think, what the Lord means by this 
signal help he gives me, especially these two last Sabbaths, (in re- 
spect of which I have been made to notice the return of the Lord's 


presence to me in his work, as at Clackmannan, or in the Presby- 
tery of Stirling, which I feared had been quite gone) ; sometimes I 
think, it may be God has some lost sheep to find here, and some- 
times I fear, it is only for a testimony. Only I desire to bless the 
Lord who so helps me, both in studying and preaching ; and it 
makes my soul say, as Job xxiii. 3, " that I knew where I might 
find him !" for, notwithstanding all God's goodness to me, I cannot 
attain to such lively exercise of faith, love, and heavenly minded- 
ness, as some time before. 

On the morrow I went to Dunse, to a monthly meeting for prayer, 
from several parishes ; the which had been set up by the worthy 
Mr. Colden. Here a heaviness and indisposition of body and spirit 
fell on me, so that I both wandered and wearied in the time of it. 
Sometimes I faintly got above it, but fell into it agaiu. I thought 
in the time that I would get on the finger ends for this ; and so it 
fell out very quickly ; for coming from that exercise, I met with a 
piece of trouble that perplexed and confused me, so that what to do 
or say I knew not ; only I resolved to lay it down before the Lord, 
being ready to comply with what the Lord would shew to be duty. 
Tins was occasioned by a letter from my friend, and I was troubled 
about putting an end to my marriago with her. It was my unbelief 
that occasioned my perplexity. In it, my eldest brother was useful 
to me, encouraging me to trust in God, before whom I laid the case. 
While I was imparting my uneasiness to him, that word came to me 
checking me, " When I sent you out, lacked ye any thing ?" And 
on the morrow I was much enlarged in prayer, for light to know my 
duty therein ; and was hopeful that the Lord, who had given light 
in other things relative thereto, would give light in that point 
too. Thereafter I went towards Ilutton to hear Mr. Watson's dis- 
course, which affair had made me oftener than once to implore 
the divine conduct. Coming near the place, T was informed, that 
the business was done by others on the day before ; that the dis- 
course was much of a piece with his former, and they had given him 
a new text. Coming home, I was in perplexity about my own affair 
aforesaid, went to God with it, thought on it, but could not bring the 
matter to a point; but, by the good hand of God, one of the mem- 
bers of the meeting for prayer, began the exercise that night with 
singing, Psalm lxi. from the beginning, " God — What time my 
heart is overwhelmed, and in perplexity," &c. Afterwards convers- 
ing with my father on my business, I was somewhat cased, perceiv- 
ing it might be accomplished about August following. And after- 
ward having occasion to write about it, I went to God for guidance 
and direction therein, and things seemed to be cleared to mo, 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 101 

Dec. 12. — I hare had, for a long time, a desire to set up week- 
day sermons. And since the synod (at which time I had great appre- 
hensions of evil days, which pressed me to be busy in my time) I re- 
solved to try what encouragement I might meet with in prosecuting it. 
This night I proposed it to two of the members of the meeting for 
Christian fellowship; who received the motion with all gladness; 
and I was desired to begin it next Thursday's night. Upon which 
immediately I found a great averseness in my own mind to it ; 
thinking withal, that I should have tabled it particularly before the 
Lord ere I had proposed it. Thus I saw the dreadful deceit of my 
heart. I pressed my heart with that word ; 2 Tim. iv. 2, " Preach 
the word, be instant in season, out of season ;" but it would not do. 
And as I was going out of doors, it was suggested to me, that the 
Lord had thus punished me for not seeking light expressly as to 
that particular. While I wrote this, I thought it indeed a tempta- 
tion of Satan to divert me from this work. (Nota, It seems both 
were true.) I was helped earnestly to seek light from the Lord in 
it. On the morrow I went to God again with this business ; yet 
could I not be satisfied to undertake that work, so long and so much 
before desired by me ; neither had I any thing material to object 
against it. Wherefore I renewed my suit; and thinking about it, 
got my heart more satisfied and inclined thereto, urging myself 
with the Lord's kindness to me in his work, and the necessity of the 
people's souls. I went to God again with it; and, in fine, the as- 
siduity of the faithful ministers, the apostles, and others, preaching 
both by day and by night, and no doubt sometimes to a small hand- 
ful, did overcome me ; so that I determined to go on, desiring 
heartily to comply with it. On Thursday the 14th, at night, I began 
this exercise; having spent the afternoon in catechising. I went 
about the examination under a sense of my own emptiness and in- 
sufficiency ; and was well helped while my heart kept right ; but it 
turning to some one or other of its biasses, my help decayed. In 
the evening exercise the Lord's presence was such, that I was made 
to say, " It is good for us to be here." When alone, the misma- 
naging of the examination, yea, and the sermon too, lay heavy on 
me ; and therefore I went to God for pardon of my weakness. And 
that exercise I kept up all along after, during my continuance in 
Simprin ; and had many a sweet refreshing hour of it. In the 
winter season, our meetings were in my house, and in the night ; 
in the summer, they were in the kirk, at the time of the day 
wherein the men rested from their labour; for the people were ser- 
vants to Langton. And I believe that, for the same reason, it was 
only the women whom I catechised at any other time of the day ; 

102 MEMOinS of [period \u. 

being solicitous that the master's business might not suffer by me, 
nor my good be evil spoken of on that account. On the morrow 
after, having visited the sick, and found how the Lord had laid his 
rod on my handful, I was thereby convinced, that, had I slighted 
the motion for the Thursday's sermon, I would have had no peace 
in so doing. Ilaving come home from this visitation, I reflected on 
it, and saw what secret averseness was in my heart to it, and how 
poorly I had managed it. I got a clear sight of tho freedom and 
riches of grace, went by myself, and lamented my emptiness and 
unworthiness ; which when I saw, it gave me a check for an inward 
itching after more work, whereby I might have a little more stipend. 
That work was, I think, to have been a catechist in Dunse, the en- 
couragement £100 Scots. I had such an offer, and refused it ; yet 
since that time I had such an itch after it. Last night in reading 
the latter part of John vi. the Lord held his candle before me, help- 
ing me to understand it. This night having consulted some books, 
and my own heart, on the sinfulness of man's natural state, to see 
what further of that subject remained to bo handled ; there occurred 
only man's death in sin, to which I was determined accordingly. 
On the Saturday I studied it, but not with my former assistance ; 
but, after having prayed, and found it to be owing to that I was not 
so much emptied of myself as before, reckoning the subject more 
easy, I recovered the divine aid, in meditating afterward on what I 
had prepared. 

Dec. 17- — Being the Lord's day, in the morning I was somewhat 
heavenly, and had some desire after, and delight in tho Lord. As I 
went to the kirk, seeing a student going thither, it was a tempta- 
tion to me not having studied my lecture with commentaries, for 
at that time I had few, or none at all. My frame decayed. Sing- 
ing after the lecture, an unseasonable thought a little entertained, 
did me inexpressible prejudice. In prayer I knew my distemper, 
had some kind of grief for it ; but my heart, I thought, was not 
softened ; and the preaching going away with little pith, 1 cut it 
short. Betwixt sermons I went into a barn near by the kirk, much 
dissatisfied with myself; saw howl had brought on myself that 
heavy alteration, went to God taking shame to myself, wrestled 
with him for pity, laying all oars in tho water, especially pleading 
the covenant, and cried that ho would remember it according to his 
promise ; Lev. xxvi. 40 — 42. Then going away again with the 
promiso of his presence, wo sang tho 6th psalm from the beginning, 
being my case. Ilaving prayed with a deep sense of my own vile- 
ness, and the falseness of ray heart putting mo wrong after God had 
set mo right, I preached at first with soino life, till, through tho 

1699.] MB. TIIO.MAS BOSTON. 103 

Spirit's blowing more upon me, all my bands were loosed ; then I 
went on with light, life, satisfaction, and concern for their souls; 
and especially found my heart enlarged to preach the freedom and 
riches of grace, with a hearty abhorrence of the doctrine detracting 
from the praise thereof. All went right in some measure that after- 
noon ; and I had rather more than less of my former aid ; withal 
there was some appearance of the word's making impression on 
some of the hearers. The time being far gone, no psalm was sung 
after; in which I think, I did amiss, if it was in my power to have 
commanded four lines. With the student above referred to, I had 
sometimes had some scuffles on the Arminian points; he coming iu 
a little after sermons, expressed his satisfaction in opposition to 
these. After supper, having read something for the question to be 
handled, the people came to the evening exercise ; and with a sense 
of my own emptiness and insufficiency for the least duty, I went to 
God for his aid, seeing how I could not go but as led, nor stand but 
asholdenup; and I was helped. A while after, desiring to note 
the progress of that day, such was the temper of my evil heart, in 
consideration whereof the states of innocence and of glory were that 
night big in my eyes, that I was averse to go to prayer beforehand ; 
but I, finding this, peremptorily resolved, that go I should ; and 
durst not delay it, fearing, from former experience, the growing of 
that distemper ; the which I also did accordingly. Ah for the power 
and prevalency of unbelief! I think if there were no more in hea- 
ven but freedom from this master-devil, it were most desirable. 
That night I began the catechising of the servant ; the which part 
of family duty I continued in my family on the Sabbath nights, till 
of late years my strength decaying, I almost confine it to the time 
of the year wherein we have but one sermon. 

On the morrow I visited the sick, and spent the afternoon in ca- 
techising, and found great ignorance prevailing. On the Tuesday, 
visiting a sick woman grossly ignorant, after I had laid out before 
her, her wretched state by nature, she told me she had believed all 
her days. I thereupon sat as astonished for a while, lifted up ray 
eyes to the Lord, and addressed myself to her again for her con- 
viction ; howbeit nothing but stupidity appeared. Therefore I saw 
I had enough ado among my handful. I had another diet of ca- 
techising on Wednesday afternoon ; and looking to the Lord for 
help, I got it ; and I had some more comfort in them than before. 
Having inculcated almost on each of them their wretched state by 
nature, and they frequently attending the means of instruction, 
there were but few examined that day who did not shew some know- 
ledge of that point. But the discovery I had made of their ignor- 


ance of God and of themselves, made me the more satisfied with tho 
smallness of tho charge. 

On the Thursday, thinking to preach the weekly sermon on 
2 Cor. xiii. 5, " Examine yourselves," &c, after prayer for light and 
direction, I was surprised with that word slipping into my mind ; 
Hos. iv. 6, " My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." And 
hereto I was, after prayer, rationally determined ; and that was the 
first particular subject I entered on in that exercise. At night the 
Lord was with me, and I had a pretty frequent auditory. That op- 
portunity of serving the Lord was big in my eyes, and my soul 
blessed him for that he had put it in my heart. After this, with joy 
I saw myself in Simprin, as in my nest, under the covert of Christ's 
wings. Reading divinity that night, I was caused to lift mine eyes 
to the Lord, for light into his truths, seeing the emptiness of book- 
learning without the Spirit. 

Next day I visited one of my neighbouring brethren, with whom 
I found not the affection I wished for. My preaching twice on the 
Lord's day in the winter was reckoned unneighbourly, notwithstand- 
ing the singular circumstances of my charge, all in one little town, 
within a few paces from one end to the other ; the which, shewing 
no necessity of making a difference betwixt summer and winter in 
that point, did put me upon the quarrelling method, and kept me at 
it while in that place. Returning home, I read a while ; and at 
that time I was reading " "Witsii (Economia fcederum," which I had 
borrowed. To that excellent book I was seasonably led by kind 
providence at that time. Having left off reading, and mada a re- 
view of the day's progress, I saw an end of all perfection, no satis- 
faction in the creature, all treasured up in Christ alone. I found 
the hardship of having almost none in the country to tell my mind 
to, but Mr. Colden, who was then about to leave it, going to Oxnam, 
where he continues to this day. I had a very heavy heart that 
night on the account foresaid. I would fain have writ to Mr. Mair, 
but his speaking of my transportation barred that. But my soul 
blessed tho Lord, that I had Christ to run to ; it was the very sup- 
port of my soul, that God governed tho world, and that I might 
pour out my complaint in his bosom. Accordingly I lay down 
a-bed with that word ; John v. 22, " Tho Father hath committed all 
judgment to the Son ;" which many a time had been sweet to me. 

Saturday the 23d, the day was far spent ere I fell on a text ; 
which having got at length, being Rom. vii. 9, " I was alive with- 
out the law," I went upou with some help from the Lord. At even 
I w f as ruffled with somo household furniture procured for, and 
brought to me, but not agreeable to my mind. Withal I received 

1699.] Mn. ihomas bostoit. 103 

information, by a letter, of a piece of the blustering student above 
mentioned his management with respect to me, which touched me in 
the quick. I went and unbosomed myself to the Lord; but my dis- 
couragement remained, by means of that galling trial. I observed 
the Lord's kindness in that, in our ordinary, that first met me ; 
John xiv. 1, "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, 
believe also in me ;" and the latter part of the 13th Psalm in singing. 
After the unbosoming aforesaid, I found myself faint, not having 
dined at ray ordinary time; therefore I immediately supped; and 
my body being strengthened, but my mind still troubled, I went to 
family worship, and thereafter to my studies, endeavouring to 
strengthen myself in the Lord. On the morrow, being the Lord's 
day, after prayer in the morning I had given way to some worldly 
thoughts, which were indeed occasioned by something that con- 
cerned my conscience ; yet my heart soon went without bounds; so 
that though a desire to be near Christ remained in me, yet I found 
an averseness to duty even in the very time of duty. Entering on 
the public work, ray prayer was according to my frame, complain- 
ing of a body of death, and an ugly heart, and admiring heaven as 
a place of rest from sin. I preached that day man's ignorance of 
his wretched state by nature; and was sure that God called me to 
preach it, by the voice of the people's necessity, two of whom had 
told me expressly that week, they had believed all their days. That 
night I altered the evening exercise, from explaining a question 
sermon-wise, to catechising, as more fit to profit the people ; and to 
this I had been determined after seeking a discovery of the Lord's 
mind therein. The public work being over, my heart was discour- 
aged ; some impressions of yesternight's trouble remained. I was 
grieved at this ; said, Why art thou cast down, my soul ? It 
was answered, Because I have not assurance of God's love. I thought 
I had the testimony of conscience, but can never get the testimony 
of the Spirit to put me quite out of doubt. I went to prayer, con- 
versed with God ; it was wondrous in mine eyes ; my morning 
averseness was overcome. I was humbled before the Lord, and 
would fain have been quit of an unbelieving heart. I pleaded the 
promise, " He that loveth me, I will manifest myself to him." But 
J feared my love was not of the right sort, upon that very ground 
that I suspected Christ manifests himself to his own otherwise than 
he has done to me. I put the question to myself, How shall I know 
whether Christ has manifested himself to rae as to his own or not? 
Answ. to this purpose, All have not alike manifestations of him ; 
he takes three only of the disciples up into the mouut. Philip says, 
Lord, shew us the Father; yet Christ tells him, "He that hath 
Yol. XL n 


seen the Son, (whom Philip had indeed seen), hath seen the Father 
also." What effects has the manifestation of Christ had on them 
that got it ? The Psalmist, that saw him fairer than the children 
of men ; Psalm xlv. 2, his heart speaks good of him. It has been 
the desire of my heart to commend Christ to others, and I have 
found my heart bubbling up his commendation. 2. It made him 
think and say, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is 
none upon the earth that I desiro besides thee." My soul can be 
satisfied with nothing in heaven or earth, no not with heaven itself, 
without him ; and I think I could be satisfied with him alone. 3. 
It made him say, " Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled." 
So is it with me. My heart was somewhat lighter, though I was not 
raised up much from my trouble. At family exercise my heart was 
somewhat raised with respect to that trouble, by some passages, 
John xv. Afterwards we sung the latter part of the 14th Psalm ; 
and I very well remember, I thought I could get nothing there for 
me ; yet that word, " You shame the counsel of the poor, because 
God is his trust," was laid open to me as with a strong hand, it strik- 
ing at the very root of my particular trouble ; and then I saw I had 
something to answer them that troubled me. My soul blessed God 
for his word, and for that word in particular, that ever it was put 
in the Bible. It has loosed my bands, set me to my feet again, and 
put courage in my heart. My heart rejoiceth in his salvation, and 
in himself. One thing is observable in this, that being this day 
persuaded, that my untender walking was the cause of God's hiding 
himself, and that a certain foul step was the cause of this particular 
trouble, after I was made sensible of it, and lamented it more before 
the Lord, then, and not till then, the deliverance came. After the 
above happy outgate, I spent some time in thinking of the Lord's 
kindness to me, and closed the night, far spent, with singing Psalm 
xxxiv. 1 — 11, and reading the scriptures; observing, meanwhile, 
that wanting written commentaries, a heavenly frame of spirit, and 
soul-exercise, whether about temporal or spiritual things, were two 
excellent commentators; and then praying to my God, who doth all 
things for me, went to bed. 

On the Monday ray heart was borne up with the word which the 
night before had set mo to my feet again. And for some days, till 
I fell by my iniquity, that word was sweet and refreshing to 
me ; and to this day I look on it as having a particular interest 
therein. Having gone to Dunso on business, I had much satisfac- 
tion in converse with Mr. Colden ; my heart being heavenly, spiri- 
tual discourso was pleasant ; and on Tuesday morning that scrip- 
ture-text ; Jer. xvii. 6 — 8, was sweet to me. Mr. Colden was then 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON - . 107 

pressing to get away out of Dunse, as a charge too heavy for him ; 
and I was in a particular concern for his continuance. At night I 
went to Langton, where, while Mrs. Dawson and I were talking, 
the child in her arms suddenly was seized with a violent convulsion- 
fit, wherewith we were both struck with surprise, and thinking the 
child likely to expire, we went to prayer sometimes as occasion 
served ; for it continued long. I observed in my heart, how vain 
the world was, and the troubles attending the married state ; but 
little knew I then, that the same woman was to be employed to 
strike mc with a heavy surprise in my own case in that state; 
which came to pass after. The child's fits continuing, I was obliged 
to tarry all the next day ; and there being a project for a catechist 
in Dunse, for Mr. Colden's case, I went to Dunse on the Thursday 
to forward it. After conversing with him in the first place, I ad- 
dressed myself without his knowledge to the main agents for the 
parish, whom, with some difficulty, I got to condescend to an over- 
ture for effectuating that project. Thereafter I discoursed Mr. 
Colden on the main thing, and thought that by what passed our 
hearts were more glued together. 

Thereafter coming home, I thought on my sermon by the way, 
and soon studied it, after I was come home ; but being seized 
with a weariness, I left off my proper business, though the time was 
approaching ; and even when the people began to convene, I was 
sitting discoursing with my father about worldly business. Thus, 
through the just displeasure of a holy jealous God, I fell into a 
heavy case, wherein for several days I lay. I was that night de- 
prived of his countenance in his work; on the morrow I was averse 
to duty ; religion was to me as a strange thing; and my mind was 
darkened as to my uptakings of Christ. I dragged myself to my 
studies on Prov. viii. 11, for Kelso, then vacant. I studied, but 
with great deadness and darkness, being most unfit to manage the 
subject of the commendation of Christ, which yet I was led to. On 
the Saturday I could do no more but look up under the plague of a 
hard heart, and was sadly checked for my carriage on Thursday 
night before sermon, which I took to be the procuring cause of all 
this. In the afternoon I went to Kelso, where, on the Lord's day, 
I was under apprehensions of the Lord's anger ; yet could not my 
heart be kindly broken, nor could I wrestle with him for his pity. 
In the forenoon I had the mercy to speak clearly and distinctly ; 
but it was not right with me. I endeavoured between sermons to 
confess my sin, and cry for the Lord's help; yet faintly; howbeit 
it went some better in the afternoon ; and to some it appeared a 



good day; bat my guilty conscienco kept me from the confidence in 
the Lord that sometimes I had reached. Late in the night I got a 
a little healing, which I found continuing with me on the Monday 

Jan. 1, 1700. — Which day having come home, I went on the mor- 
row to the Presbytery ; where Mr. Watson aforesaid delivered his 
homily before them. My heart, troubled by occasion of him, was, 
by means of his prayer, somewhat calmed. But his homily was a 
mere bawble, therefore rejected by the Presbytery, and he dismis- 
sed ; and herein the brethren were of one accord, excepting Mr. • 
Alexander Lauder, author of the book, intitled " The Ancient 
Bishops Considered," who in that matter was in the extreme of 
modesty. I have oftener than once, in such cases, with concern ob- 
served the more learned men easiest to please. Whether it be an 
effect of generosity, arising from their superior genius, and their 
more thorough conviction of the weakuess of human understanding; 
or of their not applying themselves to notice strictly, and observe; 
or that the warmest heart is not always joined with the clearest 
head ; however that is, I was much affected with the goodness of 
God in that matter I had so much had at heart. 

Meanwhile I still walking halted, until Friday, January 5, when, 
studying a sermon on John v. 40, things were clearly laid to my 
hand ; whereupon my false heart began to be lifted up ; but the 
Lord turned the chase, and I was made to see my own emptiness 
and nothingness, and my heart was enlarged in thankfulness, my 
mind more than ordinarily cleared as to the uptaking of the Lord's 
word, and my heart heavenly ; so that I got the revival I had 
waited for these several days. But, oh ! my joy is mixed with 
mourning ; for I fear I will not get his smiles kept, and his frowns 
are bitter as death. Reading and singing at the exercise were a 
little heaven to me; God was a commentator to me. In prayer my 
heart was melted for my sins, and that as they separated me from 
God, who was now come again to me. I was afraid to live longer, 
because of ray base heart. Pain would I have been with Christ out 
of the reach of it, being content to leave all tho world. After- 
wards God continued to bo gracious ; but oh ! oh ! my heart is 
afraid of a back-cast from Satan, and an evil heart, and my soul is 
really almost overwhelmed with fears, that matters will not be long 
thus with me. In the greatest blink of his countenance, I durst not 
say, it is good for me to bo here, viz. in tho world. Had I but one 
wish, it should be, that he would wrap rao up in his love, light, and 
life, while I am h«re, aud take mo away to eternity when he pleased, 
though I would fain do something for Christ here ; but my own dis- 

1699.] MK. T1J0MAS BOSTOX. 109 

honouring of him by my unbelief, worldly-mindedness, &c, puts me 
on the rack. But ere I fell asleep, that which I feared came upon 
me in some measure. I lost much of my frame. The decay, 1 
thought, began with a wandering thought in prayer. I should con- 
clude it was but a flash, if, upon a review of my heart, I found it not 
in love with him, and hatred of myself for my own vileness. In the 
time of the best frame, I had a clear view of the freedom and riches 
of grace, as now also in some measure I fear I did not guide right 
in these fears of losing my frame, which overwhelmed my soul ; for 
I had strange thoughts of the condition of the godly on earth, in 
respect of the certainty of their sinning still. I know not what to 
say of myself in this, only I am sure something was wrong. This 
was the occasion of writing the discourse on the 5th question in my 
Miscellanies.* I fear had I been in Mary's case, I had not guided 
as she, when Christ said, " Touch me not, Mary, for I am not yet 
ascended." My cup settled below the brim that same night ; and 
so it was on the morrow : but I had learned to be thankful for what 
was left me, On the Lord's day I preached at Kelso again, going 
thither for Mr. Dawson in his family distress; and I was somewhat 
assisted to my feeling, especially in the afternoon. 

From Kelso I went to Dunse,to see what was become of the affair 
of the catechist ; and I found it quite marred ; aud more than that, 
that I was suspected of double-dealing in the matter, the which was 
expressed by Mrs. Colden. Hereon, I find, I made the following re- 
flection, viz. But the Lord knows that I was innocent. "Whether 

Mr. Colden was willing to have Mr. J B above mentioned 

to be the catechist, or not, I cannot be positive ; but the main agent 
for the parish was not willing to undertake for the money, viz. £100 

Scots to be advanced for that end, unless Mr. B was the person ; 

so that I reckon the suspicion was, that the project was, on the 
parish's part and mine too, a contrivance rather in favour of Mr. 

B than Mr. Colden ; agreeable enough to the suspicious temper 

of that good man. However my heart was really concerned for his 
continuance in the country, and therefore was most earnest for his 
case ; but to my great grief, removing to Oxnam, he left it a little 

Coming home on the Tuesday, I visited the sick ; and much of 
that night I spent in my studies; on which also I was intent the 
day following ; and on the Thursday's night had advantage by the 

* These Miscellanies were published by the author's son in 1753, being prefixed 
to a collection of his sermons, in two volumes, octavo. 


On Friday the 12th, at night, the wind was so boisterous, and uiy 
house in so ill case, that I was obliged to rise out of my bed for 
help in tho case. Lying dowu again, I observed how that many 
seek not a shelter for their souls till the storm of wrath is come, 
and they cannot have it. After all I was obliged to quit my bed, 
and go to my father's, lest the house should have fallen on me. On 
the morrow I studied my sermons with some distinctness and clear- 
ness ; but launching forth into thoughts of some difficulties as yet 
not removed, my heart was so entangled therewith, that the edge of 
my spirit was much blunted. On the Lord's day, the 14th, I was in 
heavy case, being very dead in the forenoon. Betwixt sermons I 
began to pity the people I was set over, and thought I would never 
stand in an evil day. Then began I bitterly to reflect on the causes 
of the Lord's withdrawing, and saw my being too much taken up with 
the world the cause of it, and my carriage in the interval of Sab- 
baths; mourned over these things, and cried for his presence ; and 
I found in the afternoon a concern for their souls' good, and my 
own soul encouraged and strengthened by the sermon. At the 
family exercise, reading Acts xvi. how cruelly Paul and Silas were 
treated, my false heart began to stand at that, that it should be one 
of the articles of the covenant,* finding a secret unwillingness to 
undergo such things for Christ, which was sad to me. Then turn- 
ing to our ordinary in singing, (for then I read ordinarily before we 
sung), and that was Psalm xxii. 27. adfincm, which was sweet and 
seasonable to my soul. Tho Lord helped me to look on these pro- 
mises as promises to Christ in the covenant of redemption, whereby 
the elect's salvation, and their being brought up to the terms of the 
covenant, are secured. The several " shalls" there, " shall remem- 
ber, shall worship," &c, how sweet were they ! I was content God 
should exercise that sovereign power in me, and make me willing ; 
and my soul rejoiced in the promise. 

I endeavoured on the Monday, not without some success, to keep 
my heart in a heavenly disposition ; spent the morning in my cham- 
ber, the forenoon in catechising, the afternoon in business, and visit- 
ing a sick man at night, with help from the Lord. Thereafter 
earnestly plying my books, I found my heart much bettered, my 
confidence in the Lord more strengthened, the world less valuable 
in my eyes, and my soul free of the temptations that otherwise I 
was liable to. And on the Tuesday morning, when I arose, my soul 
began to soar aloft in thoughts of tho morning of the resurrection. 

* N. B. For umny years after this, my knowledge of tbe covenant was very in- 

1699.] 3IH. THOMAS BOSTON. Ill 

And after earnest prayer, I betook myself to my studies again, as 
soon as I could. Experience of this kind bath been one thing, which 
all along, and especially in latter years, hath recommended close 
study to me, and in a manner bound it upon me, as being that 
on which much of my peace and comfort depended. The victual 
being then dear, the payment of my stipend had been shifted, and 
was like to have been withheld for a season from me. But when 
thus I was least anxious about the matter, 1 understood that orders 
were given for doing me justice. And here I cannot but observe, 
that matters of the world go best with me when I am least anxious 
about them. I examined my heart how it stood affected with this, 
and found it was not lifted up ; but I was grieved I could not be 
more thankful for it ; for I was persuaded that it was the doing of 
the Lord. I went to give God thanks for it, and to beg a thankful 
heart ; and it was not without some success. Visiting a sick man, 
the Lord bare in on my heart what I spoke to him, and made me see 

the reality of it. Having gone to G , while I was there, my 

eyes were somewhat dazzled with the world's vanity. So poor and 
foolish am I, and in thy sight a beast, Lord ! 

That afternoon I went to Kersefield, having sought of God strength 
to carry right in all companies ; and by the help I had to season 
converse there, I was more encouraged to venture on company. And 
there also I spent some time in reading. On Thursday, having 
studied my sermon, my heart longed to be at the work ; and it fared 
with me accordingly in prayer; but, by a temptation laid to me in 
the very time of that exercise, I lost all, and the sermon went 
heavily on. That same night, the factor visiting me, paid the little 
money payable by Langton, and shewed me I was to have all the 
victual due as soon as it could be got ready for me. The stipend 
of Simprin was paid partly in grain, and partly in money ; and there 
was likewise a proportionable allowance for communion-elements. 
This was the half-year's stipend, crop 1699, which afterwards I re- 
ceived accordingly. And it was near as much worth as any, and 
more worth than some whole year's stipend after, on account of the 
advanced price upon grain at that time. The which put me, I be- 
lieve, in better circumstances than I was expecting, or could foresee ; 
kind and watchful providence then, as always, balancing my affairs, 
according to the design thereof. 

I read not only on the Friday, but some part of Saturday fore- 
noon ; which I am surprised to find ; but it seems I smarted for 
that keenness, such indisposition of body and mind seizing me after, 
that I was quite unfit for my study for the Sabbath. At length I 
came to myself ; saw and lamented before the Lord, my sin ; and 

112 MEMOIRS OF L rEIUOr> V11 ' 

he turned my heart back again. So, after dinner, I began and com- 
pleted my sermons, in a good frame. But in the morning of the 
Lord's day, being the 21st, I lound it much abated ; and I could not 
recover it, till near the time of going to church. That day, I per- 
ceived, that, through the corruption of my own heart, the smallness 
of my auditory was to my disadvantage ; knowing by experience, 
while a probationer, the sight of a multitude was of use to drive me 
out of myself. Therefore I endeavoured to be impressed with a sense of 
the weight of the Lord's work in itself, to compensate that loss; and I 
had the divine assistance that day accordingly. Even in the lecture, 
1 endeavoured to level the word to their consciences, and had ad- 
vantage by that method, Betwixt sermons, considering how I was 
helped to plainness and faithfulness in some measure, I saw, in the 
meanwhile, clearly, my inability to stand before a holy God, to givo 
an account thereof; and the need of Christ's imputed righteousness 
to cover the sins of my public capacity as a preacher. Thus it 
was also in my coming home from the afternoon sermon, in which 
my assistance had been augmented, acknowledging the justice of 
God, if he should eternally exclude me from his presence. But it 
was heavy to me, that there was no appearance of success. 

On the morrow I went to Robert Fairbairn's in "Woodsidc, and 
visited a sick person ; who told me of two things he took for the causes 
of the Lord's controversy. 1. Ilis being very cold and overly in his 
duties before his sickness seized him. 2. Ilis uuthankfulness to 
God for what measure of bounty towards his soul he had received, 
his being so much in complaints of God's hiding his face, though 
since ho would have been glad of that which he was then unthank- 
ful for. There I was refreshed with a heavenly society, the excel- 
lent ones of that part of the earth, though they lived then on bor- 
rowed meals, an Episcopal incumbent possessing their kirk of 
Polwarth. Returning on Tuesday, I spent the time in roading, till 
the meeting for prayer ; where, from what I discerned among them, 
I pressed the study of the power of godliness, and concern for the 
public. But at that time the appearance of the unsuccessfulness 
of my preaching and private conference was such, that I was ready 
to conclude, I had ate my white bread in my youth ; that the Lord did 
more good by me as a probationer, than, as yet, as a minister. Next 
morning I spent closely in my chamber, till eleven o'clock, that I 
went, to Lennel, where I had some edifying convcrso with Mr. Row, 
a grave, peaceable, and judicious man. At night returning home, I 
applied myself again to reading. 

Lying abed after ray ordinary time, Thursday morning, January 
25, 1 found it, as always almost, prejudicial to mo. When I went to 

1699.] JIU. THOMAS BOSTON. 113 

duty, what a weariness was it to me ! Howbeit I found there- 
after great dissatisfaction with myself in ray own mind, and a nail 
in my conscience, by that means. But in the afternoon, by prayer, 
and studying my sermon, I recovered, and was that night much 
helped to preach with life, strength, zeal, and solidity. But as I 
was going to begin, a temptation of the nature of that wherewith 
I had been foiled the preceding Thursday's night, was laid to 
me ; which nevertheless I, like a burnt child dreading fire, did 
escepe, being unable to answer it, and satisfy myself, resolving 
through the Lord's strength to be in my duty, and grip the promises. 
Beading Witsius' " De (Economia Foederum," concerning the love- 
of God and that of ourselves, differencing acts of obedience, and 
putting these things home to my own conscience, I found I desired to 
bo like God, come of me what will. Betiring after sermon to my 
closet, the Lord was with me in prayer. And now his kindness 
made sin appear to me exceeding sinful, and myself hateful to my- 
self. Beading next day the evangelical "Witsius, on glorification, I 
found my soul raised to an admiration of the free grace and love of 
God to man, I thought even to man though he had continued in in- 
nocency, there being such a vast disproportion betwixt the highest 
pitch of obedience and the glory that is to be revealed, withal, 
wondering how man should be r par tanto honon (oneri) ferenclo, see- 
ing a necessity of supernatural strength for earthen vessels their 
being kept from bursting, while so filled to the brim ; " No man can 
see my face and live." On the morrow, being Saturday, at prayer, 
my soul (even Christ the soul of my soul) made me as the chariots 
of Araminadab; he touched my heart with a live coal, and set it in a 
flame of love and desires towards him ; so I wrestled for himself. 
Christ with any thing would have satisfied me ; nothing without 
Christ could do it. This kept me above the world, led me to a text; 
Job xxiii. 3, and helped me to understand ray lecture ; John xx. 11, 
et seq., for I had no commentary. The temptation above mentioned, 
concerning the eventual necessity or certainty of saints sinning, set- 
ting on me again, I still got it shifted, resolving to grip the pro- 
mise. This I think was well done, in these circumstances; Matth. 
xv. 24, 25. However, sometime after, I set myself to consider that 
point, for my own satisfaction ; and, according to a laudable and 
profitable custom I then had, in cases of particular difficulty to me, 
committed my thoughts thereon to writing ; and they are to be 
found among the Miscellanies, Quest. 5, "Why the Lord suffers sin 
to remain in the regenerate ?"* 

* Sec above, the nole, p. 109. 


The following part of that week, I plied my studies," and my 
frame continued. Only, the Saturday's night, upon a certain oc- 
casion, falling under an uneasy apprehension, it sent me several 
times to prayer; but I endeavoured, not without some success, that 
it should not mar me in my public work, nor in my own soul's 
ease ; and to give up the matter to the Lord, seeing and confessing a 
certain piece of mismanagement to be the just cause of that distress 
whether there was ground for it or not. Afterwards, in the event, 
I found there was none ; but often hath God chastised my real 
faults, by such means, laid aside when the design was obtained. 
The next day I preached at Lennel the one half of the day, on 
the aforementioned text. I thought I would be shut ; but when I 
found the wind blow, I thought I would not draw down my sails 
hastily ; for he made me say, " It is good to be here." On the after- 
noon I preached at home, finding my body wearied ; but being 
posted on to more work, I went to God in a few words, with more 
than ordinary confidence and stayedness of mind, earnestly pleading 
the promises of his covenant. I had written but the heads of my 
sermon, began with a preface, knowing of little to say ? but God 
wrapped me up in it; I had no more to do but speak. it was 
sweet, sweet ! Far more sweet is the Lord himself. It continued 
with me in the sermon. he is good, he is good to a vile nothing, 
yea, worse than nothing ! to trust him ! I found by both these 
sermons solid love to Christ in my heart. lie was not wanting to 
me in the evening exercise ; ho was a commentator to me ; while I 
was singing his praises, ho shewed mo the sweetness of his name 
while I discoursed on it, " the Lord Jesus Christ." Every letter of 
it was written in gold. But before that exercise I had a tempta- 
tion, which had almost mastered me, till I went to God with it. 

On Monday the 29th, one came and offered me £50 Scots in loan ; 
which I yielded to take, on conditions I might keep it two years. 
On the morrow I found myself, by too mnch sleep, unfitted for 
work and service ; and withal was inwardly checked for not having 
visited the families again, before that time. At night, at the meet- 
ing for prayer, I got a little revival again, which I thiuk I slept 
away on the Wednesday morning, whereof I have had several sad ex- 
periences. ITowbeit, that day I visited some families. My method 
in visitation "was this; I made a particular application of my doct- 
rines in the pulpit to the family, exhorted them to lay these thiugs 
to heart, viz. their natural state, and their need of Christ ; exhorted 
them to secret prayer, supposing they kept family worship ; urged 
their rclativo duties, &c. ; prayed with them, and made the master 
of tho family to pray. (Note, I think this last might have been 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX- 115 

as well forborn.) Though there was little religion among them, 
there was more than I expected ; and perhaps my labour was not 
altogether in yain in the Lord. But my frame not being good, I 
left that work the sooner, and betook myself to my studies. 

Feb. 1. — Having gone wrong again, I was a while stupid and un- 
concerned, till I thought more deeply on the guilt, and then I found 
my confidence with God much marred, and rather a going away 
from him under the stings of conscience, than drawing nigh to him. 
At last I went to prayer, and laid out my case before the Lord ; 
yet was I very little quieted. I went and saw a sick man, and, by 
converse with him, I attained some advantage, and got my heart 
calmed and bettered, by speaking to the commendation of Christ as 
the best portion. I am amazed at the baseness of my heart, that 
can keep so short while right, and am many time afraid my religion 
is of the wrong stamp. But that which supports me is, that in a 
calm mood I find myself somewhat emptied of myself, admiring the 
riches of free grace if ever the Lord shew me mercy, and justifying 
him if I perish ; flowing from the hatred I bear to myself for these 
things. And how gladly I would be conformed to the image of 
Christ, Lord thou knowest. I observed this day myself much the 
worse, 1. Of not observing fixed meditation when I lie down, and 
when I rise, so duly as some time before ; 2. Not preparing my 
heart more conscientiously for family exercise ; 3. Sleeping too much 
sometimes; 4. Beginning so soon on the Monday morning to meddle 
with any secular business. And I find I am the better, 1. Of spiri- 
tual converse with my people ; 2. Of plying my studies closely. 
Going home, I went to prayer ; and ray averseness to come into the 
presence of God, wherewith I had been seized under conscience of 
guilt, was taken away ; and the Lord loosed some of my bands. On the 
morrow,'having visited some families, I found I had not that power and 
life in going about that duty that was to be desired. And although I 
have endeavoured to amend the first three of the aforementioned things, 
which I noted myself to be worsted by, resolving in the Lord's 
strength to go on, and endeavoured all that day to watch my heart ; 
yet it is no wonder 1 go halting, to teach me to kuow what a bitter 
thing it is to be so ungrateful to the Lord. Besides, I am sure I 
have been too legal in these things, and have not, as I ought, be- 
lieved. The following time I spent in preparing the weekly sermon, 
and recording the heads of discourse at the two immediately pre- 
ceding meetings for prayer, in a book. Taking some time to pre- 
pare my heart, by prayer and meditation, for preaching, there was 
somewhat of a breathing on my dry bones ; and then did my dis- 
tance from God, ingratitude to him, and wearying of duties, espe- 


cially secret and private, like darts strike through my liver ; yet 
found I much hypocrisy in my heart. I set myself to guard against 
the rock I had split on before. However, my confidence in God was 
very small; and according thereto was the measure of countenance I 
had in the sermon. But it was good he did not leave me altogether 
to my own weight. A conviction I then had of my loss, by begin- 
ning so soon on the Monday mornings to write letters, or meddle 
with any secular affairs, prompted me to desire to spend that morn- 
ing in prayer and meditation, with respect to the Sabbath's work. 
And by that time also I had thoughts of preaching one of the diets 
of the Lord's day, on a text different from my ordinary. 

On the morrow, February 2, I was fastened to my studies till the 
evening, mixing them with prayer. At which time, having been at 
some pains to prepare my heart, and beg the divine presence, I went 
and visited some families ; but with little satisfaction. So returning 
with a sorrowful heart, I poured out ray complaint before the Lord. 
But still it lay heavy on my spirit, having withal a sense of my 
utter insufficieucy for that piece of ray work. I found it hard, yea, 
without a supernatural power, impossible, to bring people to a sense 
of their need of Christ. Meanwhile I was convinced of the justice 
of the divine procedure with me iu that matter, and of ray legal way 
of managing duty. I saw then also a secret averseness of heart to 
that work, which, when I was probationer, I thought I would havo 
gladly embraced an occasion of. Considering that night the state of 
the public, I thought all ranks of persons, ministers as well as 
others, were out of the way. And that same night I learned, that the 
Lord had directed to hit the sores of some at the preceding weekly 
sermon, so that they thought some had told me ; in the which fr per- 
ceived the divine conduct. 

On Saturday, the 3d, it was long ere I could fall on a text for 
Churuside, where I was to preach. And when I was fixed in that 
point, my studies thereon went on heavily, insomuch that having made 
but little progress therein, I behoved to go away towards that place. 
At night, being there, my studies succeeded better with mo ; and I 
was enlarged in my meditatious thereon. On the Lord's day, I was 
more helped in preaching than in prayer; wherein I fouud myself 
under a great restraint. 'NVheu alone, I was not so confused in my 
uptakings of Christ and religion, as in some other times of desertion. 
Yea, according to my doctrine that day, no less than Christ could 
satisfy me ; I saw his superemiueut excellency, and the emptiness of 
all things besides him ; and ray soul was in some sort lifted up in the 
ways of the Lord. But how to reconcile that with the restraint upon 
me in prayer, I knew not. But certainly there may be an enlarge- 


ment in affection, where tlicrc is a straitening in words ; Psalm vi. 
3, and lxxvii. 4; Rom. viii. 26. On the Tuesday I visited at Lint- 
laws a godly friend, then a widow, who shewed inc how helpful the 
sermon at Edrom, October 15, 169D, on Lam. iii. 22, had been to her 
in her afflicted state; which called to my mind that word, " Who 
will hearken and hear for the time to comer" Isa. xlii. 23. After 
this I returned to the Presbytery at Churnside, where at the pre- 
ceding diet, upon occasion of requiring a probationer's subscription, 
I had observed, that the formula we of that Presbytery had to sub- 
scribe, was a very unfit one, being that which was calculated by the 
assembly for those of the Episcopal way who were to be received into 
ministerial communion. This was then seconded by Mr. James Ram- 
say, who further proposed that there should be a new formula made. 
And indeed, in presbyterial management of matters of the greatest 
weight, Mr. Ramsay and I seldom differed in those days; but at this 
diet, the motion was so opposed by some, that nothing was conclud- 
ed. However, I declared, how I thought the formula above said, 
which we had signed, might be prejudicial to the interest of the 
church in after times. 

Having returned home that night, I spent the next day mostly in 
reading, frequently looking upward to heaven ; but still thought I 
was made to go halting, for my ingratitude for the divine kindness 
on the Sabbath was eight days before. But at night, going to bed, 
I was helped to pour out my complaint into his bosom. On Thurs- 
day morning, the 8th, my frame continued ; but I unhappily betook 
myself to reading, putting off my studies till the afternoon ; at 
which time company coming in, I had very little time for study. I 
preached and prayed that night in bands, and so was justly chas- 
tised for ray unseasonable reading. The Saturday I spent entirely 
in my studies, which went not ill with me; and 1 found there was 
no ground for the uneasy apprehension above mentioned. Upon that 
occasion I observed, what I have in several instances since that time 
observed also, viz. That it was easier for me not to be lifted up with 
worldly things going according to my wish, than to keep right under 
cross dispensations. But upon weighing of that matter, 1 judge the 
observation must respect the first brush or commencement of pros- 
perity or adversity, not the continued train or course of the same ; 
and that my natural temper hangs is biased that way. 

Feb. 11. — This morning, being the Lord's day, I got my heart in 
some measure to self-emptiness, and greedy looks to Christ. I hail 
much of the Lord's help. The lecture on Psalm xvi. was sweet 
to me. Betwixt sermons I feared I had not got my heart deeply 
satisfied in Christ alone, and contempt of the world ; and there- 


fore it was my desire to get such grace in the afternoon. ! that 
147th Psalm from the beginning, wbich wo sung before the after- 
noon sermon, was sweet. I got a commentary especially on that, 
" Who the dispersed of Israel cloth gather into one." I thought I 
saw how believers were like poor straggling sheep in a wilderness; 
but the great Shepherd would come, and gather tliem all to himself 
into heaven, ere long. It is good for all, especially ministers, to be 
emptied of themselves, and to have Christ and tbe good of souls be- 
fore their eyes. Simprin ! blessed be he for his kindness at Siinp- 
prin. If I could believe, there would be no fear of me here. When 
I came home, upon reflection I found much to mourn for in myself 
and the people. The people came to the exercise ; and whatever 
part I have in Christ, I am sure I took much delight to speak to 
his commendation, and my heart loved him. I have been pressing 
self-examination ; and I think I will see what I can say to that ; 
Psalm xvi. My heart being in love with him for himself, and de- 
siring him above all, my heart says, " Preserve me, Lord, for in 
thee do I put my trust." I know I am surrounded with evils on 
every hand. I cannot save myself; and though I know no other 
Saviour but Christ, I find it still somewhat difficult to fasten my 
feet on the promise. (ITere, just here, I was put to a stand). I can- 
not believe thought I ; and so descending to myself, I could not 
think Christ loved me, and found a secret desire in my heart to 
leave this work ; but, thought I, what am I doing? that is not the 
first question, (0 the deceit of Satan !) I will try whether I have 
these evidences of faith or not that are set down there. I thought, 
when I began this, I had faith. 1. " my soul, — thou art my 
Lord." Now I have taken Christ for my Lord, and that without 
any known reserve, Lord, thou knowest. And now again, with my 
whole heart, Lord, I am content to take thee still, and that for 
thyself as well as thy benefits. 2. " My goodness," &c. Though under 
a temptation (and such temptations have come on me sometimes like 
lightning, as this very night, at which my heart started) I begin to 
think something of my silly essays at duty ; yet otherwise I find I 
renounce all my own righteousness, and acknowledge God would be 
no debtor to me, but justly might damn me, though I should burn 
quick for him. But what if that bo merely from an enlightened con- 
science? I doubt if that will make men renounce their own righte- 
ousness ; Matth. v. 3. Though an enlightened conscience may let 
men sco the equity of God's judgments against sinners, even them- 
selves ; yet I am sure it cannot make men approve of the law of 
God ; Rom. viii. 7, and vii. 23 ; Psalm i. 2. But so it is, my soul 
approves the whole law of God in all its parts, threatenings as well 

1699.] ME. THOMAS BOSTOX. 119 

as promises; Psalm cxix. 128, 172. 3. "To the saints" — . I have 
little experience of this; I have little to give; yet I can willingly* 
npon the command of God, give what I may to any, and far more 
would I to poor saints ; but I am sure, I would if I could help any 
of them nearer Christ, and I rejoice in their spiritual and temporal 
welfare. They are the " excellent" in my esteem, " I delight" in 
their society (at least I desire to do it) when they are most hea- 
venly; and the Lord knows grace commends any, more to me, than 
any thing else whatsoever. 4. " Their sorrows," &c. I believe and 
approve it, though it should be exemplified in myself. Of all " por- 
tions" I desire none other but him ; I am content to take Christ for 
all, and think him a goodly, complete, and satisfactory " heritage." 
And many times my soul blesseth God, that hath " given me coun- 
sel" to make that choice. Be " moved" as I will, I resolve to grip 
to him, and cleave to him for ever. And the Lord knows it is the 
desire of my heart to keep my eye always on him, and in my preach- 
ing this day he was " before me," to bring myself and others near 
him. I cannot find much heart-joy, but only ray heart rejoiceth to 
use '' my glory" to speak his commendation. And I think I could 
venture " my flesh" and spirit both on his mercy. And God knows, 
Christ is the " soul," the life, the sap, and marrow of any thing I 
have or expect. I would fain hope he will " shew mo the path of 
life." I believe that at his face is " fulness of joy," for I have 
sometimes had great joy in some blinks of it ; and that " at his 
right hand are pleasures for ever more." And that my soul 
would be content to be there, to be satisfied with his likeness, Lord, 
thou knowest. After this I went to prayer, wherein I was helped to 
cleave to Christ ; and protested, that I would resolutely adhere to 
him, as my Lord, howsoever he might be pleased to dispose of his 
joy and comforts ; it being enough to me to be brought unto himself, 
though by the brink of hell. 

Agreeable to the desire above-mentioned, I spent the Monday's 
morning in prayer and meditation, not without some countenance from 
the Lord. And that day I had the following reflection on it, viz., 
Would to God I may be helped to hold on, for I have found the be- 
nefit of it this whole day ; if my poor flock should be the better of it 
too, how sweet would it be to me ! And now, by the mercy of God, 
from that time all along to this day, it has been my ordinary course 
to spend some time in the Monday morning, in secret extraordinary 
prayer, according to the apostle's example ; 2 Cor. xii. 8, " For this 
thing I besought the Lord thrice." In which one needs not question, 
but there has been a great variety both as to management and suc- 
cess ; but it is long since become in a manner natural to me now, 


being hardly interrupted at any time when at home, but on some 
unordinary emergent. On the morrow, after my secret devotions, a 
friend coming to me, wearied me witli discourse of worldly business, 
which was a pain to me ; the which he perceiving, did desist from it. 
After reading " Cartes's Meditations" I saw much of book vanity, 
and found myself more disposed to seek and long for Christ's 
teaching by his Spirit. Withal I saw myself reproved, for my 
slackness in pursuing after the knowledgo of Christ. At the meet- 
ing for prayer, I observed how Providenco ordered the reading of 
Mai. iv. and singing of Psalm cii. 16, giving light into what was 
to be the subject of discourse that night. 

"Wednesday the 14th I spent mostly at Kersefield, and was helped 
to edifying converse with delight. Coming home at night, I spent 
the remaining time mostly in reading. Upon my calling to mind, 
and finding out a letter from an exereised Christian gentlewoman, 
concerning her spiritual condition, (it was one Mrs. Janet Bruce, 
whom I had been acquainted with at Airth), I was checked for not 
having answered it before this time; the which had been occasioned 
through my not knowing where the answer might liud her ; and was 
resolved to amend that fault. On Thursday, what spare time I had 
was spent in preparing my sermon. And it was well ordered ; for 
towards the evening I was necessarily engaged in company ; so that 
I got only a little space for prayer, before the sermon. And at tho 
beginning of the work I was like to have been worsted by means of 
the worldy business I had been engaged in ; but the Lord appearing 
for my help, the work became easy and sweet to ray soul. There- 
after, having retired a little for prayer, as ordinary, I spent some 
time in profitable converse with two of the people. Then, after seek- 
ing the Lord's mind onco and again, I wrote to the person afore- 
mentioned, according to the impression I had of her case; hoping 
that, though I knew not certainly how it was, ho also directed mo 
to speak, would also direct to write. 

Friday forenoon was, after prayer for direction, spent in writing 
another letter of that nature, to Helen Hamilton, now Mrs. John- 
ston, in Alloa ; and there are few letters of any kind to this day, 
unto the writing whereof I do not address in that manner. I was 
helped to take up and speak to her case, with some measure of light, 
she having imparted it to me in writing. And I rejoiced to be thus 
employed by strangers in work of which kind I had little at home. 
At parting with a student that night, I recommended to him the 
study of the knowledge of Christ, the gospel, and the power of god- 
liness ; as I had done more generally in our converse. Upon which 
occasion I had the following reflection, viz. what pity is it to see 

1700] HE. THOMAS BOSTOH. 121 

men quick and curious in the intrigues of nature, yet ignorant of 
Christ ! Upon occasion of enlargement of secret prayer that night, 
I saw the unreasonableness of the conceit of merit, as if a Leggar 
should think he should therefore have an alms, because he can cry for 
it, or hath a hand to put forth to receive it. I have observed this 
day, and yesterday especially, that I was more remiss in family duties 
than in secret ; and I think it is occasioned by remissness in pre- 
paration for them. It was a sweet reflection to consider, that I am 
not now so much under the molestations of a particular corruption 
as sometimes before. I think, that my being taken up more with, 
the proper work of my calling has been helpful iu this. But quickly 
after Satan fell to his old trade, and snarled like a dog at my heels, 
and it did me good. I was grieved to see myself fall so far short of 
likeness to the purity of the divine image, which my soul loved. So 
that afterward my soul went out in love flames to the Advocate 
with the Father. 

Feb. 17. — Having been for some time seeking light from the Lord 
as to preaching on different subjects in one day, I was cleared thi3 
day; and my ordinary being man's natural state, it was for the 
other subject still in my eye to exalt Christ, and preach his love, 
and desire of communion with his people, and that from that text ; 
Cant. vii. 11, '' Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field," &c. 
But after I had studied with ease my forenoon sermon on my or- 
dinary, being to enter on the other, when I read the text, and saw 
the connection, I found I had mistaken the spouse's words to Christ 
for his to her. This gave me a sore dash, fearing that my light that 
I sometimes get be but delusion ; yet my heart remained fixed on 
the subject ; but still I had great hankering after these words, 
though I durst not willingly wrest the Lord's word. In the mean- 
time was that word, " Arise, my love," &c. Cant. ii. 10, brought to 
me ; but the hankering after the other remained. I went to God 
with it, laying myself open to his beck, and thereafter was cleared 
to that, '* Rise up, my love," &c, and my heart weaned from the 
other. I wanted not objections within myself against it, saying, To 
whom shall I preach it \ whom have I that understands it ! I had 
these answers : 1. I knew not but there might be some others that 
would ; 2. May be hearing these things might melt some heart ; 
3. Understand or not who will, it is my duty to exalt Christ, and 
the riches of his grace. The passage recorded, February 5, 1699, 
above, p. 49, was useful here. That which more cleared me to that 
word was, that, after prayer, I found a deal of power and life with 
it on my own heart, raising my love to Christ. But at my studies 
I found it hard to believe what I was medicating on, concerning the 

Yol. XI. i 


love of Christ ; so that it sent me to God against it, and I find still 
I have but a struggling with unbelief. I have this day found my 
heart bettered by a more conscientious preparing my heart for fa- 
mily worship. 

Sabbath, Feb. 10. — This morning I spent in prayer and medita- 
tion, found my heart much concerned for success, and a firm belief of 
the word in my own heart ; yet my vigour was in decay ere I went out. 
It is strange there is scarcely one Sabbath morning wherein I have 
not deadness to wrestle with, either when I arise, or ere I go out. 
In the preaching the Lord loosed all my bands. Betwixt sermons 
I was helped to see, that I had believed my doctrine, and I did be- 
lieve it ; and I thought it a token the Lord would help me to believe 
my afternoon doctrine ; and my soul longed to be in the church 
again to preach Christ ; and I was helped to speak. But ! still I 
found it difficult firmly to believe. In time of sermon I sent up 
some ejaculations for it. When I came home, I found indeed my 
soul receiving Christ heartily, leaning on him, laying all the stress 
of my salvation on Christ crucified. As to the particular things in 
his sufferings mentioned in the sermon, I had a kind of assent to 
them; but it had little power with it. I could get no further than to 
lean on a crucified Christ. I found also I could not believe (i. e., 
seeingly be persuaded of) the greatness of Christ's love to believers. 
It is a most difficult tnsk. But who can comprehend it ? that 
my soul could apprehend it. "When I look on Christ's love par- 
ticularly terminated on Abraham, Paul, &c, it was more easy to 
observe it. [Note, here is a poring on some worth in the creature 
to commend it to Christ.] At the exorcise I got so little satisfac- 
tion of my people, that I scarcely got a word of the law-sermon, and 
very little of the gospel-sermon. This gave me a deep wound ; 
and the unsuccessfulness of the gospel has been and is very heavy to 
me. Some think me happy because I have so few people, and theso 
not unruly ; some think otherwise, because of the meanness of the 
post and stipend ; but none of theso move me, but that I am like to 
spend my strength iu vain. Lord thou knowest it was my duty to 
preach what I preached this day. I was confirmed in it at the morn- 
ing exercise from Psalm xl. 10. It was not the least weight that 
lay on me this morning, that I have none (if I may say it — I fear 
it is so — but G. G.) to give me help by their prayers. [N. B. 
Ere they and I parted, glory to the power of grace, I durst neither 
say nor think this.] Being to go to family exercise, I went to 
prayer, and came away with my soul knit to Christ, all made up of 
desires and wants. My father went about the exercise, and he mis- 
taking our ordinary, sung Psalm xli., from the beginning. it 

1700.] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX. 123 

was sweet to me, it answered my case, being conscious to myself of 
my concern for others, wliich I feared might cut my days, exhaust- 
ing my spirits. That word, ver. 2, especially had life and power 
with it, in answer to that case. J saw God could preserve me, and 
would, if it should be for his glory and ray good ; and if my body should 
be at a loss, I should get it compensated another way. Now I bless 
the Lord, this day, March 4, 17^0, that I have not been beguiled. 
The scriptures are really God's word. 

Monday, Feb. 19. — 1 wanted not the blowings of the Spirit in my 
secret exercise this morning, which I began this day se'ennight. I 
have already found the benefit of spending the Monday mornino- in 
prayer and meditation. While R. N. was at prayer this day, I had 
an unseasonable good thought, for which the Lord might condemn 
me ; but I will see if I can ontshoot the devil in his own bows. Two 
worldly businesses had prospered beyond expectation. My soul 
blessed God for the same, with a holy contempt of them, looking up 
to Christ, and observing, that still the world goes best with me 
when I am least anxious about it. Soon after I received a gift, 
which, though no great one, did greatly confirm me in that observe. 
Having spent the forenoon mostly in reading, towards the evening, 
after prayer, I went and visited some families ; and the Lord was 
not wanting to me therein. On the Tuesday I betook myself to 
my studies till dinner; then till near night I was in converse, and 
my frame continued in some measure. But being, that night, one 
way or other diverted, that I entered into the meeting for prayer 
without seeking the Lord beforehand, which I afterward was sure 
was my sin, I lost my frame. Thereafter I found my heart more 
earthly disposed than before. Next day going abroad about busi- 
ness, I got one discouragement after another, which I was scarce 
able to stand under. to be out of the world, thought I, as I have 
been sometimes. But I had no pith to overcome them. I found 
another business had gone right, which I was sometime troubled 
about ; but wo is me that it overtook me in this frame. So do 
spiritual decays suck the sap out of mercies. On Thursday the 
22d, I sought of God a text ; and got one clearly, both for myself 
and the people, viz. Hos. vi. 4, " Your goodness is as a morning 
cloud," &c. I got also a heavy heart from the doleful laxness I 
perceived in a minister, who had come to my house from a wedding- 
house in the town, where he had been waiting on his mistress. The 
indecency of this in a minister gave me great offence, which I took 
the freedom gravely to represent to him, And though I was much 
inferior to him in age, he took it well ; but otherwise I had little sa- 
tisfaction in his way. Comparing my present frame with the frame 



of others, I saw God had got little service of any of us. "When he 
was gone, I sobhed out my case to the Lord; but was sadly clogged 
with corruption, and great darkness, being filled with dampish sad- 
ness and unbelieving heaviness, seeing no satisfaction in any thing 
of the world, and yet could not get my heart poised up to Christ, 
for the dead weight tliat was at it. In this frame I weut to the ser- 
mon, and was affected with my own case, and that of tlio people ; 
with whom I was in earnest, yet still under great darkness. Where- 
fore I looked to the Lord, and I had some help of that word ; Isa. 
1. 10. And while I was thus taken up, the world turned again with 
me, and I met with a favourable providence in temporals, that came 
very seasonably. By the above word and providence, I got my 
heart somewhat elevated again. And by what I had seen and ob- 
served that day, I perceived, that God had well ordered my lot, in 
the place where I was, as most meet for me. The following day, 
being the 23d, was spent mostly in writing letters ; and what was 
most of a secular nature therein, was the most wearisome, and went 
on slowly ; and what was spiritual was more pleasant, and proceed- 
ed in with more enlargement of heart. A business had misgiven, 
after several attempts. I set myself to a holy indifferency, tried it 
again, and it succeeded. So does the Lord train me to live above 
the world. After this my mind went a-wavering after a thousand 
vanities, and spurned all calling back. Next morning, being Satur- 
day, my body and spirit were both in ill case ; nevertheless after 
prayer I fell to my studies, and recovered both ways ; and by me- 
ditation on the love of Christ, I got love to him, confidence in him, 
and contempt of the world, with a soul-satisfaction in him. And so 
frequent has that way of the Lord's carrying on my worldly busi- 
ness according to my frame, been with me, that as soon as I begiu 
to be anxious about a business, I conclude it will go wrong; and 
when I am helped to a holy carelessness about it, I am apt to expect 
success. I had then, of a considerable time, found my body ex- 
ceedingly weakened with studying my sermons ; and that day I 
stressed myself less ; and inclined to think, it would be every way 
better for me, if I could study less, and pray and prepare my 
heart more ; the which course I did then purpose to try. The 
Lord's day was a heavy day to me. I spent the morning in prayer 
and meditation ; but I had not so much as a lively desire after 
Christ, and this I could not overcome by all my faint lifeless 
prayers. I found, it had been better to have been occupied in think- 
ing of what I was to deliver ; for the earthly thoughts that mixed 
with my other meditations, helped to mar my frame ; and I was 
also under bodily indisposition. Yet in singing Psalm Ixxxix. 25, 

1700.] MK. THOMAS BOSTON. 125 

and do wu wards, I thought my heart was led solidly to see uiy own 
case, and God's unchangeableness as a sure anchor of faith, and so 
was helped to believe. But it lasted not. I became melancholy ; 
so that I see, if there were no more but interest obliging me to live 
near God, I am a great fool to let my heart aside ; for never can 
I have any content, but when helped to walk with God. 

On Monday the 26th, I essayed my ordinary exercise ; but both 
body and mind were under heaviness and indisposition ; which on 
the morrow continued ; and in that time I found a great aversion to 
duty, yea even to reading of divinity, the gust being lost. "Wed- 
nesday afternoon, the bodily indisposition increased ; and therewith 
the prospect of my difficulties created me some uneasiness. There- 
after I was in such disorder, that I forced on a vomit, begun of itself. 
The bodily indisposition continued; but by that little twinge my 
spirit was somewhat bettered, having got a little revival ; and 1 
was comforted in reading the marks of faith in Craighead's sermons. 
Thus it continued on the Thursday, in which I did nothing but pre- 
pare my sermon ; in delivering whereof I had some light, and a 
little life ; and durst not but bless the Lord for what I had, how- 
ever little. I received a letter from Mr. Murray, shewing the un- 
tender carriage of some ministers in Nithsdale ; which was very 
wounding to me, and seemed, with other things, to write death to 
the generation. 

Sabbath, March 3. — Two days before I had a twilight frame ; it 
being neither day nor night with me. I had not so much ado to 
strive with the world as before sometimes ; nor did my soul go forth 
habitually after Christ with any tolerable vigour. But this morn- 
ing I was quite lifeless when I arose : became afterwards sensible 
of my case, but could get no recovery. I was so bound up in one 
prayer, that I could not say one word, but either mentally or vo- 
cally groan out that, " Lord, have mercy on me." Afterwards 
came in some worldly thoughts, that gave me the other backset. 
"When I went to the church, we sung Psalm lxix. 13 — 16. My own 
case gave me light into it. Then I went to prayer ; and my body 
and spirit were both like to faint, so that I had not ability to speak 
out; and thus continued a while. At last the Lord cast a live- 
coal into my dead heart, and quite changed me both in body and 
mind ; and with light and life I lectured and preached also. This 
continued in the afternoon, and at the evening exercise too, where 
Psalm xci. 14, and downwards was very sweet and strengthening, 
and as a sconce against mine enemies. Yet afterwards I had a 
violent temptation to unbelief in a particular point, which I had 
designedly for myself, touched in my sermon. This was so strong, 


that I could not master it, for all my preaching about it. I laid it 
out before the Lord before I went to bed, and while there wrestled 
against it, though with little success. In my retirement after ser- 
mons that day, blessing God for what I had met with, I had a peti- 
tion, that God would either keep me from the case I was in before, 
or else would take me home to himself. Upon which I find I made 
the following reflection, viz. " It may be it will not come into Christ's 
censer ; but I am sure, it was my Ioyo to Christ, and hatred of sin, 
that was at the root of it." 

On the morrow, having too soon entertained thoughts of a busi- 
ness, though indeed charitable, I was unfitted for my proper work. 
I visited a minister that day ; when I came away my spirit sunk. 
I saw how others, whom yet I dare not in some things imitate, knew 
more of religion, were more lifted up in the ways of the Lord, than 
I ; yea, while I am quite in the dark, I preach, and must preach, 
what many others (beside whom I would think myself unworthy to 
open my mouth) do pass. This racked my spirit, considering how 
little of Christ I knew ; how I am habitually cast down, and can- 
not win to get my heart lifted up in the ways of the Lord. I saw 
Simprin, and thought it was the fittest place for me; fearing I may 
be, even in it, a cumberer of tho ground. When I came home, I 
poured out my soul to the Lord, seeing myself of all men most mi- 
serable, and not fit to be seen in this world. But the Lord still hid 
his face. I was a wonder to myself, and thought I may be a won- 
der to the world, and that religion suffers by me, while people may 
think I am a melancholy fool, with some singular fancies, closed up 
in this place. Next day my heaviness continued and increased, 
though in the morning I was helped to cry with some earnestness 
for a blink of his countenance, but I found it not. I went unto, 
and returned from the Presbytery, in heaviness ; but, that day, 
our owning, by subscription, the divine right of the government of 
the church, was carried. When 1 came home, I became downright 
melancholy, insomuch that, at the meeting for prayer, my head was 
so confused, that it was in some measure vertiginous, and my ima- 
gination troubled; whence it came to pass, that some intermissions 
were caused in my singing the Lord's praises. However, conscieuce 
of duty urging, I adventured to speak on the question proposed 
to be discoursed ; and thereafter I became more serene. Many a 
heavy and melancholy day have I had, through various causes and 
occasions, which holy providence hath laid before me; but I do not 
remember that I had ever before that time been so afflicted, except 
once, when I was a boy; at which time I know of no rational 
ground it proceeded upon ; nor can I remember one instance since, 

1700.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON". 127 

"wherein it acted so mechanically, to such a pitch; if it is not the 
passage at Kelso, April 2-3, 1712, to be related of that date. On 
Wednesday it was not so severe ; but there remained a great heavi- 
ness, together with a pain iu my back, from the riding the day be- 
fore, though I was distant from the presbytery-seat but five miles. 
For this cause I lay much on my bed that day, souietimes^walking out, 
to help myself by means of conversation, which 1 found useful. No 
religion was left me now, but a sorrowful looking up to the Lord, 
■whom I had provoked to withdraw. On the Thursday my exercises 
were very uncertain ; I was still faint and languishing in religious 
duties, found my body unfit for much study; yet had solid hopes of 
the divine assistance in my sermon ; the which also I got, with a 
good deal of serenity of mind. But indeed it was best with me, 
■when in that exercise. On the morrow, the whole day being spent 
at Kersefield, when I came home, I could nevertheless find no vi- 
gour in my spirit. On Saturday morning I got a rousing stroke, by 
an apprehension of my father's death, who was indisposed; there- 
after my bands were all loosed in prayer ; and then I studied my 
sermon ; and my love to Christ, and concern for the good of the 
people, were raised somewhat. But the heavy disposition of my 
body was still a clog to me. Writing my case to Mr. Murray, I 
discerned some ground of comfort in it, especially from my deli- 
berate desire of the glory of Christ, come of me what will. My 
prayers for my father were heard. In the morning of the Lord's 
day, I took some thoughts of my notes, the rather to keep my heart 
steadfast, lest by loose meditations altogether it should not so well 
be held fixed, but beguile me, as sometimes before. And this, I 
reckon, was the occasion of bringing me off from that way of spend- 
ing the Sabbath morning in such meditations ; and in coming over 
from it, to the other method, of thinking on my notes, 1 designed 
the impressing of my heart with what I was to deliver, and to get 
it kept in a frame for preaching; thus still pursuing the former de- 
sign, but in another method, whereby I judged I was more likely 
to reach it. When I went away to the kirk, I endeavoured to pro- 
pose to myself the good of the people, and encouraged myself in the 
Lord. In the preface my vigour was small, the relics of my old 
frame still hanging about me ; but thereafter I was helped in all. 
I preached mostly from experience, in the afternoon ; and it was 
sweet. When I came home, I was grieved at the heart for my mis- 
management of duty, especially some motions to be lifted up on the 
accouut of my assistance, though, when I consider things, being 
sensible of ray own weakness, I would be ashamed to open my 
mouth before many preachers. I had been for some time solicitous 


how to manage the visiting of families ; the masters of families heing 
workmen, and so can scarcely be found in the day-time in their houses, 
but at prayer, the day before, as I suppose, it slipt into my mind, that 
I should take the Sabbath afternoons for it, and this when I was not 
praying about this particular. Afterwards, though the motion, as so 
timed, was unseasonable; yet on reasonable grounds I thought 1 would 
embrace it. But such was the deceit of my heart, and so forward 
was I, that, without ever once laying it before the Lord in prayer, I 
made intimation, there would be no public exercise that night; so, 
when I was to go out for that effect at night, and was praying for 
the Lord's help, I was severely checked for this my rash determi- 
nation, and confessed it before the Lord. But seeing all other 
doors now closed up, I thought it my duty for this time, and the 
Lord was pleased to be with me in the work. But ere long, viz., 
Monday, March 11, Satan cast me down. I confessed and mourned, 
but afterwards guilt lay so heavy on me, that I could have no con- 
fidence to pray for the people. After that my heart hardened, and 
I had no freedom in spirit for prayer. Then did my soul sink, and 
I found no place of standing, as one forgotten, yea and cast off of 
God, whose spot is not the spot of God's people. And thus I con- 
tinued very long, sinking and going down. I went to the family 
duties, and desired my father to perform them ; and I, as a poor 
malefactor, sung my own doom ; Psalm lii. 6, and downwards, ap- 
proving the justice of God. Retiring, I got leave to pour out my 
soul before the Lord, and wassomewhat eased; and so thereafter endea- 
voured to hope against hope, sometimes sinking, sometimes swimming. 
That day I went to Dunse, in great distress of spirit, to see Mr.Colden, 
with whom I could use some freedom with respect to my case. Being 
there, in Mr. Colden's house, and there meeting with some of the 
godly people of Polwarth, my mouth, according to my then heavy 
case, was filled with complaints in converse with them. This Mr. 
Colden did wisely signify to me to be unsafe, in respect of the dis- 
couragement it might occasion to them, considering my station and 
character. Howbeit the particular cause of my heaviness I discovered 
not to them, nor to him neither ; but from that distress I was not 
recovered till the 25th of the foresaid month of March ; at which 
time I was mercifully set to my feet again ; though in a little time 
the clouds returned after the rain. 

March 26. — Having had a good day yesterday, I was like to lose 
all again this day, and had a struggle that way. I retired, and 
pleaded with the Lord as my covenanted God in such manner, as 
pinching want makes men resolute ; and was kept up. 

March 28. — This day being a fast day, the Lord was very gracious 

1700.] MB. TIK 'MA? BOSTON. 129 

to me. It was sweet to consider what measure of solidity and firm- 
ness in believing the Lord had given me as to what I had been 
preaching, and how he had given me several of those suits I had be- 
fore him on Monday last the 25th. I had a great deal of confidence 
in prayer this night ; for God is my covenanted God. ! my soul 
was filled with joy and peace in believing ; and I thought I had a 
feast. Afterwards great fears of temptation seized me, lest Satan 
should steal a dint of mo ; wherefore I communed with myself out 
of the scriptures, and got answers to all the reasons of my fears, 
till my heart was calmed, and strengthened in the Lord. When I 
had passed the difficult step safely, my mouth was filled with praises; 
and I saw myself infinitely indebted to free grace, that should 
thus give answers of prayer, for I had earnestly prayed against it. 

that was a sweet word to me on Monday's night, " 1 will give her 
the valley of Achor for a door of hope," and yet is so. 

April 3. — Being in great distress, I wrote a letter to Mr. Colden, 
the only minister in the country to whom I could unbosom myself; 
but the letter was brought back, he not being at home; and so I 
was disappointed. The said letter is as follows : — " It is like you 
will be desirous to know how it stands with me now, considering 
the case I was in when I saw you last. I can indeed give you but 
a very sorry account of matters. I am a man who, I think, have 
few, if any marrows in the world. I am often at that with it, that 

1 know not what to think of myself, or of my state ;( — it is only to 
yourself that I unbosom my poor self, and verily my need presseth 
me.) All that week when I saw you, my sad case continued, till 
the next, — being estranged from the life of God. So this day four- 
teen days it pleased the Lord to send — a sharp rod, — and I behoved 
to lay my hand on my mouth, and take with the punishment of 
mine iniquity ; yet remained I like a man half asleep, still going to 
rise up, but falling down again ; — which was dreadful to me, con- 
sidering what pains the Lord had taken on me. So on Monday was 
eight days I used some means more than barely ordinary, for casting 
out the devil, which that affliction could not cast out ; — and it 
pleased the Lord (as I thought) to blow upon me ; — and such speedy 
and surprising answer of prayer 1 got, and such outmaking of 
(especially) one particular promise, that I was fully confirmed in the 
matter of the Lord's accepting me, and taking me within the bond 
of the covenant. And this lasted sweetly the three following days. 
But going abroad on Friday, rejoicing in the Lord, (it was to make 
a visit), I so mismanaged matters, that I came home drooping ; — 
and the Lord so left me, as that my strength against corruption was 
gone* and distrust of God trampled me under foot. After some 


time 1 thought I got up resolutely again, and endeavoured to en- 
courage myself in tlie Lord; but Satan soon after got in upon my 
weak side ; — which I think trill ruin me, that spurns all means. — 
And thus was I cast down again ; and now my vigour and life, if 
ever 1 had any, is gone; and I am fit for nothing, though I must be 
doing. It is strangely racking to me to observe, how that before 
some solemn approach to God, or immediately after I have attained 
(as I think) to some nearness to Cod., Satan gets victory over me. I 
many times fear my spot is not the spot of God's people ; and 
though I would lain make use of some former experiences, yet I am 
dreadfully afraid that the Lord suffers me to fall at such times, to 
undeceive me as to these things. J shall not trouble you more, 
though I have many things that are not easy to me. I entreat, if 
you can have any liberty with the Lord on my account, remember 
me." Some time ago I could not easily have closed a verbal dis- 
course, or a letter, without something to the couiun dation of Christ; 
but, alas! it is not so now ! Jlut my heart desires that others may 
enjoy much of him, though he be still holden back ; and that ho may 
be glorified, come of me what will. 

How far I followed my above-mentioned purpose, of retrenching 
my painfulness in study, I cannot determine ; but I well remember, 
that, that season, still finding my Btrength exhausted on the Satur- 
day nights, 1 resolved to study my sermons on the Friday. The 
which course being begun, and the advantage thereof soon perceived, 
I have since that time kept all along to this day ; bating occasional 
interruptions; which, when they happened, were painful, in respect 
of my being so habituated to study that day. So I spent the Satur- 
day in other studies, as I found convenient; till night, that I man- 
dated my sermons, and prepared my lecture, leaving the review 
thereof only to the Sabbath morning. This was all along my ordinary 
course as to my sermons ; but of late years I have been wont to 
leave the preparing of the lecture to the Sabbath morning ; and since 
I became unlit for study after dinner, through increase of my weak- 
ness, 1 mandated my sermons in the forenoon of the Saturday. 

Cn the 4th of April we began to meet in the kirk, at or about the 
ordinary time ol the day for sermon, for the weekly sermon, which 
hitherto had been kept in the house, and that in the night. 

Ou the Lord's day alter, and Monday morning, I got a revival. 
I cannot but specially notice, that while it was well with me, Satan 
was very active ; but afterward he let me alone as to a particular 
temptation. It seems he has not thought it worth his pains to toss 
the empty traveller. 

A/jr'd 11. — The Thursday before Lennel communion. I had been 

1700.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 131 

admonishing one of my parish some days before, and shewing a 
difficulty of admitting him to the Lord's table ; lie turned very 
angry, and wished he had broken his neck. — Stepping a dike, he 
hurt his back so as this day he was not able to go to the fast, nay, 
not to turn himself on his bed. 

April 15. — Having been at Edrom yesterday, I came to Dunse 
this day, minding to go from thence to Kelso to the synod to-morrow 
with Mr. Colden. But when 1 came, he was going away, and I 
could not go with him so soon. So I went home that night; for 
which J knew little reason till I came home, being blindly led to it. 
But when J came home, my father was very sick, and that danger- 
ously, as was supposed ; but I had no apprehensions of his death. 
So I went not to the synod. On Wednesday lie grew better, and I 
grew secure, and corrii[ tiou began to work ; and leaving him pretty 
well, I went out a little, but was called for to him in haste. When 
I came in, he could scarcely speak to me, he was so ill. My heart 
was like to fail, seeing the son had ate the sour grapes, and the 
father's teeth were set on edge. After discoursing to him as a dying 
man, I went to prayer; and at length won to get some hold of the 
covenant for my support. I sent for my brothers and sisters, look- 
on him as a dying man, endeavouring submission in the meantime; 
which I attained to in some measure this day and the morrow after, 
at which time he began to grow better; but 1 endeavoured to be on 
my guard. Had he been removed at this time, I had been involved 
in great difficulties; but I got above them in some measure, trust- 
ing in the Lord ; but earnestly prayed for his recovery, and had 
much quiet of heart in the Lord. It pleased the Lord to hear 
me. And still I see the advantage of submission to the will of 
God. While I spoke to him about his evidences for heaven, my 
heart was somewhat satisfied in what he told me. JBy the good 
hand of God it fell in our ordinary to sing Psalm lxxi., in time of 
his sickness ; particularly, on Wednesday night, it was from ver. 
16 to 20. 

April, 24. — This day I saw more of my own nothingness, and that 
Christ must be all for me, or there is no hope ; and I feel his co- 
venant my only support. Blessed be the day I renewed it last, for 
it has been very seasonable to me many times since. 

May 5. — Being the Lord's day. Having been at Barhill, after I 
came to Edinburgh there were great rains, so that I was afraid the wa- 
ters would not let me see Simprin on the Lord's day ; but I thought it 
my duty to adventure, if by any means I could reach home. So I 
came from Edinburgh yesterday after nine of the clock, and came 
home that night. And this day I was very much owned of God in 


my work, and nothing more wearied by my journey. but I saw 
the way of duty crossing people's ease, a safe way. 

The week following I grew secure. I wanted not many checks 
for my spiritual sloth, so as horror hath taken hold on me, under 
apprehensious of some stroke to come for this ; yet was I as a drun- 
ken man, incapable to put himself out of the way of the cart wheels. 
I also had some flashes of a frame, but passing. On the Lord's day 
morning, worldly thoughts were as bird's lime to my feet ; but 
preaching about the general judgment, I saw the Lord in his glory, 
and got a sight of my own vileness ; and after sermons, under that 
impression, secret sins, sins of the heart, were very heavy. And I 
may say I had no power to bring the subscribed covenant out of my 
trunk, though sometimes I had resolutions that way. 

May 26. — Sabbath, being to preach at Greenlaw, my heart in the 
morning was in frame ; which decayed again ; but I was revived 
by hearing some things, that filled my heart with zeal. (N. B. I 
think it has been some things ill.) then I thought preaching 
would have come ready by hand to me. Yet when I went to the 
pulpit, I was to seek. But in prayer I got my heart lively and 
composed again ; and had light and life there. 

June 2. — I found this day I had much more liberty in prayer 
than preaching. After the work was over, while in my closet, it 
pleased the Lord palpably to put in his hand at the hole of the 
door, and move my heart towards him ; and a strange melting there 
was on my heart, while a neighbour family was singing the Lord's 
praises. So I found this night another relish in God's word than 
ordinary, particularly, Psalm Ixxxix. 9 — 13. Being to spend some 
time in prayer to-morrow, I entreated the Lord would keep me for 
what he had given me, and I was free of tormenting fears of los- 
ing it. 

June 5. — Studying a sermon for the fast before the communion at 
Fogo, I had exceeding much of God's countenance in it ; I had much 
light from the Lord, and the matter had weight on my own spirit. 
On the morrow I preached it ; and though I had some tenderness in 
the morning, it was not so savoury to me in preaching as in study- 
ing. I found myself the worse of being hastened in the delivery. 

June 9. — Lord's day. When I was yesterday studying the ser- 
mons I preached this day, I could have no satisfaction in them ; 
but could not make them better. I reviewed tliem this morning, 
but with as little ; and thought they would not do. I went to the 
church with such thoughts as my present circumstances brought to 
hand, endeavouring to plead the coveuant. I prefaced with some 
liberty on Psalm lxv. 1, but afterwards I had such liberty in prayer, 

1699.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 133 

such clear conceptions of things in the lecture, with such a facility 
of expressing myself plainly in it, and this in the preaching too, 
that I was indeed a wonder to myself. It was most papably the 
doing of the Lord, and is wondrous in my eyes. This continued in 
the afternoon. Only I thought I had more soul-advantage by the 
gospel-sermon than the law sermon. I was never more convinced of 
the influences of the Spirit on men's gifts, and of the necessity of 
the same. It is so palpable to me, that it was the Spirit of the 
Lord, that I cannot doubt it ; for I see it is he that makes one differ 
in gifts from another, and makes a man differ from himself. And 
so do I find my soul convinced of it, that I am helped to give the 
glory entirely (I think) unto him, seeing still my own emptiness; 
for all which my soul blesseth the Lord. 

Juue 15. — This day, or yesternight, my frame being somewhat 
above the world, aud wearied of a body of sin and death, I thought 
I would get a feast to-morrow in preaching, being to shew what 
comfort a child of God had from the doctrine of Christ's com- 
ing. But this night my proud heart was so raised upon a business, 
that I was put all wrong ; and so finding what temptations I be- 
hoved to have, and how foully I come off, I would again have been 
content to have left all, to have been out of the reach of these 
things. On the Sabbath morning the temptation was renewed, and 
came from the same hand ; which so prevailed to discompose me, 
that it made me go halting all the day. But all these things do 
still more commend to me being with Christ, which I see is best of 
all. I ordained three elders this day ; and when ordaining them I 
was on a sudden, in the very act, turned out of my ordinary frame, 
my soul melted, and possessed with the dread of that holy God, by 
a new light shining into my mind. 

June 23. — I preached at Eyemouth. I had extreme difficulty to 
get a text. "When I got it, I had much darkness and straitening ; 
but got a sermon wrestled out at length. In delivering it, the Lord 
withdrew still ; and in the forenoon I was straitened even in re- 
spect of words. Mr. Colden has often told me, that he could never 
get help to preach in that place. And I have often felt it straiten- 
ing there. But the Lord had good ground of controversy with me, 
for I had not got my heart kept with God through that week as 
sometimes. (N. B. But I had sometimes after that, especially one 
time, in that place, help from the Lord). I have observed, that 
sometimes, wheu it has been ill with me, and particularly at this 
time, I have observed it, that I have been best when in company, 
grieving to see others wrong as well as myself, and would fain have 
had service done to God by others, though I could do none. As also 


within these two months, I have found I have been more free from 
temptation when in company than when alone. 

June 28. — I observed; that for some days I had more freedom still 
in secret than in family prayer. Sometimes J have observed the 
quite contrary. 

j u \,l 7, — I preached at Edrom. I had something of God in study- 
ing these sermons. I was much helped in the first prayer; but in 
other parts of the forenoon's exercise, though I got what to say, yet 
I had not such clear uptakings of things, nor that weight on my 
spirit that I would have had. This made me to cry betwixt ser- 
mons ; and in time of singing my heart was much affected, and cried 
for God, the living God, and was helped to pray ; but in the preach- 
ing I had much struggling for the power of God on my own spirit ; 
yet much darkness and confusion remained, till I came to the ap- 
plication, at which I found myself raised above myself, my soul 
affected and concerned, and as it were wrapped up in preaching, as 
it was also in prayer. 

Juhj 13. — I have been now for some days habitually kept right ; 
and while it has been so. I have still had a deal of satisfaction in 
reading and singing in our ordinary for family duties. So I shall 
once more set my seal to it, that a heavenly frame is the best com- 
mentator on scripture ; and being to preach at Kelso to-morrow, I 
had great light into my lecture, on which 1 had no commentary. My 
soul has been made frequently, this and the last week, to bless the 
Lord for something of good that seems to follow my ministry; in 
that I sec some are, at least outwardly, bettered, and all the families, 
for any thing the elders or I can see, have God's worship in them, 
and I would fain hope some of them are in the way to Christ. 

On Wednesday the 17th of July, I, going on twenty-live years of 
my age, married Katharine Brown, formerly mentioned, going on 
twenty-seven, as born, February 3, 1674, and baptized the 22d ; 
providence having seen it meet for me to order the odds to be on 
her side. — I shall here relate some things concerning that business. 
The first time I saw my wife was on March 3, 1697, that very day 
that 1 left that country. Whenever I saw her, a thought struck 
through my heart, about her being my wife ; and that time, both 
she and I were in great distress. Wo had no converse about any 
thing; only I asked her how her sister was; and that was all. 
May 23, 1698, she had occasion to come to a place where I was. 
Whenever I heard she was come, I had a great desire to see her; 
which I curbed for a while, and afterwards went and saw her; and 
this was the second time; and at this time our acquaintance was 
made. August 24, that year, after the matter had been laid before 
the Lord, and often considered, I proposed it. Her piety discerned 

1700.] me. TnoirAS bostox. 135 

by myself, and attested amply by others, her parts, humonr, &c., 
engaged me to Tier. After -\vliicli proposal, reflecting, I found my- 
self as solid and composed, my mind as calm and serene as ever, 
and looked on it as a token for good. On the morrow, I proposed 
what trouble 1 might look for as a preacher of the gospel ; what 
she might lay her account therewith, if minded to comply with my 
proposal. Thereafter, by converse with her, I was more and more 
confirmed in the thought's of her piety, &c. On the 9th of Jan- 
uary, 1699, while I was praying about that business of my mar- 
riage, that word was brought to me, " Delight thyself in the Lord, 
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart;" Psalm xxxvii. 
3; as was that word; Rom. viii. 28, " All things shall work to- 
gether for good to them that love the Lord," while praying about 
my going to the north, which was an exercise to me at that time ; 
and I was helped to grip the promise. January 30, being to write 
to her, I went to God, and was helped with life and some confi- 
dence to implore his guidance as to the main thing, and as to the 
letter in particular. When I arose up, remembering what crosses 
some wives have proved to ministers, this sent me back to God 
again. Afterward J fain would have had something to have con- 
firmed me in the Lord's hearing of me ; but I thought I would take 
God's helping to cry to him as a sign of that. 

On the 1st of February, I observed, that when I am most hea- 
venly in the frame of my heart, my love to her is least shaken, and 
I am most satisfied in my choice ; and that when I am most carnal 
and earthly, it is otherwise. And, on the 0th, that temptation from 
the world was very severe, and I found it no easy matter to get 
over it, though it is my grief. Wherefore in deep seriousness I pro- 
posed that question to myself, Barest thou give over that business? 
I thought on it, and that word, Prov. xxxi. 30, " Favour is deceit- 
ful, and beauty is vain ; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she 
shall be praised." I went to the Lord with it, earnestly desiring 
light from him ; and that word came to me in prayer, and I turned 
it into a prayer ; Matth. vi. 33, " Seek ye first the kingdom of God, 
and his righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you." 
And the Lord gave me a clear commentary on that place, with re- 
spect to that business, which I can better think than express. The 
Lord made me clearly see, that I had first sought the kingdom of 
heaven ; for, as I appealed to the Lord's omniscience, unless I had 
discerned the sparkles of grace in her, and had thought her ac- 
quainted with religion, I durst not have proposed such a thing to 
her. So I concluded I durst not; but would follow it as my duty, 
hoping other things should be added. Next day, finding my heart 


lifted up above the world, I took that nick of time to examine my- 
self on the head foresaid, and my heart said, Now I am well con- 

On the 16th of April, this morning, especially in prayer, before 
I went to church, I was tempted to think I had been rash in my 
choice ; which temptation I slighted, knowing it to be a deceit of 
Satan, to wear me off what I was about. 1 thought it no time then 
for me to consider whether or not, and so rejected it ; but it cost 
me struggling. However, its unseasonable importunity di&covered 
the cloven foot. 

April 26. — I was about this time going io leave that country; 
and having been out in a garden with her, and conveyed her into 
the house thereafter, I went back to the same place ; it was in Bar- 
hill in the orchard; and there I had a sweet while of converse with God 
in prayer, in a sweet hungering frame. My soul was much satisfied in 
the Lord ; and in that place, I will say, T met with God, and there 
he spoke with me. We were together about three or four days at 
this time ; and the upshot of all was, that I was made often to bless 
God that ever I was acquainted with her. I understood several 
things at this and other times, that in this matter she had acted as 
a Christian, and as under influence of light from the Lord. 

May 26. — I was now tossed with scruples and doubts as to my 
marriage. I thought on it, but found no outgate. I went to God, 
particularly for light in that matter, which was now overclouded, 
and earnestly begged it. I found in prayer my heart going out in 
love to Christ, &c, as I have noted before, p. 63. 

June 5. — &fter I had been writing to her, that word, Psalm 
cxxxviii. ult. " The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me," 
came with such power as dispelled these doubts; and I was helped 
to believe that God would order things for ray good in that mat- 
ter. On the 12th, I examined the light I had got in that point, 
and had help of Durham on conscience. And 1 found my light in 
that matter, 1. Was from the word, and pressed me to the thing, as 
agreeable to the word, and carried me on to it as a duty towards 
God ; 2. It had another kind of authority and stateliness with it 
than light affection, or passions ; it overpowered my worldly-mind- 
edness, discontent, &c, and this very remarkably. And my heart 
bears me witness, that it had influence on me to humble and abase 
me in the sight of God. Whence it appears, that it was my duty 
before ; and if then, now too, seeing no new thing has occurred. 
Whatever affection I have to her, if my heart deceive me not, I 
would sacrifice my inclinations to the command of God. 

Feb. 22, 1700. — There was a considerable time I had not heard 

1700.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 137 

from my friend, which bred me much perplexity ; but the Lord 
took that way to rebuke me for my mismanagements. Tie drew me 
by it nearer himself, and put me to a holy submission. And the 
effect of it was, I was more confirmed in the business ; and when 
I was weaned, and brought to stoop to providence, he showed me 
that the fears were groundless. 

March 25. — I had been for some time before this, and was still, 
under a very dead and drowsy frame of spirit. I was sore racked 
with various thoughts, and had a sharp exercise of it that night, 
and next day especially. I therefore resolved, against Monday, to 
set some time apart for fasting and prayer, that I might get that 
devil cast out of my heart. So the Sabbath passed, and I walked 
halting; my case being so after sermon, that if my head had been 
to have been struck off, I could not have given it a name. The re- 
moval then of that spiritual indisposition was the chief cause of that 
exercise ; 2. Victory over sin ; 3. Preparation for the then ensu- 
ing public fast, and particularly that I might get clear uptakings of 
what I was to preach; 4. Success in my ministry; lastly, That I 
might attain to habitual cheerfulness in the Lord. So I spent some 
time this day in prayer for these things. The Lord in the morniuo- 
began to blow upon my soul, and continued so to do through the rest 
of the day I was at that work ; and with all willingness of soul 
I renewed and subscribed a personal covenant with God. And as of 
myself, so of my friend, I made a solemn resignation to the Lord. 
And towards the close of that exercise, I earnestly prayed, that if 
it were his will, I might have a token of his reception of both. 
My heart was calmed and strengthened in the Lord, and my mind 
made heavenly. I closed the whole with singing Psalm cxvi. 7, and 
downwards, and then went down and took a refreshment. The tenor 
of the personal covenant I then renewed and subscribed is as fol- 
lows : — 

" I, Mr. Thomas Boston, minister of God's word at Simprin ; for- 
asmuch as I am in some measure sensible of my grievous, horrid, 
and frequent backslidings from the Lord, since the last time I co- 
venanted with God ; and in particular, having been for some time 
habitually in a dead and sleepy frame, for which cause (among 
others mentioned elsewhere) I set this day apart for fasting and 
prayer ; and finding myself called to renew my covenant with God, 
the rather to obtain the ends of this day's exercise, and to get my 
soul more confirmed in the Lord, for wading through the difficulties 
'twixt me and heaven, in prayer I did, and now (giving it under 
my hand) I do, adhere to all my former covenants with, and engage- 
ments to be the Lord Jesus Christ's, particularly that written and 

Vol. XI. k 


subscribed covenant of the date, August 14, 1699 ;* and do now 
with all my heart and soul, solemnly resign and give up myself, and 
all my bodily and spiritual concerns, unto Christ ; taking him with 
heart and soul upon those very terms, and no other, upon which he 
is offered in the gospel ; resolving and hereby engaging, in his 
strength, to cleave to him and his truths, so long as I live, whatever 
be the hazard. Likeas I have, and hereby do, solemnly give up and 
resign K. B. to the same Lord Christ, that I have given myself to 
be his for ever. And this before the Lord, the searcher of hearts, 
I do with all willingness subscribe, the 25th day of March, 1700 
years. T. B." 

March 26. — I think I had never more persuasion of God's ac- 
cepting my renewing of covenant than that yesterday. I rejoice 1 
have done it, when I think on it ; and I am persuaded God has ac- 
cepted it ; for I have had covenanted strength since, as well as the 
token aforesaid. That word was sweet to me in my ordinary last 
night ; Isa. liv. 6, " The Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken 
and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth ; when thou wast refused, 
saith thy God." 

April 23. — My father, in the time of his sickness, had (as he had 
also before) urged me to put an end to that business ; ami then 1 
found I was inclined not to delay it long. And another thing came 
immediately after, which obliged me to be at a point in that matter. 
This day I set myself to spend some time in seeking light from the 
Lord in that point. I prayed twice, but was in no good case, and 
so could not fall on what I aimed at. I tried it again, and after a 
while I got my feet fastened ; the Spirit did blow on me, and the 
matter was laid out before the Lord ; and my conscience told me, 
that I did sincerely desire God's determination in the case ; which 
desire I saw as the sun at noon-day. The upshot of all was, to 
follow tho conduct of providence. On the morrow, having gone to 
God with it again in particular, and after considering the business, 
I found reasons weighty for not delaying it much longer. I also 
found I was in better case for expediting it than I had thought, 
being then made sensible of a mistake. Providence, even in the 
review at this distance, J plainly see to have been, at that time, 
clearly pointing and conducting me, by several steps thereof, unto it. 
Accordingly, on Monday the 29th, I went away to visit my friend ; 
and, following the conduct of providence, we determined the busi- 
ness to the middle of July ; and so I returned cheerfully, and ever 
after was well satisfied as to the determination of the time. 

* Thi9 form is annexed to tbe autlior's Body of Diviuity, vol, III. 

1700.] MR. TUOMAS BOSTON. 139 

May 24. — At night, before family exercise, I was somewhat cast 
down and troubled by reason of some remaining difficulties in the 
accomplishing of my business. At prayer I took occasion to be- 
wail this ; and so it was, that my soul seeing more of the vanity of 
the world, and longing for heaven, I found my soul blessing God for 
troubles in the world ; for I well saw, that otherwise I would 
have been saying, " It is good for me to be here." Blessed be the 
Lord for that word which we sung ; Psalm Ixxxv. ult., " What is 
good the Lord will give." I think I can believe it, though I see it 
not. Lord help my unbelief. May 28 and 29, I was taken up in 
business relative thereto, and was helped to manage matters with 
an eye to God, and my heart was lifted up in admiration of divine 
conduct, making mountains molehills. 

June 3. — Having purposed to spend some time this day in prayer, 
with fasting, with respect especially to my marriage, I rose early this 
morning ; and though I found much of yesterday's frame continuing, 
yet wanted I not some secret heart-averseness to that work. After 
prayer, I considered what I was to plead for. And, First, As to 
my marriage, 1. That the Lord would clear up duty more and more, 
that we may go on under a sense of God's command ; 2. That he 
would pardon mismanagements in the oncarrying of it ; 3. That he 
would give us a suitable frame for such a weighty business, and par- 
ticularly in the time of it ; 4. Conjugal love and concord ; 5. Con- 
tentment as to our choice, and with our lot in the world ; 6. That 
we may be spiritually useful to one another, and particularly with 
respect to a time of trouble for the gospel ; 7. That we may live 
loose to one another, ready to part on a call ; and that God would 
provide things necessary for our through-bearing; Lastly, That I 
may be spared with her a while ; and if I be taken away, she may 
not be left destitute, but God may be her tutor. Secondly, Victory 
over corruption. Thirdly, Success in my ministry. Lastly, Pre- 
paration for the fast at Fogo. These things I earnestly sought of 
the Lord ; and as I went on, I won very near God, attaining to fa- 
miliarity and confidence with the Lord ; so that I was made to bless 
the day I set about this work. My heart and flesh were all aloft 
towards Christ. After I had come from that exercise, in tho after- 
noon I received a letter from her, wherein she showed me some 
piece of exercise she was under, and the prevalency of unbelief with 
her, with something importing fears of approaching death. Tliis 
did somewhat amuse me, and made me wonder what might be the 
language of it to me. I had prayed for a token of the Lord's ac- 
cepting this service, and this seemed not to be such. But, on fur- 
ther consideration, I found I had no great reason to complain, but 



rather to bless the Lord, who made her careful of her salvation, and 
exercised with her own heart at such a juncture. And I had liberty 
with the Lord on her account. As for the fears of approaching 
death, it is like God has sent it to ballast me, and keep me watch- 
ful ; and I am the Lord's, let him do what seemeth him good. I 
found my heart last week, and at this time, more clear in the sight 
of the world's vanity, and going more after being with Christ, which 
I see is best of all, than a good while before. Her case and my 
own sent me sometimes to God. But at night I grew so very appre- 
hensive of her death, that my ballast was like to sink me. I strovo 
to encourage myself, but nothing could effectually do. But I saw 
the cause of it. And on the morrow morning so was it with me, 
still I sunk, when I thought on it; so easily was I overcome after 
such kind dealing. It sent me again and again to the Lord. 
(N. B. See how Providence filled up what I had most unaccountably 
forgot in the causes above mentioned ; for what reason can bo 
given, that when I had made it one of my errands to God, that I 
might be spared with her, that I should not also with that have been 
concerned that she might be spared with me ?) I behoved to go to the 
Presbytery ; and I won but so far above it, as to let it be only bal- 
last to my heart, and to make mo watchful, and prepare for what- 
ever should come. And so it proved very useful to me this day 
both abroad and at home. And so was it the next day while study- 
ing the sermon for Fogo. 

June 8. — I minded to declare my purpose to two of the elders, 
and went to God on that head ; but was very dull in my frame ; but 
one of them could not be got. So I delayed to this day, at which 
time it was better with me. So that I came to them with confidence 
in God, leaning on and getting use made of that word which God 
said to me before I came to Simpriu, " The eternal God shall be thy 
refuge," &c. And I could not but observe the Lord's putting a stop 
to it till I was in this case. 

June 13. — Thursday, I met with a severe stroke. On the Monday 
afternoon and Tuesday I had fallen secure again ; had only some 
awakening glifFs, and sad experience of the instability of my heart ; 
which lay so heavy on me on Tuesday's night, that I would have 
been content to have quitted all, to have been out of the reach of a 
woful heart, and to have had a dying-day instead of a marriage-day. 
On "Wednesday, it was once better ; but ere that day was gone, my 
vigour spiritual was gone. This morning I had little freedom in 
prayer. I preached the weekly sermon Avith an overly superficial 
moving of tho affections. After the sermon a while, I went out to 
the garden, and thero was a spit sticking in the wall of the house, 

1700.] MT. THOMAS BOSTOy. 141 

with the small end of it outmost. I rushed inadvertently my face 
on it, and the wound that I got was ahout a straw-breadth beneath 
the eye. I was stupified with it, and knew not but it had gone into 
the eye-ball. It swelled to a great bigness, and covered a great 
part of my eye. I was afraid of losing my eye. It sent me to the 
Lord, confessing my sin, and taking with the punishment of mine 
iniquity ; and I got a patient, quiet, submissive, and contented frame 
under the rod, endeavouring to trust God come what would. Great 
mercy it was that it was not a straw-breadth higher ; for then it 
would have digged out my eye. I endeavoured to sit loose to my 
friend, and all created enjoyments, which I thought God called for 
by that rod. On the morrow the thoughts of my falling off so fre- 
quently to provoke the Lord, and so bringing one rod after an- 
other on myself, made heaven very desirable to me. And noticing 
the way of providence with me, I kissed this rod, for there was a 
deal of kindness in it. 

June 23. — I preached at Eymouth, under great withdrawings of 
the Spirit, as before narrated. This business has been a snare to 
me since it came so near a period. If I had not guided better be- 
fore, I could have had little comfort in it. God is my witness, that 
it has been and is my grief, that in my thoughts of it I cannot be 
more heavenly ; and that I cannot more vigorously look to God 
with respect to it. If this day eight days, when I am to be pro- 
claimed, be such a day as this, I think I will be wounded with the 
arrows of the Almighty; for that it should be so at this juncture is 
a double misery. 

June 28. — Wherefore I spent some time this day in prayer, with 
respect to my marriage mainly; was solidly affected with it, and 
helped to believe ; and have hitherto felt my spirit bettered there- 
by, keeping somewhat more closely with God than before. Yester- 
day I had a view of my need of Christ, and the supplies of his grace ; 
and had much inward satisfaction flowing from the sense of my 
soul's nearness to God, and my heart's being kept in some measure 
with God. And this day the thoughts of that business was a spur 
to duty. 

June 30. — This day was a good day. I got my heart earnest for 
God's presence, and I wanted neither light nor life in my work. 
And finishing a particular subject that day, my soul was affected 
and melted with the people's case. 

July 9. — This day I found myself under a great decay again ; but 
discoursing with a good lad, he had occasion to speak of these two 
scriptures, <: Truly God is good to Israel," upon which I seemed to 
have a sight of the Lord's goodness ; and that, " If thy presence go 
not with me, carry us not up hence ;" which had such an impression 

142 memoirs or L rEEIOjD vn - 

on me, that upon it I had some revival. But by my carelessness it 
slipped away, and great darkness and hardness of heart succeded. 
A while after these seemed to he going away ; but neither was that 
right guided ; and then I was carried quite off my feet. On the morrow 
especially, I saw my confidence with God was quite marred, and sin 
lay heavy on soul and conscience. And though I spent a good part 
of the day, the weary day, in fasting and prayer, the Lord would 
not hear me, neither could I win to any meltedness of heart ; only 

I had tormenting light without life. Afterwards Mr. G E, 

came ; but I was indisposed both in body and mind, heavy and me- 
lancholy, unfit for any thing whatsoever. Yet at length, while I 
lifted up my dejected eyes to the Lord, and we conversed about the 
measure of humiliation requisite in a sinner before he come to Christ, 
concerning self-condemnation, &c, I found I spoke only what I felt. 
So in the very time while we thus walked up and down, and dis- 
coursed, the Lord loosed the poor prisoner; my heart loosed, and 
my bands were taken off. And I observed my body grew better, 
when the cure was begun in my soul. Afterwards I went to God, 
poured out my soul before him like water, with grief for sin, and 
confidence of his mercy. And then I was helped to wrestle in 
earnest with God for his presence to be with mo with respect to my 
business. By the Lord's dealing thus severely with me, I had a 
sight of the excellency of Christ ; and when I won near God, but 
my soul prized Christ as the Mediator, and way to the Father ; and 
my heart was in love with the doctrine of the gospel, even free 
grace. I spent some time thereafter in the fields meditating, with 
a deep sense of my own vilencss. On the morrow I had real strug- 
gling ere I could get my heart right, but not without success. I saw 
nothing desirable in the world but Christ and ordinances. And I 
had much of the felt presence of God in preaching my sermon, (it 
being Thursday.) Thereafter, in secret, I found my confidence in 
the Lord was enlarged, as to what is before me, and otherwise ; and 
my soul was affected with a sense of my misery and nothingness ; 
but blessed be the Lord for his kindness to vile me. 

July 11- — Towards night I met with a sweet seasonable pro- 
vidence, which enlarged my heart in thankfulness to God, encourag- 
ing me in the business before me, and making me set up another 
Ebenezer. Thereafter meditating in tho fields, I was filled with joy 
in tho Lord, and my heart was glad, while I had discoveries of 
Christ mado to my soul, and was helped to see his sufficiency, and 
to believe. So that my soul was filled with praises and admiration 
of tho Lord's kindness to poor mo at this juncture, notwithstanding 
mv woeful backsliding* from him before. the doctrine of the 

1700. j MR. TliOMAs BOSTON. 143 

gospel, and revelation of Christ, is sweet to my soul. I have had 
felt strength against corruption this day. 

July 13. — Saturday. This day I was to go to Kelso, from whence 
I was to go straight to Culross. And I found the Lord was with 
me, and helped me to wrestle with him for his presence to my mar- 
riage, and to-morrow's work. The testimony of my conscience 
witnessing to me, that I had acknowledged God in this my way, 
was a sweet help to me, to believe my steps should be directed by 
him. I found a more than ordinary concern on my heart for my 
charge, and their case touched my heart very nearly. I came away 
in the strength of the Lord ; and the serenity of my mind that I en- 
joyed at this time was sweet to me. 

July 14. — This morning when I awoke, I was with God, and my 
soul had confidence in the Lord; yet ere I went to the church, some 
wandering thoughts rushed in and marred my case ; so that in the 
first prayer I was much deserted, and very faint both in body and 
mind. But being thus emptied of myself, the Lord filled my sails 
in all the other parts of the day's work. And betwixt sermons I 
had such felt strength from the Lord, that I admired and rejoiced 
in his love ; for he really set me on my high places ; and his love 
at this juncture was wondrous in my eyes. So in his strength I 
went away again, and we sung Psalm cxxxviii. 5, and downwards. 
I sung it with an uplifted heart, and light from the Lord ; and for 
the 5th verse, " Yea in the righteous ways of God," &c, though I 
saw little in it when I gave out the psalm, yet when suug, how 
sweet, confirming, and soul-strengthening was it to me, even with 
respect to my business ; for I saw it was the way of commanded 
duty. For the whole of it, I thought, if I had been at the penning 
of that part of that psalm which we sung, for my present case, I 
would not have altered one word of it. I preached and prayed 
with great light and life from the Lord. At night my heart was 
glad, and my glory rejoiced to speak of Christ. And thus was it 
with me when honest J. E. came in to me, with whom I conversed 
with an uplifted heart. When we were going to part, I told him of 
what was before me ; but he was an instrument of discouragement 
to me, by means of my own corruption. The good man said particu- 
larly, If you acknowledge God in your ways, &c. This seemed to 
me said with such an air of jealousy, that my proud heart murmur- 
ed at it ; which was after matter of mourning to me. Thereafter I 
found my strength abated ; but I gave myself to prayer, and wrest- 
ling with God for his presence to go with me. As I was filling a 
pipe, and my heart was discouraged in that, I found not God with 
rae as before, I gave a glance to the Bible lying open on the tabic 


before mo, and met with that word ; Isa. xl. 27, " Why sayest thou, 

Jacob, and speakest, Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and 
my judgment is passed over from my God ?" and finding it so 
speaking, I read on to the end of the chapter, where all was most 
seasonable, and suited to ray case. So I went away immediately to 
the Lord with it, cried to him, and got strength to believe, that see- 
ing I waited on God, my strength should be renewed. 

July 17- — I came yesterday to Barhill in the strength of the 
Lord, leaning on that promise ; Isa. xl. ult., " They that wait upon 
the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with wings 
as eagles, they shall run and not be weary; aud they shall walk and 
not bo faint ;" and that was all I had. This day in the afternoon 

1 withdrew from company, and sought the Lord in secret ; and 
afterwards, before the minister came, I went to prayer with the 
family and relations present, particularly for the Lord's blessing 
with respect to the marriage ; and was much helped of the Lord. 
Mr. Mair having come, went alone into a room, and staid some 
time ; and I went into another alone, and spent the time in 
prayer; and then the Lord was kind to my soul; he drew near 
to me, and said to me, Fear not; and I camo forth in the strength 
of the Lord. The action was gone about most sweetly by Mr. Mair. 
The Lord directed him to most seasonable and pertinent exhorta- 
tions, and they came with power and life. Of a truth God owned 
it, and it was sweet both to him and us. As for ray part, my heart 
being touched with the finger of God, was sensibly going forth in 
love to Christ, and admiration of him, to my great comfort aud sa- 
tisfaction. So we were married betwixt eight and nine o'clock at 
night. Immediately after I withdrew into the room where I was be- 
fore, and went to God, (it was the upper western room), and there 
the Lord filled my heart with joy in himself unspeakable, and load- 
ed me with loving-kindness, truth, and faithfulness. Yerily he mado 
me renew my strength, and gave it me with palpable increase. 
Verily the Lord did great things for me at that juncture as ever; 
and my soul was mado to rejoice in him. 

Thus was I by all-wise providence yoked with my wife, with 
whom I have now, [17^0], by the mercy of God, lived thirty years 
complete ; a woman of great worth, whom I therefore passionately 
loved, and inwardly honoured ; a stately, beautiful, and comely per- 
sonage, truly pious, and fearing the Lord; of an evenly temper 
patient in our common tribulations, and under her personal dis- 
tresses ; a woman of bright natural parts, an uncommon stock of pru- 
dence ; of a quick and lively apprehension, in things she applied 
herself to; great presence of mind in surprising incidents; sa- 
gacious and acuto in discerning the qualities of persons, and there- 

170I-] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 145 

fore not easily imposed upon ; modest and grave in her deport- 
ment, but naturally cheerful ; wise and affable in couversation, 
having a good faculty at speaking, and expressing herself with 
assurance ; endowed with a singular dexterity in dictating of let- 
ters; being a pattern of frngality, and wise management of house- 
hold affairs, therefore entirely committed to her; well fitted for, 
and careful of, the virtuous education of her children ; remarkably 
useful to the country-side, both in the Merse and in the Forest, 
through her skill in physic and surgery, which in many instances, a 
peculiar blessing appeared to be commanded upon from heaven ; and, 
finally, a crown to me in my public station and appearances. Dur- 
ing the time we have lived together hitherto, we have passed though 
a sea of trouble, as yet not seeing the shore but afar off. I have 
sometimes been likely to be removed from her ; she having had 
little continued health, except the first six weeks, her death hath 
sometimes stared us in the face, and hundreds of arrows have pierced 
my heart on that score ; and sometimes I have gone with a trembl- 
ing heart to the pulpit, laying my account with being called out of 
it, to see her expire. And now for the third part of the time we 
have lived together, namely, ten years complete, she has been under 
a particular racking distress ; and for several of these years, fixed 
to her bed ; in the which furnace, the grace of God in her hath 
been brightened, her parts continued to a wonder, and her beauty, 
which formerly was wont, upon her recoveries, to leave no vestige of 
the illness she had been under, doth as yet now and then shew some 
vestiges of itself. 



At and about the time of my marriage, it pleased the Lord to deal 
bountifully with my soul. And the Lord's day immediately follow- 
ing I preached at Dunning in Strathern. I was habitually kept 
right these days, and the Lord was kind to me. I met with a 
sharp trial after so fair a blink as I had ; and while I was musing 
on the causes of the same, I found myself called to go to secret 
prayer at a time unexpected ; and within a little after, the Lord 
was graciously pleased to let me find he had heard me, and the dis- 
pensation was sweet, coming as an answer of prayer. But when I 
came to Dunning on the Saturday's night, I found myself wrong, hav- 
ing neither heart nor hand for my work. On the Sabbath morning 
ray indisposition continued, save that at family prayer my affections 
were loosed, and I had a deep sense of my own vileness on my 


spirit. In the forenoon it was neither very ill nor very well ; but 
in the afternoon my bands were freely loosed, and I had light and 
life from the Lord. I preached on Psalm xviii. 46, " The Lord 
liveth, and blessed be my rock ;" the which text I was led to, as my 
anchor-ground, in my new circumstances through the change of my 
lot. And that week we came home to Simprin. 

Until the 15th of August, the weekly sermon was continued in 
the kirk ; at which time, being intermitted because of the harvest, 
it was begun again on the 7th of November in the house, and 
that in the night. And after that manner that exercise was managed 
during the remaining time of my ministry in that place. 

Nov. 14. — This has been a time of many troubles to me, so that I 
have sometimes wondered what the Lord minded to do with me. 
Now, I had a very sharp one, but was quickly delivered ; so on the 
morrow I spent some time in fasting and prayer, and renewed my 
covenant with the Lord ; and it pleased the Lord to let out some- 
thing of himself to me, so that, reflecting on my troubles, I clearly 
saw my need of them, with a deal of convincing power, and my soul 
was made to see God's love in them all, and from my heart I was 
made to say, he had done all things well. The fruit of them is, 
that I havo thereby seen the vanity of all things besides Christ, and 
that there is no rest but in him alone, and to desire to be with him, 
which is best of all. 

In April 1701, my dear father sickened again ; and death ap- 
pearing on its way, the rest of his children were sent for. They 
being come, he, on Sabbath the 13th of that month, after a sore toss 
of sickness, especially after sermons, died that night, in the 70th 
year of his age, having been born in December, 1631. This sharp 
rod tho Lord had shaken over my head that time twelvo months be- 
fore, for my warning. However, being laid on, it went to the quick 
with me. It was a heavy death to me, the shock of which I had 
much ado to stand, lie was a man of a low stature, of a fresh and 
lively complexion ; nimble, strong, and vigorous : active, and given to 
application in business ; one who, in the worst of times, retained his 
integrity, beyond many ; and, in view of death, gave comfortable 
evidences of eternal life to be obtained through the Lord Jesus 
Christ. His body lies interred in tho church-yard of Simprin, in 
the burial-place of the ministers there, whereof I thereby took 
possession, and soon had more occasion for. 

On the 24th of May, about two or three o'clock in the morning, 
my wife, after long and sore labour, brought forth her first child, a 
daughter, called Katharine ; having, at the holy and just pleasure of 
the sovoreign Former of all things, a double harelip, whereby she 

1701.] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX. 147 

was rendered incapable of sucking. My wife Laving a great terror 
of the pains of child-bearing, had before-hand laid her account with 
death ; as she always I think, did on that occasion thereafter; hav- 
ing, at the same sovereign pleasure, an uncommon share of these 
pains, the remembrance whereof to this day makes my heart to 
shrink. When I, understanding her to be delivered, and preserved, 
was coming towards the chamber to see her ; Mrs. Dawson above- 
mentioned meeting me, intimated to me the case of the child ; with 
which my heart was struck, like a bird shot and falling from a tree. 
Howbeit I bore it gravely; and my afflicted wife carried the trial 
very christianly and wisely, after her manner. Thus it pleased my 
God, to correct me for my sins ; to balance my enjoyment ; and to 
teach to acknowledge him, in the formation of children in the womb. 
The child being weak, was baptized by Mr. Dawson the same day ; 
and was for a long time watched in the night, through the summer. 
In that dear child's case, I had a singular experience of tender love 
melted down in pity ; as considering her teeth set on edge through 
the parent's eating of the sour grape. 

After my father's death, his tenement in the Newton of Dunse 
falling to me, by his disposition thereof in my favour, I thereby be- 
came liable to a burden of 1000 merks ; whereof 100 had been 
borrowed money ; the rest allotted by him for the portions of two 
brothers and two sisters ; my eldest brother having long before re- 
ceived another tenement for his portion, and discharged my father 
and his heirs. They having also charged me with an account of his 
moveables, which I then possessed, or claimed, I took advice about 
it; and being convinced in ray conscience, that their design was 
quite beside the intention of the dead; and that, in law and justice, 
I had a charge upon them, more than sufficient to balance the same; 
I resolved to assay to satisfy these my brothers and sisters, by ad- 
vancing their money as soon as might be. 

In pursuance of which project, I went to Barhill about the harvest ; 
and the child having appeared to grow better at the quarter's end, 
took my wife along with me. There I received a part of her por- 
tion ; for which I paid interest to my mother-in-law till the year 
1709, at which time she was removed by death ; the remains there- 
of, some time after that, I received being in Etterick. But that 
journey proved a very heavy one, for our trial. By the way thither, 
my wife swooned at Danskin ; which seemed to be occasioned by 
ram's mutton afforded us there to dinner. She recovering, we ac- 
complished our journey. And being in Inzevair [in the parish of 
Torryburn, Fifeshire], in her sister's house, on a morning she lying 
abed after I was risen, dreamed that she saw the child perfect, the 


natural defect being made up, and extraordinary beautiful. This 
making impression, as it could hardly miss to do, we returned home- 
ward as soon as conveniently we could. Arriving at Black's-mill, 
about eight or nine miles from home, in a little our hearts were 
pierced with an account, that our dear child was dead and buried. 
After which, we came home in great heaviness; and found, that 
very day, and hour of the day, as near as could be judged, wherein 
my wife had the dream aforesaid, the child had died. Thus it 
pleased the Lord, to exercise us with one affliction on the neck of 
another ; and, as I have often experienced, the world's laying their 
over-load above the burden from the holy sovereign hand ; so it 
was afterwards found, that one of our acquaintance had very un- 
justly spoke to the grief of us whom the Lord had wounded. 

Being through the interest of Mr. James Ramsay aforesaid, and 
other friends, chosen by the synod to be their clerk, I entered on 
that offico, at their meeting in October this year ; and continued 
therein till the close of their meeting in April, 1711, at which time 
I did demit. That work was a matter of great weight on several 
accounts. When I first took the seat among them, and stood up 
for to read, being in great confusion, through my natural diffidence 
and timorousuess, I blundered ; but recovering myself, with much 
ado made it out. Upon which occasion, Mr. Ramsay did seasonably 
express his confidence of me notwithstanding. The oath de fiddi 
administratione I declined ; and they were pleased to accept of my 
promise, to serve them faithfully, and keep their secrets ; which I 
strictly observed. It was a work of great labour and painfulness ; 
even the reading of papers was a business of great toil. In time of 
their sederunts, I took short minutes of the substance of their actings, 
which in the interval of diets I extended; the which occasioned my 
sitting up great part of the night. And their meetings falling in 
the times of the year wherein I was weakest, I could not have en- 
dured, but that they did not last long. After the two first synods, 
being always desirous to do the business to the best advantage I 
could reach, I did of my own proper motion ordinarily make a third 
copy of the minutes ; but this at homo, at my leisure. Then the 
synod-book was once a-year to be filled up, for the geueral assembly 
to visit it. I often sat in my seat among them, as one wandering in 
a wilderness, while I observed the sway of their opinions and rea- 
sonings, in order to take up the mind of the court ; but through the 
divine assistance, I ordinarily took up, and expressed, their affairs, 
so as to please, and to facilitate their work. And I had a very 
honourable testimony, iu that point, of my Lord Miuto, who had been 
clerk to the council of Scotland, expressed on occasion of his being pre- 

1702.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON'. 1 19 

sent at the synod ; the which testimony raised in my heart, admiration 
of the divine condescension, and thankfulness to my God. When I 
entered on that office, the fees were 14d. a-synod by each minister ; 
afterward they were advanced to five groats ; but, in the year 1703, 
they raised the same to half a dollar, being 29d. And during the 
time I continued in Simprin, these fees were paid very well. By 
an account of the gain, by that office, kept for the first five years, I 
find it was better than £100 Scots communibus annis. 

The synod meeting at Jedburgh, on Tuesday, April 21, 1702, 
I was obliged, upon that occasion, to leave my wife, having, I think, 
passed her reckoning. And by the disposal of holy Providence, for 
our farther trial, the synod continued sitting even on the Thursday 
afternoon. They being at length risen, I took horse that evening ; 
and riding all night, got home about the morning-light; where, by 
the mercy of God, I found my wife still well, though in perplexity. 
On the Wednesday after, April 29, about the going down of the 
sun, she brought forth her first son, John, who was baptized on the 
1st day of May, by Mr. John Pow, minister at Lennel. In his ap- 
pearance our hearts were comforted, after the heavy trial in the 
case of his sister ; finding that our God would " not chide continually, 
nor keep his anger for ever." And as he was always a proper 
child, so he is this day a very stately and pretty man ; the which I 
deem just to remark, to the praise of our merciful and compassion- 
ate God, who formerly had afflicted us. 

Being invited, I assisted at the communion in Morbattle, in the 
month of June this year. And here began a particular friendship 
between the worthy Mr. John Simson, minister there, and me ; which 
lasted till he was removed by death in or about the year 1722. He 
was a serious good man ; a most pathetic, zealous, and popular 
preacher, and withal substantial in his sermons ; having a most 
ready gift; always concerned to gain souls to Jesus Christ; blessed 
with a great measure of his Master's countenance ; and most ac- 
ceptable to the people. He had a singular easiness and sweetness 
of temper, which continued with him to the last. He was, in the 
end of his days, confined for a long time to his bed ; in which time, 
visiting him, in company with my two friends Messrs Wilson and 
Davidson, we found him still lovely and pleasant as before. 

The first time I administered the sacrament of the Lord's supper 
in Simprin, was on the 2d of August that year ; and it was done 
yearly thereafter, while I continued in that place. At that time it 
was administered in the kirk, there being sermon also without ; but 
I think that was the only time, except in the winter, that it was 
not celebrated without doors. The Lord was very gracious to me 


in that work ; and I have a savoury remembrance of my delivering 
of that my first action-sermon on Psalm xl. 7, " Then said I, Lo, I 
come." Going out in time of serving the tables, and finding the 
meeting without wanting a minister, I, under the impressions of the 
Lord's goodness then upon me, stepped into the tent, and preached 
a while to them extempore, on Deut. xxxiii. 29, { ' Ilappy art thou, 
Israel ; who is like unto thee, people saved by the Lord, the 
shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency !" &c. 
Mr. Simson aforesaid was one of my assistants at that time ; and we 
continued our mutual assistance thereafter for ordinary ; only it 
was once interrupted a little, after the year 1709, as will bo noticed 
in the proper place. And many a good day of that nature we had 
together, especially at Morbattle. 

This was the first year of the reign of Queen Anne, the oath of 
allegiance to whom I took ; but did thereafter often desiderate a 
due impression thereof on my spirit. I endeavoured, while she 
lived, to keep the sense of it on my heart ; but unto this day I never 
took another, whether of a public or private nature. 

Hitherto we lived in the house where I settled when I came to 
the place ; and while there, though I remember not the particular 
time, I began the evening lecture in my family, on the chapter read 
in our ordinary, nightly. And that custom I have continued to 
this day ; save in the Sabbath-nights, of late years at least. When 
at any time there seemed to be some occasion of intermitting it, I 
chose rather to say a very little, than quite to let it alone ; fearing 
that one intermission thereof, at our ordinary times, might make 
way for dropping it altogether. 

In the end of the year, the winter being begun, we removed into 
the new manse, built for me from the foundation, and by that time 
covered ; but little of the wright's work within it was then done ; but 
was a-doing through the winter. The ground whereon it was built, 
being quite new, we were obliged at first to straw the floor of our 
bed-chamber with shavings, which was afterwards laid with deals. 
This hardship of entering the new house, we preferred to suft'oring 
the inconveniencies of the old. Langton's estate going then from 
hand to hand, it was not without considerable difficulty, and ex- 
pense too, that I got that house carried on. Afterward I formed a 
large garden, and built tho dyke ; the which was a work of some 
time, trouble, and expense too. And herein also was the saying 
verified, " One soweth, and another reapeth." 

In the month of March following, met the first general assembly 
in the reign of Queen Anne ; of the which assemby I was a member. 
Seafield being the Queen's Commissioner, Mr. George Meldrum was 

1702.] MK. THOMAS BOSTON. 151 

chosen moderator, as the man who to him would be most acceptable. 
The asserting of the intrinsic power of the church, was then the 
great point that some laboured for; but in vain ; it was told them 
by their brethren, They had it, and what then needed the waste 
of an act asserting it ? The assembly having sat several days, were 
upon an overture for preventing Protestants marrying with Papists ; 
in the time whereof, a whisper beginning about the throne, and a 
motion being, I think, made for recommitting the overture ; the 
commissioner, rising from his seat, instantly dissolved the assembly 
in her Majesty's name. This having come like a thunder-clap, there 
were, from all corners of the house, protestations offered against 
it, and for the intrinsic power of the church ; with which I joined. 
But the moderator, otherwise a most grave and composed man, 
being in as much confusion as a school boy when beaten, closed with 
prayer; and got away, together with the clerk, so that nothing was 
then got marked. This was one of the heaviest days that ever I 
saw, beholding a vain man trampling on the privileges of Christ's 
house, and others couching under the burden. And I could not but 
observe, how Providence rebuked their shifting the act to assert as 
above said, and baffled their design in the choice of the moderator ; 
never a moderator since the Revolution to this day, so far as I can 
guess, having been so ill treated by a commissioner. The learned 
and pious Mr. James Brisbane, lale minister of Stirling, a young 
man at that time as well as I, pulled me down* when offering to join 
the protesters ; and the same very worthy man, many years after, 
joined not with the representers in the affair of the Marrow ; though 
he had no freedom to go along with the assembly, but was obliged 
to declare himself in favour of truth, before they should close that 
affair. And I remember, that with respect to this last case, he, in 
private conversation, said in his pleasant manner, thereafter, he had 
so done, but knew not if he would have full satisfaction in it, when he 
got home, and reflecting thereon in his closet. Meanwhile the dis- 
solving of that assembly by Seafield, was the occasion of adjusting 
that matter betwixt the church and state, and settling it in the man- 
ner wherein, I suppose, it hath all along since continued, the assembly 
being first dissolved in the name of Jesus Christ, by the moderator 
as their mouth, and in the name of the magistrate by the commis- 

In April following, the Synod meeting at Dunse, entered on mak- 
ing an act, asserting their principles with respect to the established 
government of the church. Against which, Mr. Alexander Orrock, 
minister at Hawick, a man of vast parts, and the greatest assurance 
I ever knew, protested, and left the synod ; pretending the same to 


be a raising of groundless jealousies against the magistrate; though 
in the meantime the grounds of jealousy were looked on as not 
small. With him joined Mr. Robert Bell, minister at Cavers, now 
at Crailling, Mr. Robert Cuningham at Wilton, afterward at Ha- 
wick, and Mr. Robert Scot at Roberton. Upon the other hand. I 
was dissatisfied with the act, for that it touched not the particular 
point, in which the church was at that time especially aggrieved ; 
namely her intrinsic power of meeting, and treating, in her judica- 
tories, of her affairs, as necessity might require, for the honour of 
her Head, and the spiritual welfare of her members. And since, 
for the said cause, I could not approvo of it, and had not so clear 
access as ordinary to give my vote, I declared this my mind before 
the synod ere it was put to the vote. Whereupon Mr. Charles 
Gordon, minister of Ashkirk, a learned and holy man, of uncom- 
mon integrity, sometime chosen to be professor of divinity in Aber- 
deen, though he accepted it not, spoke something in answer thereto, 
and for the act, which thereafter was voted, and approved by the 
rest. But that same night, I think, he sent for me to his quarters, 
where he lodging together with Mr. William Macghie, minister of Sel- 
kirk, we supped together, and were brought acquainted. And this, 
I believe, was the occasion of the Presbytery of Selkirk their set- 
ting their eye on me for the parish of Etterick. And I had the 
comfort of his declaring to me, on his deathbed, some time after my 
coming to Etterick, the satisfaction he had in having seen Mr. 
Gabriel Wilson, my friend, and me, settled in their Presbytery. 

I being only a singular successor, and not heir to my father, was 
liable to Drummelzier, the superior, in a year's rent of my tene- 
ment, for entry, which otherwise would have been but the double of 
the feu-duty; so, on tho 15th of April, I compounded with him for 
£60 Scots; for which the town-clerk having drawn a bond in the 
jog-trot style of bonds for borrowed money, I refused to sign it ; 
but drew a bond with my own hand, with the which Drummelzier 
was satisfied. This I signed accordingly ; and relieved, by paying 
tho money, on May 14, thereafter. Having upon that affair had 
occasions of conversing with Drummelzier, who was a sober sensible 
man, I afterward found, he had upon occasions shewn himself 
disposed, in his own way, towards me ; particularly, that it being 
told him, speaking of planting mo in Dunse, then vacant, that I was 
too hot ; he thereupon mentioned another place for me, as one as 
hot as I, viz. Etterick. So early providence was at work for bring- 
ing about my settlement iu that place, where I was to spend the 
most of my strength and days. 

Invited by Mr. Gabriel Semple retaining of his former disposition 

1701.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 153 

towards me, I preached at Jedburgh, Feb. 27, forenoon and after- 
noon. The congregation being convened again, about a quarter of 
an hour after, he, from the reader's desk, made a short discourse on 
the fifth command, particularly the duties of husbands and wives. 
The things he insisted on were indeed common and ordinary ; but 
they were delivered in such a manner, and such power accompanied 
them, that I was in a manner amazed ; and they went out through 
me, and in through me, so that I said in my heart, " Happy are 
those that hear thy wisdom." Mr. Gabriel "Wilson being then his 
assistant, but preaching that day at Oxnarn, there began at that 
time an acquaintance betwixt him and me, which by some inter- 
views afterward, and particularly by a meeting at Simprin, ad- 
vanced to a particular friendship. And after I was settled in 
Etterick, and Ire in Maxton, the same gresv up into a noted and un- 
common strictness, continuing, through the mercy of God, inviolate 
unto this day. 

On March 21, about two o'clock in the morning, my son Robert 
was born ; and he was baptized on the 26th, by Mr. John Lithgow, 
minister at Swinton. 

This year was remarkable to me, with respect to my ordinary in 
preaching, and my studies ; of both which I shall here give an ac- 

As to ray ordinary in preaching, occasionally mixed with other 
subjects ; having begun, as said is, the second Sabbath in Simprin 
after my ordination, I continued preaching man's natural state, 
until August 10, 1700. At which time I entered on preaching 
Christ the remedy for man's misery. From which I proceeded, Oct. 
19, 1701, to the doctrine of the application of the remedy; in the 
which, entering February 18, 1702, on the particulars of the ordin- 
ary method of the Spirit with sinners in conversion ; being sensible 
of the delicacy of the subject, and desiring to say nothing thereon 
but what I had digested beforehand, I began writing my sermons at 
large, and to venture very little on extemporary expression. And 
this was the occasion of my falling into a habit of writing my ser- 
mons at large, which I have since for ordinary continued, as I had 
access, and could reach it ; a yoke which often since that time I 
would have been glad to have shaken off, but could not get it done. 
Nevertheless 1 have been convinced, it was a kind and honourable 
dispensation of providence that kept it on me. Howbeit, wherecs 
in my notes at that time, as also before and after unto this day, may 
be sometimes found Latin, Greek, and perhaps Hebrew, it was not 
my manner to express them in the pulpit to the people; but in 
their mother tongue to express the thing the best way I could. In 

Vol. XI. l 

154 mkmoiks or [i>etuod vii. 

sermons indeed d&rttm dero, as presbyterial exercises, I nsed all free- 
dom in that point ; but so doing in sermons before the people, in 
country or town, I ever despised, and had a contempt of, as pe- 
dantic, and unbecoming the weight of the sacred mysteries. Mean- 
while, having dispatched that subject, I proceeded, November 15, 
1702, to the privileges of believers in Christ. And finally, on 
February 14, 1703, I entered on the believer's duty ; wherein, after 
the general doctrine, coming to particulars, I went through all the 
ten commands ; which done, I shewed the use of the law to those 
that are out of Christ; the believers' deliverance and freedom from 
the law as a covenant; and pressed the regarding thereof, as a rule 
of life ; with which I closed that ordinary of subjects, in the mouth 
of April this year 1704. 

Withal on the 4th of May following, I began an ordinary of 
week-day's sermons on the Song of Solomon; in which, I think, I 
continued till my removal to Etterick ; where I had no more access 
to service of that kind. In that time I went through the 2d and 
3d chapters of that book, and had entered on the 4th ; and these 
afforded us many a sweet hour together. These sermous are in 
retentis. But I judge I had before that gone through the first chap- 
ter in some exercises, without writing any notes. 

As to my studies, when I was settled in Simpriu, I had very few 
books; which occasioned ray borrowing, as I had access; and more- 
over, where I wanted to be satisfied in some particular points, ob- 
liged me to think of the same, if so I could find out what to rest 
satisfied in, not having access to consult many authors. And thus my 
scarcity of books proved a kind disposal of providence towards me ; 
I in that method, arriving at a greater distinctness and certainty 
in these points, than otherwise I could readily have obtaiued. The 
chief of these points I wanted to be satisfied in, were two; namely, 
the doctrine of the grace of God in Christ, and the subject of 

As for the doctrine of grace, how the Lord was pleased to give 
my heart a set toward the preaching of Christ, and how I had seve- 
ral convictions of legality in my own practice, is already narrated. 
I had heard Mr. Mair ofteu speak of being divorced from the law, 
dead to it, and the like ; but I understood very little of the matter. 
Howbeit, my thoughts being, after my settlement at Simprin, turned 
that way, that I might understand somewhat of these things ; some 
light, new to me, seemed to break up from the doctrine of Christ ; 
but then I could not see how to reconcile the same with other things 
which seemed to be truth too. And I think, that among these first 
rays of light, was a notion, that the sins of believers in Christ, even 

1704-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 155 

while yet not actually repented of, did not make them, being in a 
state of grace, liable to eternal punishment. And on this head I 
did, by a letter, consult Mr. Murray in Penpont ; but was not 
thoroughly satisfied with what he advanced upon it. Meanwhile, 
being still on the scent, as I was sitting one day in a house of Sim- 
prin, I espied above the window-head two little old books ; which 
when I had taken down, I found entitled, the one " The Marrow of 
Modern Divinity," the other, " Christ's Blood Flowing Freely to 
Sinners." These I reckon had been brought home from England by 
the master of the house, a soldier in the time of the civil wars. 
Finding them to point to the subject I was in particular concern 
about, I brought them both away. The latter, a book of Saltmarsh's, 
I relished not; and I think I returned it without reading it quite 
through. The other, being the first part only of the Marrow, I re- 
lished greatly ; and having purchased it at length from the owner, 
kept it from that time to this day ; and it is still to be found among 
my books. I found it to come close to the points I was in quest of ; 
and to shew the consistency of these, which I could not reconcile 
before ; so that I rejoiced in it, as a light which the Lord had season- 
ably struck up to me in my darkness. 

What time, prcisely, this happened, I cannot tell ; but I am very 
sure, that, by the latter end of the year 1700, I had not only seen 
that book, but digested the doctrine thereof in a tolerable measure; 
since by that time I was begun to preach it, as I had occasion 
abroad. Such opportunities I took, to give way to the then bent of 
my heart, which I could not so directly satisfy at home, being on 
the ordinary aforesaid. 

The first parcel of books I got added to my small library, was in 
the year 1702. The which year, in August, Mr. Simson aforesaid 
being in my closet, and looking at my book-press, smiled; the which, 
from whatever principle he did it, touched me to the quick, being 
conscious of my want of a tolerable quantity. Among these were 
Zanchy's works, and Luther on the Galatians, which I was much 
taken with ; and providence also laid to my hand, about that time, 
Beza's Confession of Faith. Most of the books mentioned in the 
2d, 3d, and 4th pages of my catalogue yet in retentis, whose prices 
are set down with them, were purchased in that year, and the fol- 
lowing 1703. And from the year 1704, the catalogue aforesaid 
goes on orderly, according to the years, generally, wherein the books 
came to my hand. 

Being thus provided, I was in better case to pursue my search, to 
my farther instruction and confirmation. In this manner, I reached, 
through grace, a distinctness and certainty, as to several points of 


the doctrine of grace, that I had not before. And what contributed 
thereto was, that I purposely studied some points of that nature, for 
my own satisfaction ; and set down my thoughts in writing ; par- 
ticularly these three points, viz : — 1. Whether or not the sins of be- 
lievers, while unrepented of, make them liable to eternal punish- 
ment ? 2. "Whether or not all sins, past, present, and to come, are 
pardoned together and at once ? 3. Whether or not repentance be 
necessary, in order to the obtaining of the pardon of sin ? 

Meanwhile, after I was let into the knowledge of the doctrine of 
grace, as to the state and case of believers in Christ, I was still con- 
fused, indistinct, and hampered in it, as to the free, open, and un- 
hampered access of sinners unto him. And thus, I am sure, it was 
with me, till the year 1702. How long I continued so thereafter, 
I know not. But, through the mercy of God, I was by the year 
1704, let into that point also ; and so far confirmed therein, that, 
on the 9th of July that year, at a communion in Coldinghame, I 
preached on Matth. xi. 18, " Come unto me, all ye that labour and 
are heavy laden," &c, then and there giving the true sense of that 
text, since published in the notes on the Marrow, and prosecuting it 
accordingly. And by the same time also, I reckon I had the true 
sense of the parallel texts ; Isa. lv. 1 ; Matth. ix. 12, 13, since that 
time also published in the notes aforesaid. How I was led thereto, I 
cannot distinctly tell ; but I apprehend I had taken the hint from 
the Marrow ; and I had no great fondness for the doctrine of the 
conditionality of the covenant of grace. 

With relation to the point last named, I remember, that upon a 
young man's mentioning, in a piece of trial before the Presbytery, 
the conditions of the covenant of grace ; I quarrelled it, having no 
great gust for faith's being called the condition thereof, but abhor- 
ring the joining of other conditions with it. Thereupon he was ap- 
pointed to deliver an exegesis on the question, " An fcedus gratiso 
sit conditionatum ?" This the young man, in his exegesis, resolved 
in the affirmative ; though, I think, ho held by faith only as the 
condition. I impugned this thesis, using this argument, viz., " I 
will be their God, and they shall be my people," is not conditional, 
but absolute ; but this is the covenant ; ergo, the covenant is not 
conditional. To which Mr. Ramsay aforesaid answered for the 
young man, That the covenant of grace was indeed a testament, and 
not, properly speaking, conditional. Herewith I was satisfied, and 
declared I would not insist, since I had been in earnest ; but withal 
that I thought it was pity, that such an improper way of speaking 
of faith should be used ; since it was not scriptural, was liable to 
be abused, and ready to lead people into mistakes. 

1704.] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 157 

These things, in these days, while I was in the Merse, gave my 
sermons a certain tincture, which was discerned; though the Mar- 
row, from whence it sprang, continued in utter obscurity ; but they 
were acceptable to the saints; neither did brethren shew disgust of 
them. I conversed occasionally on some of these points with breth- 
ren, particularly with Mr. Ramsay, then in Eymouth ; and indeed 
he was still on the other side of the question. "We had then some 
of the same arguments, that, afterwards in the year 1723, were cast 
up before the synod, in Mr. Wilsou's affair; but these disputes 
marred not our friendship, he being still pleased to call me to assist 
at the communion with him in Eymouth, though he used not to be 
with me at Simprin on that occasion. The worthy Mr. Colden also 
had a difficulty to admit what I advanced on the lirst question afore- 
said ; but after some reasoning, he owned there was some weight in 
that argument, If believers were liable to eternal wrath in the case 
mentioned, they behoved to be so, either by the law and covenant 
of works, or by the gospel, and covenant of grace ; not the first, for 
believers are dead to it ; not the second, for that it condemns no 

As for the subject of baptism ; after I was settled among the peo- 
ple of Simprin, and had entered closely on my work, finding some of 
them grossly ignorant, and hardly teachable in the ordinary way, 
and casting iu my mind what course to take with such, 1 drew up 
in writing a little form of catechising in the fundamentals, in short 
questions and answers, on design to teach it them privately in my 
my house. I do not well remember the progress of that affair ; nor 
do I well know where these questions are ; but afterward I used 
the same, in the case of my little children, in the first place, when 
they became capable of instruction. Among other such grossly 
ignorant, there was one, who desiring his child to be baptised, 1 
could not have freedom to grant his desire for some time ; neither 
am I clear, whether, when the child was baptised, it was baptized 
on a satisfying account of the fundamental principles from him or his 
wife. Whatever had laid the foundation of such scrupling, I was, 
by means of such straitening in practice, brought closely to con- 
sider that point. And having purposely studied the question, Who 
have a right to baptism, and are to be baptised ? I wrote my 
thoughts thereon also. And being one day in conversation on that 
head with Mr. William Bird, dissenting minister in Barmoor in 
England, he presented to me Fulwood's discourse of the visible 
church, for clearing me. Bringing home the said book with me, I 
considered it, and wrote also some animadversions on a part of it. 
From that time I had little fondness for national churches strictlv 


properly so called, as of equal latitude with the nations ; and wished 
for an amendment of the constitution of our own church, as to the 
membership thereof. 

There were, besides these, other two questions I bestowed some 
thoughts on, in like manner. The one, "Where had sin its lodging 
place in the regenerate ? the occasion whereof was a discourse with 
Mr. Mair on that head ; but I doubt if I have well understood him 
in that point. The other, Why the Lord sutlers sin to remain in the 
regenerate ? which had its rise from a particular straitening on that 
head in my own private case, as before narrated. 

My thoughts on these several subjects, written for my own satis- 
faction, I had, by the 4th of August this year 170-4, all fairly trans- 
cribed for conservation, in a book purchased for the purpose, and 
which I have called " The Miscellany Manuscript;" and thereby it 
was filled up to p. 325.* But whereas I had, in May 1703, begun 
exercises on the Confession of Faith, written at large for my own 
instruction, aud the edification of the people, to whom I delivered 
them, for the evening exercise on Sabbaths for ordinary, that work 
was continued only to the end of that year 1703. And in the said 
space of time I went through the first two chapters only. I judge 
its proving sometimes too strong meat for the people ; and its re- 
quiring more time and study than my other affairs could well allow, 
contributed to the breaking me off from that design, that otherwise 
would have been very profitable to myself for my instruction in tho 
whole system. 

I had, on tho 3d of September, in my course of lecturing, pro- 
ceeded unto the epistle to the Romans. And whereas it was not my 
ordinary practice to write my lectures ; yet having considered that 
epistle, as the proper fountain from whence tho doctrine of justifica- 
tion was to be drawn, I had an earnest desire of insight into it, so 
far as I could reach ; for which cause, having gathered together 
some commentaries upon it, I studied the doctrinal part thereof, 
viz., to chap. xii. with that design, and wrote some thoughts thereon, 
which are in r< trntis. But sticking too precisely unto tho lecturing 
of a chapter every Lord's day, this did, of course, make them the 
more superficial ; and withal the work was interrupted in the 5th 
and 7th chapters. 

As in the former part of this year, I had got a new parcel of 
books, so toward the latter end thereof, in October, I got another. 
This parcel 1 had bought in England. Ere I got them home, they 

* All these questions were printed in 1753, except the animadversions on Ful- 
uood ; the manuscript of which is now imperfect. 

17'J4.] MB. TlioiJA-S BOSTON. lot) 

had stolen away my heart, and I was extremely fond of them. This 
raised me in a great fear while the lad was gone to fetch them ; 
and it sent me to God ; but I had no confidence. The books were 
taken, and then I saw well that my sin had found me out. This was 
a piece of trouble to me for two or three days. At length I re- 
solved to lay myself down at God's feet, and to leave caring for the 
books ; which that I might the better do, I applied myself to the 
work of ministerial visitation of families. Having spent but a fore- 
noon in that way, when I came in, it was told me, that the books 
were in Ladykirk, and I might send for them when I would. Among 
these books were some of Lightfoot's pieces, the which did especially 
take with me, in respect of the Jewish learning therein ; to which 
a particular bias seems always to have been hung on me, plainly 
perceiving the singular usefulness thereof for understanding of the 
holy scriptures. While I proceeded in acquainting myself with 
these, as I had access, I studied his description of the temple, so as I 
made a draught of the temple and the altar accordingly, which to this 
day hang in my closet. And though, being an utter stranger to 
mathematics, I could not represent things in their proper figures ; 
yet that draught such as it is, so fixed the idea of the temple with 
me in some measure of distinctness, that it soon became familiar to 
me, and hath since that time been of very great use to me on seve- 
ral occasions. 

That winter I visited a woman in Homtoun, who alleged the 
devil was in her. After I had spoke and prayed with her, I went 
out, and in the meantime she got out of the bed, and cried with a 
most horrid cry, without intermission, near a quarter of an hour. 
Coming in, and finding her in this case, I often desired her but to say, 
God help me ; and she still said, she could not, and cried again. A 
weaver-lad had prayed with her; she told him the devil had said to 
her, she could be nothing the better of that good prayer, because it 
was not her own prayer, but his. To which the young man answer- 
ed, The devil is a liar; for the prayer was not mine, but the Spirit's. 
I admired the answer. 

Being with E. P. the night before she died, I had no satisfaction 
in converse with her ; which affected me exceedingly. Thereupon I 
came in to ray closet, and set myself to wrestle with God on her 
account ; and then went to her again, and was much comforted in 
her ; so that my spirit was more than ordinarily elevated. She 
said she fixed on that word, " Thou hast played the harlot with 
many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord." 

In the latter part of the mouth of December, it pleased the Lord 
to threaten to remove my wife by death, beiDg violently sick. I 


was anxious exceedingly, and above measure grieved on that ac- 
count. She recovered ; but God met me in such a manner, that 
I was most convincingly made to smart for that excess. 

After having closed the ordinary of subjects for the Sabbath, as 
before narrated, I handled some texts for exciting unto exercise to 
godliness ; and, upon a particular occasion from the parish, I treat- 
ed of divine desertion; a subject which, together with that of com- 
munion with God, was, in the early days of my hearing the gospel, 
much in the mouths of the old experienced ministers, though now 
much worn out of our practical divinity, through the decay, I doubt, 
of soul-exercise and experience among ministers and people. After- 
wards I did, on the 10th of December, enter on the epistle to the 
church of the Laodiceans ; Rev. iii. 14 — 22, on which I dwelt till 
May 6, 1706. 

Having administered the sacrament of the Lord's supper in the 
summer season, yearly, hitherto from the time I began that course, 
I did, on January 28, 1705, administer it again ; and this course of 
administering it in the winter season also, was continued from that 
time yearly, till I was removed from that place. And thus we had 
that soul-strengthening ordinance twice a-year from this time. My 
son Robert was sick before ; and I was laying my account with his 
death, even in the fore-end of that month. It was the first sacra- 
ment I gave in the winter-time. I was engaged to that way, for 
the benefit of the good people in the corner, who through the winter 
have no occasion of partaking of that solemn ordinance ; and I 
found it was what I could get done. It pleased the Lord to meet 
me as an enemy in the way. My child died on the Friday, and was 
buried on Saturday, the preparation-day, after sermon. I was re- 
proached through the country ; for, by the instigation of the devil, 
it was spread through the country, that I would allow none but 
those of our own parish to communicate, which (as it was said) kept 
away several persons. These things were very heavy to me and 
my afflicted wife, who yet was helped to carry the burden very 
christianly. They were the more affecting, in that I knew some 
ministers had no good eye upon the project, whereof one particularly 
helped to spread the report above said. However, all my losses 
were made up, the work went pleasantly on, the Lord sealed it in 
the consciences of many godly, with most evident tokens of his good 
pleasure, there being very much of God's presence with us at that work. 
And I observed the impressiou of it lasted longer ou the parish, and 
the fruits of it were more visible, and in greater measure, than 
any other J remember we had before. While I had been laying my 
account with the death of tho child iu the fore-end of the month, 

1705.] -MR. THOMAS boston. 161 

I had wished iu my heart, that seeing there was nothing but death 
for him, it might so fall out, that he might be buried on a Lord's 
day after sermons, by which means a competent number of people 
might be gathered together with little trouble and expense. This 
sin was lively painted out to me in this stroke. We had but one 
sermon on the Saturday, and another on the Monday, preached by 
Mr. Colden, the only minister assisting to me ; and I think Mr. David 
Brown, then probationer, now minister of Selkirk, preached on the 
Sabbath afternoon. I added some exhortations on the Saturday, 
and also on the Monday after the sermon ; the which are in retcntis, 
in the folio note-book. As the former was ordinary, so the latter, 
viz , the exhortation on the Monday, I have used for many years, 
and, I hope, with advantage; having learned it from the example 
of Mr. Bird, the English minister aforesaid, whom I was wont to 
be assistant to on such occasions. I never had a gust for gathering 
together many ministers at communions ; though, in the meantime, 
I continued to call two or three in the summer, and had two ser- 
mons on the Saturdays and Mondays. Soon after my ordination, I 
got a great disgust of the Monday's dinners, perceiving what snares 
they were, not only to the families of the respective ministers, but 
to the guests also. And by this course I was free of both these, 
providing a moderate entertainment for my few assistants. And 
now in Etterick, our Monday's dinners are turned to the entertain- 
ing especially of strangers, who coming from afar, have real need of 
a dinner to fit them for their journey homeward again. By occasion 
of these communions in the winter-season, many of the godly 
throughout the country were gathered about us ; which made these 
latter years of my ministry in Simprin more especially comfortable ; 
but these halcyon-days of my ministry lasted not long, but were 
soon at an end. 

On Thursday, November 1, about the evening-twilight, my daugh- 
ter Jane was born, and she was baptized on the 8th, by Mr. John 
Dysert, minister at Coldinghame. I had gone away that morning 
unto Preston, to join in a congregational fast there, where Mr. Col- 
den, and Mr. Laurence Johnston, minister of Dunse, preached ; and 
coming home at night, I found the child was brought forth ; the only 
one, in bringing forth of whom I shared not of the pangs, according 
to my capacity. By that child's birth at that time, providence was 
laying in for the heavy days we have seen of late years, in my 
wife's case. 

Proceeding in my course of lecturing, December 23, unto the 
epistle to the Galatians, I considered it also as a fountain of the 
great doctrine of justification ; and therefore was in particular con- 


cern for understanding thereof. Wherefore, addressing myself to 
the study of it, I wrote a paraphrase thereon, from the beginning to 
the end thereof : the which is to be found in the folio note-book 
aforesaid.* And this was all, I think, of that kind, which I did at 

There it was, that, by the kiud conduct of providence, I was led 
to, and acquired, the French tongue. What time I began it, I do 
not remember; only I am sure I had not seen the grammar till after 
I was removed unto the new manse. But by this year 1705, I had 
read French books, and made some things therein read my own in 
English. From Mr. Charles Murthland, governor to Moriston, I had 
got a paper of rules for reading that language ; the which I trans- 
scribed into a note-book. And from thence it was that I learned the 
pronunciation. The grammar, and all the books of that kind which 
I read, except an old one, being borrowed, I was the more careful 
to transcribe things out of them into my own Adversaria, or common- 
place book ; the which also was my manner with other books too, 
especially borrowed ones. About that time I framed a part of the 
folio note-book aforesaid, for recording therein any remarkable ex- 
position of scripture-texts, which should occur to me in reading. 
My hands, having, of later years, been otherwise providentially filled 
up, I made but small progress therein ; but I judge the pursuing of 
the design, to the filling up of the blanks, might be of vory good 

Jan. 9, 1706. — This night I was under great discouragement, and 
temptation, to give over the weekly sermon, or at least not to be at 
such pains about it. The temptation arose from the badness of the 
night, (for in the winter it was kept in the night in my own house, 
and in the summer in the kirk in the day-time) ; whereupon I con- 
cluded, that few would wait upon it. Tlie temptation spread to se- 
veral other things, as that none of my neighbours did so, &c. Never- 
theless the people came very frequent to it; and the Lord struck 
the bottom out of my discouragement, by giving me more than or- 
dinary of his presence in the sermon ; so that I would not for any 
thing have given it over. This has often been my temptation ; and 
thus ordinarily the Lord delivered me out of it. 

On the 27th of January, the sacrament was administered again. 
Before I proposed it to the eldership, I spent somo time in secret 
prayer with fasting, and saw it my duty to insist in that way, 
though the entry to it had been very hard. The day being condes- 

• This paraphrate was published ia 1753, being annexed to the miscellany ques- 

17U6 ] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 163 

cended on by the session, and Mr. Colden written to, for assistance, 
but the day not being publicly intimated, my daughter fell very ill 
of that disease her brother died of last year. This was a heavy ex- 
ercise to me ; what to do, I knew not. Should I go on, and the 
child die at this time, then said my heart, '* What wilt thou do to 
thy great name ?" My good will be evil spoken of, which the Lord 
knows I intended for his glory, and the refreshment of his people in 
the country-side. It will be thought testified against by the Lord 
himself; and it will be said, that what man could not hinder me 
to do, God would ; and so my ^design will be broken, and I bro- 
ken by it. On the other hand, thought I, will the neglect of duty 
preserve my child, or fit me for bearing the loss of her ? Again 
therefore 1 went to God, by prayer with fasting ; and still my cry 
was, " What wilt thou do to thy great name ?" At length I was 
led to think, Why am I thus continually crying, u What wilt thou 
do to thy great name ?" cannot God provide for his glory, though I 
cannot see how, even though my former tragical affliction be re- 
acted ? It is my duty, I will venture; let the Lord do what seem- 
eth him good. So I intimated the diet fourteen days before. And 
it pleased the Lord, that my child began to recover quickly after, my 
fears were dispelled, and the Lord did more for me that way than I 
could have expected in so short a time. I do not remember that 
ever I gave the sacrament, but I had some trying affliction in my 
way, either from the congregation or otherwise, Satan being on my 
top before or after. I had readily always something to thurst 
through violently ere I could get at it. 

Since December, 1704, I have preached on the epistle to the 
church of the Laodiceans ; and at the two last sacraments I changed 
not my ordinary. At the sacrament in June, 1705, the 18th verse, 
Rev. iii., fell to be the ordinary, and the action-sermon closed my 
discourse on that verse. One way and another I was held on the 19th 
verse, so that the preparation- sermons for the sacrament in January, 
1706, fell in the ordinary on these words, ver. 20, " If any man 
open to me, I will come in to him," and the action-sermon on these, 
u And will sup with him, and he with me." I and others of the 
congregation could not but mark, how those large offers came, in the 
providence of God, to be so sealed. I remember, when I had been 
preaching against the delaying of repentance from ver. 19, God 
preached that over in bulk, and in some particulars, by his pro- 
vidence immediately after. And the sacrament, that fell to be the 
ordinary, ver. 21, " To him that overcometh," &c, on which verso 
particularly we had several sweet days. The second Lord's day 
after the sacrament, one of the best of the parish fell under such a 


trial as I had been warning them of, about two hours after she went 
home from the church that day. That day I resolved to preach 
short, but could not get it done ; those particular heads which came 
last behoved to be delivered that day ; the design whereof I quickly 
saw by that dispensation, being called that night to see that person. 

On the Sabbath night, after the public work was over, Mr. Col- 
den, my assistant, gave me the news of a call to the parish of Etterick 
for me. The same was shortly after brought before our Presbytery ; 
who, finding it to be a mere presbyterial call tanquam jure devoluto, 
Avithout concurrence of the parish, referred the affair of the trans- 
mitting thereof unto the synod, which was to meet in March. 

March 4. — My health being broken, and thinking to go to Dunse 
to speak with Dr. Trotter about it ; after 1 had once and again 
gone to God by prayer, to see what was my duty, I did see it was 
my duty to go that day. And being just ready to go away, my 
wife, out of tenderness to me, dealt with me to stay at home for that 
day, and I yielded. Then I fell on writing up the synod-book, to be 
ready for the general assembly. Having written some of it, I fell 
into two blunders, such as I never fell into while I had written that 
book. Beginuing the third page, I fell into a worse error ; so that 
I was forced to lay it aside. At first I thought my indisposition 
was the cause of this; but at length 1 saw as clearly as the light, 
that it was the punishment of my mocking God, in that I had sought 
to know my duty, God had discovered it, and after all I laid it 
aside. But after all I was made to bless God for these errors. And 
when I was helped to see my sin, aud take with the punishment of 
my iniquity, then, though not till then, saw I how to get them 
amended. It was the Lord's goodness that they fell to be where 
they were. 

My health being broken as aforesaid, 1 took advice about it. And 
this was not the first time that it had been so with me, even since 
my marriage. Some former year I had gone to Berwick, to consult 
upon that account Dr. Alexander Homo, who, in the former part of 
the time I was at Simprin, was our ordinary; and shewing him, 
that I feared a consumption, he freely told me, that I had reason 
for it ; and gave his advice. He was a plain man, good-natured, 
religiously disposed, ready to do good, and sparing no pains for 
for that end ; easy to all ; and would never take a farthing from me. 
My wife having, by his advice, cut out her hair, and washed her 
head overy morning with cold water, got pretty clear ofthe pain of her 
head, for about the space of a year ; but at length spurning the re- 
medy, it recurred, and went on periodically as formerly. By this 
time Dr. John Trotter at Dunse was our ordinary. From him I got 

1706.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 165 

a receipt for a diet driuk, dated March 7, 1706, consisting of anti- 
scorbutics ; the which I used for many years, though now the disease 
hath much overcome me, inaugre all opposition made to it, by that 
and the like means. 

Some time before this, there had been an acquaintance begun be- 
tween the said Dr. Trotter and me, which arrived at a particular 
friendship ; and towards the latter end of the time I was in Sim- 
prin, became most strict and intimate ; and so it continued until his 
death, about the year 1717. 

He was second son to Alexander Trotter of Cattlesheil, and mar- 
ried Mrs. Julian Home, sister to the laird of Kimmerghame, a grave 
virtuous, and pious gentlewoman. By her he had several children, but 
all dead by that time, except his daughter Elisabeth, a pleasant and 
promising girl. She also died of a lingering disease, some little 
time after his own death ; by which means his substance went to 
his elder brother. He was a grave man, truly religious, acting from 
a principle of conscience towards God, temperate to a pitch, con- 
cerned for the spiritual good of others, particularly his relations ; 
useful by his advice and converse, not only to the bodies, but to the 
souls of his patients; skilful in his busiuess ; and more ready, than 
ever I knew another, to shew to such as he judged capable, the ra- 
tionale of his practice in physic ; withal he was ready to do good to 
all, but especially to those of the household of faith. He had some- 
thing severe in his temper, but was nevertheless a most affectionate 
and useful friend, whose memory is exceeding dear to me. He not 
only laid out himself, and that always freely, for my health, and 
that of my family, both at Simprin, and in Etterick ; but upon my 
removal from the former, to the latter, proposed my looking out 
a piece of land in Etterick for him to buy, that we might still 
live together; the which, though it did not take effect, was a sign 
of singular friendship. To him it was owing, that I ever thought 
of writing the Fourfold State. I have a piece of gold of his, 
which I received after his death as a token, and keep wrapt up in a 
letter of his to me. Besides, there were about 50 merks received 
for a token to ray two eldest children, and about £3 sterling for the 
two youngest. But by this time I have had occasion to give all of 
them, except my youngest son, their parts thereof, and much more. 

The synod meeting at Dunse, March 19, there was no motion 
about the affair of Etterick, the whole Presbytery of Selkirk being 
absent, through mistake of the diet ; but there was laid before 
them a competition of calls for the parish of Kelso ; the one to Mr. 
Andrew Mitchell, minister at Manner, given by the Earl of Rox- 
burgh, other heritors, and several inhabitants of the parish of Kelso; 


the other to me, by some other of the heritors, the elders, and other 
inhabitants of the parish aforesaid. That was a business which I 
think I neither hoped nor feared. The synod waved determining 
in the competition, but recommended to the parties to agree to one 
of the ministers called ; and if that could not bo obtained, to some 
third person. Meanwliile my health was so broken, that I looked 
rather like one to be transported into the other world, than into 
another parish. 

At the first meeting of our Presbytry after the synod, none of the 
Presbytery of Selkirk appearing, at our instance the call to Etterick 
was declared fallen from. At the following meeting one did ap- 
pear to pursue it ; but his commission was so informal, that it was 
not sustained. Only our Presbytery declared, that, if they would 
ask the synod's advice at their meeting in October, they would not 
reclaim. Thus Providence staved off the commencing of that pro- 
cess, while it stood upon a footing on which it could never have 
been rendered effectual. 

About the beginning of May, I was vehemently importuned to 
assist at Ednam sacrament. I could get no clearness to yield, in re- 
gard of the stumbling I thought it might give to those of the Earl of 
Roxburgh's party in Kelso ; fearing it might be looked on as a fo- 
menting of the division in that parish. However, I yielded to go 
thither on the Thursday, and preach that day, if no better might be. 
There I was, by their importunity, put on a most violent rack. How- 
ever, providence diverted them from urging me to preach that day, 
on a design to engage me to assist the following days. And after 1 
came, I was more averse from preaching that day than before I 
came. The more I heard the sermons, the greater were my inclina- 
tions to be at that sacrament ; the more I prayed, the less I saw it 
to be my duty ; wherefore being fully cleared, I was peremptory for 
going home. And by the Lord's unexpected providing instruments 
there, and his dealing with me at home, I saw more and more it was 
of the Lord. I never yet lost (so far as I remember) by that which 
some account niccness, in not going to sacraments when I thought T 
was called to stay at home. And this has oftener than once been 
my trial, and ground of reflection on mo to others, who looked on 
it with an evil eye. 

June 23. — This day being very warm, I was helped to pray to the 
Lora to keep the hearers from sleeping. I was heard, so as I could 
not but observe it. In the prayer before the afternoon's sermon 1 
was helped more than ordinary, and in the sermon there appeared a 
more than ordinary frame on the people ; which when I perceived 
to abide with them, and that my frame was like to go away from 

1705.] MK. THOMAS BOSTON. 167 

me, I left off. The subject was, That no unworthiness, sinfulness, 
&c, could be a just hindrance of the soul's coming to Christ. When 
the Lord minds a mercy to a people, he helps them before hand to 
pray for it. 

At the meeting of the synod in October, the Presbytery of Selkirk, 
having got a more firm footing for the affair of Etterick than their 
presbyterial call, appeared and gave in a petition to the synod about 
it. And together with them appeared, and concurred, the laird of 
Elliston, an heritor of that parish ; Walter Bryden, an elder, te- 
nant in Crosslee; and William Linton, tenant in Cossarshill ; and 
these two latter, by commission from several inhabitants of the 
said parish. Likewise a petition for the said parish to the Presby- 
tery, signed by five elders, and several masters of families, craving 
the presbytery would prosecute their call to me, testifying their 
concurrence, and promising all subjection to me in the Lord, was 
given in, and read. Hereupon the synod ordered our Presbytery to 
deliver the call to me, and to transmit the reasons of transportation 
to me and the parish of Simprin ; and appointed some of their own 
number to meet with our Presbytery, as assistants in the affair, on 
the second Tuesday of December. 

Last spring I was desired in Drummelzier's name to preach at 
Whittiughame, then vacant ; but smelling the design, I was averse 
to it, and got it shifted. On the 23d of September there was an ex- 
press sent me, by his order, to preach there next Lord's day, being 
the Lord's day immediately before the sacrament here. This I was 
exceeding averse to ; but having Mr. Brown to preach for me, that 
made his agent the more pressing. I went to Duuse to meet Drum- 
melzier, to see if possible I might be excused for that day ; but he 
was not there, as was expected ; so I returned, and went back on 
the Friday, not knowing whither I was going ; but observed that 
morning I was taught to pray that God might divert it. When I came 
to Dunse, I was presently told, that Drummelzier had sent word, 
that I needed not come that day. This I gladly received ; for I was 
straitened on the one hand, that I was to give the sacrament the 
day after, and, on the other, that Drummelzier had said, he would 
see that no other preached there that day. When, at the last synod 
the day was fixed for the determination of the business of Etterick, 
I thought it necessary to go and see the people beforehand, having 
never yet been in that place. The next week I am to go there. And 
being again invited to preach at Whittinghame, I had promised to 
preach there to-morrow, and was resolved to go to Dunse yester- 
night, but the badness of the weather hindered. This morning I at- 
tempted to go away, but found by one that I sent to Leek, that it 

168 MEMOIRS of [period Tin. 

was utterly impassable. Thus Providence has twice stopt my 
preaching in that place. I think the Lord means something by it, 
which afterwards I may see. The first time I could not get a ser- 
mon for that place ; but after many fruitless endeavours, I saw I 
would be obliged to take one preached before. The meaning of that 
was soon opened, as above said. But this time I got, my sermons for 
that place with a great deal of ease and satisfaction ; and after 
studying them, I thought that I would not have a free day from my 
coming from Whittinghame to my going to Etterick ; therefore I 
began to study for Etterick ; but by no endeavours could I get a 
text, so that I was forced to give it over, till I should have preached 
at Whittinghame, which I will not now see. 

The matter being thus brought close home on me, I, considering 
myself to be an utter stranger to that place and people having never 
seen them, judged it altogether necessary to visit them, as is said 
above, before the said diet of the Presbytery, with the assistant. 
Accordingly I went to Etterick, accompanied by my dear friend 
Dr. Trotter. I preached there on a Lord's day, November 3, but 
in bonds, though the Doctor said he observed no such thing. Even 
in secret prayer, from the time I left the Merse, I was sadly dried 
up, at least till the work was over on the Lord's day, except a little on 
the Lord's day morning. In fine, I judged I met with no such enter- 
tainment from the people, as could signify any earnest desire in 
them to have me to be their minister. So we left them on Monday 
morning. On Tuesday about ten o'clock we came to Charterhall, 
where I was surprised with the news of a fast through the two Pres- 
byteries. Not knowing well what to do, Providence led me straight 
home, having some thoughts of taking another day for our congre- 
gation. As I was coming by the end of Swinton loch, that word, 
Ezra viii. 21, " Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava," 
&c-, came into my mind ; and I had some thoughts on it, as a text 
for the fast, which was about the Union, the parliament being then 
sitting upon it. When I came home, contrary to my expectation, 
the people were in the church, Mr. Mair preaching. So I went im- 
mediately into the church, and preached on the aforementioned text 
in the afternoon, wondering how the Lord had led mo in the way I 
knew not. I was never so willing to be transported to any place as 
to Etterick ; particularly I apprehended it might be better with me 
as to my own soul's case there than at Simprin. But men's thoughts 
are vanity. I am now afraid of that transportation. My soul 
trembles to think of it, and my freedom in prayer about it is, to 
protest against it before the Lord, unless he command me to go; 
which does not yet appear. 

1706.] MR. THOMAS nOSTOX. 169 

Our Presbytery forgot to transmit the call and reasons, and to 
summon us, in due time, to the diet appointed by the synod ; but 
recovering themselves, they appointed a new diet, viz. December 12. 
On the 10th and 11th of that month, came on such a violent storm 
of snow, that I concluded there would no pursuers be present. And 
comparing this occurrence with the course of Providence all along in 
the affair, I began to think (but too hastily making a judgment 
therein), that God had thereby sealed his design, that I was not to 
be minister of Etterick. Wherefore, before I went to the Presby- 
tery that day, looking on the affair as in a sort already determined 
I could not be very serious for light therein ; but coming up to the 
place, I found myself disappointed ; two ministers, and two elders 
of the parish, pursuers, being there. Sir "William Cockburn ap- 
peared for Simprin. And the affair was issued that day in a re- 
ference to the synod in March. 

Dec. 31. — The affair of Etterick having occasioned various thoughts 
of heart to me at several times, I set myself to view the several steps 
of Providence in it on both sides. Upon the one hand I observe 
1. That Mr. IT. having come with the call to our Presbytery, in Fe- 
burary or March last, he staid all night in my house ; but I was 
from home. And the call was found to be a bare presbyterial call 
without concurrence of heritors, elders, or parish. 2. But the Pres- 
bytery having referred the affair of the transmitting of the call and 
reasons to the synod in March, the whole Presbytery of Selkirk 
through a mistake of the diet, was absent from the synod, so there 
was nothing done in it ; and at our next Presbytery after, none of 
the Presbytery of Selkirk appearing, at our instance the call was 
declared to be deserted and fallen from. 3. The next Presbytery 
after, Mr. B. appears ; but his commission was so informal that it 
was not sustained ; only our Presbytery declared, that if the Pres- 
bytery of Selkirk would ask the synod's advice in this affair, against 
October next, they would not reclaim. 4. The Presbytery of Selkirk 
having so managed their business at the October synod, that the 
synod ordered the call and reasons to be transmitted, and appointed ' 
a committee of their number to meet with our Presbytery the first 
Tuesday of this instant, to determine in that affair ; our Presbytery 
forgot to transmit the call, and reasons of transportation, and to 
summon us in due time. 5. Being an utter stranger to that people 
bnt by report, I thought it duty to go there and preach, before 
I would hazard the determination ; but the letter I sent to Mr. M. 
to warn the people of my coming, came not to his hand till the Sa- 
turday that I *vas in Etterick. 6. My entertainment there was not 
promising, and I was straitened, as above narrated. 7. Our Pres- 
Vol. XI. M 

170 memoirs or [period VIII. 

bytery having appointed a new diet, viz. December 12, I got the 
reasons of transportation, which seemed to me so weak, as that it 
looked like a particular design of Providence, and an infatuation. 
8. I went out of Simprin pulpit towards Etterick ; for that day I 
went away, I lectured and baptized, and presently took my horse ; 
and (so to call it) I returned from Etterick to the pulpit of Sim- 
prin as above related. 9. Thursday, December 12, the day anew 
appointed for the meeting of the Presbytery and assistants for deter- 
mining that affair, was a bad day ; a violent storm of snow hav- 
ing come on, on the Tuesday and Wednesday before, (whereas the 
diet appointed by the synod was excellent weather), so that it could 
scarcely be thought that either pursuers or assistants would come ; 
and on the Wednesday's night, finding none of them come, I began 
to conclude, that none of them would appear ; and so that, by such 
a train of providences, the Lord had sealed his design of my not 
going to Etterick to be minister there. Wherefore, on the morrow, 
before 1 went away to the Presbytery, I could scarcely pray seri- 
ously about it for light in it, seeing the affair as it were already de- 

But when I went to the Presbytery, within a little of the town, I 
was surprised with the news of the pursuers being there ; and there 
I found two ministers of the Presbytery, and two elders of the 
parish. Two papers were she wu me, when I alighted, importing the 
heritors falling from their opposition. The business was by that 
meeting referred to the synod in March. When I came home, 1 had 
several reflections seeming to favour the design of Etterick ; and as 
to some of them, I was made to wonder how my eyes had been held 
that I could not see them before. They are as follows : — 1. That 
was a surprising turn of Providence, when I went to the Presbytery, 
expecting none of the pursuers there, that came so quickly after I 
had thought God had sealed his pleasure in it, and put the top-stone 
on the providences crossing. I remember, while I was making that 
conclusion, I was withheld from making it peremptory, by that 
word ; James v. 11, " — havo seen the end of the Lord." 2. It was 
told me, that the unanimity of the Presbytery in that call was very 
remarkable ; some of them that had other views and engagements 
to act for others, laying them by for this. 3. Thus far it has been 
carried over difficulties, particularly the people, refusing their con- 
currence, who have now with the elders (last summer) given in a peti- 
tion to the Presbytery, bearing their calling me to be their minister, 
and promising to submit to my ministry ; and the heritors none of 
them appearing to opposo ; only one appeared to pursue it, and 
that only at tho synod. 4. The Lord did signally bind mo up from 

1707-] HR. TnOMAS BOSTON. 171 

going to "Whittinghamo, whereas I am informed there was a design 
of a call for me ; and I was led to preach the sermon at Etterick 
that was designed for Whittinghame ; the suitableness whereof I 
was fully convinced. 5. Some time before the presbytery-day I 
grew uneasy in my mind, for that I had never preached designedly 
some particular duties to my people ; which things I thought I 
might dispatch in the space of two or three months ; so I resolved, 
without delay, to fall about them, and have begun already. 6. The 
desolation of that parish, ever since I saw it, hath had great weight 
on me ; and I am convinced I should have more opportunity to do 
service for God there than here ; but success is the Lord's. 7. Con- 
cerning those providences that seemed to cross the design of Et- 
terick, it was a strange thing, that the whole Presbytery should 
have mistaken the diet of the synod, and that when they had such 
business before it. But had they been present, the business doubtless 
would have been tabled ; if in that case the synod had refused to 
transmit the call, the business would have been crushed in the bud; 
had they ordered the transmitting of it, no doubt the Presbytery 
had continued me in Simprin, it being contrary both to their light 
and mine, to transport on a mere presbyterial call. The same is to 
be said of Mr. B's informal commission ; for at that time the busi- 
ness stood only on that weak foot ; whereas by these lets the busi- 
ness never came undei a judicial cognisance tending to a determina- 
tion, till it got the people's call as a firmer foot to stand upon. As 
to our Presbytery's forgetting the synod's diet, I can only remark 
one thing, that the coming to prosecute the call at that time when 
they came, was a greater evidence of their affection to me than had 
they come then, when, according to the synod's appointment, the 
business should have been discussed. The miscarrying of the letter 
to Mr. M. seems to have been subservient to the cold entertainment 
I thought I met with there. As to which in particular I have re- 
marked, 1. That it was very necessary for me to take off that dis- 
position of spirit, whereby I was too easy in my own mind as to 
that business ; and it set me where I had often desired to be, even 
afraid of that transportation. 2. I find I have made the very same 
remark as to the inclinations of the people of Simprin, the first time 
I preached in it, the business being then set on foot. As to my 
straitening, I find also I have remarked concerning my first preach- 
ing in Simprin, that what aecount to give of that day's, work, I 
knew not very well. 

Jan. 4, 1707- — Monday. This day I went towards Oxnani, to 
take Mr. Colden's advice about the business of Etterick. As 1 was 
going away from home, I began to be very perplexed about that 

m 2 


business, and, by the way to Stitchill, tho dispensations crossing 
that affair, seemed so big in ray eyes, that I thought it was not the 
Lord's mind that I should be transported thither. And that night 
I could not pray about it, any other way than that God would avert 
it. On the morrow Mr. (jr., Mr. K., and I went to Oxnam, and found 
that Mr. Colden was at Edinburgh. Thus was I disappointed. I 
minded also to have taken his advice, whether to give the winter 
sacrament at the ordinary time, or delay it. This disappointment 
determined me to do it at the ordinary time. As to Etterick, I looked 
on that disappointment as a dispensation confirming tho conclusion, 
that God designed me not for that place. When I came home, I 
found, that, seeing I had missed my mark at Oxnam, it was neces- 
sary to set some time apart for seeking the mind of the Lord himself 
in it; for now again the cross providences had not such a determin- 
ing aspect as before. 

This I did on Saturday, January 9, having studied my sermons 
the day before. The upshot of it, with respect to that particular, 
(for I had also tho public affairs and tho sacrament in view also), 
was, that in some measure I could say, that " my countenance was 
no more sad," the Lord calmed my spirit, which before was perplex- 
ed, and helped me to believe, that he would clear me in that matter 
in due time, and to depend on him for the same ; and that word, 
" He that believeth, shall not make haste," was helpful to me. The 
Lord helped me to lay it before and upon him, especially towards 
the close of that exercise ; so that it was a blessed disappointment 
at Oxnam ; for by that means I was driven to the fountain of light. 

Jan. 19. — This day being to seek something with respect to tho 
public, I prayed particularly, that God would guide tongue and 
heart. On reflection, I must say, he is the hearer of prayer; for 
my heart and tongue were guided in that particular, far better than 
my pen in my notes. 

Three things make me hope, that the Lord will clear me in the 
business of Etterick, and bring it to a happy conclusion ; 1. The 
calming of my spirit after prayer, 1 Sam. i. 18. 2. Several that 
have interest with God, aro concerned to cry for light to me at the 
throne of grace ; Jam. v. 16. 3. I am willing to go or stay, as tho 
Lord shall give the word ; Psalm xxxii. 8, 9, and xxi. 9. And, as 
often before, upon this matter, so this night I was helped with some 
boldness to protest before the Lord, that I must bo caused to walk 
in his way ; Psalm xxv. 8 ; Ezek. xxxvi. The occasion of theso 
thoughts was, that about two or three days ago I received a letter 

from Mr. M , touching that affair, another from Mr. B , in 

name of the Presbytery of Selkirk, desiring me to go to Etterick 

1707-] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX. 173 

again. This I could not yield to ; because, 1. The main thing they 
desired it for was, that I might be satisfied as to the inclinations of 
the people ; but unless other things did it, I could not have it that 
way, in regard I had signified my dissatisfaction with their carriage 
towards me ; 2. I thought it would make my own people and them 
also mistake me. 

Jan. 25. — My servant yesterday went to D , with beer. "We 

waited long for his coming home, but he came not, and we were 
afraid he had filled himself drunk. When we were going to bed, 
and he not come, we were afraid he had either perished, or was lying 
by the way unable to help himself. I minded to set some time apart 
for fasting and prayer in my family, as was ordinary before sacra- 
ments ; and this determined me to this day. So it was observed 
for these three causes especially : 1. The sacrament ; 2. The state of 
public affairs; 3. The business of Etterick. This day when we 
arose, and found he was not come, we resolved to wait till eight 
o'clock, and then send one to seek him, if he came not ere then. I 
went to my closet in great distress, as all my family was ; and while 
I was begging a blessing on the scripture I was to read, I earnestly 
prayed the Lord would calm my spirit, and help me to depend on 
him. The Lord answered me presently, and so I fell on to read. 
And when 1 had read about ten or eleven verses, my son came to 
the door, and told me the lad was come. This helped me to pray, 
wondering at the Lord's goodness. Our fears in one part had good 
ground ; for so it was with him. The family met, and the Lord 
was with us, and filled us with goodness and thankfulness. I ob- 
served here, 1. That the devil was driving on the old trade of rag- 
ing about the time of a sacrament, as he uses to do. But he was 
outshot in his own bow ; for, 2. This affliction was a vast help to 
me and my family, to the work we were going about ; it put us in 
another frame than readily we would otherwise have been in ; 3. I 
learned the necessity of taking more care about the unhappy lad's 
soul than I had done. 4. That a depending frame is a pledge of 
the mercy desired. And this lesson came seasonably to me at this 
time, with respect to the business of Etterick, for light wherein I 
am helped to depend. 5. My wife expected workmen to have come 
yesterday, and the family last was to have been next week ; but 
God hindered them, and the disappointment determined us to this 
week, as the other dispensation to this day, which we could not have 
got done if they had come. 

Feb. 2. — The sacrament was celebrated. 1 had great difficulty to 
get a text. On Wednesday I began to study the text I preached 
on, but was obliged to give it over. On the Friday I began it anew, 


and hammered out my sermon on it that day. The confluence of 
peoplo was extraordinary ; so that I behoved to send for more wine, 
and sot up another table on Saturday's night. It was thought my pre- 
sent circumstances contributed to it. When I began the work on the 
Lord's day, I was much discouraged by reason of the confusion and 
disturbance, occasioned by the unusual throng, and by reason I could 
observe few of my own handful among them. I had no straitening in 
my preaching, nor any other part of the work. Something of a more 
than ordinary frame was upon myself and the people, in the first prayer. 
The work at the tables was signally owned of God. Some professed, 
they were in hazard of disturbing the work, by crying out at the 
first and second tables. I understand by many, that there was 
something of an unordinary frame among the people in the byre. 
While I was communicating, one that was near me seemed to me 
not to have taken the bread ; I gave her a sign while she seemed to 
be meditating, and found she had taken it. This discomposed me ; 
I saw it had been a temptation, and that my business then was to 
have been taken up about my own case. Being brought to the 
pinch, I wrestled to get to my feet again, fleeing to the blood ex- 
hibited, and set myself to present duty. Let this be a lesson to me. 
At night in my closet, partly desiderating the impressions of com- 
municating on my spirit, as was due ; partly reflecting on that dis- 
order at first by tho throng, having never seen any here before, I 
was discouraged, and poured out my complaint before the Lord, was 
sore weighted and bowed down ; my eyes, meanwhile, being with- 
held from seeing what glorious power of God appeared at that 
work. Blessed be the Lord, it was good ballast. And I have re- 
ceived something of what I then desiderated. On the Monday, Mr. 
Colden preached a sweet sermon, with much tenderness. I knew not 
whether to speak after him or not ; but found at length, though I 
desire not to speak after him, that yet I durst not forbear. And 
so, with tho Lord's help, I spoke a word to all, to strangers, and, 
with more than ordinary vigour and concern on my soul, a word to 
my own people. All the three days I found two of my neighbour mi- 
nisters offended at me, which was but a new thing as to one of them; 
and considering that with Mr. B 's persecuting mo in many com- 
panies with his tongue, upon tho occasion of a proposal I made to 

him in Mr. B n's favour, before ono other minister only, which 

he received very calmly in the time, though he yielded not to it, but 
we parted good friends, till Mr. B n had seemed to balk his car- 
nal project, that ho had interwoven with tho calling of him to bo his 

colleague, and afterwards to be solo minister of G w. Thus was 

I grieved, and my spirit affected, seeing some of my friends now 

1707-] UK. TIIOMAS boston. 175 

turned my enemies ; which made mo say in my heart, " that I 
had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring men," &c. 

Feb. 9. — This morning the Lord was pleased to blow on mo more 
than ordinary ; and with thankfulness my soul acknowledged tho 
goodness of God, in that ever he sent me to Siraprin, gave me a less 
charge than others, provided for me hero, gave mo the blessed oc- 
casions of sacrament*, and hath mado unworthy me some way useful 
to several of tho people. This day was ;i good day, and I hope a 
day of power. (Nota, If ever I preached in my life, it was that 
day). I preached on 2 Cor. xi. 2, " I have espoused you to one hus- 
band." Towards the latter end of the afternoon's sermon, I desired 
them to remember, that I had espoused them to Christ, shewed them 
in some particulars what had been done that way, and then called 
the heavens and the earth, the angels, the stoues and timber of the 
church and byre, and the people themselves, to witness that they 
were espoused. These things were delivered with a change of my 
voice, speaking mostly lower than before, but with more than or- 
dinary weight and gravity. Having made that solemn attestation, 
my spirit just slipt off into prayer, that the Lord would preserve 
them till the day of the Lord, &c, in which I continued a littlo 
while. The like I never did. In that prayer, my voice, that 
before was low, and when extended uneasy, turned very high ; and 1 
prayed with as much easiness of my voice as ever in my life. I was 
a wonder to myself, and a strange moving was upon the people. It 
was observable, as that easiness began with the prayer, it continued 
while, in a few words, I exhorted them to endeavour to keep chaste ; 
and then it left me, which was ere I had altogether done with the 
sermon. Afterward I had a temptation to be lifted up. It was 
quickly crushed in the bud, but not by me. I had a secret dissatis- 
faction that arose in my heart as to the managing of that work. In 
the fervour of my affections I had expressed a word wrong. This, 
whatever be of it, had weight enough then to hold me down, if not 
to press me too far. (Nota, All this passed, as I remember, betwixt 
the pulpit and the garden-door next to the house.) But imme- 
diately after I came in, going to my closet as ordinary, at prayer 
there, it pleased the Lord to shoot an arrow of wrath suddenly into 
my soul, which pierced my soul and body both ; so that a great 
weakness, and an exceeding great heat, went through my body in a 
moment. It lasted not long ; but I think, if it had lasted a while 
longer, I had been a most miserable spectacle. When it came on, 
at first I was tempted to rise from prayer, and flee from tho pre- 
sence of the Lord, and had much ado to resist; but God in mercj 
determined me to another way, even to ilee under the covert of the 


blood of Christ, that only shelter from the terror of God, and that 
even to those that had crucified him ; and so I held by these scrip- 
tures ; 1 John i. 7 ; Heb. ix. 14. These drops of wrath came in on 
me, with a conviction of guilt darted into my spirit, viz. that, in 
that prayer aforesaid, I had not suitable affections to that petition, 
" Even so come, Lord Jesus, como quickly," which was tho last pe- 
tition in it. And in a most composed temper of mind, reflecting on 
it, I see clearly, that God left me in that, and that that petition 
was the product of my own spirit. This let me see, that my best 
duties behove to be washed in tho blood of the Lamb, else they, 
even they will damn me. After dinner, siugiug with my family a 
part of Isa. xxxv. that word, ver. 8, " And an high way shall be 
there, — though fools shall not err therein," was very sweet to me, 
with respect to the business of Etterick. I went up immediately to 
my closet, and meditating, I again got a broad sight of the filthi- 
ness of my best duties, and the absolute need of their being washed 
in the blood of Christ ; saw myself most unworthy to touch the ves- 
sels of the Lord; and that I might roll myself in the dust, when 
the glorious gospel was to be preached. This helped me to pray. I 
have sometimes wished for some drops of wrath, to awaken me out 
of a secure frame ; but I found one drop, ono arrow, intolerable 
"Who knows the power of his wrath ? Tongue cannot express it. 
precious Christ ! precious blood ! Horror and despair had 
swallowed me up, had it not been that blood, the blood of God. I 
observe now, that, according to ray design formerly laid down, I 
was to have preached on watching this day ; but the Lord withheld 
me, and led me to this text ; as also that the Lord gave a spirit of 
prayer in the private fast before tho sacrament, aud this morning 
also. These were tokens of good. But the Lord has been at pains 
to hide pride from my eyes. that I never saw it more ! 

Feb. 10. — This morning coming, in prayer, to the business of Et- 
terick, I thought I saw myself beset with promises ; Isa. xxxv. 8 ; 
Prov. iii. 6 ; Psalm xxv. 9, and xxxii. 8, 9, and cvii. rdt., and my soul 
was raised to a dependence on the Lord. At night, fear and darkness 
seized on me again, being in company ; but by prayer I was raised 
up again to dependence. There is no keeping foot without new 
supplies from tho Lord. 

Feb. 12. — Concerning that business, winch lies very near ray 
heart, and so ranch the more as tho time of its determination draws 
near, I have further remarked, 1. That Providence has been at 
pains to keep me out of the way of the parties, that I might 
not consult with them ; Mr. 11. missed me, Mr. M. and those with 
him wore diverted from coining to my liousc the night before 

1707- J MR. TIIOMAS BOSTON. 177 

the Presbytery. I was invited to Yarrow sacrament last summer, 
but had no freedom to go. At Melrose sacrament, Elliston's lady 
desired to speak with me ; I declined to speak with her in the church 
yard, lest people should have misconstrued me, and promised to 
wait on her any where in the town ; but I heard no more of it. 
About Whitsunday 1703, Drummelzier declared, though not to me, 
his respect towards me, (having been with him about business), and 
that he would favour me in any transportation I had an eye to, (so 
he was pleased to express it, at least so it was told to me.) I said 
to the person that told me, I thanked Drummelzier for his kindness, 
but that was not the way I minded to take, but was content to stay 
where I am. Nevertheless afterward, that same year, I think, I 
heard he had recommended me to Etterick ; but Providence so 
ordered it, that since that time I never saw his face ; wherein I 
have often admired the good providence of God ; for if I had, it 
would have been hard to have come away with a good conscience 
and good manners too. (N. B. I have heard since I came to Etterick, 
that thus I was among the first that were recommended to them 
after Mr. Macmichen's departure. However, he joined not with the 
callers, being pleased with the thing itself, but not with the method 
of procedure.) 2. "When the call came first to our Presbytery, my 
health was sore broken ; I looked rather like a man to be transport- 
ed to eternity, than to another parish. 3. While I was at Etterick, 
my wife had so little liberty in prayer about that business, that 
when she saw me first, which was in the church presently after I 
came home, she was able to guess my entertainment. [N. B. I must 
do this justice to my wife, once for all, to say, that as to my leaving 
her country, and not settling there, and as to my settling in Simp- 
rin, which was before she was my wife, but not before we were 
engaged, she interposed not ; and as to this transportation, she med- 
dled as little ; but in all the three was silent to the Lord, and laid 
open to follow what God would point out to be my duty.] And 0. 
Wood told me, that the business at first seemed very clear to her, 
but afterwards grew dark. 4. There was a most remarkable dif- 
ference betwixt the secret and family fast before the Presbytery, 
and the secret and family fast last observed. In the former two 
there was nothing but tugging and heartlessness; in both the latter, 
there was something of the spirit of prayer. 5. After that exercise 
on the 9ih of January was over, having prayed that the Lord would 
help me to take up his mind in his dispensations, I thought on the 
things recorded above, December 31, p. 169, ct seq. And that day, 
viz. Jauuary 9, the balance was, in my apprehension, cast on the 
side of Etterick. G. I thought Mr. Golden should have staid the 


Monday night after the sacrament, that I might consult him in that 
affair; but he went away. Only he told me, that he thought it 
God's goodness that I was sent to Siraprin ; but that he was now 
clearer than ever that I should go away ; but he spoke not of Et- 
terick to me, but Ayton and Jedburgh. Many a time has God in- 
hibited that man to help me ; but if he had not been more useful to 
me than others, I had not been so ready to idolize and make an 
oracle of him, whom my heart will ever love. The last Lord's day 
another went away, and spoke not with me ; but I reverenced the 
providence of God drying up the streams, to lead me to the fountain. 
7. What aspect the Lord's countenance at the sacrament, the ex- 
hortation on the Monday, and the last Lord's day's work, have on 
this affair, the event will make certain. As to the last of these, it 
was said by Christian Wood, who was with us that day, that it 
seemed to her from that work, that either I was near an end of 
preaching for altogether, or near the end of my preaching at Simp- 
rin. 8. I think it a strange conjecture, that at this time so great 
offence is taken at me by my two nearest neighbours, and other two 
in whom I trusted, without any just ground that I know of. One of 
them, Mr. P. I used to boast of; that whatever different sentiments 
we were sometimes of, we still kept from taking offence at one an- 
other ; but I was surprised, a day or two ago, to hear that it is not 
so now. 9. About two years ago, when there was no word of any 
transportation for me, so far as I remember, I had a dream, that I 
was transported somewhere ; and in my dream I was under great 
remorse of conscience ; for that I thought the love of the world had 
prevailed with me in it. When I awoke, I thought myself thrice 
happy, that it was but a dream, and that I was still at Simprin. 
The use I made of it then was, that it might be a warning to me, to 
take heed to myself, if ever a transportation should offer. 10. That 
day I went to Etterick I lectured here on Psalm cxxii., insisting 
mostly on the latter part, ver. 6 — 9. That day I came home, that 
word came into my mind; Ezra viii. 21, and I preached on it, 
though I little thought to have preached any that day. 11. What 
may be the event I know not ; but it has sent me oftener to God 
than otherwise I would have gone, and my own case has been there- 
by bettered. C. Wood told mo, that when the business was first 
set on foot, being very much concerned about it, she was brought at 
length to lay her hand on her mouth, and thought she had this 
answer, that if I went there, it should be for the good of a young 
generation. But she said the business grew darker to her after- 
wards, yet she still thought I behoved to go there. These things 
she told me after I came home from Ettorick. 

1707-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 179 

Feb. 16. — Last night lying down to rest on my bed, I posed my 
conscience with that question, Whether, or not, after all I have 
thought and seen, I durst peremptorily refuse to go to Etterick ? 
And I thought I durst not. This did much quiet my heart, knowing 
that the determination is to be made by the synod. The dream I 
had long ago, had occasioned fears to me very often ; and therefore 
have I asked my own soul, whether the world sways me in this busi- 
ness ? And I dare not say it does. And in this inquiry, it was 
clearing to me, that I am conscious to myself, that if never so great 
worldly advantages had been proposed to me at the Presbytery, 
December 12, I durst not have yielded to it, seeing no more of God 
in it than I saw at that time. But because my heart is a depth of 
secret wickedness, I have several times this last week prayed with 
respect to that particular point, that God would search me and try 
me. And I think, I dare say before the Lord, I was sincere in it, 
really desirous to know if that wicked way was in me in that matter. 
I am sometimes helped to depend on, and trust God, for guid- 
ance in this matter ; but I am often assaulted with fears of being 
left. And what then should I think of that dependence so often 
brangled ? This has been my case often within this short time. 
But this morning, at family-exercise, when it was not in my mind, I 
met with a passage in our ordinary ; Jer. xxxix. which was cleared 
to me, so as I saw an answer to my case. The passage was that, 
ver. 17, " Thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom 
thou art afraid. 18, For thy life shall be for a prey unto thee, 
because thou hast put thy trust in me." Afraid (I thought), and 
yet delivered, because he put his trust in the Lord ! Wonderful, 
that God will overlook his people's weakness, and deliver them, 
even because of that trust mixed with so much fear ! That because 
was wonderful in my eyes. This answered my case so patly, that I 
was much cleared by it. C. Wood was here this day, being the 
Lord's day, minded to go home ; but the Lord hindered her by 
bodily indisposition. She told me the business was plain to her, 
that to Etterick I must go. I was anxious the last time she was 
here, that I might have understood how that matter seemed to go 
with her ; but she was going away, I laid by that anxiety, and God 
brought this notice unexpectedly to my hand. 

Feb. 18. — This morning I arose eaidy, and retired to spend some 
time in prayer, especially about the business of Etterick. Last night 
in prayer, once and again, for help to that work, my soul was elevated; 
but the third time I was sore dried up. This morning I had some 
tugging with my heart a while ; at length I got earnest and solid de- 
sires after the Lord. And I remember, I pleaded much on the 


Lord's having givon me these desires, that seeing he had made them, 
he would fill them. Afterwards that frame was lost, and I could 
say little, but cry, that the Lord would loose the prisoner. While 
I was at that work, a letter comes which I behoved immediately to 

answer; and then Mr. M ■ came. This was about ten o'clock. 

So I was taken off. Howbeit, in company, the sad thoughts of this 
heavy turn in my frame, and the Lord's deserting me, stood before 
me. I stole away a while to my closet, and thought and prayed- 
And as to the causes of it, I had before found out one, viz. a woful 
desire I had of vain-glory last night. This I confessed before the 
Lord, when the darkness came on ; bnt no alteration of ray frame 
could I get. But now at prayer I was let into another cause. The 
last year, so far as I remember, my health broke on the 11th of 
February. On Saturday last, the 15th of this instant, I had re- 
solved to spend some time in prayer. But finding my body sore 
weakened after my studies on Friday, I altered my resolution of 
having that exercise on the Saturday, and delayed it till this week, 
fearing this weakness might be the beginning of the feared breach 
of my health. On Saturday my indisposition continued, and on the 
Lord's day my strength was small. Now I began to fear tho Lord 
had thus left me, because of shifting that duty on Saturday last ; 
but I repelled this, seeing, thought I, my being so very feeble on 
Friday's night was a just grouud to delay it, till ray body were fit 
for that work. But when I came to prayer, in the progress of that 
duty, a conviction of guilt in that point, and that I had not trusted 
God for bodily strength, for his service, was so born in and fastened 
on my soul, that I behoved to let go my carnal reasonings as fig- 
leaf covers, and take with it. Then I confessed it before the Lord, 
and fled for refuge to the blood of Christ. And thereupon followed 
an alteration upon my frame, and ray perplexed and confused soul 
was eased, though I walked halting under the sense of that guilt. 
So, as I had opportunity, I pursued my design through the rest of 
that day. At night tho society for Christian fellowship met. And 
I observed, that this business, which has fallen out of their prayers 
for some time, came in again this night. R. Aitchison prayed first, 
a man in whom I think is the spirit of prayer. I took notice, that 
his prayer about it was just as his prayers were this time twelve- 
month, when that business was set on foot first by the call. He 
prayed for light to me, that God would prosper my work if I be to 
stay with them ; and that if I go, God may be with mo, and looso 
their affections from me. So prayed he at first. But before tho 
Presbytery on December 12, there was an astonishing boldness and 
freedom with the Lord among them in that matter, in him especially, 

1707-] MR. THOMAS B0ST03T. 181 

which seemed to me prophetic. Wonderful, wonderful, is the con- 
duct of Providence ! This desertion with the ontgate seemed to me 
to clear me in another case about this business. On the Lord's day 
morning, as said is, I was set on my feet by that word ; Jer. xxxix. 
17. IB ; but at night T began to stagger again, upon the considera- 
tion of my bodily indisposition. It seemed to be coming on as last 
year ; and I thought, that if it should be thus with me at the synod, 
whatever other things might point out to me, I feared this would 
leave me in the lurch ; for if matters, on the one hand, look so as to 
bid me yield ; this indisposition, on the other hand, speaks strongly 
against it; seeing it would appear unfair towards that parish for 
me to yield to take the charge of them under such bodily indisposi- 
tion. [Nota, That which was feared was a consumption.] But here- 
by, in sad experience, I learned not to shift that which otherwise 
appears duty, upon the account of bodily weakness and indisposi- 
tion, but to be at the Lord's disposal, and hold even on the way, 
trusting him for strength for his own service. After family worship, 
I came to my closet again, and fell to work. And at that time, 
after prayer, I read over the above account of the dispensations of 
Providence in that business, and in the sight of the Lord, as I could, 
communed with ray own heart concerning the two foresaid questions 
and was answered as above said. 

Feb. 24. — Monday. On Saturday last I gave myself for a while 
to prayer, especially with respect to the business of Etterick, and I 
found my heart ready for prayer, and desirous of it, having laid no 
restraint on myself as to time or continuance in that exercise. This 
I did, because the last day I found my heart impatient sometimes 
under the view of continuing closely for such a time. This day also 
I spent some time in prayer, and thinking on that business, in order 
to come to a fixed resolution and determination as to what is my 
duty. The time of the synod's meeting being now very near, 
obliged me to set this time apart for the end foresaid. Wherefore, 
after serious applications to the throne of grace, for light, and de- 
termination of duty from the Lord, I took a view of those things 
noted, December 31, and as to the presbyterial call. And as to the 
latter, I see not how it could have been commenced in a more 
cleanly way for me ; and it agrees very well with the chain of the 
after dispensations. As to our Presbytery's forgetting the day, I 
further remark, that it was necessary to bring the business to so 
low an ebb as it came to at length. As to my straitening while in 
Etterick, it was a time of straitening to others concerned for me, 
and so the whole was of a piece. And when I was under an invita- 
tion to go back to Etterick again, I was convinced, that no stress 


could be laid on my enlargement in preaching ; so that though I had 
been, when there again, enlarged, it would not have taken away my 
scruple, or determined me. And this in the meantime answered the 
case of my straitening. As to the weakness of the Presbytery's 
reasons, I could nowise account for it. As for my going out of and 
returning to the pulpit of Simprin, and the scriptures I was led to 
both times, these seem to leave it in cquilibrio. [Nota, I think, if I had 
said, these seem to call me to make haste in my work there, as hav- 
ing but little time more, it had been no unreasonable construction 
of Providence. And the other part, to wit, those scriptures I was 
led to, seem not to have been without design this way, though the 
union was the occasion of my pitching on both of them.] The last 
was the seal of dispensations cross to it, which was soon removed. 
"Whatever come of my health after this, my indisposition has not 
been so violent this season as it was last year. The aspect of tho 
last sacrament, and the Lord's day after it, on this business, has 
for some time appeared to me, and not to me only, determining. 

I remember how yesterday I had a lamentable account ; how the 
devil had set up his trophies against the sacrament in Dunse market 
on "Wednesday lastj one of this parish (W. T.) and he a communi- 
cant, being so drunk, that he could not hold his feet, but fell, and 
broke his face in the open street. This created me thoughts of 
heart, even with respect to this business, and made me stagger not 
a little ; but examining, whether it might be consistent with the 
Lord's design of removing me, and my submitting to this transpor- 
tation, I was cleared by that passage, Acts xx. 29, 30. 

At length I came to this conclusion, That seeing all the dispen- 
sations seeming to cross the design of Etterick (excepting one) may 
be in some measure accounted for, and appear not inconsistent with 
the Lord's design of sending me there, and that the most remark- 
able of these made plainly for it ; seeing that by a train of cross pro- 
vidences, Providence made it grow darker and darker, and then 
suddenly and unexpectedly made such a turn in it ; seeing it hath 
been brought this length through several difficulties, and the Lord 
seemed to open two doors for my removal at one time, and then shut 
one of them again, and with that I designed for the one sent me to the 
other ; seeing the dispensations of providence, and tho frame of my own, 
and that of the hearts of others with respect to that matter before the 
Presbytery, December 12, did in some sort keep pace with the event of 
that day, and both being now altered, go in another course ; seeing 
the Lord chased me away to himself to seek counsel, kept me from 
consulting with men, and has so graciously condescended to give me 
seasonable clearing of particular cases in that affair ; and the way 

1707-1 MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 183 

I have been directed to in my preaching here since the prebytery- 
day, for ordinary changing a text every day or two, which was not 
my usual way, and the work at the sacrament, and particularly 
that on the Lord's day thereafter, seem to have such a determining 
aspect ; seeing the Lord hath removed the hinderance arising from 
the consideration of the state of my health, partly by making it 
better, and partly, yea chiefly, by shewing me that I ought not to 
lay so much stress on it, as is above narrated ; and seeing, upon the 
whole, I am convinced, that if I had no charge, I would by these 
things be determined to embrace that call ; therefore I am resolved 
(rebus stantibus ut nunc) to submit to the synod, and leave it to their 

And forasmuch as these dispensations of Providence, as ob- 
served and applied, look scripture-like, and this resolution hath not 
been easily obtained by me, having bad many ups and downs in 
this business ; seeing the Lord shewed me on the 9th of January, 
that he that believeth maketh no haste, and I was content to wait, 
and was quieted in prayer, and helped to depend on the Lord, while 
as yet I knew not what hand to turn me to ; and I have found, for 
ordinary, when I sought light in this affair, my first care was still 
for Christ himself, esteeming himself far above light, &c, and now 
at last I have won at this resolution, in the use of means for clear- 
ness, so that I was afraid this day to harp any more on that string, 
lest I should with Balaam tempt God ; and seeing, upon the attain- 
ing of that clearness as to my duty, my soul has been made thank- 
ful to the Lord for his goodness and condescendence to me in this 
matter, I must and will conclude, that this resolution is of God ; and 
having examined myself again as to the world's influence, 1 dare 
say, and said it, before the Lord, that (in his strength) ten thousand 
worlds should never have engaged me. 

After all, I saw my case in Psalm xl. 1 — 5, and I behoved to 
sing it ; and so I did with a thankful heart, from ver. 1 to 9. And 
blessed be God for Christ ; thanks to the Lord for his unspeakable 
gift. I bless him, that the effect of all this is to make me prize 
Christ ; and therefore when I thought I had done, I was obliged to go 
back again, and, as I was able, to bless God for Christ; and that 
I may have the advantage of an eternity to praise him in ! 

As to the sacrament of Melrose (p. 176,) which was last summer, the 
letter inviting me to it was given to me only on the Thursday before, 
when I was preaching atEccles,beingthefast-day before thecommnnion 
there. This straitened me for time to think on it, and prepare for it, 
if I should go. Mr. L. had desired me to come thither against the 
Lord's day, after I had preached at home, to help there. I endea- 


voured to see my duty, and studied for Melrose on the Friday, in 
case I should go there. But on Friday's night I went to bed, still 
in the dark as to ray duty. Wherefore I rose early on Saturday 
morning, wrestled for light till between seven and eight o'clock ; 
but could not know what to do. That which helped to difficult me 
was, that it was in Selkirk Presbytery, and that some of the people 
of Etterick might bo there. This darkness distressed me exceed- 
ingly, both in body and mind ; wherefore giving it over, I went to 
bed again to refresh my body. A little after I rose again ; and, 
seeking the Lord, resolved to take my horse ; so I went away, not 
knowing whither I was going, whether I would come home again, or 
stay at Eccles, or go forward to Melrose. But by the way the light 
began to break, to send me to Melrose ; and withal I had hopes, 
that, at Eccles, I would meet with that which would fully clear mo 
what to do. And so indeed it came to pass, and I was determined 
fully ere the sermons began. So I staid there, and heard sermons ; 
but after sermons, with all speed, waiting on no person, being re- 
solved not to entangle myself, or cast myself into a new snare, I 
took horse, and came to Melrose betwixt seven and eight at night. 
I preached on the Lord's day and Monday ; and the Lord was with 
me, especially on the Lord's day. There were none there from 
Etterick. It was my good friend C. Wood that, by keeping up of 
Mr. Wilson's letter, occasioned this distress to me. 

Feb. 27. — A violent fit as of the gravel beginning with my wife, I 
designed to go to prayer on that account ; but immediately she was 
better ; and therefore I prayed, and with her gave thanks for the 
receipt of what we were thinking to seek. My heart was enlarged 
under a sense of the Lord's goodness. And this new mercy revived 
the grateful sense of the Lord's kindness that I have of late met with 
in the hearing of prayers. This night the two societies met together 
for prayer, concerning tho business of my transportation. One of 
the western society going to read, asked me whore ho should read ; 
I said he might read whero ho pleased, thinking he would choose 
some place suitable to the occasion. And so one tells him, our or- 
dinary in the eastern society (which met weekly at my house) was 
Gen. xii. So he begins, and reads, c< Now tho Lord had said unto 
Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and 
from thy father's house, unto a land," &c. This was very surpris- 
ing to mo, being so pat to my case. Thus was that work begun. As 
for their prayers, they were as I noted boforo, p. 181. 

March 2. — I preached on the observing of providences, from Psalm 
cvii. ult. ; and I observe how the Lord led me to it, through several 
difficulties, drying up to mo another subject I thought to have been 
on. 1 was afraid to venture on (bis subject, not knowing how to 

1707-] MB. THOMAS B(HTO>. T . 185 

manage it ; but the Lord was pleased to lay to my hand liberally, 
for all the scrimpness I feared. 

March 3. — Latter end of the last week, I began to have some 
passing fears, that the business of E'.terick might misgive at the 
synod; but last night they became exceeding great and pressing, so 
that I lay down with such a weight of them, that I had much ado 
to bear up against them. The precise point on which they rolled* 
was this, viz. That in case it should misgive, it would brangle me 
terribly as to my own soul's case, raze foundations, turn all I had 
got in quest of light in the matter, into delusion ; and so, in that 
event, I would not know any more how to discover the mind of God 
in a particular case. No wonder that this was most heavy, and 
perplexing, and racking, as indeed it was, threatening a stroke at 
the very root of my soul. Only I thought, if I was wrong, I would 
be content to be undeceived ; seeing I was yet in the land of the 
living, and might yet be set right. This day I had a grateful sense 
of the Lord's goodness to me, and of his gracious condescension, in 
that he had been pleased to let me see my duty clearly now eight 
days ago ; and that he did not keep up his light from me till the 
very nick of time of the determination of the business. ! the 
wisdom and foreknowledge of God, in letting in these fears, like a 
flood on my soul ! I do with profoundest humility, and thankful- 
ness, admire and adore that wisdom and foreknowledge, when I 
look back on the heavy task I then was to have, and now have had, 
in that place; under the which, nothing could have borne me up, 
but the clearness of ray call, from the Lord himself, unto it ; and 
that flood of fears hath since made that clearness, like a wall of 
adamant, in the face of many a storm and tempest I have met with 
in that place. 

The synod having met, and the affair come before them, I was, on 
the 6th of March, by their silence, transported from Simprin to 
Etterick. On the 4th I went to Kelso to the synod ; and was 
scarcely well set down in the church, when Mr. H. C. a member of 
the Presbytery of Selkirk, told me, that Sir Francis Scot did not 
take it well, that the Presbytery would needs use their jus devo- 
lutum ; but that he would consent to the calling of me, if they 
would fall from their call. He asked me what I thought of it. I 
told him, that, for my part, they might do in that business as they 
pleased. The way I received it at first was, that I found myself 
content to stay still in Simprin ; but afterwards it was not so easy 
to me, while it seemed to pluck down all I had been building, as 
above related. Thus was I by this dispensation sore brangled. The 
first ease I got was on Wednesday morning ; when, after some time 

Vol. XI. «• 


spent iu prayer, the Lord opened my eyes, and let me see how ho 
had in his providence been pointing out to me my way to Etterick ; 
and I found I durst not shift my duty for the difficulty in the way. 
After dinner that day, having procured to myself a little time 
alone, I set myself to prayer ; the rather that 1 thought my busi- 
ness might come in that afternoon ; and being yet somewhat uneasy 
and troubled as before, after prayer I resolved to read the scrip- 
tnre ; but that I might not make a fortune-book of the Bible, I ex- 
pressly resolved I would read in my ordinary ; and though my 
case should not be touched there, I would wait on God. It fell to 
be 1 Peter i. where I met with that passage, vers. 6, 7, " Though 
now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold 
temptations, that the trial of your faith being," &c. This was sea- 
sonable and refreshful to my poor soul. But I was called away (by 
reason of my ordinary office, being synod-clerk) before I got the 
whole chapter read. It pleased the Lord to bear it off for that diet; 
only I was almost no sooner set down at the table in the church, 
but Mr. A. D. told me, he had Sir Francis Scot's letter, that he 
would make no noise about my settlement in Etterick. On the mor- 
row, by which time I was fully cleared to hold by my former reso- 
lution, laid down Monday was eight days, having in secret laid my 
all down at Christ's feet, I went away and was transported. It was 
a melancholy time, while parties were removed, and some of the 
honest men of Simprin were weeping near by me, being hopeless, 
which was a heavy sight to me, who dearly loved them. Imme- 
diately after the sentence, " Transport," I was confounded, and 
troubled with many fears ; and the ease I got, was by reflecting on 
those fears that I was oppressed with last Lord's day at night, 
and considering what a dreadful case my soul would liave been in, 
if, after such indications of the mind of God, it had misgiven. 
When I came out of the church I met with Mr. Colden, who told 
me he was sorry 1 was to go out of tho Mersc. And I remember it 
was against his will that I settled in Simprin ; he would have had 
me to Teviotdale. Then J. E. met with me, and discouraged me, and 
told me, I would not come to Kelso, but go to Etterick. I remem- 
ber he did just so to me at Kelso, that night bofore I went away to 
my marriage. But I had no cause to repent either of the two, ray 
settlement at Simprin, or my marriage. The use I made of these 
things, was to look for trouble, and expect throughbearing. I came 
home that day. As I was by the way, I had a great calmness and 
serenity of mind from tho Lord ; all was well ; and when I came 
home, the Lord was very gracious to mo in prayer ; and in that 
prayer I had great liberty to plead with God for my wife's safety, 


1707-] MK. THOMAS BOSTON". 187 

and had a sort of impression that tho child, in her belly was a boy 
and the name to be Ebenezer, which, for a memorial of the Lord's 
kindness to me, I promised, in case it should be so that it was a 
boy. Hitherto I have had kept up on my spirit, a plain sense of 
the Lord's calling me to Etterick. Fears of great difficulties are 
upon me, but the sense of duty keeps me up, and these former fears, 
p. 183, 184, are a bulwark against my present fears. And my soul 
has been much enlarged in thankfulness for the Lord's kindness, in 
guiding me with his eye set upon me. 

The synod, in their act of transportation, out of kindness to me, 
recommended it to the Presbytery of Selkirk to use all tenderness 
to me ; and in case I should meet with such grievances at Etterick 
as I might be unable to bear, that they should give and grant to 
me what might ease me of the same ; and the moderator, in name of 
the synod, promised the same unto me. In that act, the synod like- 
wise provided, that I should not (on account of the ruinous state of 
the manse at Etterick) be obliged to remove my family, till such 
time as there was a sufficient manse provided for me there. 

I judged it expedient and favourable, to have such provisions for 
my ease, in the act foresaid. But having once taken the charge of 
that parish, I had no freedom to make use of that touching tho 
manse, but behoved to transport my family to the place, and to 
bear the inconveniency of our lodging there for the time. And 
though my grievances there soon came to be exceeding great, and 
hardly supportable to me ; yet such was the sense of the command 
and call of God upon me to that place, that I durst never presume 
to seek ease and relief, by the provision made about it; so that, 
under all my sinking burdens there, I never moved any such thing 
to the Presbytery or synod, but resolved to wait till he who set me 
there should call me also away from it. 

March 9. — Sabbath. This morning I found there was a sad 
change upon me ; my frame was gone, ray spirit straitened, every 
way unfit for the work of the day; and therewith came on a great 
darkness as to my call to Etterick ; and an uneasiness has been on 
my spirit most of this day, with respect to my going to that place to 
be minister to that people, the sense of my call thereto being withheld 
and hid from me mostly till night. The reason of this sad alteration I 
found to be ray miscarriage yesternight ; for A. M. coming up to 
me at night, I gave too much way to carnal mirth and laughter, 
till I forgot my work, and out of woful self-confidence would not 
withdraw from him to go to my studies. It was no time for me to be 
so merry, when my poor people were so sad. And had I taken time 
last night for study, I had had more time for prayer this day. So all 

N 2 


went wrong with me together this morning ; my frame was gone, 
darkness as to my call from God seized me, my son fell sick, and 
Mr. Miln too ; so that whereas he should have lectured for me, he 
told me, when we were at breakfast, he could not do it ; so I be- 
hoved to fall on studying a lecture then. Thus did the Lord point 
out my sin, sending me to study at that time, who would not study 
when I should have done it. This I never saw till just now that I 
was writing this day's progress. But just when I was going out to 
the kirk, Mr. M. arose, and told me he would lecture ; and so the 
Lord justly put me to needless pains, because I would not be at need- 
ful pains. This remark also did but just now occur to me at the 
writing of this ; which is indeed a fulfilling of scripture. 

This day's sermons were as suitable to our case as if I had sought 
a text just for our present circumstances. There were three mys- 
teries of Providence ; 1. People's walking contrary to God, and yet 
Providence shining warmly on them ; 2. Astonishing strokes light- 
ing on those that are most dear to God ; 3. Astonishing afflictions 
meeting the Lord's people in the way of duty. (See sermon on 
Psalm cvii. nit.*) All which I thought to have delivered the last 
Lord's day ; but God reserved them for this day, to begin it with as 
to me. What may be the design, I know not. 

At night, after a fruitless attempt or two, I recovered somewhat ; 
and at the family exercise, singing that word ; Psalm cxix. 143, 
" Trouble and anguish have me found," — " Yet in my trouble my 
delight Thy just commandments be," I found it was very suitable to 
my case, and helpful to me. From that trouble, besides what is 
obvious, I have learned, 1. That if I will keep up the sense of my 
call from God, I must live near him ; 2. That my transportation is 
of God ; seeing it looks up in the light, and these fears and doubts 
only in the dark ; and consequently, 3. That God works by con- 
trary means, making darkness the means of further light, as I have 
now found it. From that word meeting me at the exercise in the fa- 
mily, observe, 1. An exercised case is a good help to the judgment, for 
understanding the scripture ; 2. It is a noble help to the memory ; no 
doubt I have often read that word, but I think I will not so easily for- 
get it again. [Nota, The narration in this paragraph has been too su- 
perficially set down, and I find such impressions may much wear off 
through time. I think tho case has been this : That after prayer I 
somewhat recovered the sense of my call to Etterick; which increas- 
ing did comfort me, though I walked halting under a sense of the mis- 
carriages the night before ; and thus meeting with that scripture, I 

* The sermons on this text are jet preserved j but the author afterwards preached 
more fully from it, which discourses are inserted in the author's body of divinity, vol. 
I. p. 260, >t seq., and are justly esteemed. 

1707-] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 189 

understood it thus (so far as I can remember), That trouble had taken 
hold on him, and also anguish of spirit, because of mismanagements 
in his way ; but even under both outward trouble and anguish of 
spirit, — it was the delight and comfort of his soul, that he was, 
in the main.found in the way of commanded duty. And this seems 
no improbable interpretation, being confirmed by ver. 144, where he 
says, " Give me understanding," viz. a practical understanding of 
them, that I may both know duty, and get the way of duty kept, 
" and I shall live," to wit, comfortably, though he knew he could 
manage no duty so, but some blots would be on his conduct, Jan. 
26, 1710.] 

March 13. — As I was walking through the town, that word was 
comforting and supporting to me, " He that believeth, shall not 
make haste," comparedwith that, "He that believeth, shall not be 
ashamed." I know I was helped to believe, and not to make haste ; 
and therefore I concluded, I shall not be ashamed. At night I met 
with a trial. R. A. talking with me of what had happened at the 
synod, told me, that Mr. Ker said, with the tear in his eye, to him, 
Sir, ye are unaccountably robbed of your minister. This did sting 
me to the very heart. So walking up and down, with the dart in 
my liver, that word ; Acts xxi. 13, " What mean ye to weep, and 
to break my heart ?" &c, came into my mind ; and at first it ap- 
peared very clear to me, and gave me ease ; bnt the life and light of 
it afterwards wore away. On the morrow I gave myself to prayer, 

1. For the more lively revival of the sense of my call to Etterick ; 

2. To know whether I should go to see Sir Francis Scot, who was 
patron of that parish, till patronages were abolished by law ; 3. Con- 
cerning the time of my admission ; and, 4. My wife's case. As to 
the first, the Lord was pleased to clear that passage; Acts xxi. 
again to me with additions, ver. 4. — " Disciples, — who said to Paul 
through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem." Ver. 
12," — We and they — besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep, and to break mine 
heart ? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Je- 
rusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." And it was seasonably 
suggested to me, that when I was going to settle at Simprin, it was 
very perplexing to me, to think, that I had been, and might be 
more useful as a probationer, than as minister of Simprin ; and yet 
I have seen cause to bless God for what use he has made of me 
there. This was very useful to me in this matter, in respect of the 
strait some were in, by reason of my being some way useful in this 
country. These things struck at the bottom of my present uneasi- 
ness. Yesterday I received advice of two brethren, concerning the 


management of the visit to Sir Francis Scot. I remarked this day, 
how the Lord had helped me to pray, that they might be directed to 
advise me right ; and they advised me in a point which I <2id not 
foresee, but was very necessary, and the missing whereof might have 
done harm. And now my uneasiness is gone, and I can plead, that 
the Lord hath sent me thither. And, even in the time of this uneasi- 
ness, I could freely pray, notwithstanding, that the Lord would be 
with me there. 

March 17- — This day having au occasion to see an extract out of 
the presbytery-book of Selkirk, bearing, That Mr. Hugh Craig hav- 
ing delivered the presbytery's letters to Sir Francis Scot, he seemed 
not averse to Mr. Boston's being settled minister at Etterick, with 
which Mr. William Scot and Drummelzier complied : That the said 
Sir Francis told him, that he had written to Tushilaw to object 
against the serving of Mr. Boston's edict ; but now, after second 
thoughts, would write contrary orders ; and promised to cause re- 
pair the kirk, and build the manse and office-houses, as good and 
convenient to dwell in, as any country manse in the bouuds. I 
noticed the date of this, and found it to be of the 5th of December. 
Now the diet appointed by the synod, and forgot by our presbytery, 
was on the 3d of December ; so that this mistake of our presbytery 
gave them that material advantage to their cause, which I could not 
but notice as a particular design of providence. 

March 20, or 21. — I went to see Janet Currie, who for some time 
has been sick ; and this day she told me, but not before, though I saw 
her before on a sick bed, that it was trouble of mind that made her 
so. Yet she kept up the particular from me, till I guessed it to be 
blasphemous thoughts. I spoke to her case as the Lord was pleased 
to help, and particularly desired that she might not be idle, but 
work with her hands. She came to my house on the morrow, and 
was abroad last Lord's day, being better. 

March 30. — Now it appears what was the Lord's design by this 
March 9, parag. 2. Troubles have come very thick on me. Isabel 
Ridpath, the best of my servants, is like to be taken from me, when 
I am to go to a strange place. On Tuesday last, there came an 
officer of the army, and another man with a shci ilf's warrant, to 
take my servant lad for a thief, to carry him to Flanders. Some- 
time before, I durst not send the lad abroad, lest he should have 
been pressed ; and almost every night since, we have beon afraid 
of attempts on our house by these men. My wife and my son 
were the worse of the fright that this occasioned, while searching 
the house for the lad. Two lads I had an eye on for servants, I am 
disappointed of, one after another. I have been distressed sore in 

1707-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 191 

my body with the haemorrhoids ; so that yesterday I was forced to 
give over my studies, and take my bed ; and this day to study in 
my bed. 

Yet in wrath God has remembered mercy. The lad being at 
.Nisbet mill on the Monday, they watched to catch him by the way 
as he was coming home. But he was providentially carried off the 
eastern, which is the ordinary road, and came the western way. The 
pursuers, by a mistake, were sent first to Langton ; so that ere they 
came hither, he was gone out of the house; and one of them spoke 
to him, but knew him not. As for my bodily trouble, it hiudered 
me not from my public work, though it recurred after. \_Nota, I 
have preached the gospel now about twelve years and a half, and 
have had but a tender body; yet the Lord has been so gracious to 
me, that (so far as I can remember) my indisposition never kept me 
from my public work of preaching on the Lord's day, but, one way 
or another, I have got it done ; as once, when under a flux at Simp- 
rin, I preached in the house wrapped up in a blanket under my 
gown, and several Lord's days, while scarce able to speak above my 
breath. Only about a year before I came out of Simprin, I was 
obliged to give over the Sabbath-night's lecture, by reason of bodily 
weakness, which would not allow me to undertake it.] Since I 
began the epistle to the Hebrews, I was never so unprepared to 
lecture, and never lectured on it with so much satisfaction to my- 
self. That trouble on Tuesday came upon me in that very moment 
when my heart was excessively carried away from God towards the 
creature. The instrument of that trouble I saw on Wednesday, 
and he was ashamed of it. I found it was a pique founded on an 
imprudent action of the lad. That very same day he was (as I was 
informed) fined in £50 Scots for striking of a man till he fell down 
as dead. 

April 1. — Having been at prayers in my closet, and helped to 
pray that God would turn the hearts of the heritors of Etterick to 
me, I came down, and presently received a letter, which gave an 
account of Sir Francis Scot's disposition towards me, wherein was 
nothing discouraging. 

April 19. — Having been at Edinburgh, Sir Francis Scot told me, 
that he was resolved to protest against my call. This day I spent 
some time in prayer with fasting, for ray wife's safe delivery, and 
concerning the business of Etterick. I found I was for either of 
these two, to wit, that either God would divert the heritors from 
opposing, or give me grace to bear up under it, and countenance me 
in my work ; so I laid hold on these promises ; Prov. xvi. 7; 2 Cor. 
xii. 19 ; Psalm xxxvii. 5. I found I was very unfit to manage 

19*2 MEMOIRS OF L 1>EuluI) vm * 

matters there, and under the disadvantage of being far from neigh- 
bours with whom I might advise. But it has always been my sup- 
port in that case, that I had God to go to as a counsellor ; and this 
was the only ground of my confidence ; wherefore I got hold of that, 
Psalm cxlvii. 11, and xci. 11. While I was at Edinburgh, there- 
was another attempt to take my servant by the foresaid person, 
assisted with some dragoons •, they had him ; but he was rescued by 
some of the people of the town. The fright was troublesome to my 
wife. But upon the sight of her trouble, Isabel Redpath, a pious 
and active servant, who was about to give her over, resolved that day 
to give her no more trouble, but gave over her marriage that 
night ; and so by one trouble she was freed from another. 

April 20. — Sabbath. I was resolved on a family fast on Monday. 
Christian Wood was with us this day, but could not stay. At part- 
ing I told her my design, and desired her help, though at a distance. 
The causes were the same as of the secret exercises before. She 
went away ; but God sent her back ; for her brother had gone away 
with the horse, and would not wait on her. So on the morrow we 
Bpent some time in prayer for the causes foresaid. It was a good 
time, the Lord gave us his countenance, and we were helped to 
seek. After the work was over, and we were come to dinner, we had 
not sat down at the table, when word came, that the foresaid officer 
was seen at Swintonhill, and that armed men were lying in the 
western loan for the lad. We blessed the Lord that had restrained 
them, and prayed for more restraint to them ; but saw none of 

Wednesday, April 23. Last night I was helped to lay the Mon- 
day's prayers before the Lord, and to be concerned for them ; and 
this morning, about seven o'clock, my wife was delivered. There 
was a surprising cluster of mercies here. 1. I awaked about five 
o'clock, and found she had her pains ; and ere I got to prayer, that 
word sweetly rolled in my mind; Judges xiii. 23, ''If the Lord 
were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering 
at our hand ;" and it filled me with hopes. 2. Her reckoning was to 
April 27 ; the presbytery of Selkirk had appointed my admission to 
be at Etterick the 29th of April ; which, when I got notice of it, 
was very astonishing to me, considering that I had told them by a 
letter, that I could not be from home at or about that time. Seeing 
it was so, we resolved to atteud the conduct of providence. 3. From 
what I wrote to the presbytery, I designed they should gather from 
it, that it would be most convenient for me to be admitted this 
week ; they mistook my meaning ; but it was a happy mistake. 
4. My wife was more quickly delivered than over before; and the 

1707.| MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 193 

midwife had beeu sick, which made us afraid ; but she was better ; 
aud had it not been so, we had got none at all. 5. My heart leaped 
for joy, hearing it was a boy, aud so Ebenezer. He was baptized by 
Mr. Pow on the Lord's day after, being the 27th. 6. And all this 
came about as a quick answer of prayer. ! we saw our Lord 
loading us with mercies. I had been desired to be at Selkirk to- 
morrow ; was desirous to know my duty ; had not freedom for it ; 
but hoped God would clear my way in that, and this did it; and so 
I went not- 

April 28. — One came from Edrora, while I was studying my ser- 
mons for my own parish, and told me I was appointed by the pres- 
bytery to preach there Lord's day next. I was very averse to it, 
and humorously refused it. I went to God with it, but got no light. 
At length I laid by my humour, and laid myself at the Lord's feet, 
resolving to go over the belly of my inclinations, if God should 
appear to call me; and thus went to God again with it. And there- 
upon I fouud an unclearness to leave my own congregation ; which 
was something extraordinary ; for though I did not use lightly to 
leave our own congregation, yet the disproportion of it to all others 
in the bounds, when I had otherwise a fair call, used to determine 
me to leave it. Rising from prayer with this unclearness on my 
spirit, Mr. B. came and told me, that one was just arrived from 
Churnside, and said, that Mr. Wilson was to preach there, so that 
Mr. M. might preach at Edrom. But this man had no certainty for 
it. However, I sent the man to Mr. M. Immediately there came 
another, and coufirmed what the other had said ; and the man from 
Edrom was within a cry ; so he was called back, and confirmed in 
this. Mr. M. preached at Edrom, and I at home ; and our kirk was 
very throng. This was wonderful in my eyes, and came seasonably 
as a pledge of further mercies. 

On the first day of May I was admitted minister of Elterick; a 
day remarkable to after ages, as the day in which the union of 
Scotland and England commenced, according to the articles thereof 
agreed upon by the two parliaments. And on that very account I 
had frequent occasion to remember it ; the spirits of the people of 
that place being embittered on that event against the ministers of 
the church ; which was an occasion of much heaviness to me, though 
I never was for the Union, but always against it from the beginning 
unto this day. When the edict was returned, Whitslead and an- 
other heritor, with John Caldwell, and William Nicol, gave in a 
protestation to the presbytery against my call. So the Lord guided 
me well, keeping me at home that day. When I came to Crosslee, 
it was told me, there was one in Thirlestaue from Sir Francis Scot, 


to protest against my admission. I was thereupon the rather in- 
clined to go forward to Thirlestane ; where I found him, one that 
had been in the class with me at the college. When I went to 
my chamber, Mr. Paterson told me his errand ; and I was very pen- 
sive. When I was going to bed, I overheard him say to Mr. Pater- 
son, " Have you told him, that he will neither get meat nor lodging 
here ? I will get up early, and close the church doors." Though I 
was uneasy before, yet then, even by that, I grew easy ; from thence 
concluding, that the business would be stopped at least for that day. 
On the morrow morning I dealt so with two of the brethren that came 
thither before the rest, that I had almost gaiued them to consent to 
the delaying of the admission ; the rather that Sir Francis Scot had 
promised to give me a new call with the rest of the heritors ; only 
I wanted not thoughts, that if once my neck were out of the yoke, 
it should never come under it again ; which was the eifect of my 
weakness and indeliberation. So we went to the church ; I scarcely 
doubting, but I would come home as I went away. I struggled 
against the admission, before the presbytery beiug convened in mass; 
but they would by no means yield to the delay. Being sadly racked, 
I went into a room, and sought the Lord ; but my trouble remained, 
and what to do I knew not. At length the Lord put it in my heart, 
to be content, and resolved to meet with difficulties and opposition ; 
and upon this, presently my heart was calmed, and I was clear to 
be admitted. So Mr. B. protested before the presbytery in the 
manse in Sir Francis Scot's name. And I was admitted that day. 

This struggle that I made against the admission was of good use 
to me ; for thereby I found favour with Sir Francis, as I did imme- 
diately after my admission with Mr. B. who promised faithfully to 
relate the matter as it stood to his constituent, promising all favour 
he could do me in that matter. Sir Francis Scot's protestation was 
to have come out to the presbytery at Selkirk some time before, and 
was sent by an express ; but the express came not till the day after 
the presbytery. On the Sabbath after, I preached to the people of 
Etterick on 1 Sam. vii. 12, " Then Samuel took a stone, and set it 
between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, say- 
ing, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." And thereafter I returned 
home to Simprin. 

This mouth (I think) we had a family thanksgiving, wherein the 
Lord was very gracious to us, and our hearts were enlarged with 
the remembrance of the Lord's hearing our prayers at the last fa- 
mily fast, and with his present goodness. And it being better than 
ordinary with me, this exorcise was sweetly concluded with solemu 
blessing of my family. 

1707- ] ^IR. THOMAS BOSTON. 195 

May 26. — I had found much favour with some of the best note in 
the country, who undertook to speak to those that were my ene- 
mies, to induce them to favour me. I was thankful to the Lord ; 
but my heart protested I would not trust in princes.; 

June 15. — Having got back to Etterick about the latter end of 
May, not thinking quickly to transport my family, I was while 
there, determined to hasten it, and had fixed the time. When I 
came home, I was surprised to hear, that the presbytery had de- 
clared my church vacant, though the act transporting me, obliged 
me not to dwell at Etterick till the Manse was repaired. My heart 
was thankful to the Lord, who had led me in the way I knew not, 
though it was hard measure from them. From the time that I end- 
ed my sermons on the epistle to the church of the Laodiceans, I had 
gone through several miscellaneous subjects ; particularly a cluster of 
them, in the last half-year of my ministry there. These I had just 
ended, on the last Sabbath save one before my removal. And this 
day I preached, out of one of the barn-doors, to a great multitude 
of people, my farewell sermon, on John vii. 37, " In the last day, 
that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, If any man thirst 
let him come unto me, and drink." And as the Lord was with me 
in that place during my ministry there, so he left me not then, but 
was with me at that close of it, and much of God's power appeared 
in it. On the Tuesday we came away, and arrived at Etterick on 
the Thursday thereafter. Thus I parted with a people whose hearts 
were knit to me, and mine to them ; nothing but the sense of God's 
command that took me there, making me to part with them. The 
three or four last years of my ministry there were much blessed, 
and very comfortable to me ; not in respect of my own handful only, 
who were ordinarily but about ninety examinable persons, but 
others of the country-side. 

During the time of my ministry at Simprin, I had frequently oc- 
casions of assisting at sacraments ; inasmuch as I observed, for 
some years I was still abroad three Sabbaths together, on such oc- 
casions, which allowed some intermission. Meanwhile I never liked 
to be even so employed, but where there was need ; and if I found 
none, I would either not have gone, or else returned home on my 
own charge ; and that upon this principle, That though it was a 
small charge, yet it was my charge ; and that I was not to look to 
be useful, according to the number of those I spoke to, but accord- 
ing to the call of God to speak unto them, whether many or few. 
And I never, that 1 know, had occasion to rue that part of my con- 
duct. I remember, I once came home, and left the communion at 
Fogo, on that principle ; and I got a feast in the pulpit of Simprin, 


in the evening exercise, on the 23d Psalm, as I think. And upon 
occasion of my being urged on that head, that it would be more for 
my own edification to be present at such a solemnity, 1 was brought 
to take notice, that according to the scripture, 1 Cor. xiv. 4, 5, one 
is to prefer the edification of the church to his own private edifi- 

Now by means of my going so much abroad to sacraments, and 
having that ordinance twice a-year at home, I had frequent occasion 
of converse with persons exercised about their own spiritual case ; 
the which was a great help to me in preaching. It was to such a 
conversation with a gentlewoman as the means, that I owed the ser- 
mon preached at Swinton, Sabbath afternoon, July 28, 1706, being 
tho day of the communion there. The text being Lam. iii. 49, 50, 
" Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermis- 
sion ; till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven;" the ser- 
mon not only had more than ordinary weight on the people, but two 
ministers present made feeling acknowledgments of it. But the 
sweet scene of these days was quickly after turned into a gloomy 

As I behoved to have some Hebrew for my trials, both former 
and latter, so in Simprin I made some progress in tho study thereof, 
Having always an inclination towards it, J believe I did several 
times, while there, attempt it ; but with this little success, having 
only an old Psalter and Pagnin's Lexicon, that had been gifted to 
me by Andrew Elliot, my comrade at the college, till in the year 1704 
I got '« Buxtorf's Epitome grammat." and his Lexicon. After which 
time, I reckon, I did with much difficulty make my way through the 
Psalter. And, by some notes I have on the Psalms, I find I began 
it again, having " Bethner's Lyra" in loan. But still my study of 
it was confined to the Psalter. 

Upon whatever occasion I understood there was any motion for, 
or eye to, the removing me out of that place to another, I was help- 
ed of God to be scrupulously wary, that I might, do nothing towards 
the advancing of the same ; being always persuaded, that my safety, 
welfare, and comfort, depended on my being found in the way, 
which the Lord himself should call me to go. The stipend was in- 
deed small ; and towards the latter end, the victual was cheap to a 
degree; but then my house-rents in Dunse, and tho emoluments of 
the synod-clerk's office, were considerable towards the maintenance 
of the family. And in these days several came about us, aud parti- 
cularly some students continued with us at times ; so that we ate 
not our morsel alone. But whatever was our manner, when we were 
alono, or only with those we counted not strangers, I observed, that 

1 707- J 1IR. THOMAS BOSTON. 197 

when occasionally we lia<l company otherwise, things honest in the 
sight of men were readily, by the kind disposal of providence, laid to 
hand. And during the time of ray continuance in that place, I 
knew little of anxiety for the provision of my family after me. And 
I am very sure, it was not a more liberal maintenance, but a sense 
of the divine call, that moved me to leave Simpriu, and come to 

Thus passed the first and most comfortable years of my ministry 
in Simprin, as in a field which the Lord had blessed. Removing 
from thence with my family, as I have related above, on Tuesday 
June 17, we came, on Thursday the 19th, unto Etterick ; where, 
through the mercy of God, I have continued until this day. On 
the first Lord's day after the transportation of my family : being 
June 22, I preached on Acts v. 33, " Now — are we here present 
before God, to hear all things commanded thee of God.* 



Being settled here, I soon found I was come from home, and that I 
was but beginning to be a minister of a parish. As for the people, 
the natives, generally speaking, were naturally smart, but of an un- 
common assurance; self-conceit, and censorious to a pitch, using an 
indecent freedom both with church and state. There were three 
parties in the place. One of dissenters, followers of Mr. John 
Macraillan, a considerable number ; who have been all along to this 
day a dead weight on my ministry in the place; though not so great 
now, by far, as in former years. Another was an heritor in the 
parish, with two elders dependents of his. He himself deserted the 
ordinances, for about the space of the first ten years, viz. till the 
affair of Closeburn. One of the elders having heard a little while, 
went off for altogether to the dissenters. The other, for ought I 
know, never heard me after I was settled among them. The third 
was the congregation of my hearers, after the disadvantage of what 
influence these two parties could have upon them. Their appetite 
for the ordinances I did not find to be sharpened by the long fast 
they had got, for about the space of four years. "Wherefore, soon 
perceiving the little value they had for occasions of hearing the gos- 
pel, and having called a meeting for business, on a week-day, 
August 19, I preached to them, that day, the sense I had of their 

* This sermon is inserted in the author's Body of Divinity, vol. III. published in 

198 MEMOIRS ov [period IX. 

case, from Isa. xliii. 22, '« Thou hast been weary of me, Israel." 
I plainly saw, that a brother, who, at the synod which transported 
me, was overheard to bid let me go, I would get preaching my fill 
there, was outwitted. On the contrary, I behoved to bid farewell to a 
pleasant part of my exercise of that naturo before ; and to have it 
miserably slighted and despised, where occasionally I was called to 
it. And for the Sabbath's sermons, they were but coldly enough 
received ; but remarkable was the pricking up of ears, when any 
thing relative to the public fell in ; which was a wondering observe 
to me. 

To the breeding and cherishing of this disposition among them, 
several things concurred. There being little knowledge of religion 
among them, till the time of confusion and persecution ; so that John 
Andison in Gamescleugh told me of a time, when there was not a Bible 
in the church, but the minister's, his father's, and another's ; they 
drank in the principles of presbytery in the greatest height, with 
the principles of Christianity. The dissenters were in great reputa- 
tion among them, and continually buzzing in their ears something 
to the disparagement of the church and the ministry. Moreover, 
the union with England, which they were violently set against, 
trysted with my settling among them, and brought in an unaccept- 
able change of the state of affairs. And finally, they lived alone. 

A profession of religion generally obtained among them, through 
the preaching of the persecuted ministers in and about the place. 
Before the devolution, they were generally made Presbyterians, 
praying persons, and several of them, I believe, good Christians. 
Often I observed, that I had never seen in a country kirk more 
Bibles than appeared in ours ; nor more persons giving in to the 
Sabbath's collection for the poor. And indeed they were, and are, 
very liberal to the poor, both their own, and strangers passing 
through them ; but very unkind to strangers settling among them, 
and not very benevolent in neighbourhood among themselves. But 
one thing I was particularly surprised with, viz., the provalency of 
the sin of profane swearing ; and was amazed to find blessing and 
cursing proceeding out of the same mouth ; praying persons, and 
praying in their families too, horrid swearers at times ; so that by 
the month of November I behoved to set myself to preach directly 
against that sin.* 

* The test of these sermons was Matth. v. 34 — 3". lie afterwards preached on 
the same subject in 1714, from the third commandment, the explication of which Is in 
the Body of Divinity, vol. II ; and a third time in 1724, from James v. 12, published 
in bis " Distinguishing Characters of True Believe) s," printed in 1773. 

1707-] SIR- THOMAS BOSTON. 109 

The very next day after ray preaching from Acts x. 33, as above 
related, Mr. Macmillan came to Eskdale, and some of my hearers 
went to him. This was what I got to begin with. On the morrow 
after I went up to S. to see J. L.'s family and others ; my design was 
to endeavour to prevent their perverting others. When I came 
there, I went first into the house of one of my hearers ; and there 
I was surprised with the news of Mr. Macmillan's being in J. L.'s, 
and others with him. The old man came in to me. Is. L. came 
into that house, but never noticed me ; but I carried courteously to 
her, and told her I had a mind to have come and seen them. She 
told me, I should be welcome. When I went in, J. L. shewed not 
common civility. I was set down among three men, strangers, none 
of whom I knew. They were S. H. of II., Mr. St. and Mr. Sm. 
The last I took for Mr. Macmillan, having never seen the man. 
Being set down, I was resolved to divert disputes, at least a while, 
with some discourse of practical godliness. "Wherefore being asked, 
" What news ?" I said, that news were hard to be got here, the 
place being so far remote from towns ; that it was like Jerusalem ; 
Psalm cxxv. 2 ; which brought us at length to the discourse of com- 
munion with God ; concerning which S. H. gave his opinion, that it 
consisted in doing the will of God, keeping his commandments. 1 
told him, that all communion was mutual, and therefore it could not 
consist in that ; and shewed, that actual communion with God, 
which we ordinarily call communion with God, consists in the Lord's 
letting down the influences of his grace on the soul, and the 
soul's reacting the same in the exercise of grace. 0, says he, that 
is extraordinary ; wherewith I was stunned. I told him, it was 
that without which neither he nor I would be saved. How will you 
prove that ? said he. So I was put to prove it to him. Thereafter 
he brought in the matter of the separation ; told, that he under- 
stood I was an enemy to thera, and preached against them. I ac- 
knowledged, that I judged their way was not of God ; and therefore, 
when it fell in my way, I did preach against it. And understand- 
ing that he meant of a note I had at Morbattle sacrament, I de- 
sired him to tell me what he heard I had said. He shifted this ; 
and I told him, viz. that I exhorted those that had met with God at 
this occasion, to tell them that it was so ; and that they thereupon, 
according to the spirit of the gospel, should say, " We will go with 
you, for we hear the Lord is with you."* J. L. said, if that were 

*Mr. Boston preached on this occasion from Psalm iv. 6, both on Monday and 
Saturday, in June 1707. The sermons are preserved ; and there is an exhortation in 
the close of the last, much the same with what is here related. 

200 11 EH >I US OF [PERIOD IX. 

true, that the Lord were with you, we would join with you. Mr. 
St. haying no will to make that the determining point, told me, that 
he knew not but tho Lord was with the church of the Jews in time 
of great corruption. To which I answered, And neither did Christ 
himself separate from them in that time ; and urged them with that, 
Luke iv. 16. After other shifts, they were at length brought to 
that desperate answer, That Christ was the lawmaker, and there- 
fore not imitable by us. The person whom I took for Mr. Macmillan 
was not like to speak, and therefore I asked for Mr. Macmillan. I 
staid there with them an hour and a half at least ; but saw not Mr. 
Macmillan. "When I was coming away, I desired Mr. St. to tell 
him, that seeing I had not seen him, he would come to my house and 
see me ; which he undertook to tell him. Above six weeks after 
this rencounter, and my not meeting Mr. Macmillan having made a 
noise in the country, 1 heard that John Scot in Langshawburn had 
said of me, that I was a liar, and he would prove me a liar, for I 
had uever asked for Mr. Macmillan, nor desired him to come to my 
house. This was at first very troublesome to me. Afterwards I 
found real joy in my heart, in that I was made partaker of the 
sufferings of Christ, while I saw a spirit of bitterness possessing 
some of that party. However, the truth was brought to light after, 
by the confession of some of that party. Mr. Macmillan was in that 
house in the time, in an outer chamber ; and Adam Linton told me, 
that he was certainly informed, that he caused the lass lock the 
door, and give him in the key at the door head or foot, whatever 
was his design in it. 

It pleased the Lord, for my further trial, to remove by death, on 
the 8th September, my son Ebenezer. Before that event, I was 
much helped of the Lord ; I had never more confidence with God iu 
any such case, than in that child's being the Lord's. I had indeed 
more than ordinary, in giving him away to the Lord, to be saved by 
tho blood of Jesus Christ. But his death was exceeding afilicting 
to me, and matter of sharp exercise. To bury his name, was in- 
deed harder than to bury his body; and so much the heavier was 
it, that I could fall upon no scripture example parallel to it ; but I 
saw a necessity of allowing a latitude to sovereignty. I could not 
charge myself with rashness in giving him that name. But one 
thing was plain as the sun to me, that day eight days before, my 
heart was excessively led away from God towards tho creature ; and 
1 had not visited my pillar so often aud seriously as I ought to 
have done. 

Nov. 1. — I have been much refreshed and encouraged under my 
discouragements, understanding by some, what others of the parish 

1707] MB. THOilAS BOSTON. 201 

have told them, of my sermons riping up their case, and discoverincr 
the secrets of their hearts, though, alas ! with little visible fruit. 

Nov. 12. — 1 saw M. T>. a dissenter, whom I could never see be- 
fore. I was in the next village, and she was coming thither ; but 
seeing my horse at the door, she went home again. I went to her 
house, and she came to the door, having, as appeared, no will that 
I should come in. I asked her what were her scruples. She 
did not readily answer, but at length abruptly said, " The oath 
sealed with his blood. Quest. What mean you by that, the co- 
venant, the solemn league and covenant ? Ausw. They say there 
was such a thing. Q. And was the covenant sealed with Christ's 
blood? A. Yes. I shewed her her mistake. Q. How many co- 
venants has God made with man ? A. Two ; the covenant of grace, 
and the covenant of works. Q. "Which of the two covenants was 
first made ? A. The covenant of grace. Q. "Who were the parties 
in the covenant of works? A. The Lord. Q. But with whom did 
the Lord make it ? A. With the body and blood of Christ. Q. How 
many gods are there ? A. Three. Q. How many persons are there 
in the Godhead ? A. Three ; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
Q. Which of these was our Redeemer? A. The Father. Q. What 
or who is Christ ? No answer. Q. "What state are you in by na- 
ture ? Xo answer. Q. How think you to be saved ? A. By serv- 
ing God as well as we can. — I dealt with her as with a petted bairn ; 
but by no means could I obtain so much of her as to be willing to 
admit converse with her for her instruction. 

In January 1708, the fire in the congregation was blown up into 
a violent flame, upon occasion of my observing a fast, on the 14th of 
that month, appointed by the civil magistrate. Upon this many of my 
hearers broke off, and left me ; several of whom never returned. 
There was such a headiness among the people, and the day was so 
bad, that few came to it. I had no scruple as to the observing of 
it; though I thought it a grievance and disadvantage that we were 
come under by the union, and the taking away of the privy council, 
whereby there was no correspondence betwixt the church and state 
as to fasts. But considering the temper of the people, I thought, if 
I should have yielded to them in this, I would teach them to dictate 
ever after unto me. There came two of a fellowship meeting unto 
me the night before ; I shewed them the proclamation. They pro- 
fessed they had nothing to say against it, but that it came from an 
ill airth. They were not disposed to receive light, but most unrea- 
sonably, amongst reasons of their dissatisfaction, insisted, that (as 
they said) the ministers were going to get the abjuration-oath, I was 
led to that scripture for my text, 1 Sam. iv. 13, " Eli's heart, 

Vol. XI. o 


trembled for the ark of God ;" which came suitably to my circum- 
stances ; as 1 had been led another time, on a week-day in August, 
to that, " Thou hast been weary of me, Israel," when the unex- 
pected practice of the people undervaluing the opportunity, was a 
confirmation of the doctrine. The Lord's day was eight days there- 
after, preaching on Isa. lxiv 7, the reproof for this practice natively 
fell in.* But the Lord's day immediately thereafter, it was so 
stormy, that I had only a few to preach to, in the house. Then I 
found myself like a bird shaken out of its nest, and was as an owl 
in the desert. Instead of the converse I, sometime a-day, had with 
exercised Christians about their own spiritual case, I was engaged 
in disputes about the public, and about separation, and how to de- 
fend the lawfulness and duty of hearing me preach the gospel ; and 
for the most part to no effect. So that many a time it was a terror 
to me to go out among them ; aud coming to particular places, I 
often looked very blunt, finding myself beset with contemneis of me 
and my ministry ; who often kept not within the bounds of com- 
mon civility. 

This humour of deserting my ministry, and breaking off from 
under it, continued from time to time, without any notable stop, 
till the affair of Closeburn brought it about nine years after. Since 
that time there has been a remarkable settling among thom, in that 
point ; howbeit, even since that time I have had as much of that 
treatment as will not suffer me to forget where I am. This deserting 
of my ministry was the more heavy to me, that ordinarily I knew 
nothing about it from any hand, till after a while, that the parties 
were gone off, and confirmed in their way ; and that few had any 
consideration of me, in hiring such into their service. This last 
continues in some measure to this day ; though the occasion is not 

* The reproof here referred to is as follows : — 

"If Christ depart from us, then the blame Hcb at our own doors; for he may be 
holden still. The case of this land is very dangerous, yet it is not hopeless. Our 
Lord is yet within a cry, within the reach of prayers ; and if he go for want of se- 
rious invitation from us to stay still, we are inexcusable. Alas, that there are so few 
stirring up themselves to take hold of him ! I must needs say, that the empty room 
in this church on the fast-day, is no good sign either for the land or for the parish. 
If sitting at home, or going about your work that day, was a way to hold Christ still 
in the land, 1 am much mistaken. Sure the people of Judah did not so despise the 
fast proclaimed by King Jehoshaphat ; 2 Chron. xx. 3. But if these people did, with 
Esther, chap. iv. 16, keep private fasts at home, when others were gathered together 
for that work in the congregation, it will say much to clear them of contempt of the 
ecclesiastical and civil authority calling them to fast and pray that day, and say, that 
they were indeed concerned to hold Christ still amongst us. And sure there was 
never more need to fast than at this day," &c. 

1708. J MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 203 

so much now, as before ; insomuch that among the first servants my 
own elder son had, and that by advice or approbation of an elder or 
elders, was one who would have gone out of the house if I had come 
into it to visit the family. 

Meanwhile Satan raged in stirring up the sin of uncleanness; so 
that, by the spring 1709, besides several fornications, there were 
two adulteries in the parish discovered ; and I had heavy work 
with both. These things often made me look, with a sorrowful 
heart, on the congregation, as iu the case of the church of Corinth, 
burnt up with the fire of division, and drenched in fleshly abomina- 

Feb. 15. — My discouragements increase daily among this people, 
by reason of the divisive temper inflamed by the late fast, so that 
there are several of them whose faces I have not seen since that 
time. My circumstances are extremely heavy ; they seem to have 
little desire for the gospel ; the most weighty truths look as nause- 
ous to them ; though if any thing relating to the public fall in, they 
use to prick up their ears. Some have never come to the ordinances 
since I came, being led by mere laziness and profane neglect ; be- 
sides those that were always dissenters from the established church. 
Those that come, many of them think nothing of staying away se- 
veral Sabbaths ; and when they come, they are generally very un- 
comfortable. My wonted exercise of conversing with exercised 
souls is gone ; there is no converse but about the division ; the 
practice of godliness is thereby stifled, and burnt up with the 
fire. The crown is fallen from my head, and I am brought very 
low ! The approaching Sabbath, that sometimes was my delight, is 
now a terror to me ; so that it is my business now, to get my fore- 
head steeled against brass and iron. On Sabbath was fourteen 
days, I felt the sad effects of giving way to discouragement, and this 
has put mo on my guard. I have sometimes asked myself, Whether, 
if I had known all that has befallen me here, I would have accepted 
the call, or not? and I cannot say, I durst have refused. Two things 
are supporting to me ; 1. My clearness as to my call from the Lord, 
which has not been perplexed by all that I have met with, but still 
remained as a ground of comfort. 2. An amazing conduct of pro- 
vidence in preaching the word, whereby I am guided in my ordin- 
ary to speak to their case. As, particularly, these two last Sab- 
baths it fell in my ordinary to lecture the 7th and 8th chapters of 
the Revelation, where I had occasion to speak largely of schism and 
division, with the effects thereof. And in this very time Mr. Mac- 
millan was preaching in the bounds. And in my ordinary sermons 
I find the same conduct of providence. 



On the 22d of February this year 1708, the first of the afore- 
mentioned adulteries was delated ; but the parties were not got con- 
victed, till May 14. During which time, I was with some elders 
four times on the spot, at Buccleugh-shiels ; the adulteress alleging 
a rape by an unknown person. One of these times I preached in 
the house ; on Rev. xx. 12, " And the books were opened," having 
occasion to baptize a child, but in vain as to her. Her brother, who 
had deserted on account of the fast aforesaid, left the house in time of 
the sermon ; but returning after, caused set down meat to me, and the 
elders with me, and urged me to eat, the which also the elders urged ; 
but though we did need it, I peremptorily refused to eat ; so the elders 
ate not either, and the meat was set up again untasted. As I was 
about to go away, being alone with him, I told him, it was re- 
ligion to me, not to eat there, where I had come with my master's 
message, and he had turned his back on it; and that I caused his 
meat to be set up again, without being tasted, for a testimony; and 
so I left him. The man returned afterwards, to wait on the or- 
dinances ; and some time after, occasionally told me, that that had 
stuck with him. This is the only instance I remember, of a con- 
viction in that point of deserting the ordinances, made by means of 
any thing said or done by me for that end, where the party was not 
some way inclining, before, to return. 

After the woman was brought to a confession, the adulterer stifly 
denied. Dealing with his conscience, I took one of the twins she 
had brought forth, and holding it before his face, posed him with 
his being the father of it. Nevertheless he persisted in the denial 
though evidently under consternation, his moisture being visibly 
dried up in the struggle with his conscience. He being removed, I 
went out, and dealt with him privately ; and having observed, that 
two of his children he had by his wife, had been removed by death, 
soon after, or about the time, in which, as was alleged, he begot 
those two adulterous ones, I told him, that it seemed to me, God had 
written his sin in that his punishment. To which ho answered, 
That indeed he himself thought so ; and so confessed. Beiug called 
in again, he judicially confessed his guilt of adultery with that wo- 
man, and that he was the father of her twins. 

That spring, being the first I had in the place, the change of the air, 
appeared, on my body's breaking out in sore boils. For great was 
the cold and moistness of the air in Etterick, in comparison of that 
at Simprin. 

In April I was a member of the General Assembly. And the 
oath of abjuration being then imposed by law on those in office in 
the civil government, there were applications mado to ministers, by 

1708.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 205 

several persons whom it reached, for their judgment in the point of 
the lawfulness or unlawfulness thereof; and ministers on that oc- 
casion coming in to Edinburgh to the assembly, it was earnestly de- 
sired, that the assembly might consider that matter, and give their 
resolution of the case. But it was waved, and men were left to 
their own light. This was heavy to me f and thereupon I could not 
but observe the justice of the dispensation, whereby about four years 
after, it was brought to ministers' own doors. While I was yet 
at Simprin, I had conversed with a minister from Ireland, who had 
left that country upon his scrupling to take it ; and whereas a neigh- 
bouring minister in the English border, having missed the time of 
taking that oath, and therefore shifting to preach in his own con- 
gregation till another occasion of it should offer, wrote to me to 
preach a day for him, I had no freedom to exchange pulpits for a 
day with him on that occasion, and so declined it. Now it was 
brought into Scotland by means of the Union, as several other 
snares have been. 

Having hitherto had a sorry habitation in the old manse, it was 
this summer razed, and a new one built ; I and my family, in the 
meantime, living in the stable and barn ; in the former of which 
were made a chimney and partition. And there, on Wednesday 
August 4, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, was born to me a 
son, whom, baptized on the 9th day by Mr. John Rutherford minis- 
ter of Yarrow, I did, after no small struggle with myself, adven- 
ture to call Ebenezer. But it pleased the Lord, that he also was 
removed from me, dying on the 1st of October. It fell seasonably 
in our ordinary, that morning he was born, at family duties, to sing 
Psalmlxxii.il — 14. How to call him, was no small exercise to 
me. I went to God, and was laid open to his determination in that 
point. I say it was no small exercise ; for when I considered, how 
that, after the death of Ebenezer, my soul had often said to the 
Lord, How will this loss be made up? and my prayer had still been, 
that God would give me another pillar to set up, and if he would do 
so, he would determine me thereto by his call; for I always thought 
I durst not do it without a particular call thereto ; and now that 
God had so far heard my prayer, in giving me another boy, this 
seemed to call me to set up my pillar again. On the other hand it 
racked me to think, What if he die too ? to this the experience 
I had at the second winter sacrament, gave a hopeful answer. Then 
I remembered how this had been reasoned in my own mind after the 
death of Ebenezer, and was this same way answered. His mother 
fell very ill after she was delivered ; and my perplexity in this 
point continued ; besides ray trouble about her case, which being so 


very bad, I could not yet send for one to baptize the child. On 
Friday night, I earnestly entreated of the Lord a token, whereby I 
might know my duty; and I thought I would take it as a token if 
his mother recovered ; and she did recover on the morrow ; and the 
same day I sent to Yarrow to Mr. Rutherford to come and baptize 
the child. This recovery, so seasonable, seemed to be speaking, as to 
the point I was concerned about ; yet did my perplexity not remove 
thereby. Wherefore I asked my own conscience, as before the 
Lord, whether I durst call him otherwise or not ? And I found I 
durst not, seeing God had so answered my prayers, lest it should bo 
found a mocking of God. Wherefore Ebenezer I called him ; and 
when I was holding him up, I thought I saw my action Avas a 
struggle of faith, against sense, and the stream of providence, that 
had run so cross to me and impetuously here. But the clouds did 
so return after the rain for a long time after that, that I endeavour- 
ed to keep loose gripes of him. 

Oct. 1. — Friday. About two hours before day he died. On the 
Monday after he fell sick, I thought to spend some time in prayer for 
his case ; but it went not well with mo at all. Sitting down, I heavily 
thought with myself, This would not do. Presently I was called 
on, and he was very ill. I found at that time his case altered just 
according to my frame. My wife being scarce of milk, I endeavour- 
ed to get a nurse in the Merse, when I was at the sacrament of Sim- 
prin the latter end of August ; but got none ; but had hopes of one 
of two there. That week we should have sent back for that end, was 
very stormy ; so we were diverted, and got one near baud, about 
seven days before he died. On the Monday before he died, I re- 
solved to spend some time in prayer about his case, which I did 
in the barn. At first I was very dull, and it was like to go ill with 
me; but I protested in my heart, that I would not quit it so; and 
this resoluteness was not without success ; for the Lord did indeed 
loose my bands ; and there I renewed my covenant with God, and 
did solemnly and explicitly covenant for Ebeuezer, and in his 
name accept of the covenant, and of Christ offered in the gospel ; 
and gave him away to the Lord, before angels, and the stones of 
that house, as witnesses. I cried also for his life, that Ebenezer might 
live before him, if it were his will. But when, after that exercise, 
I came into the house, I found, that instead of being better, he was 
worse. The last two days of his life, the Lord struck him with 
sore sickness, which at length made me less peremptory for his life. 
But in the day of distress the solemn covenant was sweet, and my 
heart was thankful to the Lord that helped me to it. At length the 
Lord called him away; and while he was drawing his last breaths, 

1708.] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 207 

he so smiled that the sight of it made my heart to loup. 1 have 
read of other instances of this, but never saw another. On Tuesday 
or "Wednesday before, his sister fell sick of the measles whereof he 
died, but she escaped. I believe the Lord sent that, as for further 
trial, so to moderate our sorrow in his case. That the nurse came 
was good providence ; for by her he was supported in his sickness ; 
and that she was got so near hand, and not from the Merse, seemed a 
design of mercy. When the child was laid in the coffin, his mother 
kissed his dust. I only lilted the cloth off his face, looked on it, 
and covered it agaiu, in confidence of seeing that body rise a glo- 
rious body. When the nails were driving, I was moved for that I 
had not kissed that precious dust, which I believed was united to 
Jesus Christ, as if I had despised it ; and I would fain have caused 
draw the nail again, but because of one that was present, I restrain- 
ed, and violented myself. So far as I remember, I was never so 
much straitened to know why the Lord contended with me, as in 
this. I could not say, that I was secure as to bis life since he was 
born. I know many things in my heart and life offensive to the 
Lord ; but to pitch on any one thing, so as to say of it, this is the 
cause, was what I could not get done. Often in that distress, my 
soul has said to the Lord, " Thou knowest that I am not wicked." 
1 remember I had a more than ordinary freedom with God, to re- 
fuse process according to the covenant of works, but that it should 
be according to the covenant of grace. But I see most plainly, that 
sovereignty challenges a latitude, to which I must stoop, and be 
content to follow the Lord in an untrodden path ; and this made me 
with more ease to bury my second Ebenezer than 1 could do the 
first. That scripture was very useful to me, •' it was in my heart 
to build a house to the Lord." I learned not to cry, How will the 
loss be made up ? but being now in that matter as a weaned child, 
desired the loss to be made up by the presence of the Lord. I had 
ground to think, that I had been too peremptory as to his life in 
seeking it. 

Upon public reading of the act of the commission of the General 
Assembly, against Mr. John Macmillan and Mr. John Macneill, the 
two preachers of the separation, on the Lord's day, December 12, 
I preached a sermon from 1 Cor. i. 10, " Now, I beseech you breth- 
ren, — that there be no divisions among you," &c- Copies of this 
sermon, which was directed precisely against the separation, being 
desired, I having transcribed it, allowed to be given out ; and it 
was of some use for a time. The original notes, and transcript, are 
both of them in retentis among my notes.* 

* This sermon was originally printed in 1738, anil has been several times printed 
since, particularly with a preface by the author's son. 

203 MSMOIBS 01" [period IX. 

The year 1709 was to me a year remarkable among many. Iu 
the latter cud of March, the second adultery was delated, and con- 
fessed by the adulteress ; but the adulterer was not convicted till 
September following. Meanwhile my circumstances in the parish 
were brought to a pitch of hopelessness, by the Lord's withdrawing 
supporters from me ; that " I might trust in the living God, who 
raiseth the dead, and calleth things that are not to be as if they were." 

Having, iu the preceeding August, ordained three elders, the 
eldership was now seven in number ; one of the five above mention- 
ed, as signers of the petition, having soon after my settlement re- 
moved out of the parish. The families, in whom was the greatest 
encouragement I had in the place, from the time of my settling 
among them, were those of James Bryden, tenant in Coffarshill, 
Walter Bryden in Crosslie, Robert Paterson in Thirlestone, Adam 
Linton in Midgehop, and James Biggar in Upper Dalgleish. James 
Bryden aforesaid was a very friendly man ; but lie soon broke, 
his substance failing. Walter was a plain, pious, friendly man, 
and an elder ; but be removed out of the parish with his family 
this year at the Whitsunday. In July I met with the piercing trial 
of the death of William Biggar, brother to the said James ; who 
having gone along with me to the communion at Penpont, died there. 
Of which I shall give an account afterwards. lie was a most kindly, 
pious, good man, unlike the country, an elder also, and most useful 
in his office. Moreover, Mr. Paterson aforesaid, a third of my eiders, 
a very friendly man, who by that time, I think, had got good of the 
gospel, and did much balance the influence of an heritor in the 
parish at first, and friendly to me, having bought the estate of Dry- 
grange, removed to it with his family about the Martinmas the 
same year. Thus three of the most valuable of my seven elders 
were taken from me. Adam Linton foresaid was also an elder, 
and a good man, and he and his family from the beginning really 
friendly;, and those of them who remain, continue so still ; but they 
had about them a great measure of the hardness of the temper of the 
country. But James Biggar, an elder, with his family, were tho 
family which was the most comfortable to me as a minister of the 
gospel. So it was all along, and so it continues to this day. May 
the blessing of God, " whose I am, and whom I serve," rest on them, 
from generation to generation ! May tho glorious gospel of his Son 
catch them early, and maintain its grouud to them to the end ; of 
the which I have seen some comfortable instauces already ! Several 
of them have, of late years, been carried ofF by death ; but they 
have been comfortable to me in their life, and iu their death too. 

By the means aforesaid, and otherwise too, the current of holy 

1709.] MB. TUuitAS BOSTON. 209 

providence was so strong against rue, that I had much ado, to bear 
up before it ; but still God's calling to the place remained clear, 
plain, and unperplexed. Howbeit the Lord pitied. In the end of 
the year, James, son to "Walter Bryden aforesaid, came in his fa- 
ther's room,au eldei, and very well filled up his father's room every 
way. And I lived in a peculiar friendship with both father and son 
while they lived. 

From the time of my settling here, the great thing I aimed at in 
my preaching, was to impress the pleople with a sense of their 
need of Christ, and to bring them to consider the foundations of 
practical religion. For the which ends, after some time spent in 
direct preaching the need of Christ, and handling the parable of the 
wise and foolish builders, some of which sermons are written in 
short-hand characters, I did on May 9, 1703, begin an ordinary, the 
same, for substance, as in the first years of my ministry in Simprin, 
but prosecuted after another manner. That part of it which con- 
tained the doctrine of man's fourfold state, then begun, was ended 
this year on the 16th of October. The conduct of providence in 
leading to a second attempt on that subject, was the more remark- 
able, considering what the same providence had designed it for, un- 
known to and unlooked for by me, till the event discovered itself 
years after. And the preaching of these sermons of the Fourfold 
State, through the mercy of God, was not in vain. Thereafter 1 
proceeded in the remaining part of that ordinary, viz. the nature 
and necessity of holiness. 

Meanwhile, on October 30, I began to preach catechetical doc- 
trine ; and I went through the whole catechism, from the beginning 
to the end ; but at several distant times.* At that time I proceeded 
straight forward, till I came to the application of the redemption 
purchased by Christ ; where I stopt. 

Twice a-year I catechised the parish, having no diet but one at the 
church ; and once a-year I visited their families. The former was 
usually begun about the end of October, the latter about the end of 
April, or beginning of May. This was my ordinary course all 
along, save that of some few late years, through my wife's extra- 
ordinary sickness in the spring, and the decay of my own strength, 
I have not got the visiting of families performed as before ; neither 
have I hope of it any more, though I still aim at something of that 
kind yearly. But I bless God, that when 1 had abiliiy, I was help- 
ed to lay it out that way. Thus the winter season was the time 
wherein I did most of my work in the parish. Meanwhile that also 

* This whole work, with several additional sermons on parallel subjects, was pub- 
lished in 1773, in three large volumes octavo; and is justly esteemed a work of great 
merit, though posthumous. 


was the reason wherein I did most in ray closet. Being twelve miles 
distant from the presbytery-seat, I attended it not in the winter ; but 
when I attended it, I ordinarily went away and returned the same 
day, being loath to lose two or three days on it. 

These things, with other incidents, occasioned mo much riding ; 
in which I must acknowledge the goodness of God, that brought me 
out of Simprin, where I had but little occasion of riding, and my 
health was sore broken. But here I had more exercise of that kind, 
which no doubt was to my advantage in that point, though now at 
length my strength is much wasted away. The which has neces- 
sarily made an alteration in the course of my management ; but the 
diets of catechising are still in the winter, only I begin now sooner 
than I was wont ; and the winter nights, that were my best employ- 
ed times in my closet, I cannot now spend so any more, as before. 

July 10. — This year I was at the sacrament in Penpont. When 
the express came with the letter inviting me, I was indisposed ; but 
retiring and seeking counsel of the Lord, two things seemed to pro- 
raise that I should go to that place; 1. That being invited to the 
sacrament at G. July 3, Providence hindered me, though very 
pressing instances were made, partly by bodily indisposition and 
otherwise; and Penpont being just the Lord's day after, I could 
not have left the parish two days at once ; besides there being thirty- 
seven miles betwixt the places ; 2. The letters not having come the 
two weeks before, while I was in the Merse, at which time they 
should have come, if not sooner. On the Wednesday I began to 
study, and with some diiliculty fell on that text; Gen. xxviii. 17; 
but it went very ill with me ; neither could 1 alter^ though I had 
frequent thoughts of laying it aside. The vein of it was never 
opened to me till Thursday betwixt three and four o'clock, and then 
I studied it that night. But I had no time to study another to 
preach after the sacrament. On Friday morning, while I was at 
breakfast, ray horse standing saddled for the journey, W. D. came 
in and told me, that my horse was all swelled in the counter and 
side, (and ray other horse was at Boswell's fair.) This surprising 
dispensation stung me to the heart, being so timed. I knew not 
what to do. To get forward appeared a great diiliculty ; and to 
stay at homo upon this, seemed to be to make a Bible of providence. 
So I went away, thinking to hire a horse by the way ; but two that 
we had a mind for, both misgave. William Biggar, one of my 
elders, went alongst with me, the rather that 1 had been indisposed. 
My horse served mo, so that wo came to Penpont that night safely. 
When I came there, I found there were other two appointed to 
preach on the Saturday ; but Mr. Murray would have me to lie a 

1709.] Mil. THOMAS BOSTON. 211 

third. I peremptorily refused, and so laid aside thoughts of preach- 
ing that day; but withal I was displeased, that I should have been 
called to come so far, to a place where there was no need, and left 
my own congregation desolate. On the morrow Mr. Murray pressed 
me again to preach with the other two ; and I yielded ; and so went 
to my chamber to prepare for preaching that day with the other two, 
Mr. D. and Mr. P. "While I was there, I heard some with Mr. Mur- 
ray in the other room, speaking not very favourably of three 
preachings. Within a very little I went into that room, upon that 
occasion, and found Mr. P. there alone, who very freely gave me to 
understand his mind, and then went away to the tent to begin. 
Then Mr. Murray and Mr. D. came thither ; and I said to Mr. Mur- 
ray, It is time now we were at a point ; pray determine what we 
are to do. To which he answered, Well, I am content. Yery well, 
said I; and so I went, and cast off my band, and put on my cravat 
again. This made me very uneasy. I heard sermons, and they 
were but short; and had I been desired again, I had certainly 
preached. "When we came home, I found this a great temptation ; 
and was sorry I should have come, and left my parish desolate. But 
it was too far off to help it then. Then they urged me to make the 
exercise in the kirk, which I very peremptorily refused ; and the 
rather that I had been put to pains before to no purpose ; and hav- 
ing had so much vexation, and having been before indisposed ere I 
came from home, I found my body very weak. However that exer- 
cise was as peremptorily laid upon me, Mr. Murray saying to me, 
You must do it. Well, then, said I, I shall do it. So I retired a little, 
and then went to the exercise, where, I think, would have been three 
hundred people in the church. It pleased the Lord to blow upon 
us, and it was very well with me ; and there was indeed an uncom- 
mon moving among the people. One told me afterwards, that he 
never saw the like in that place since he knew it ; and told me of 
some particular persons whose hearts the Lord had touched. After 
I came out, turning homeward speedily, I saw several people gather- 
ed together in the church-yard with some of the ministers, amongst 
whom there was a man crying under convictions. Mr. Murray's 
boy came home weeping. When I came home, within a while I 
heard that William Biggar was sick. To-morrow he continued so, 
which was afflicting to me. I communicated in a tender melted 
frame, especially at the first. On the Lord's day night, we began 
to apprehend that William Biggar was in a dangerous case. He 
continued ill on Monday, and we were resolved to seek some help 
for him, and before sermons got one B. to see him. Monday 
after sermons, as I was going out to sec for B. that I might bring 

212 MEMOIRS 01' [period IX. 

him in to W. Biggar, the smith called mo to see my horse more 
swelled than before ; and told me, if the smelliiig in its progress 
was as quick downwards as it had been hitherto, lie was gone. On 
Tuesday morning W. Biggar grew better; the means being so far 
blessed, that he got out to and lay down in the garden ; but my 
fears were not removed. In the afternoon he grew worse, and took 
his bed again ; whereupon I resolved to send an express home, 
though he was not free for it. Accordingly we sent away one on 
"Wednesday. On Thursday death approached fast, and he died that 
day. His brother saw him alive but unable to speak. And he was 
buried on the Friday afternoon. He died in hopes of eternal life 
through Jesus Christ. Among his last words were, " Farewell, sun, 
(to the best of my remembrance), moon, and stars; farewell, dear 
minister ; — and farewell the Bible ,-" which last words especially 
made great impression on me. He blessed God, that ever he had 
seen my face ; which was no small comfort to me, especially in these 
heavy circumstances. Thus the Lord pulled from me a good man, 
a comfortable fellow-labourer, and a supporter, or rather the sup- 
porter of me in my troubles in this place. He was always a friend 
to ministers, a fast friend to my predecessor, which helped to com- 
plete the ruin of his means. Though he was a poor man, yet he had 
always a brow for a good cause, and was a faithful, useful elder; 
and as he was very ready to reprove sin, so he had a singular dex- 
terity in the matter of admonition and reproof, to speak a word 
upon the wheels, so as to convince with a certain sweetness, that it 
was hard to take his reproofs ill. Much of that time I had a very 
ill habit of body, and wondered how I was kept up under the bur- 
den. It was a complication of griefs; 1. To his poor widow and 
children ; 2. To Mr. Murray and his family, who spared neither 
trouble nor expense ; 3. To me and my family. My part of it was, 
1. That he died abroad in my company at a sacrament; 2. the great 
loss of him as to the Lord's work in the parish, and particularly in 
his quarter, the most unruly of the parish ; 3. He had been one of 
two witnesses to an instrument I had taken in the case of some teinds 
due to me, which instrument had not come to my hand extended be- 
fore we went away. That night I went to Tenpont, I said in a jest, 
It is like we would be more troublesome ere we go. Alas ! little 
thought I that I was to see it turned to so sad earnest. 

JWy, 19. — This day I spent some time in prayer, and thinking on 
this business. As for the causes of it in general I could be in no 
strait ; but to condescend on particulars, has not been easy. So 
far as I can discern the Lord's mind in it, the great ground of the 
quarrel was my refusing to preach on the Saturday, though often 

1709-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 213 

and earnestly called thereto ; in which there was much of my own 
spirit. Three things do bear me in hand, that this was the true 
cause of it. 1. Though while I was in Penpont Mr. Murray alleged 
this was the cause; yet I would not admit it, but rather suspected 
that I had followed my own inclination in going thither, rather than 
the Lord's mind ; which, upon reflection, I see now how I can charge 
myself with ; but the first time I was convinced of this, was on Sa- 
turday after I was come home, out of my own mouth. Telling my 
wife how matters had gone with me, I happened to say, the text I 
should have preached on was, <l How dreadful is this place !" I 
would not preach it, but God in his providence preached it over to 
me. These words left a conviction behind them. 2. Last night in 
prayer, I was carried out in the view of God's jealousy, and par- 
ticularly the zeal he hath for his worship, and saw how he takes 
special notice of a fault in or about it. And this is now the third 
time that I have fallen into this error of late. For 

In August or September last, being desired to assist at the Sacra- 
ment in Simprin, and to preach there on the Saturday and after the 
action, I went thither accordingly ; where T met with sach harsh 
entertainment from some, as if I had come uncalled. And when I 
went there on the Saturday, I found two were appointed to preach 
that day, -whereof I was none. Only I got liberty to be a third 
preacher if I would. This made me very uneasy ; and so my exer- 
cise was, to endeavour to be as a weaned chiid, while I saw my cor- 
rupt self amidst the sparks of temptation. And then I got time 
bitterly to reflect on my rashness, in that I had not as I ought con- 
sulted God, whether I should go to that occasion or not; the thing 
seeming at first view so clear to my dark mind. I preached the 
Lord's day at night a little while, for it was both late and rainy, 
the work before being drawn out so, that it was told them, it seemed 
they had no mind that I should open my mouth. I had served one 
table, and the Lord -was with me ; which Mrs. L. perceiving said in 
the meantime to another person, There was devilry there ; yet at 
night invited me again and again to her house ; but the person she 
said it to, who had before engaged me, peremptorily refused to let 
me go with her. I was invited to preach on the Monday with other 
two, but peremptorily refused. On the Monday morning I was 
again desired, but refused ; the rather that I had nothing to preach 
but the Saturday's sermon. But a minister who had no hand in that 
■work, easily dealt with a modest person who was to have preached, 
so as that he would not preach ; and being broke with the intreaties 
of some with whom I had formerly had good days, I yielded, and 
preached the sermon I designed for Saturday on the Monday. The 


text was Psalm ciii. 5. The last clause of it I preached on the 
Lord's day at night, and the first on Monday ; and the Lord was 
with me. The Lord so transposed these sermons in his providence ; 
and it was afterwards told me, that if I had not delivered it after 
the other, many would not have known where to have fastened their 

Likewise at Morbattle, June 19, 1709, being invited to preach 
on Saturday and Sabbath afternoon, I went thither on Friday's 
night / and on the Saturday was preparing to preach, till about a 
quarter or half an hour before the sermons began ; at which time 
Mr. D. having come, I overheard him saying to Mr. Simson, that ho 
would not preach twice unless he preached that day. Finding they 
were in confusion, I offered to quit my diet ; and it was accepted. 
On the Sabbath afternoon I went home before all the tables were 
served, and prepared my sermon ; but Mr. H. would needs have that 
diet. It was grievous to me ; but having no confidence to look for 
the Lord's assistance if I should be peremptory that I would preach, 
I yielded; and so all 1 did for my riding two and twenty or four 
and twenty miles, was to preach on the Sabbath morning, a diet 
that in my opinion might be spared, and which I myself use not. So 
Mr. H. who preached on Saturday, preached on the Sabbath after- 
noon, and Mr. D. and C. on the Monday. Mr. Simson urged me to 
be a third, but by no means would I yield. This was very heavy, 
while comparing it with what I met with at Simpriu ; it seemed to 
me that the Lord was refusing my service there, where sometimes I 
had been by his grace useful ; and I was unwilling to come much 
abroad that way thereafter, finding what temptations I met with. 
However, I found the little 1 was called to do was not altogether 

So this at Penpont was the third time ; and though I had escaped 
twice, God would not let me go a third time with it. 3. I have 
found since the conviction was set in on me on Saturday, that if I 
were in such circumsiances again, I would yield my service to the 
Lord, that he might do with it what ho pleased. And although 
this may be thought a small thing by such as look on it at a dis- 
tance; yet considering it was a fault about God's worship, and that 
the third of that nature within a short time, the conclusion must be 
made as said is. It is true, I was ready to have preached on Saturday 
afternoon, yet the old prophet set me oil' it, that I might be justly 
punished, because I would not when God would. As for that more 
thau ordinary countenance from the Lord, though I dare not, before 
a holy God, purge myself altogether of lifting up, yet I can remem- 
ber no notable uplifting that I had on the back of it. It may be I 

1709.] -MR. THOMAS BOSTON". 215 

had had it if I had not got that ballast, especially when I found 
others had greater thoughts of it than I. There are two difficulties 
in the way of this conclusion : First, The straitening I had in study- 
ing that sermon ; but my experience leaves no weight in this : Se- 
cond, My trouble as to the horse beginning ere I went away. From 
what I have met with, 1. I have learned, that if the Lord has a mind, 
he will carry on his work, and no thanks to the instruments ; for I 
took that exercise in hand through a sort of mere force. 2. To be de- 
nied to my credit in the Lord's matters. One of the ministers that 
preached that Saturday, never desired me to do it ; the other of 
them did as good as forbid me, and I had no will to have it said, 
that I loved to hear myself speak, or that the people would be 
weary, &c. But now I see that these things are but thin fig-leaves. 
Lord, my soul is as a weaned child. 3. I think I have thereby ob- 
tained some soul-advantage ; more heavenliness in the frame of my 
heart, more contempt of the world, as the widow that is desolate trust- 
eth in God. I have more confidence in God, to which I am helped 
(with respect to my work in the parish) particularly by that word ; 
Isa. xxxiii. 10, " Xow will I rise, saith the Lord, now will I be exalt- 
ed, now will I lift up myself;" which was a sweet word to me, on the 
last Lord's day, in my lecture, which fell to be in that chapter that 
day, in which I had more than ordinary of the Lord's light and 
life, though I had very little time to study it or the sermons. I 
have thereby obtained more carefulness to walk with God, and to 
get evidences for heaven ; more resolution of spirit for the Lord's 
work, over the belly of difficulties. For there was more yet in that 
affliction. I have been much discouraged with respect to my parish 
a long time, and have had little hand or heart for my work. 1 take 
God's dealing thus with me to be designed as a mean to make me 
better content. Xow the Lord has driven the business to a great 
height of hopelessness, by the removal of two of the most comfort- 
able of my elders, I may say three ; Walter Bryden went out of 
the parish at Whitsunday last; now this stroke, in the removal by 
death of William Biggar ; and Mr. Paterson, a wise, sweet-tempered 
young man, who by his anthority was a ballast in this place to my 
enemies, is going away against Martinmas next. And I have but 
four elders behind. And, which is most sad, so rare is an inoffen- 
sive walk among us, that it is extremely hard to get others in their 
room, who would not be a reproach to the office. I know not how 
much further the Lord may carry it; but I desire to take spirits, 
and when all is gone to look to the Lord. 

Last Lord's day night I had some thoughts as to evidences for 
heaven, which I resumed this day. 1. I am content to take Christ 


for my prophet, to be taught by him what is my duty, that I may 
comply with it ; I am content to knon- what is my sin, that I may 
turn from it ; and by grace I know something of what it is to make 
use of Christ as a prophet in this case ; and I desire to learn of him, 
as the only Master, what is the will of God, and the mystery of re- 
nouncing my own wisdom, which I reckon but weakness and folly. 
2. I know and am persuaded, that I am a lost creature ; that jus- 
tice must be satisfied ; that I am not able to satisfy it, nor no crea- 
ture for me ; that Christ is able, and his death and sufferings are 
sufficient satisfaction. On this I throw my soul with all its full 
weight; here is my hope and only confidence. My duties, I believe 
the best of them, would damn me, sink me to the lowest pit, and 
must needs bo washed in that precious blood, and can have no ac- 
ceptance with God but through his intercession. I desire to have 
nothing to do with an absolute God, nor to converse with God but 
only through Christ. I am sensible that I have nothing to com- 
mend me to God, nor to Christ, that he may take my cause in hand. 
If he should damn me, he should do me no wrong. But the cord of 
love is let out, even the covenant in his blood ; I accept of it, and 
at his command lay hold on it, and venture. This is faith in spite 
of devils. And my heart is pleased with the glorious device of 
man's salvation through Christ, carrying all the praise to free grace, 
and leaving nothing of it to the creature. 3. My soul is content of 
him for my king ; and though I cannot be free of sin, God himself 
knows he would be welcome to make havock of my lusts, and to 
make me holy. I know no lust that I would not be be content to 
part with. My will bound hand and foot I desire to lay at his 
feet ; and though it will strive, whether I will or not, I believe 
whatever God does to me is best done. 4. Though afflictions of 
themselves can be no evidence of the Lord's love ; yet forasmuch as 
the native product of afflictions and strokes from the hand of the 
Lord, is to drive the guilty away from the Lord; when I find it is 
not so with me, but that I am drawn to God by them, made to kiss 
the rod, and accept of the punishment of my iniquity, to love God 
more, and to have more confidence in him, and kindly thoughts of 
his way, and find my heart more closely cleaving to him, I cannot 
but think such an affliction an evidence of his love. I have met with 
many troubles, and the afflictions I have met with have been very 
remarkable in their circumstances. Often have I seen it, and now 
once more, verified in ray lot; 1 Cor. iv. 9, " For we are made a 
spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men," &c. Now I am 
as a weaned child, through grace, in the matter. Let the Lord do 
what seemeth him good. [Nota, I was obliged to leave my horse 
behind me at Penpont under care, and he died.] 

1709 ] MR. ttiomas boston. 217 

In the latter end of August, I was at the sacrament in Ashkirk. 
There I preached the sermon, on Saturday, which should have been 
preached at Penpont. I was helped to deliver it, and I believe it 
was not without fruit to some. But after sermons I was bowed 
down under convictions of the want of that fear of God in my spirit, 
when I delivered it, and was vile in mine own eyes. The Lord's day 
was a good day to me. Hearing Mr. Gordon speak to his people as 
under apprehensions of death, and reflecting on how many years, 
especially since I was a minister, I have spent in preaching the gos- 
pel, it was most bitter to me, to see how much time was gone, and 
how little I had done for God. From the Saturday after sermons I 
had been in earnest for awful impressions of God on my spirit, and 
I got them ; particularly on the Monday, while Mr. Gabriel Wilson 
preached, my soul, under impressions of the majesty and greatness 
of God, was melted within me. While he preached on Psalm cxvi. 
9, " I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living," every 
step of duty he named, gave me a new conviction. So that when 
I began to speak after him, my soul was so filled with the sense 
of the majesty of God, and of my own vileness, whereof my heart 
was so swollen, that I had much ado in prayer to speak plain, and 
not to break the words. But in the sermon, I had much tugging 
and drawing with my heart to keep it right, and wanted not up3 
and downs in it, sometimes out of case, and sometimes helped, but 
for the most part unsatisfying to myself. After the work was over, 
I had a sinking afternoon and night of it, often wishing I had gone 
away when Mr. Wilson ended, seeing myself a vile minister, good 
for nothing; and the sense of the difficulties of that work, and of 
my own mismanagements, lay heavy on me. And on the morrow, 
as I was by the way, I was indeed like to faint under these impres- 
sions. As I was coming through W. moor, I mistook the way, and 
bogued my horse in the moss beyond R. After much toiling with 
him in vain, I sat down and cried to the Lord ; tried it again, but 
it would not do ; so that T had thoughts of losing him. I cast off 
my boots and cloak, and went to the town to seek help. The per- 
son to whom I spoke knew me not, and so sent me to the field to the 
mowers. I came to one company, who sent me to another, who were 
more compassionate. So two or three went away with me to the 
moss ; and those in the town having known me after I was gone, 
had gone to the horse, who had got up to his feet ere they came. 
So he was got out of the moss, and I was conducted to the right 
way. When I came home, I met with another temptatiou, ere ever 
I sat down, which was another nail to my heart ; the rather sharp, 
that it was driven by a hand from whence I expected it not ; which 
Vol. XI. p 


brought me in mind of a note to that purpose in the latter end of 
my sermon at Ashkirk, fulfilled in myself, whatever it might be in 
others. I would fain have had Mr. Wilson staying with me on the 
Monday's night, for my support ; but the Lord would not. "With 
these things, and the wonderful conduct of providence towards me, I 
was much broken, and made to go with a bowed down back, and my 
health impaired. Some others had no mean thoughts of the work 
there. Mr. Wilson said, that for the Saturday, had he been to have 
preached after me, he would not have opened his mouth, but dis- 
missed the people as they were. I bless the Lord, that lots me see 
my own vileness and nothingness ; and that seeing my heart is ready 
to be vain of little things, he takes such measures to press me 

Sept. 11. — This day Mr. Macmillan preached at Hopecross, in the 
confines of this parish. On the 12th of December last, I had preach- 
ed a sermon precisely against the separation, upon occasion of 
reading the aforementioned act of the commission from the pulpit. 
It was by a mistake I was led to read these papers, 1 mean that 
act of the commission, at least at that time ; for I had a letter from 
the presbytery clerk, importing, as I thought, their order; but they 
had given none about it. However, it was my opinion, that the act 
should have been read through the presbytery ; but I had no mind 
to have made myself singular. But it was a happy mistake, ordered 
by the good providence of God. My lecture fell that day to be on 
Isa. v. ; but I handled only the parable of the vineyard, which was 
to me another piece of surprising conduct of providence. It fell to 
be an exceeding good day, so that our kirk was thronged with our 
own people and strangers. God helped me to deliver it. Copies of 
it were desired, and I allowed them to be given out ; so copies wero 
handed abroad, not only in the parish, but several other places; 
and this galled that party, and I am confident served to confirm 
others. Mr. Macmillan preached within a mile of this parish in 
February thereafter, and my people did not show their wonted in- 
stability. At length this day Mr. Macmillan preached a sermon, on 
design to confute that sermon of mine, producing the copy of ray 
sermon, and reading parcels of it before the people. Seldom or 
never before came that man to these bounds, but something was laid 
to my hand in my ordinary, whereof there is an instance above ex- 
pressed. But this day there was nothing of that nature ; but not 
without reason, for our kirk that day was so throng, that I really 
thought some had the rather come out that day, that I might see 
they were not gone to his meeting. 

1 understood after, that several who were there wero disgusted, 

1709.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 219 

and that it had done their canse little service. He left this country, 
leaving no copy of his sermon behind him ; which has been taken 
notice of by judicious persons. I waited a while, till I should see 
whether any copy of it appeared or not ; at length none appearing, 
I spoke a little of it in the pulpit, desiring the people to believe 
what I had taught them, till they should see it confuted by scrip- 
ture, &c. 

In November I met with a surprising mercy. A person that had 
long been in the wrong to me, in a certain particular, with tears 
confessed the fault ; which did exceedingly raise me in thankful- 
ness to God. This was on the Friday. On the Lord's day night 
thereafter, musing on it, I found I had met with that mercy before 
I was prepared for it. It is true, I had often prayed for it ; but 
the sap was squeezed out, by considering that I had not got my 
heart in that point brought to a submission to the will of God. 
Upon this account the mercy proved a burden to my spirit, and a 
great and heavy grief. "When I lay down in my bed, my grief in- 
creased; my wilful will was a spectacle of horror to me. And, 
under this conviction, I was so filled with the terror of God, that 
both flesh and spirit were like to fail and faint away. I endeavoured 
to flee to, and make use of the blood of Christ for pardon ; and 
though I would have bought that mercy at a very dear rate, yet I 
was conscious to myself, and protested, that I was not, and would 
not, be content with that mercy, but with the favour of God and his 
good- will with it, and desired to give up my will to the will of God. 
\_Nota, It was not long ere my patience in this point was put to the 
trial again ; so short-lived are mercies that fall off the tree of pro- 
vidence ere they be ripe.] 

Friday, Dec. 30. I received a letter from Mrs. M. Home, where- 
in she says, she is wearying of " this life of a beast ;" which made 
impression on me. The next day, it pleased the Lord to give me a 
more than ordinary outletting of his Spirit, which I was somewhat 
helped to improve ; the rather that there was at that time in my 
mind, a dissatisfaction about my public work, both as to my preach- 
ing and the people's hearing, which I fain would have seen changed 
to the better. And indeed it was better with me on the Lord's day. 
And now the Lord was a commentator on the scripture to me, at 
family duties. I spent a part of Monday morning in prayer ; and 
by that exercise, and making conscience of preparing for family 
duties, I found myself bettered. On the Tuesday I spent some time 
in fasting and prayer, and renewed my covenant with God ; and 
that week I was kept heavenly for the most part; and till this 



Jan. 22, 1710. — Though I have had several ups and downs, yet I 
have at least been kept struggling. And as to this time, I may say, 
1. I had never more deep impressions of the life of a beast, being in 
some sort weary of the necessity of eating, sleeping, &c, with a holy 
contempt of them, longing to be beyond all these things, and content 
to part with all my created comforts. I have also felt my soul most 
sensibly going out in love to God, and seen my soul most plainly 
taking Christ for my portion, and accepting of the blessed Bride- 
groom. It hath been my exercise how to direct these things in the 
life of the beast, to the Lord, to refer them to God, so as that they 
may be a part of the Christian life. But I have made small pro- 
gress in the practice of it, but have found slips that way bitter. As 
particularly on Friday morning, I spent so much time in sleep, when 
I should have been otherwise employed, that it made me go halting 
all the day ; and so much the more, that I had been attacked in 
prayer with carnality before, which was not duly resisted ; aud from 
thence I dated that carnal frame. Thus I found my conscience defiled^ 
and on the morrow after it lay heavy on me. I came from family 
prayer that day (viz. Saturday), where I could not get all ray mind 
told before the Lord, unto my closet ; whether when I came, the 
sense of my carnality pressed me so sore, that I could scarcely get 
out a word for some time. "When I got liberty to speak, my soul 
protested before God and angels, that though I could not shake my- 
self loose of my lusts, Christ should be most welcome to make 
havock of them. The latter foresaid trysted with a sermon I had 
been preaching before, of making God our end, as a necessary re- 
quisite in holiness ; and so it came seasonably to quicken my thoughts 
and practice in that point. And I design to preach particularly on 
referring natural actions to God, for my own and the people's case, 
as God shall clear my way. I have learned two things by expe- 
rience in that point. The one is, When the will, on a corrupt 
principle, that may feed spiritual lusts, is averse to what the body 
requires, to yield to the body the rather to cross the will, and so to 
seek to please God, and not ourselves, in or about these things. The 
other, To ascend from and by them, to that infinite satisfaction 
that must needs be in the enjoyment of God, leaving these ashes 
upon tho earth, and mounting up from them in a flame of love to 
the Lord, as pillars of smoke ascending towards heaven. Seeing all 
perfection in the creature is originally from God, whatever is in the 
creature must be eminently aud infinitely in him ; therefore, if a bit 
of bread bo so sweet, how sweet must God be, that ocean, whereof 
that in tho broad is but a drop ! 

1710.] J1K. THOMAS BOSTON. 221 

Jan. 26. — The last week I spent some time in prayer with fasting, 
with my family, especially for my wife's safe delivery ; but with me 
it went not well ; my frame was not fixedly lively. This upon re- 
flection was terrible to me, as a sign for evil ; which was the mean 
of quickening in secret ; where I got what I got not with others. 
And I have observed, that the thing I have been still led to for her, 
was a life for God. And it was most clear to me this night in par- 
ticular, that it was not so much her life, as life for God, that I de- 
sired ; grace to her (as to myself) to live well, more than life. I 
have been this day also, from the life of the beast, helped to prize 
the enjoyment of God ; and was led into a sweet view of the purity 
and refinedness of the pleasures in the fountain, and the dregs mixed 
with those of the streams, that make them humbling and con- 

Jan. 29. — Sabbath. On Friday studying my catechetic sermon,* 
some surprising thoughts were laid to my hand. My heart swelled 
with thankfulness, and loathed myself for that there should be so 
much as a principle of taking any praise to myself in me, though it 
came not forth into an act. And my sonl cried to be emptied of self, 
that I might be nothing, and the Lord might work all in me. I 
thought these things were from the Lord, seeing they had that 
effect on me. On Saturday night I made all ready, that I might 
employ my time to the best advantage on the Sabbath morning ; 
and I requested, particularly, 1. That I might have whom to preach 
to ; for it was a very bad day ; 2. An opportunity to preach with- 
out distraction ; for my wife had some pains ; 3. That the Lord 
would be with me ; for the pulpit without him was a terror. This 
day was an exceeding pleasant day, and the people came well 
out. I had no trouble from my wife's case. These things in the 
morning were a valley of Achor for a door of hope. 1 gave myself 
to prayer, and entered to the work in a tender melted frame. I dare 
not say, that the Lord was not with me ; but I had not what I 
would fain have had. I had several ups and downs in the ser- 
mons. I would fain have been at the mark, but the legs would not 
serve. I found I loved the Lord, and would fain have been there 
where the executive power would fully answer the will. I know 
not what the Lord has a mind to do with me, but this good while I 
have had no ill time of it. 1. I have found frequent flutterings of 
my soul after the Lord very sensibly. 2. I have found duty very 
pleasant, and sometimes a pain to give it over. 3. I have found 
more freedom with God in secret than in family duties, for there I 

• Viz. that on the fir>t sin iu particular. 

222 mbmoihs oir | period ix. 

got leave to tell all I thought. 4. I have sometimes a confusion in 
my head in preaching ; I prayed against it particularly this day. I 
had something of it but it lasted not, though I was about four hours 
in constant exercise. But seldom does my body fail in preaching, 
when my frame is right. 5. I have found the Lord easy to be en- 
treated, and a recovery to be got without long onwaiting. As yes- 
terday I was somewhat carnal, I sought the Lord, but found him 
not ; I went back again to God, and was set right again. And sel- 
dom has it continued ill with me, for some time, from the beginning 
to the end of duty. 6. On Wednesday last a storm that threatened 
this parish, already sore distressed, did break. I found myself con- 
cerned to get this mercy, both in public and private, and thankful 
to the Lord when it was come ; and why may not I look on it, as 
the Lord's hearing of my prayers, amongst those of others ? 

Feb. 3. — I had met with a temptation that put me out of frame. 
Afterwards I met with another of the same kind, but sharper ; with 
which I went to God, and it issued in quickening me again. I was 
turned off the thing that raised my corruptions, and turned in 
against myself, that I could not get my will to comply with the will 
of God in this, without fretting, and cheerfully to submit to pro- 
vidence in that particular. It was stinging to think, that whereas I 
have several evidences for heaven, this one thing is like to blot them 
all out. I have found a satisfaction in seeing the Lord, by his pro- 
vidence, set me on my trials for my humiliation in other cases ; but 
I think I can never get over this. I wrestled with the Lord to get 
my will melted down, that at length in this I might bo as a weaned 
child. This cured me in another case, and made me fear the being 
taken off my trials before some good metal should appear. Last 
night, while this case lay heavy on me, it fell in our ordinary to 
sing Psalm xxxviii. 10 — 13. And this day it met me again very 

" Adoro plenitudinum scripturae." 

Feb. 4. — My heart had scarce conceived ere my tongue began to 
express some regret in tho foresaid particular; but through grace 
my tongue was silenced, ere it had got sense made of what it had 
begun to say. And it was no small joy to me to see my corrupt self 
deprived of that satisfaction, and tho wilful will balked of its 

Feb. 7. — Tuesday. This night I had ono of tho most doleful times 
I ever had in my life, by reason of the same trial aforesaid. Tlie 
struggle with my own will was most dreadful, so that I was like to 
sink under it, and say, There is no hope, while it lay on me as a giant 



bearing down a little child. I laid down my resolution however 
always to go to God with it again, as it renewed its desperate at- 
tacks on me; and so I did, and found some ease that way; though 
sometimes both heart and hand were taken from me in this combat, 
and I was almost swallowed up in despair. I felt the power of 
the bands of wickedness. The first ease I got was, that it was 
suggested to me in prayer, that it might be God was letting me 
fall so low before the victory, that I might see it, when it came, 
entirely due to his grace. In our ordinary that night we sung Psalm 
xl. where that word, ver. 16, " who seeking thee abide," &c, was 
most seasonable and comfortable. At this time I was preaching on 
Gal. v. 24, and I had a trial of the difficulty of the work. 

Feb 9. — Thursday. This day, betwixt ten and eleven at night, 
my wife, after long and sore labour, was delivered of a son, called 
Thoma3, who was baptized on the 15th by Mr. Gabriel Wilson, 
minister at Maxton. She never recovered with so much difficulty ; 
which seemed to answer to our frame in prayer for that mercy. On 
the Sabbath after she was very ill : and just when I was going in to 
the afternoon's sermon she told me, she thought she was in a fever. 
Whereupon I looked to the Lord, and presently found my spirit 
calmed, in hopes all would be well ; and went to my work ; and so 
it was. While I wrote the letter to Mr. Wilson to come and baptize 
the child, my soul fluttered away to Christ with my child, and I 
wept for joy of the covenant, that it was for my seed, as well as 
for myself. 

Feb. 15. — This night I had four particular suits before the throne 
of grace. And within a few days after, as to one of them, some 
persons, who, being stirred up by an enemy to me, had created me 
very much trouble in a particular business, came and agreed with 
me ; so the Lord made my enemies stumble and fall in their mea- 
sures against me ; and but that mercy was sweet ! An only child 
of a dear friend having been sick, I heard of her recovery. As to 
a nurse for my child, the Lord answered by that which was better, 
giving milk to my wife. As to the fourth, I thought it had been 
answered too ; but it failed, and I was set to wait on again. 

By this time the friendship betwixt the aforementioned Mr. Wil- 
son and me had arrived at an uncommon height and strictness. That 
friendship hath indeed been one of the greatest comforts of my life ; 
he being a man of great piety, tenderness, and learning, with a vast 
compass of reading ; a painful minister ; a plain preacher, but deep 
in his thought, especially of latter years, and growing remarkably 
unto this day in insight into the holy scriptures ; zealous and faith- 
ful to a pitch ; having more of the spirit of the old Presbyterians 

224 memoius of [period ix. 

than any other minister I know ; for the which cause he has been, 
and is in the eyes of many, like a speckled bird ; but withal a most 
affectionate, constant, and useful friend ; a seasonable and wise ad- 
viser in a pinch ; often employed of God signally and seasonably, to 
comfort and bear me up, when I needed it extremely ; insomuch 
that I have often been convinced, he could not have gono the length 
that way that he weut, if it had not been through a particular dis- 
posal of providence indulging my weakness, particularly in this and 
the following period, wherein I was in a special manner, from within 
and from without, at once sore bowed down. Whatever odds there 
was iu some respects betwixt him and me, there was still a certain 
cast of temper by which I found him to be my other self; [and 
though we have passed, especially since the year 1712, through 
several steps, at which many chief friends have been separated ; 
yet, through the diviue mercy, we still stuck close, speaking the 
same thing ; the sense whereof has often obliged us to give thanks 
unto God expressly on that account.] He was extremely modest ; 
but, once touched with the weight of a matter, very forward and 
keen, fearing the face of no man ; on the other hand, I was slow and 
timorous. In the which mixture, whereby he served as a spur to 
me, and I as a bridle to him, I have often admired the wise conduct 
of providence that matched us together. But now, alas; he is left 
alone for me, in public struggles, I being through frailty laid aside 
from appearing at synods ; with which I was indeed disgusted ere 
I left them ; and very seldom now appearing in the presbytery. Mr. 
Davidson, miuister of Galashiels, who afterwards came to be a third 
in this friendship, is now also through his frailty laid aside from 
much of his helpfulness to him in these cases. However, the friend- 
ship remains inviolate, and will, I hope, till death ; Psalm xciv. 11, 
" The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity." 

April 9. — The last week I was at the synod; and seeing all things 
like to go wrong with the church, I had great desire to be kept 
straight in God's way. 1 was not so well provided for my work 
this day as ordinary, but it went rather better than ordinary with 
me. I was much affected to think how I would get silent Sabbaths 
spent, and what reflections such a case might produce. 

I think I can say now, that the thing which was once so hard for 
me to submit unto, the Lord hath been pleased to make more easy 
and give me some victory over it now, more than these two months, 
" Blessed be the Lord, who teaclieth my hands to war, and my 
fingers to fight." 

1 proceeded on tho subject of the nature and necessity of holiness, 
from tho time aforesaid, and therewith ended tho ordinary above 

1710.] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 225 

mentioned, on May 28th, this year. After which I addressed ray- 
self to preach sermons preparatory for the sacrament of the supper, 
[from 1 Cor. xi. 23, and Jer. I. 4, 5.] 

And on July 16, I administered that ordinance. This was the 
first time I administered it in Etterick ; but from that time it has 
been done yearly, for ordinary, all along, the few interruptions 
thereof hitherto made [viz. 1717, 1726, and 1729], being occasioned 
by the affliction of my family of late years, and other incidents. I 
thought myself obliged to deal with every communicant personally, 
but had little encouragement to the work from the parish ; but I 
behoved to try all means. I was very much discouraged while I 
set to that work ; but the nearer it came, I was the more carried 
above discouragement. While I visited the parish, I found I had 
not been altogether useless here, and particularly that the sermon 
on the fourfold state of man had done some good. Seldom do delays 
prove advantageous. God had more of his own, so far as I could 
discern, to feed here, the last year, than this, three of the most com- 
fortable families in it having removed at Whitsunday last. The 
sermons on the Lord's day before, seemed to have weight, and I 
found my soul pressed particularly to follow that day's work with 
prayer. As for the work itself, it was much more comfortable than 
I expected, and there seemed to be some blowings of the Spirit with 
it. I never saw a congregation more remarkably fixed and grave 
than they were on the Lord's day. On the Thursday was eight days 
before, in the family fast, the Lord helped us to pray, and seek his 
presence. I had palpable assistance in studying the action-sermon 
on Luke xiv. 23, " Compel them to come in ;" and though being 
much hurried on the Saturday, I found myself quite out of case, and 
had little hope of it when going to the work, yet verily the Lord was 
with me in that sermon. It was once my regret, that the national 
fast and our congregational one should have fallen both on one day ; 
and I had expectations of two ministers' help that day, but got 
none at all. God ordered both well to my conviction. However it 
was, some communicated with us, who had either never or not these 
twenty years communicated ; and I had some ground to think that 
by that sermon the bands of some were loosed. In all there were 
about fifty-seven persons of our own parish communicants ; few in- 
deed, but yet more than I expected amongst them. The Saturday was 
very rainy, which put us in confusion for the following day ; but God 
disappointed my fears, and gave a pleasant day till towards the end 
of the afternoon's sermon. The rain returned on Monday. That 
was wondrous in my eyes. I afterwards revised the action-sermon, 
with a view to publish it in the Fourfold State ; but gave over that 

226 AIE.UuIllS OF [period IX. 

purpose.* Meanwhile the divisions made the number of communi- 
cants but small. See Appendix Xo. I. 

Thereafter I insisted for some time on a subject suitable to the 
communion-work we had been employed in, [viz. Jer. 1. 5.] And 
this was all along my manner before and after communions. That 
being done, I did, on September 3, enter, for an ordinary, on Mark 
x. 21, 22, " One thing thou lackest," &c. And hereto I was led for 
the ease of my own soul, aod spent thereon what remained of the 

On the Friday after the sacrament, I received a letter, desiring 
me to come and visit one who had been a dissenter, but had come in 
at the sacrament, and commuuicated with us, now very sick, and de- 
sirous to see me. From the letter, I imagined that she was under 
remorse for her complying so far with us ; which seemed to me to 
be a dreadful attempt of the devil against the ordinances in this 
parish ; however, I went away with boldness to see her; and by the 
good hand of God found it was quite contrariwise ; for she told me, 
that she was under the Lord's chastisement for her deserting the 
ordinances so long ; that it began with her in the church on the fast- 
day, which was her first return to the ordinances ; and that she was 
then so pressed, that she had much ado to keep herself from either 
running out, or crying out, in time of sermon. This was no small 
comfort to me, that God had so far vindicated his own cause. This 
brings me in mind of the passage narrated above, p. 204. 

Sept. 29.— Having been under a great trial from that particular, 
of which before, I was so broke with the sin and misery flowing 
from it, that I loathed life, and would have been content to have 
been away, and left all, to have been freed from the sin and misery 
of the case. This sat down on my spirit on the Lord's day, the 13th 
of August. The next Sabbath I was at the sacrament at Selkirk. 
That was to me a sweet ordiuance beyond many. But, behold, there 
arose again quickly after a dreadful storm of temptation from the 
same quarter. So I preached my experience next Lord's day on 
that text; "Job vii. 16, •' I loath it, I would not live alway." I 
gave myself to secret fasting and prayer on the Wednesday there- 
after, being the 30th of August. My case still continuing heavy, 
it led me to that portion of scripture ; Mark x. 21, as above mention- 
ed. After much sad tossing, I did this day spend some time in 
Becret prayer with fasting, to seek of the Lord a right way. On the 
Lord's day before, I had been preaching directions how to get over 

* It was published in 1753, in the same volume with the Miscellaneous Questions 
above mentioned. 

1710.] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 227 

the one thing lacking ; and this day I set myself solemnly to prac- 
tise them for my particular case. After a while I laboured to take 
up my real case as nicely as I could ; for I considered, that unto the 
trials God lays in men's way, they often add much of their own, 
which makes them far more bulky and weighty than otherwise they 
are in very deed ; and here I was convinced, that I had laid too much 
of my own, suffering some things to sink into my spirit, which were 
not so much to be regarded. Thus having as it were removed the 
rubbish I had laid upon the stone which was to bo lifted up, I went 
through these directions ; First, Labouring to see the evil of it ; 
Secondly, Setting myself in a way of believing against it ; 1. Endea- 
vouring to be emptied of myself in point of confidence in myself, 
with respect to the victory over it ; 2. Taking Christ for it ; and, 
1st, Taking himself instead of it ; 2dly, Taking him in all his offices 
for it ; as a Prophet ; a Priest, in his merit and intercession ; and 
as a King, with particular respect to that one thing ; 3dly, Believ- 
ing the promises suited to that case. The third direction was my 
present work, fasting and prayer. And, lastly, I resolved through 
grace to watch. In a special manner I did that day solemnly re- 
nounce, and give over into the hands of the Lord, that thing, and 
take Christ in the stead of it ; so making the exchange, resolving 
to take what he should please to give me of my desire, but to quar- 
rel no more with the Lord upon the head, but to be as a weaned 

Oct. 2. — Immediately on the back of that exercise my temptation 
was renewed, which gave me much ado; but yesterday, being the 
Lord's day, I found that out of the eater meat was brought to me. 
The honour of all the saints ; Psalm cxlix. with respect to the desired 
victory over my lusts, was sweet to me ; and that of the afflictions 
and consolations of ministers being for people's sake ; 2 Cor. i. 6, 
(both falling in our ordinary in the family), was sweet and season- 
able. My soul longed to be free of sin, and was really in love with 
Christ; he was the desire of my soul, which longed for him ; and 
when I considered my one thing lacking, I was well content to part 
with it for him, and to seek my soul's rest in himself. Much had I 
laboured to get the crook in my lot made straight ; but it would not 
do ; yea I was often made worse by seeking to even it. This I took 
up as the wrong way, but saw the necessity of bowing my heart to 
it. This day I had much satisfaction in the resignation and ex- 
change made in this matter, and found my heart so loosed from the 
bonds of my corruption, that the hand of the Lord appeared emi- 
nently in it 

Oct. 6. — I have seen that under temptation I have magnified my 


trial, so that now it appears much less than sometimes it did. The 
Lord has driven the mists from about it, that made it look bigger 
than it was. And this I take to be the effect of Christ's executing 
his prophetical office in me, as I gave myself to him as a Prophet in 
that matter particularly. And this day reflecting on the Lord's 
dealing with me, I found my soul purged from guilt, and helped to 
servo the Lord ; whereas I could not serve him before, while my 
conscience was defiled in that matter. I found my corruption laid 
low, in comparison of what it had been before. And thus Christ 
exercised his priestly and kingly offices over me. Upon this oc- 
casion I have been much inclined to cry to the Lord for the light of 
his Spirit wherewith to read the scriptures ; and I have found that 
I am heard. 

Oct. 8. — My heart has been looking back toward its old bias, 
which was heavy to me ; but I observed my heart said, that the full 
enjoyment of it without Christ would not satisfy, but Christ without 
it would satisfy. I found sensible strength this day, from consider- 
ing that fulness of satisfaction that is to be had in God himself, for 
which I have made the resignation. I had an answer of prayer also 
brought to my hand just before I went out to the church, the lack 
of which was like to have been a temptation to me. The Lord con- 
tinues to make me read the scriptures with more than ordinary in- 
sight into them. [N. B. I think I never had so much of a continued 
insight into the word as I had this winter, which made it no ill time 
to me.] " lie that overcometh shall inherit all things," was a sweet 
word to me. 

Oct. 22 — Last week at the synod, I was surprised with an un- 
usual temptation, which meeting me, struck me with terror, and 
filled me with confusion, having a native tendency to heighten my 
great trial. Wherefore seeing how I was beset, and what danger I 
was in, I set myself the more kindly to bear my trial, and in that 
respect was bettered by that temptation. Being very apprehensive 
of the evil that might ensue upon this, I did, after much fluctuating 
in my mind, not knowing what to do, resolve to go to a certain 
place to prevent the ill I feared ; and accordingly went to a friend 
at the time indisposed. When I came thither, in the simplicity of 
my heart I was going to tell him my design to go elsewhere, but de- 
layed it a while; and then I fell very sick, and was obliged to go 
to bed, where, through indisposition of body and thoughtfulness of 
heart, I had a weary night. I saw I could not go whither I had de- 
signed. About four o'clock in tho morning, whilo I lay and could 
not sleep, 1 could not sec how the evil I feared could be prevented^ 
seeing my design was broken ; nor wherefore providence had brought 

1710.] KB. THOMAS EOSTOX. 229 

me to where I was. But at length I really believed that God had 
done both for the best ; and where sense failed, faith helped me out ; 
and this gave me great ease. On the morrow, being still indisposed, 
I came homeward. The next day, while on my way home, matters 
:vere made so clear to me as to the conduct of providence, that my 
soul blessed him for that seasonable sicknesss, and keeping my de- 
sign entirely secret. This I desire to mark as one of the most sig- 
nal marks of the Lord's tender care over me. At that time there 
was a reproof given me, on account of a boy that kept a school 
here, that sometimes he was not called in to the family exercise out 
of the school. I judged the matter was such, seeing the school was 
public, kept in the kirk, and the reproof given with such an ill air, 
that I could not take it well off the hand that reached it ; but it let 
me in to more than that, that that boy appeared to me the messen- 
ger of the Lord sent to tell me my faults, so as I could have under 
that notion hugged him in my bosom. And that I got for going so 
far. So I came home rejoicing in the Lord's kindness to me in these 

Oct. 23. — This night was a sweet night to me, being let into the 
view of the 6th chapter of the epistle to the Galatians, and loving 
the Lord and holiness. It hath been my wonder, that the faith of 
heaven should not more wean my heart from the world. 

Nov. 4. — A woman who had fallen into fornication told me, that 
the Lord began to deal with her soul, while she was young, and that 
for several years she continued serious ; but for five years before her 
fall, she was under a plain decay ; that she never awaked till the 
child was one night overlaid, and found dead in the morning. She 
said, that in the time of her travail she was no more concerned than 
that, pointing to a form or seat. 

Dec. 9. — This night I was in bad case. I find it is not easy to 
me to carry right, either with or without the cross. "While I was 
walking up and down my closet in heaviness, my little daughter 
Jane, whom I had laid in the bed, suddenly raising up herself, said, 
she would tell me a note ; and thus delivered herself. — Mary Magda- 
len went to the sepulchre. — She went back again with them to the 
sepulchre ; but they would not believe that Christ was risen, till 
Mary Magdalen met him ; and he said to her, " Tell my brethren, 
they are my brethren yet," This she pronounced with a certain air 
of sweetness. It took me by the heart; " His brethren yet," 
(thought I) ; and may I think that Christ will own me as one of his 
brethren yet ? It was to me as life from the dead. 

As for my studies; from my settling in Etterick, I gave myself 
to reading, as I was disposed and had access ; making some ex- 

230 MEMOIRS ov [period IX. 

cerpts oat of the books I read. I began the book of the passages of 
my life, which before had been kept in the two manuscripts above 
mentioned, and some other papers. My son John was begun to 
learn the Latin tongue, February 16, 1708, and had domestic teach- 
ing till the year 1712; for which cause I had several young men in 
that lime for teachers ; but often the burden lay on myself. And 
there was no legal school in the parish, till of late, when none of my 
children needed it. I read some of the books of Antonia Bourignon, 
for understanding her principles, which made a considerable noise at 
that time ; and making some excerpts out of them I left a column 
blank for animadversions thereon ; which I, finding no occasion for 
after, did never make. I began lecturing in Etterick where I left 
off in Simprin ; and proceeding to the book of the Eevelation, I 
wrote some lectures thereon, from the 4th chapter, but in short hand 
characters. The same I did on some chapters of Isaiah afterwards. 

This was the happy year wherein I was first master of a Hebrew 
Bible, and began the study of it. About the time of my coming out 
of the Merse to Etterick, I borrowed a piece of the Hebrew Bible, 
containing the books of Samnel and Kings; and having got that, I 
went on accordingly in the study of the holy tongue. For which 
cause I did this year purchase Athias's Hebrew Bible, of the second 
edition, having been long time lured and put off with the hopes of a 
gift of Arrius Montanus from an acquaintance in the Merse ; the 
which were not like to be accomplished, and in end were frustrated. 
Thus provided, I plied the Hebrew original close, with great de- 
light; and all along since, it hath continued to be my darling study. 
But I knew nothing then of the accentuation. Howbeit, I took some 
notes of the import of the Hebrew words with much pleasure. I had 
got another parcel of books in the year 1700, the chief of which was 
Turrettine's works, in four volumes 4to, wherewith I was not alto- 
gether unacquainted before ; and, in 1707, before I went to Etterick, 
I purchased Pool's Annotations, having had no entire commentary 
on the wholo Bible before that, except the English Annotations, 
edit. 1, purchased in 1704. But from the time I left Simprin, I set 
myself no more to purchase parcels of books as before ; but got 
some particular books now and then, as I found myself disposed for 

About the end of this year, my friend Mr. Wilson and I began 
epistolary conmmunication, whereby we might have the benefit, each 
of the other's reading and study, for our mutual improvement. And 
then I wrote the meditation on the day of expiation and feast of 
tabernacles, to bo found in the miscellany manuscript, p. 325 — 


332.* About this time also I did, for my diversion, compose a kind of 
a poem on friendship, in an enigmatical or allegorical strain, consist- 
ing of some sheets ; a part of which, it seems, I had sent him by that 
time. [But last winter, 1729, I committed it to the flames, with any 
thing else of that kind done by myself.] 

Feb. 8, 1711. — There was a great storm of snow on the ground ; 
and our parish, with many others, about two years before, having 
been almost broke with such a storm, it lay near my heart ; and 
therefore I moved for a congregational fast on that occasion ; which 
the elders fell in with, being called together betwixt sermons; and 
in the afternoon it was intimated, to be observed on the Wednesday 
thereafter. I was helped in my secret prayers on this occasion, 
which made me to hope. On the morrow, the weather began to be 
so easy, that I thought our fast was like to be turned into a thanks- 
giving. But that lasted not ; so that I think it was never more 
violent than on the fast day. And the Lord was with us in pray- 
ing, and in preaching too on Joel i. 18, " How do the beasts groan," 
&c. The Lord graciously heard our prayers. The morrow after 
was no ill day ; but on the Friday the thaw freely came by a west 
wind, without rain. So the Lord's day was a thanksgiving day to 
us. I preached on Psalm cxlvii. 12, 18, '* Praise the Lord. — He 
sendeth out his word, and melteth them." This day, with the day 
of the first communion, were the most joyful days I ever saw in 
Etterick. The hand of the Lord appeared in it to me, and to others 
likewise ; though our congregation made but very little bulk this 
day, after the Lord had done so great things for them. Lord, lay 
it not to their charge. Some afterward told me, that they had but 
one day's meat for their flocks when the storm brake. They were 
generally designed, on the Monday after, to have gone to seek pas- 
ture in other places ; but in time of the storm they professed they 
knew not well whither to go; those places where they were wont to 
go to in a strait, having enough ado to serve themselves. About this 
time as I was lecturing on Proverbs, I took some notes of the im- 
port of the Hebrew words, to chap. xv. to be found in a 4to note- 

On Friday June 8, about three in the morning, my daughter, 
Alison, was born ; and was baptized on Wednesday the 13th, by Mr. 
John Laurie, minister of Eskdalemoor. 

The epistolary communication aforesaid betwixt Mr. Wilson and 
me, was carried on till towards the end of this year, at which time 

* These were published in 1753, in the same volume with the Miscellanies, and 
have been greatly esteemed. 

232 MEMOIRS OF [period IX. 

providence began to lay other work to band. His letters to me of 
that kind are in retentis ; but I have no copy of mine to him. Only, 
what is preserved in the Miscellany manuscript from p. 333, to p. 
349, on Eccl. x. 15, on Conversation, and on Garments, was written 
on that occasion.* 

For my ordinary, I dwelt on the solemn call to faith, and gospel 
obedience ; Matth. xi. 28 — 30, from Jan. 14, this year, till Aug. 26. 
And then to commend Christ to the souls of the people, I did, on 
Sept. 2, enter upon Phil. iii. and went through the first twelve verses 
thereof in order, which continued, I think, till May 1713. 

Aug. 11. — After a long time of freedom from a temptation that 
had often worsted me, it began again about a month ago, and made 
fearful havock on my case. It was no little time ere I began so 
much as to think, that this was a taking up what I had before so 
solemnly renounced ; but still I found myself fettered, and could 
not shake off my bonds. On the 7th instant I set apart some time 
for fasting and prayer, eating only a little bear bread ; but matters 
went not well with me. It burst out on me as a breach in a high 
wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly in an instant, when one is 
labouring to keep and prop it up. This day I fell to that work again, 
but considering that my head was the worso of fasting before, I ate 
as ordinary. In the very time I met with a new temptation akin to the 
grand trial, which was like to baffle me ; but I was helped to struggle 
against it. I meditated, and read over that of September 29, last 
year; and there saw I had taken Christ instead of that which I had 
renounced. The renunciation indeed was still in my view ; but 
though within this short while I had often read over that, my tak- 
ing of Christ instead of it was never in my eyes. My eyes were 
held that I could not see it. But then I took up the case, and was 
like Ilagar having the well that was near her shewn her, when the 
child was laid by for death. I saw it was in vain to attempt to 
empty the heart of what is its carnal choice, unless I got it filled 
with something better than what I was to take from it. And thus 
my bonds were loosed, and I made the exchange over again in a 
solemn manner. And then my soul in some measure rested in tlie 
Lord, and I came away rejoicing in him. Joshua's laying an am- 
bush against Ai, that small city, whereas the walls of great Jericho 
fell down at the sound of rams' horns, let me see how holy guile 
must be used in the spiritual combat. And I found by experience, 
the import of selling all for Christ, whereby the scripture exprcsseth 
the great transaction between the Lord and a soul. For he that 

* These were also published, in the same volume with the Miscellanies, in 1753. 


selleth, though he part with what is his, yet he gets that in its room 
which to him is better than what he gives away ; and so lives on the 
thing he receives, instead of what he parts with. 

On the last Lord's day of October, I was assisting Mr. James 
Ramsay in the celebration of the Lord's supper at Kelso ; and the 
synod being to meet there ten days after, having demitted my office 
of clerkship at the April synod before, I could not go home, but 
went to the Merse, to Dunse. There Dr. Trotter taking me out to 
the fields, surprised me with a motion to print some of my sermons, 
shewing that I should not want encouragement. I had spent two 
days seeking something wherewith to go to Kelso, but could com- 
mand nothing ; so upon that account, and not knowing what other- 
wise I might be called to, I took old notes with me, and among 
others those on man's fourfold state. Upon the Doctor's urging his 
proposal, I made mention of these, as what seemed most suitable, if 
any thing of that nature were to be/ done. On "his desire, I left 
them with him. On the morrow, ere I came off, Mr. Willis pursued 
the Doctor's motion. At the synod, speaking of it to Mr. Wilson, 
he declared, that he minded to have proposed it to me himself, and 
was sorry he was prevented. When I came home, there was a letter 
for me from Mr. B. for a loan of some of my sermons. A while 
after, the Doctor aud Mr. Willis having read the papers, sent pres- 
sing letters to put me on to that work. All which obliged me to 
serious thoughts on the matter. 

Nov. 30. — Some things this night observed and considered (after 
prayer) with respect to the publishing of the sermons. 1. With re- 
spect to our parish. 1st, I have many that will not hear me preach, 
and so have no access to be useful to them that way, they being 
dissenters ; yet 1 have ground to think that they would read my 
sermons. 2dly, There are several that make no conscience of or- 
dinary attendance on the public ordinances, and so have heard but 
few of these sermons. 3dly, There are some who cannot get attend- 
ed punctually, and to whom silent Sabbaths are a grief; and it is 
hoped they might be welcome to those, especially at such times. 
2. With respect to my friends in the Merse. As the Lord was 
pleased to own me while there, making me serviceable, not only to 
my own parish, but to many of the godly in the country; so copies 
of my sermons, since I came from them, have been desired and got 
by several there ; which shews the interest I have in their affections, 
and promises a kindly reception. 3. With respect to myself. 1st, 
I am very little serviceable with reference to public management, 
being exceedingly defective in ecclesiastical prudence ; and very 
little useful in converse, being naturally silent ; but the Lord has 

Vol. XI q 

234 MEMOIRS of [period IX. 

given mo a pulpit-gift, not unacceptable ; and who knows what he 
may do by mo that way ? 2dly, Though sometimes I wrote as little 
of my sermons as many others, yet these nine years at least last 
bypast, I have been, led into a way of close study, and writing 
largely- I have ofttiraes wished to have that yoke off my neck, but 
still providence hold it on me ; and though I have several times 
been designed for public places, yet I have still been shut up where 
I had time for study. 3dly, The Lord has often made me a won- 
der to myself, and to say from my heart, What am I ? and whence 
is this? while he has helped me to preach, blessed my sermons, and 
given me from thence such an interest in the affections of the godly. 
And I will never forget, through grace, the surprising goodness of 
God to me, in clerking to the synod ; which was so done to satis- 
faction, that, the Lord knows, it was such a surprise to me, that to 
this day (having now given it over) I do but believe it on the testi- 
mony of others. That work was taken off my hand at the last 
synod, while this was proposed to be put into it. 4thly, I have a 
weary task of my work in this parish, the Lord's message in my 
mouth meeting with such bad entertainment ; what if the Lord 
should make up this another way ? 4. With respect the sermons 
themselves. 1st, The universal usefulness of the subjects, not treat- 
ed of in that method by any that I know. 2dly, As I had an un- 
easiness till I got through them, to my parish, in regard of the 
great weight of the subjects; so it would be no small comfort to me, 
to have them still speaking to them. 3dly, Providence has ordered 
that I have been now twice on these subjects, though in a different 
method ; once at Simprin, and once here. 4thly, These very ser- 
mons, I know, were useful to some when preached : I have had ex- 
press acknowledgements of their efficacy, particularly that of the 
corruption of nature, the mystical union, and the eternal state. 
Lastly, The steps of Providence in that business ; the providential 
carrying of these sermons to Dnnse, at that time ; at the synod 
Mr. Wilson's declaring to me, that he minded to have proposed it, 
and my being freed of the clerk's office ; and Mr. B's letter meeting 
me when I came home. Further, 

Nov 20. — Though these steps of Providence seemed to have some- 
thing in them, yet I could never get tho matter closely laid to heart ; 
nor did it go beyond far-off thoughts of it till Saturday last ; though 
I had a pressing letter to pursue the motion, from him who first made 
it. That day I had done studying my sermons for the Lord's day, 
and had been well helped of the Lord therein ; and then that busi- 
ness came close home on my spirit, so as tho matter was laid before 
the Lord with weight and deep concern. At night I got three very 

1712.] MR. TIIOirAS BOSTON. 235 

pressing letters, in pursuance of the proposal; and the Doctor's 
particularly did nail ray heart ; so that, considering the weight of 
the enterprise, his way of pressing it, my own unfitness for it, and 
my unholiness in a special manner, it made my heart to quake, and 
ray legs to tremble. — Nov. 23. When most carnal, I have found my- 
self most averse to that work ; when most serious and spiritual, most 
pliable to it. 

The sermons in which I have said I had been well helped, were 
on Phil. iii. 3. I had begun that chapter some time before ; and 
when I viewed the importance of that verse in particular, I was 
minded not lightly to pass it over ; for that cause I purchased a 
book of Manton's sermons, where he had some on that text. Thus 
provided, I set to work on the first clause, " "Worshiping God in 
spirit;" but I was miserably straitened and confused in it. I there- 
fore sent the book away, glad to be quit of it ; and it came well to 
hand with me after that ; as will appear by inspecting of the papers, 
and comparing inference 2, from the doctrine from that clause, and 
downwards, with what goes before. And that help continued 
through the whole of the sermons on that verse from that time for- 
ward, though sometimes less than at other times ; so that I judge 
them to be the best body of sermons I ever studied before or since. 
September 18, 1714.* The help I had in them had an encouraging 
influence on me to that work, they being trysted with it, and begun 
October 21, 1711, and ended March 23, 1712. 

Jan. 13, 1712, — Having a month or five weeks ago spent some 
time in prayer for light in this matter^ I considered those things be- 
fore noted which seemed to me to look favourably towards the de- 
sign ; but the only step I was cleared to take at that time, was, to 
send the papers to Mr. Colden and Mr. Wilson, for their advice, and 
help of their praytrs ; and this day they were returned to me, with 
letters. In the meantime I received a letter, December 15, from one 
concerned, wherein he seemed to me to remit somewhat of his zeal 
for that work ; whereby the weight seemed to be wholly devolved 
on myself. This created thoughts of heart ; but the upshot of it 
was to go on, if otherwise the Lord should clear the matter. And 
whereas I had been desired to cause call for the papers about ten days 
after they were sent away, they came not week after week ; which 
seemed to me to presage their burial ; so that my thoughts of that 
work where much laid aside. The issue of this was, that, with sub- 
mission to providence, I was resolved to lay it by ; yet with sorrow 

* The date of transcribing this passage into the book of the passages of his life. 
These sermons were publisher! in 1756, and justly answer the character the author 
gives of them. «■* 


236 MEMOIRS OP [period IX. 

of heart that I should not have the opportunity to bo useful, which 
sometime seemed promising. The letters that came with the papers 
advised me to proceed, and with earnestness sufficient ; and the 
night beforo they came to my hand, I heard my eldest brother was 
a-dying ; which served to tell me, what need there was to do with 
all my might whatsoever my hand found to do. 

Jan. 16. — I spent most of this day in prayer and meditation, for 
light in this matter; and after all I found, that I had rational 
grounds to oblige me to make an essay ; but could not find such a 
lively sense of the call of God thereto as I desired. I observed, 
that the papers being kept up so long after 1 was made to wait for 
their return, was of a piece with the Lord's ordinary way with me, 
to bring matters first very low before they rise. One told me, she ob- 
served that these sermons had more influence on the people of their 
neighbourhood, than any before or since. I found myself this night 
convinced, that they might be useful to many, in regard of the room 
the Lord has given me in people's affections ; and this went nearest 
to the raising in my heart such a lively sense of the command or 
call of God, as might help me to believe, that he would be with me 
in the work; which is the thing I want; for with respect thereto, 
I believe that the way of the Lord is strength to the upright. I 
have read Durham on that head over and over, for light as to the 
Lord's call, not without some advantage. But I resolve to wait on 
God for his mind, having protested before him this day, (while I 
spread these letters and papers before him), that if he go not with 
me, I be not carried hence. 

Jan. 19. — Yesterday and this day fourteen days, being both these 
days utterly indisposed for study, there was as much left of what 
was studied for the Sabbaths preceding respective as served ; unto 
which I could make no addition. So that although the Lord was 
pleased to continue his help all along from the time I parted with 
that book, as beforo said, yet thus was I made to see, that he had 
lock and key of my gifts still. This night I was convinced, that 
God will have me more holy, beforo I get through this business ; 
and therefore I see, that it is my business to labour in the first place 
to get my own case bettered, by renewing my repentauce. 

Jan. 22. — Last night this was fixed on my heart, as the only way 
how to get clearly through ; and it answers to a confounding sense of 
my own unholiness, as well as weakness for writing, which I was struck 
with at the reading of the Doctor's letters : therefore this day I 
gave myself to prayer and meditation. I found last night that it 
was no easy thing to part with sin ; and this morning the first im- 
pression on my spirit was that of my utter inability to put away 

1712.] ME. THOMAS boston. 237 

sin. And I think I never had a more solid and serious sense of the 
absolute need of Christ for sanctification this day. I saw it was as 
easy for a rock to raise itself, as for me to raise my heart from sin 
to holiness. I endeavoured to search myself, renew my repentance, 
and make confession ; and solemnly laid over on the Lord Jesus 
Christ all my sins which I knew, and all that I knew not, that by 
his obedience, death, and sufferings, he might bear them all away. 
And having further examined myself, I renewed my covenant 
with God, taking God in Christ for my God, the Father of the Lord 
Jesus Christ for my Father, the Sou for my Redeemer, and the Holy 
Ghost for my sanctifier ; even that one God in three persons, who 
is in Christ reconciling the world to himself; taking Christ himself 
for my head and Husband ; renouncing my own wisdom, and taking 
him for my Prophet to learn of him, and receive from him, the light 
of life ; renouncing my own righteousness, and laying the whole 
stress of my soul on his merits and righteousness, and taking him for 
my Intercessor and Advocate ; renouncing all my idols, and taking 
him for my King, and Head of influence for sanctification to my soul ; 
resolving, in his strength, henceforth to hang on him for sanctifica- 
tion, to watth and more narrowly observe providences, and the way 
of his dealing with me. Personal holiness was the great thing in 
my view. After I set myself to cry to the Lord, in respect of the 
public, the case of the congregation, and my family. Towards the 
close of the day, I began to take thought particularly of the matter 
in hand, and set myself to examine myself as to the singleness of 
my intentions. I considered, that if I were led by base ends, it be- 
hoved to be either worldly profit, or a name. As for profit, my con- 
science bare me witness, that I would be content to be a loser, so 
that they might be serviceable ; and as to a name, though at the bar 
of the law I dare not plead Not guilty, yet at the bar of the gospel 
I can appeal to God, that it is not a name to myself, but the honour 
of God that sways with me; and that on these grounds; 1. I do 
not, nor can I, expect a name amongst the men of name. 2. The 
Lord knows that I could be content to lose name and credit amongst 
them, so that the sermons were useful to some poor souls. 3. I am 
conscious to myself, that I durst not engage in such a business with- 
out an eye to the Lord for help ; which I could not have for getting 
myself a name, either amongst the learned or unlearned. And upon 
the ground of my respect to God's honour, I find in myself a disposi- 
tion, to look to himself for his help. Thus I seemed insensibly to slip 
into what I was in quest of, viz. A sense of the command of God, 
such as might be a foundation of confidence in the Lord for help in 
the matter. That sense of my aiming at God's honour, and there- 

238 mkmoius ur [period xi. 

upon tlio disposition to look to him for help, was followed with that 
word, " Him that honoureth mo I will honour ;" but I saw little to 
my purpose in that word. So it cost thoughts of heart, seeking 
some word of God that I might found upon in this point, viz. That 
having such rational grounds for the thing itself, and being consci- 
ous of the singleness of my heart therein, I might look for God's 
help in it. I turned to ray ordinary, and there met with Psalm 
xliv. 5, 6 ; which though it was of use to me, yet did not seem to 
answer the point. Afterward that word, 1 Sam. ii. 30, returned 
with a new light about it, appearing pat to my case. I saw that 
promise particularly directed to priests in the exercise of their 
office ; and my soul desired no more, but what is in the compass of 
that word. It melted my heart, and I said I would believe it. If 
I had had the word a-framing for ray case, I would have desired no 
more in the matter secured to me, than walking before the Lord, as 
a child before his father, After this, minding to read over what I 
had marked from the beginning about this business, together with 
the letters relative thereto, I went to God by prayer, for help to 
make a clear judgment upon the whole. Thereafter I read, first my 
own remarks, and then the letters, so far as they related to that 
affair. Mr. Colden's letter was the last ; and among the last words 
of that part of it, were these following, viz, " Let respect to duty, 
and the salvation of perishing souls, sway you." That word, " perish- 
ing souls," nailed my heart ; and it burst out and answered, " Then 
let me be a fool for perishing souls." And now for perishing souls 
I dare not but try that work, come of me what will. Sense of duty 
has now tho heels of my inclination. Let the Lord do what seemeth 
him good as to the uso of them, whether they bo published or not. 
Blessed be tho Lord, that has thus heard my prayer, and cleared 
mo to put pen to paper. 

Jan. 24. — This day I minded to have put pen to paper in that 
work ; but last night a temptation was laid in to me, and increased 
this day, so that I could not pursue ray resolution. I saw the ne- 
cessity of praying, " Lead us not into temptation ;" was convinced 
that I had let down my watch, and one evil still made way for an- 

Jan. 27. — This night the consideration of the temptation where- 
with I have been baffled, was most stinging, being so very quickly 
after my solemn covenanting with God. I was made to groan out 
my case by reason of a body of sin and death. One thing has still 
been my tomptation, and my heart said, "Any way let me be de- 
livered, (only in mercy), though by cold death." I had been preach- 
ing, that the gracious soul could be content with Christ alone. Aud 

1712.] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 239 

it was some stay to my heart, that I knew the time when I had been 
content without such a thing ; and when I seemed to have it, was 
not content with it, nor would be ; it could not fill up his room. 

Jan. 29. — Last night I was concerned to get my soul's case bet- 
tered ; for I saw Satan was busy with me now, having this work in 
hand. I found great difficulty in believing my welcome to the blood 
of Christ, after I had been so baffled by temptation, and that so 
quickly after covenanting with God, and making use of that blood. 
Verily the way of the covenant of grace is not the way of nature. 
But by the tenor of the covenant ; Heb. viii. 10, 12, my faith of 
this was raised. And this morning I found my soul sweetly com- 
posed, believing that the covenant of Tuesday last yet stands ; and 
was inclined to put pen to paper without delay, the rather that it 
might be a mean of personal holiness to myself. 

Feb. 3. — Accordingly that day, Tuesday the 29th of January, 
after prayer, and getting my heart composed to a dependence on the 
Lord, I began to write these sermons, and did something therein ; 
but the temptation recurred, and was laid to me violently, till Thurs- 
day's night very late. On the "Wednesday I was quite laid aside 
with it, deeply melancholy, and unfit for every thing. In which 
case, ill the afternoon, I went up the brook to a solitary place, 
prayed, and sung Psalm cvii. 8, and downwards; and came home pretty 
well recovered, violently and resolutely plucking up my spirit ; and 
though the temptation lasted, it no more got me down to that degree. 
On the Thursday I proceeded in writing ; and in the very time I 
got a new assault, but resisted it and went on. At length, going 
on in the work, there was a new assault ; which so discomposed me, 
that I was obliged to lay it aside, and betake myself to a study re- 
quiring less thought. Thus Satan has made a strange bustle against 
this work; and though my misbehaviour under it is a matter of 
mourning, yet considering the issue of it, in its effect on my heart, I 
cannot think on the dispensation, but my soul blesses God therein. 
The effect was very necessary to fit me for the work in hand ; and 
indeed, so far as I remember, I never felt it so easy to keep up. 

This morning my heart began to swell with vanity ; but God cor- 
rected it, by his leaving me in confusion there where I thought I 
was best buckled. the deceit of my heart ! the goodness of 
God that has so quickly checked ray folly ! Praises to him for it. 

This day eight days before day, I was sent for to see a certain 
young man thought to be a-dying. He confidently gave out, that 
he was just a-dying ; that when he was in Edinburgh last, he thought 
he would never see it more, and so had been preparing for death. 
He was confident of his eternal welfare ; and spoke so much, that 1 

240 REMoias of [period ix 

could scarcely get a sentonce spoken to an end ; and he disturbed 
me mightily in prayer with his speaking. I thought it looked not 
very like the work of the Spirit, and therefore set myself to try his 
evidences ; and though he was not ready to produce them, yet when 
be did, I could not but acknowledge what he said to be good 
evidence ; for indeed he is a knowing and religious young man. In 
all that flood of words, there was not one word to the commendation 
of the ordinances, though it would have been most seasonable from 
a dying man, especially in regard of the deserters that were there. 
When I spoke something of the Lord's feeding his people in ordin- 
ances, he spoke nothing to the commendation of the word, (though 
he was wont most diligently to attend) ; but said only, It was only 
the Spirit that could make it do good either to the preachers or 
hearers. And I durst not put the question to him, concerning his 
own entertainment in the ordinances, because of the deserters that 
were about. This was very heavy to me. I judge there was something 
of vapours in the case. From that time he recovered, being quickly 
better after I saw him. Another case I had of the same nature in a 
young woman a little after I came to this parish, who was very con- 
fident of her state, and that with a sort of rejoicing ; though upon 
further acquaintance after, I could not discern any thing that might 
be a foundation for such great things. I desire not to be peremptory 
in particular cases ; but 1 see the need ministers have not to be 
too credulous, but to try. 

Feb. 5. — This day I plainly saw the temptation aforesaid confirm- 
ing my call to this work, when I considered how quickly Satan flew 
in the face of it, and how by the same means God had been fitting 
me for it, clearing, as it were, the ground to lay the fouudation. 

Feb. 20. — This day I found I had unfitted myself for my work ; 
and it pleased the Lord to withdraw from me in it until I was hum- 
bled, and then his help returned. And my soul blesscth him that 
thus corrects mo while about that work. 

March 9. — 1 find my work very difficult, being hitherto littlo else 
but a new study; only the Lord liberally recompenseth my toils, so 
that I am well satisfied with the product of the blessing of God on 
my pains. I am appointed to go to the general assembly, and that 
agaiust my will, in regard of the work that is on my hand ; but am 
satisfied iu the provideuco of God, which has a secret design, which, 
I hope, 1 will see. 

March 12. — On the 10th instant I was very much discouraged as 
to that work, finding the authentic copy so bare and empty, that I 
could not but attribute it to a special providence, that the ministers 
who read them could ever have advised to revise them. I spent 

1712. j MU. THOMAS BOSTOX. 241 

this morning in prayer, especially for direction and assistance in 
that work, and was helped to lay it over on the Lord. 

Yesterday being in distress about the weaning of the child, I went 
to God with that matter ; and coming down stairs presently after, 
I found the difficulty by the good providence of God removed, by 
the recovery of the nurse's husband, whose sickness had formed 
that difficulty. 

April 23. — Last week our synod met. I have been busy about 
these sermons since I began that work, and before the synod had 
eleven sheets prepared. My health has to my wonder been pre- 
served ; save that in March, by bleeding and purging, (which con- 
tinued near ten days after I took the physic), I was much weakened, 
which obliged me for some little time to lay it aside. Having been 
moderator of the October synod, and being to preach before them in 
April, I was minded, from the sweetness I had fonnd in the study 
of the holy scripture in the Hebrew original, to have taken for my 
text, Ezra vii. 10, ' For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the 
law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and 
judgments;" and this in order to stir up my brethren to a due value 
for the study of the holy scriptures, especially in the originals, and 
to holiness and tenderness of life, &c. But the lamentable altera- 
tion in the state of public affairs and state of the church, brought 
in about this time by the act imposing the oath of abjuration on 
ministers, by which I saw the ruin of this church contrived, obliged 
me to lay aside that design, and suit my synod-sermon to what I 
judged such a critical juncture required. And so I was determined 
to Matth- xxviii. ult. " Lo, I am with you to the end of the world." 
The sermon is in retentis. I spent some time in secret for prepara- 
tion ere I entered upon it. It came to my hand pretty well. On the 
Saturday before I went to the synod, being to preach at Galashiels, 
then vacant, my family was in great distress ; my wife miscarried, 
Thomas was very sick, John was to go to Selkirk with me, none of the 
other two were well ; so that I was in a great strait to leave them that 
day : but the Lord helped, and melted my soul in confidence in him- 
self ere I went off. But being indisposed in body and spirit too on 
the morrow, I ha 1 scarcely ever a more heavy Sabbath. On Mon- 
day night, after I came to Kelso, I had about two hours of easiness ; 
but when I went to bed, I was so oppressed with melancholy, and 
fears of preaching before the synod, that I slept none at all the 
whole night ; but still as I closed ray eyes, my heart was as it were 
struck through with a dart; so that it was a most miserable un- 
easy night. I arose about half six in the morning, and was busy 
till eight. Then I thought to lie down for an hour's sleep; but iu- 
stead of sleeping, I grew worse ; sonl, body, and spirit, all disorder- 


ed : so that I thought I could preach none that day. In my distress 
I would needs have a certain minister sent for, that he might preach 
in my stead ; but he absolutely refused. Wherefore I behoved to 
adventure ; and though in delivering of the sermon I had some fear, 
yet, through the goodness of God, it had no bad effects on me in it ; 
for I was solidly serious in the whole. I am ashamed of the whole 
of this ; my natural bashfuluess and diffidence have often done me 
much harm. Melancholy is an enemy to gifts and grace, a great 
friend to unbelief, as I have often found in my experience ; but no- 
thing in it touches me more than my folly and imprudence in send- 
ing for that minister ; for it was too much to the dishonour of God, 
who has often been good to me, that somo bosom-friends saw me in 
that case ; but the other could not but be a disadvantage to the 
cause of God, in the weighty point of the oath, in which that person 
and I quickly appeared of different judgments. This day I set myself 
to pray and think about the oath ; and it remains to be a heavy 
trial to me. The state of public affairs makes me afraid, that the 
business of the sermons be marred ; which puts me now to beg of 
God, that he would carry on that work over the belly of the diffi- 
culties. This day also one who came to my house last summer in 
deep distress and melancholy, having by the blessing of God re- 
covered, went away but somewhat dissatisfied. Since her recovery, 
she has been somewhat uneasy to us, and seemed very unconcerned 
in tho distress of our family. Another certain person did not carry 
right. I had a very sorry account of a third. All the three were 
much esteemed by me for their piety. These things together mado 
me think that I had seen an end of all perfection. And though I 
think they were all gracious persons, and dare not think, far less 
speak, harshly as to tho state of any of them, considering my cor- 
rupt self; yet I think I will never admire women's religion so very 
much as I have done. I do judge their passions are apt to make 
their religion look greater than indeed it is, being naturally easy to 
be impressed. 

May 27. — When I came home from the synod, my son Thomas 
was still sick ; on tho last of April he died ; was buried May 1 ; 
and on the morrow I went to Edinburgh to the general assembly. 
Never was the death of a child so useless to me, being put out of 
order by a temptation. The prospect of evil times alleviated the 
case of his death ; but the disorder of my own spirit wofully mar- 
red the kindly good effect it might have had. Satan watches to pre- 
vent the good of afflictions ; much need is there to watch against 

in the assembly, the lawfulness of the oath of abjuration was de- 

1712.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 243 

bated pro and con, in a comraitte of the whole house, betwixt the 
scruplers and the clear brethren. All I had thereby was, that the 
principles on which the answers to the objections were founded, 
seemed to me of such latitude, that by them almost any oath might 
pass. The parties were (at that time, as I think) at the very point 
of splitting ; till Mr. William Carstairs, principal of the college of 
Edinburgh, and clear for the oath, interposed and prevented the 
rupture ; for the which cause I did always thereafter honour him in 
my heart. For all that I heard advanced to clear the difficulties 
about it, I still continued a scrupler ; and therefore, a little before 
I came away home, the act imposing the oath being printed, and 
offered to me at the door of the assembly house, I bought it, on pur- 
pose to know exactly the penalty I was like to underlie. 

Being come home, I did this day spend some time in prayer for 
light from the Lord about that oath. And thereafter entering on to 
read the prints I had on it, in order to form a judgment about it, I 
immediately fell on the act, whereby it was first of all framed and 
imposed ; and finding thereby the declared intent of the oath to be, 
to preserve the act inviolable on which the security of the church of 
England depends, I was surprised and astonished ; and, upon that 
shocking discovery, my heart was turned to loath that oath which I 
had before scrupled. 

From thence, what spare time I had from visiting of the parish, I 
spent in considering the oath, until June 17, that our synod met 
pro re nata ; I having, by advice of brethren-members of the as- 
sembly for our synod, called them together. And by the foresaid 
time of their meeting, I had written my thoughts on the oath, being 
reasons against it, on about two sheets of paper ; the which are in 

There the oath was disputed throughout; the unclear impugning, 
and the clear brethren defending it. But as the declared intent of 
the oath above mentioned, did not at all cast up in the reasonings of 
the general assembly, which could not have missed, if it had been 
then known to the scruplers ; so, as far as I could understand, it 
was known to no brother of "the synod, clear or unclear, before I 
took the act aforesaid along with me to that their meeting. They 
seemed to be struck with it, when it was cast up in the synod ; but 
Mr. James Ramsay aforesaid, made an answer to it, distinguishing 
between the church of England as a protestant church, and as a 
church having such a government and worship ; and admitting the 
intent of the oath in the first sense, but not in the second. This was 
truly stumbling to me, but served to confirm me against the oath. 
The conduct of providence determining me to procure the act above 


said, was wondrous in ray eyes. The Lord was pleased to hear ray 
prayers, in helping me, with some measure of freedom, to debate the 
business at the synod, together with others. I was silenced, though 
not satisfied, by an answer to the first argument, (namely the swear- 
ing of principles), taken from the national covenant ; for on that 
occasion it was much improved by those that used not before to 
meddle much with it. It seemed p^in to me, that the clear breth- 
ren were at a loss in the rest, and truly foundered in that of the de- 
clared intent of the oath, which a certain person proposed, having 
before desired the act from me ; from whence he understood I had 
it. Though they seemed to be struck with it yet they gave answers 
to it ; which much confirmed me, when I plainly saw that some 
were resolute to answer, when (it seemed to me) they hardly knew 
what to answer. I had from that time a particular regard for Mr. 
John Gowdie, minister at Earlston, a grave and learned man, upon 
the account of his candour and ingenuity, though joined with 
principles very contrary to mine ; he owned, that the ministers, in 
the year 1648, would not have taken that oath, according to their 
principles. [And in this regard to that brother, I had been, since 
that time, all along coufirmed ; and even in the assembly 1729, in 
professor Simson's affair ; the man dealing plainly and candidly, 
according to his light ; though in such matters, of a more public 
nature, he and I were still on opposite sides of the question. He is 
this year, 1730, transported to Edinburgh.] I was much comforted 
and encouraged in the kind conduct of Providence about me at that 
meeting. I desired still to hang about the Lord's hand for further 
light in that matter; and I durst not say to any, what I would do 
in the matter. 

In the visiting of the parish, I was extremely discouraged. The 
ministry of this church is like to die unlamented. I have no sympa- 
thy from any of my people, or next to none. All were clear against 
the oath, and they were in no care that way, but that I kept honest, 
and others. That was all their doubt in the matter. Nay, I found some 
scrupling to take the sacrament ; saying, How could they, when 
against Lammas the ministers would, -may be, take the oath ? [X.Ii. 
In the house of one of these scrnplers, there was stolen flesh found 
sometime thereafter; and her husband being disgraced, they left tho 

I found myself in great daDger by melaucholy, and was more bro- 
ken that way than ever; and unless God would help, there was no 
help from any other quarter. On Saturday we spent some time in 
prayer, with an eye to the state of public affairs, and the sacrament. 




I had a weary morning of it. till the Lord refreshed me in some 
measure towards the latter end of my secret prayers. 

June 29. — This day the sacrament was celebrated here. On the 
Friday before, being my day for study, I had as great a pressure 
by my cross as ever before. I was thereby confounded, and unfitted 
for any thing. However, I got through my studies, such as they 
were, on Isa. xliv. 5. On the Lord's day I obliged one to preach 
before me, (which is not my ordinary), that the people might 
get something ; I being confounded and broken. Upon the whole of 
that work, as to myself, I thought the Lord had cast a cloud over 
me; and I was well satisfied, judging that God had honoured me 
very much before ; and if he should now bury me, ere I were dead, 
and continue that vail over me, I was content, hoping I might creep 
into heaven at some back door. And the reflection on this ease of 
my heart, while I lay among the dust of the Lord's feet, was my 
feast, for that time. 

Some time before the sacrament, being under conviction of guilt, 
I found my soul bound up, and my heart hardened ; till I looked to 
the blood of Jesus Christ, and turned to see God in Christ ; and 
thereupon my heart was loosed and melted. 

Oct. 21 — Our synod met. Being resolved not to take the oath, I 
took advice at Edinburgh, when I was at the commission, (to which 
when I was going, I was in hazard of being drowned in a hole by the 
highway-side, for great rains had fallen ; I was pulled out by one 
that was with me), how to dispose of my effects, if by any means I 
might keep them from becoming a prey to the government ; rigid 
execution of the law being expected by both parties, clear and un- 
clear. But the executing of the project was delayed till the synod. 
At this meeting, the brethren clear for the oath, had concerted 
measures for bringing such as should refuse it under an engagement 
not to speak against the takers of it. I was resolved to be very 
tender that way, and so have been all along to this day; looking on 
the exposing of them as a hindrance to the success of the gospel ; for 
which cause I have suffered heavily at the hands of the people. But 
withal I was absolutely against binding up myself in the matter, by 
consenting to any act for that end ; and therefore declared against 
it accordingly. And, on purpose to break it, I proposed, that since 
the clear brethren demanded that engagement of us unclear, on the 
one hand, they should, on the other hand, engage, that they would 
not join with the magistrate against us. And this broke the con- 
trivance to all intents and purposes ; for they could neither think 
meet to come under such an engagement to us, uor could they have 
confidence to insist in their project upon their shifting it. Thus the 


Lord honoured me to mar this insnaring contrivance ; which gave 
mo ground to hope, that, notwithstanding my personal guilt and un- 
holiness, the Lord would help me to be faithful, and some way use- 
ful in the time of trial. As I camo home, I was made sweetly to 
observe, what pains the Lord had been pleased then to take to re- 
concile me to the cross, and to sweeten it to me, in a pleasant mix- 
ture of disappointments, straits, and outgates, in the management of 
my affairs ; for when I came to Kelso, I found the measures before 
laid down for that effect, all broken; which much perplexed me; 
but on that occasion I was set on other measures thought to be more 
sure. I saw myself there a friendless creature ; which made me 
solemnly take God for my friend, and lay my business over upon 
him ; and it succeeded. I had business with several persons, as I 
came homeward ; and they were all made favourable to me ; yet still 
in a vicissitude of disappointments or temptations; so that it was 
all tho way, as it were, one step down and another up. Having been 
disappointed of meeting with a person I had business with, and that 
twice successively, I was thinking, (as I rode on my way), that al- 
though such disappointments were but small things, yet being ruled 
by providence, they certainly had a design; namely, to try men's 
patience, and waiting on the Lord ; which my soul desired to do. 
In the very time these thoughts were going through my heart, the 
boy that was with me asked a woman, whero such a one dwelt, a 
friend of that person's whom I wanted. She told him ; but withal 
added, that if he were seeking such a man, ho was in that house, to 
which she belonged. So we met. This small thing thus timed, was 
big in my eyes. I camo home with a heart reconciled, in some mea- 
sure, to tho cross of Christ. 

By all parties nothing was expected, but a rigid execution of a very 
severe law, laying non-compliers with it, besides other incapacities, 
under an exorbitant fine of £500 sterling ; which was more than all 
the stipend that had ever since I was a minister come into my hand, 
by that time did amount to. However, I found myself obliged to 
go on in preaching tho gospel at my peril, to fulfil the ministry I 
had received of the Lord. Herein I was confirmed and encouraged, 
by a declared resolution to that purpose, of a meeting of several 
brethren at Edinburgh, in the time, I think, of tho commission in 
August. These straitening circumstances obliged me to denude my- 
self of all my worldly goods ; that they might not fall into tho 
hands of the government, when I should fall under tho lash of the 
law. For this cause I disponed my tenement in Dunso in favour of 
ray eldest son, and expeded that matter; so that it being sold se- 
veral years after, ho was obliged, being major, to sign the papers. 

1712.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON - . 247 

I also made an assignation of my other goods and gear to John 
Currie, who came with me my servant to this country, and was then, 
I think, my precentor. [This paper I destroyed, only the last win- 
ter, 1729.] In these things the due forms of law were observed, not 
without trouble and expense. 

Meanwhile, during all this reeling and confusion, I had no en- 
couragement or sympathy, or next to none, as formerly observed, 
from the parish ; which was a great load above my burden. They 
seemed only to wait to see what proof of honesty would be given, or 
contrariwise. And their woful jealousy, and their looking so lightly 
on the matter, was a mighty discouragement to me. However, had 
they been as much for, as they were against, the oath, I durst never 
have, whatever had been the hazard, taken it, according to any light 
in which it did ever appear to me unto this day. But the truth is, 
the extreme hardship I was under from them, did much alleviate the 
prospect of the govermeut's forcing me away from them, even to 
confinement and banishment, and this for several years after, where- 
in there was some appearance of these things. But now, for se- 
veral years, expectation of relief that way hath been blocked np ; 
and the Lord has seen meet to take trial of me in another, more 
private way. 

On Oct. 26, I preached my last sermon, which, as matters then 
stood in law, 1 could preach under the protection of the government. 
My text fell, in my ordinary, to be Phil. iii. 8, " My Lord, for 
whom I have suffered the loss of all things." And in my notes on 
that text, are to be found a few things, which, in the close of that 
day's work, I said on that trying occasion. 

Tuesday the 28th, being the last day, according to the law, for 
taking of the oath, I spent some part of it in secret with the Lord, 
endeavouring to renew my repentance, and my covenant with the 
Lord. I had now, since the synod or assembly, lost all heart and 
hand as to proceeding in the sermons designed for the press ; and 
having finished the subjects of the states of innocence and nature, 
had laid the project aside. But this day the inclination to go on 
with that work returned with that, that now 1 saw I behoved to 
be a fool for Christ in the matter of the oath, and so I might be 
in the matter of these sermons too. And withal, whereas I had 
foreseen a peculiar difficulty as to the managing of the sermons on 
the state of grace, it was given me to see how to get over that diffi- 
culty, and that by casting my thoughts into a shorter and more na- 
tural method than before ; which never' came into my head before 
that day. 

248 MEMOIRS OF [period X. 



On the followiug Sabbath, being November 2, I did, under a great 
pressure, from the consideration of the severity of the law upon the 
one hand, and the temper of the parish upon the other, enter again 
on my work, at my peril. "What I said by way of preface that day, 
is also to be found in the notes aforesaid :* after which I went on 
as before, proceeding on the same text in my ordinary, Phil. iii. 
And I bless the Lord, who gave me counsel, not to intermit the ex- 
ercise of my ministry for ever so short a time, on that trying oc- 

According to what befel me on the 28th of October, with respect 
to proceeding in writing of the Fourfold State, I applied myself 
closely thereunto again ; I had perfected tho following part there- 
of, viz. the state of grace, by the 23d of December. 

Proceeding in writing of the Fourfold State, I finished it on tho 
9th of March. On the 25th of January, gave myself unto prayer, 

* The preface here referred to is as follows : — 

" The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall 
know, if it be in rebellion against the government that 1 appear here this day, to 
preach unto you the gospel of Christ. Contempt of magistrates, and of their laws, is 
no part of my religion ; but it lies upon my conscience to cleave to the laws of my 
Lord and Master Jesus Christ, the only king and head of his church ; from whom I 
have received the office of the ministry, by the hands of church-officers, and not by 
the hand of the magistrate ; even when these laws of his are crossed and contradicted 
by the laws of men ; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 2. The magistrate has the same power over minis- 
ters' persons and goods, as over other men's ; and if he abuse it, it is his sin. But 
he has no power over our office ; he has no power to deprive the ministers of the 
gospel of their ministerial office, nor yet of the exercise of it formally and directly. 
For the kingdom of Christ is a kingdom within a kingdom ; a spiritual kingdom, dis- 
tinct from and independent on the magistrate. I have now served the Lord in this 
work of the ministry thirteen years ; and though he needs none of my service, and his 
work might be well done without me ; yet seeing he has not discharged me, I must 
say, as the servant under the law, " I love my master," and my children whom I have 
begotten in the gospel, or nourished up ; and I desire not to go out, and would be 
content my ear were bored through with an awl to serve him for ever. Our Lord has 
given us a plain anil positive allowance, " When they persecute you in one city, flee 
unto another." I cannot reckon this persecution to be begun yet ; therefore I must 
work the work of him that sent me while it is called to-day, not knowing how soon 
the violence of our enemies may bring on the night. What I desire of you is, that 
as the Israelites of old were to eat the passover, you will eat your spiritual food, in 
haste, not knowing how soon your table may be drawn. Let us theu go on as for- 

1713] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 240 

with new endeavours after personal holiness. Then I went on ; and, 
according to ray natural disposition when once engaged in a work, 
was too eager. Rising to it long before day, on the Saturday morn- 
ing thereafter, that day my body was sore weakened, my spirits 
exhausted, very little was done, and that little very unsatisfying. 
At length I was obliged to leave it, with that check, " It is vain for 
you to rise up early," &c, Psalm cxxvii. 2; and I resolved through 
grace to do so no more. And now do I bless God, for that that 
eagerness is removed, and it goes better with me. However, on the 
9th of March the work was finished ; and for the help of the Lord I 
had therein, I desire to be thankful. Whatever the Lord minds to 
do with them, I had worth my pains in the work, with respect to my 
own private case ; for they made me many errrands to the throne of 
grace, and helped me to keep up a sense of religion on my spirit. 
"Writing of heaven, I found it no easy thing to believe the greatness 
of that glory which is to be revealed. The copy then written in 
octavo, winch is in retentis, was not the copy from which it was 
afterwards printed. 

On Friday, April 3, about eight minutes after one in the morn- 
ing, my youngest son Thomas was born ; and was baptized on the 
14th, by Mr. William Macghie, minister of Selkirk. 

Coming in view of the sacrament this year, the impression I had 
of the low state of practical religion in the place, led me to a new 
ordinary, viz. Hos. xiv. which chapter I began May 17, and pro- 
ceeding therein to the last clause of ver. 6, dwelt long on it. 

I find, that about this time, having seen Cross's Taghmical Art, I 
was begun to have some notion of the accentuation of the Hebrew 
Bible, according to the principles of that author. Having been with 
Mr. Macghie foresaid in his closet at a time, he happened to speak 
of his acquaintance with Mr. Cross at London, and of his giving him 
a copy of his book above mentioned, which I believe I had never 
heard of before. I desired thereupon to see the book ; and, finding 
it relate to the sacred Hebrew, I borrowed it from him. This be- 
hoved to be, either in the spring this year, or else in October, 1712, 
what time I was assisting at the sacrament there. Had I known 
then what was in the womb of that step of providence, I had surely 
marked the day of ray borrowing that book, as one of the happiest 
days of my life. 

Great was the stumbling among the people through the south and 
west, on the account of the abjuration-oath, taken, in the preceding 
year, by about two parts of three of the ministry in Scotland ; and 
I gained but little in our parish, by my refusing it ; because I would 
not separate from, but still kept communion with, the jurors ; meet- 

Vol. XI. R 


ing with them in presbyteries and synods. And now was beginning 
the schism made by Mr. John Taylor, ministry of Wamphray, on 
that account. I had been assisting to the said Mr. Taylor at the 
sacrament in the year 1711 ; and he to me in the year 1712 ; as he 
was also this year, June 7»* on the same occasion. On that night, 
after the public work was over, finding him inclined to separation 
upon the account of the oath, I earnestly argued against it from the 
holy scripture; and he seemed not to be very peremptory, nor much 
to set himself to answer my arguings. But immediately after this 
conference on that subject ; going to family worship, whereat a 
great mauy were present, but perhaps all strangers, except my own 
family ; he surprised me with his discourse on Psalm xxiii. delivered 
in a very homely manner, and just feeding the reeling, separating 
humour among the people ; the which I looked upon as a sorry piece 
of service at best, and unbecoming a man of sense and consideration, 
in these circumstances. 

On the 12th of July, I was assisting to him again. And the 
work being begun before I got thither, on the Saturday, I sat down 
on the brae-side among the people ; where, after sermons, I was sur- 
prised to hear him shew their resolution to declare their adherence 
to the covenants, national and solemn league, for which they had 
made some preparation on the fast-day ; but withal leaving others to 
their liberty. The people, having got the call from him for that 
effect, rose up on every side of me ; and by holding up their hands, 
as had been agreed on, testified their adherence. I was not ap- 
prised beforehand of this design ; and judging it a matter requiring 
due preparation, and not to be rashly entered upon, sat still, and 
joined not. By all the accounts I had of it, I judged the manage- 
ment thereof not suitable nor proportionable to the weight of the 
matter. Through the mercy of God, I found no ill effect of this 
piece of my conduct, at home, which I feared. 

Some time after, being called to answer for himself, before the 
presbytery, in matters unquestionably scandalous, whether right or 
wrong alleged against him, he did most unwisely decline them, and 
separate. But I think, that, even though his separation had been 
warrantable, he ought, for the honour of God, and the cause of re- 
ligion, to have appeared, and purged himself of these things to their 
face, in the first place. Hearing how matters were like to go be- 
twixt him and the presbytery, I wrote to him, whom I always took 
for a good man ; offering my best offices and advice, if he would give 
me a view of the state of his matters. The letter he received, but 

' The action-sermon en Heb, xi. 28, was published in a volume in 1753. 

1713] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 251 

made me no return ; and I never saw him since that time. A great 
many of the parish of Eskdale-moor joined hiin ; the which, by rea- 
son of the neighbourhood, was another fouutain of trouble and un- 
easiness to me, giving me another class of dissenters, servants com- 
ing in from thence to our parish; though I remember none of our 
congregation that went off to him, but one inconstant woman, who 
joined with his way for a time. 

At first Mr. John Hepburn, head of an old and considerable party, 
Mr. John Gilchrist, minister of Dunscore, and he, joining together, 
formed a presbytery; which lasted very short while. At length his 
own party broke among themselves, and many of them left him ; so 
that this day, though he still continues his schism, his affairs and 
reputation are in a sorry situation. 

Amongst us who assisted in those days, as aforesaid, at Warn- 
phray, was Mr. Thomas Hoy, minister at Annan. Him also, some 
time after, lodging a night in my house, I was at pains to convince 
of the unwarrantableness of the separation on account of the oath ; 
but prevailed not. Howbeit, some time after, I heard with indigna- 
tion, his taking of the oath itself; such a propensity there is in hu- 
man nature to run to extremes, and such a need of walking by a 
fixed principle of church-communion, established from the holy 

On August 30, continuing my ordinary ; Hos. xiv. I did withal 
return to explain the catechism ; but began at the duty which God 
requireth of man. And judging the discovery of the exceeding 
breadth of the command to be of great importance, I did insist on 
the ten commands very largely; so that the sermons on them ended 
not till August 28, 1715, two years after this. Which brings to 
mind an occasional encounter, before our presbytery, with Mr. John 
Gowdie above mentioned ; who happening to tell us of his preach- 
ing catechetical doctrine, shewed, that he had cursorily gone over 
the ten commands, as judging that best for the case of the people ; 
I found myself obliged to declare before them all, that I was quite 
of another mind ; the fullest unfolding of the holy commandment 
being necessary to discover the need of Christ, both to saints and sin- 
ners. But I have always observed narrow thoughts of the doctrine 
of free grace, to be accompanied with narrow thoughts of the extent 
of the holy law. 

About this time I set myself to consider the mass-book, and tho 
English service-book ; between which I found a surprising agree- 
ment, several particulars of which I marked on the service-book, 
which remains as yet among my other books. For the course of 
public affairs had taken such a turn, that from the year 1710 they 


252 MEMOIRS OF L rEIU0D x ' 

had run straight towards the interest of the pretender ; and con- 
tinued so to do, till, being brought to the point of full ripeness, it 
pleased the Lord, suddenly and surprisingly to break the measures 
of the party, through the removal of Queen Anne by death, August 
1, 171-4 ; so that king George had a peaceable accession to the 
throne, as much unexpected, as the Queen's death at the time fore- 
said. Meanwhile, at this time, matters had a formidable appear- 
ance, and a terrible cloud seemed to hang over the head of the na- 
tions, hastening to break. Papists and Jesuits were flocking hither 
from beyond seas ; and things great and small were set a-going, to 
prepare people for receiving what was a-hatching. Sitting at meat 
in time of the synod at Kelso, in the house of a presbyterian silly 
woman, I was surprised with, and filled with indignation at, the 
sight of the picture of Christ on the cross, hanging on the wall over 
against me. Lodging, in time of a communion, in a certain house 
of some distinction, I got a loam bason to wash my hands in, with 
the Jesuits' motto in the bottom thereof, J. H. S. And many other 
such arts were then used to catch the people, while the great arti- 
fices for compassing the design were going on successfully. Withal, 
there were mighty fears of an intended massacre. 

But national fasts were very rare, as they have been all along 
since the Union unto this day. Wherefore on February 17, 1714, 
we kept a congregational fast, upon the account of the aspect of af- 
fairs at that time, more particularly declared in our session's act 
thereanent, of the date Feb. 14, 1714. I preached that day on Psalra 
Ixxiv. 19, '' deliver not the soul of thy turtle dove unto the multi- 
tude of the wicked." Which sermon agreeable to the state of that 
time, being in retentis, may be consulted.* 

On the Sabbath immediately following, I entered, in my cateche- 
tical ordinary, on the second command ; upon which 1 did for some 
time set myself to discover the ovil of Popery, and of the English 
service. With respect to the former, 1 explained to the people the 
national covenant at large, judging the case of the time a sufficient 
call thereto. The latter I insisted on as particularly, and as much 
as I thought to be for edification, from the pulpit ; yet not so much 
as I fain would have done ; which was the occasion of the blank left in 
that part of my notes on the commands; the which, it seems, I had 
some thoughts of filling up afterwards, for my own satisfaction ; 
which yet was never done.f 

* This sermon was published in the author's Body of Divinity, vol. II. by way of 
a note on the second command ; and was also printed separately, with an addition of 
part of another sermon, on account of the great incrr-ase of Popery in Scotland. 

f See the author's Body of Divinity, vol. II. p. 512, 3, 4, notes. 

1714.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 253 

The aforesaid copy of the Fourfold State having been revised by 
several ministers, I went in the summer to Edinburgh, with my dear 
friend Dr. Trotter, on purpose to speak with a printer on that head. 
And while I was there, I was free, willing, and resolved to venture it 
into the world. But a friend there, at that time a student, now a mi- 
nister, advised to delay it upon the ground of the fear of the preten- 
der's coming in. This being so feasible, I could not in modesty refuse 
the advice ; but after that, my courage in the case abated and sunk. 

Aug. 24. — This day the sacrament was administered. There were 
103 tokens given out to parishioners, whereof 23 to new communi- 
cants ; and there were never so many communicants of this parish 
before. The work was begun on Thursday with a sermon on Amos 
vi. 1, which I believe drew the stool from under most of us ; surely 
it did so to me. On the Saturday and Sabbath morning, the weather 
looked gloomy ; but I had a most quiet resigned frame of spirit, 
with respect to it, leaving it on the Lord without anxiety. And it 
was a grey day, with some pleasant blinks. A little ere I went out, 
I was stung with the conscience of my neglect of self-examination, 
though I had solemnly done it on the Monday before, being our 
family fast-day for this occasion. I had attempted it on Saturday's 
night, but was carried off. Let this be a lesson to me. In this case 
I took a short review of myself, as the time would allow ; but that 
neglect stuck with me. I preached on Hos. ii. 19, which I had en- 
tered on July 11. The rest of the ministers were well helped. I 
was not straitened for words in that sermon, and had some solid se- 
riousness as to the success of it ; yet I thought the Lord cast a cloud 
over me, and that the people seemed unconcerued. So, in the midst 
of it I knew not what to do, fearing the people's weariness. I look- 
ed about, wishing in my heart that some body would tell me whether 
to leave it or not ; yet I went on to the second general head, being 
loath to leave it altogether, and passed only a twelfth part of the 
sermon ; which was delivered after the action with more satisfaction 
to myself. Having consecrated the elements, and said, that they 
were no more to be looked on as common bread and wine, but as 
symbols of the body and blood of Christ ; immediately I felt a great 
change on my spirit to the better, which made me speak with an 
unusual concern on my soul ; and my natural spirits, that were low 
before, were raised, so that I had a new vigour for speaking. I 
blundered however in delivering the bread, saying " This cup ;" but 
I recovered myself, though not without difficulty, having much ado 
to fall upon the very words of institution, " Take eat," &c. This 
was stinging and humbling, lest it might be an occasion of triumph 
to the wicked. I communicated at the fourth table, and thought I 


had faith, love, &c. in exercise ; and there, with myself, gave up my 
wife, my children, one by one, by name, my servants, parish, &c to 
the Lord. When I came in that day, the work being over, and be- 
gan to look through what had passed, my soul was humbled in me, 
and much broken ; for upon the whole I thought there was never 
less of God's presence with a communion-work here than that, ex- 
cept that recorded, p. 277. But God seasonably opened the mouths 
of some to speak, for his own praise and for my comfort; particu- 
larly Mr. 0. desired me that night to thank God for the great things 
he had met with ; adding, (to my wife, who told me), that he was 
scarcely able to contain himself, and came into the house. And she 
telling this to a gentlewoman, that person replied, There were 
more so than he ; and that she heard an old professor say, What's 
this we meet with ! that he had not seen such a thing for many years. 
This is not the first time God has done great things, and hid them 
from me in the time ; for he is infinitely wise. The sermon I preach- 
ed on this occasion, was afterwards published, under the title of 
" The Everlasting Espousals ;" Providence thus quickly beginning 
to move, towards bringing forth of that work foresaid, in its due 

On the morrow, a goodly minister and I conversing about the 
work, he told me there were two expressions used by me at serving of 
the table that were offensive to some. The one was misrepre- 
sented and mistaken, being that of signing the wrong paper, which 
see in the authentic MS. sermons on Hos. ii. 19, p. 26, which 
some had turned to signing a compact with the devil. But I had 
not expressed it so fully as in the notes; which I should have done, 
there being some there that had not heard it from me before. The 
other was misapplied, having no ground at all, but the jealousy of 
the person offended. However, these, especially the last, cast me 
down very sore, who before was lying very low. From these, aud 
the blunder, I got a plain lesson, to beware of mixing my own spirit 
with the Lord's Spirit. In these damps I unbosomed myself to my 
friend Mr. Wilson, (for whom I bless the Lord), and he was useful 
to me. Lot me learn to be humble, watchful, aud dependent, while 
I think it goes well with me. I am persuaded they have great 
need to take heed to their feet that are lot in within the vail ; for 
he is a jealous God. 

On the Tuesday having convoyed the minister some miles, Mr. 
Golden, at parting (as before also) had so expressed what ho had 
felt in that (to me) overclouded sermon, that I was made to believe 
the Lord had owned it. And then my heart was opened to give him 
the due thanks. And the effects of my believing it I found to be, 

I714.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 255 

1. That I was thankful ; 2. It humbled me, seeing it as a great 
debt upon me ; 3. It kindled in my heart more desire after holiness. 
So retiring, by the way I poured out my soul before God, according 
to these impressions. 

Wednesday. But this day the glory of that work was quite out 
of my eyes again, and I could not be thankful ; but was confounded 
and sunk, when I looked back on it. I wondered at Mr. Colden's 
speaking as he did, on Monday's night, before all the company, con- 
cerning that work and me. I thought that whatever had been my 
mind of another, I could not have spoken so, before the person him- 
self; and I have often wondered on such occasions. But now I see 
how needful these things are for me, and how by them the Lord in- 
dulgeth weak me, when I cannot see the thing, to be thankful for it 
notwithstanding all these helps and props. One thing comforts me, 
that the Saturday's work had such influence on me, that it occasion- 
ed my uttering these words to the congregation, " I would fain hope 
God will do great things here to-morrow ; he can do wonders with 
little noise," &c. 

Bee. 16. — One having a while ago desired a copy of my action- 
sermon on Hos. ii. 19, that he might publish it, and he having taken 
advice about it at Edinburgh, I set some time apart this day for 
light from the Lord in that matter. I laboured some time in con- 
fessing of sin before the Lord, in renewing my covenant and re- 
nunciation. And two things were wondrous in my eyes. 1. The 
unalterableness of the covenant. I had a sweet view of it as a co- 
venant which after many slips might be renewed. There is no re- 
newing of the covenant of works, once broken ; but this covenant will 
not break ; one is welcome to renew it after backslidings. 2. That 
I had this opportunity without disturbance ; whereas I had attempt- 
ed it twice before, and on my un watchfulness had marred it ; where- 
by, though something was done, as on Tuesday last, yet the business 
was not carried through. Then I set myself to seek light from the 
Lord in prayer, and thought on the business; and considering that 
i was urged by a repeated call from that person, and that this is a 
fair way to try what acceptance the book may meet with if publish- 
ed, I resolved to attempt it. I had a discouragement in this matter 
from the same quarter from whence I had the temptation at my en- 
tering on writing the sermons aforesaid. It was comfortable to me 
to think, that whatever have been the transgressions of my private 
walk, God has been very gracious to me in the public steps of my 
life. And so I stepped over that discouragement, which I could 
not get removed. 

Jan. 3, 1715. — Having finished the sermon, I took up Dempster's 


Antiquities, to refresh myself, where I read something de expositione 
infantum, that seemed to give light into Ezek. xvi. ; aud pursuing 
the thing, several thoughts offered themselves, which I cast into a 
paper with much satisfaction, and some design to insert them into a 
sermon. [N.B. They are inserted in the printed sermon]. So this 
morning I was very easy as to the publishing of the sermon. But 
at night there came one whom I respect and value, and would have 
employed in the business ; but in the holy providence of God he 
carried so strongly, with respect to the book, and this sermon too, 
that I was confounded, and quite discouraged in the design. How- 
ever, I sent it to Mr. Wilson, seeing I had written it. lie approved 
the motion of printing it; but withal told me, that the printers 
would hardly take such an interlined copy. "Whereupon, though, 
by the foresaid discouragement still remaining with me, had no 
heart for publishing it; yet I resolved, come what will, that I would 
transcribe it over again. 

Jan. 13. — I began to transcribe it ; but on the 15th at night, 
while I was busy with it there came an express to me, calling me to 
go to Dunse, to my brother a-dying. So I laid it aside, wondering 
at this next dash. I took it with me, and shewed it to Mr. Brown ; 
who did encourage me to publish it ; aud I think, if I had not met 
with him, I had not recovered that damp to the design given by the 
person aforesaid. So providence made use of that my being called 
away from the work, to forward it, which it is likely had lain if that 
had not come. 

I went off Sabbath afternoon, Jan. 16, after sermon, and returned 
next Saturday's night. My sermon was studied before, and so it 
was (except a very little) the last time I had occasion to be so 
abroad. So does the Lord encourage me to study. My brother grew 
better, while 1 was there ; and, for my own use, I received an in- 
struction and warning, and a check, from the dispensation. 

Jan. 26. — This day, observed to determine me to the publishing 
of the sermon, 1. That as I was cleared to put pen to paper, so the 
publishing of it encouraged by the two ministers that saw it. 2. 
That dispensation of providence whereby the damp was taken off, 
though it seemed itself to concur to the laying the design aside when 
I first met with it. 3. It is desired by many, and I hope it may be 
useful. 4. The Lord helped me in it, particularly with that on 
Ezek. xvi. to my own surprise. 5. There seems to be a necessity 
laid on me, to make this essay, that so I may at length come to a 
point, whether to venture the publishing of the book or not. 

After the Queen's death, King George safely arriving, had a 
peaceable accession to the throne; for which cause there was a 

1715.] MR THOMAS BOSTON. 257 

thanksgiving appointed to be observed, January 22, 1715. Bat at 
that time, I having been called to Dunse, as is above related, we 
could not observe it on the day appointed. Howbeit we kept it on 
the 3d of February ; which day I preached on Esther ix. 1, "Now 
when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put 
in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have 
power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the 
Jews had rule over them that hated them)." This sermon is to be 
found next to that of the fast-day above mentioned. 

Feb. 6. — This day being the Lord's day, in the time of the first 
prayer, in the pulpit, one drew my sleeve ; which put me into some 
disorder ; quickly after, I heard a muttering about me ; which 
struck me with terror; so, recommending the case to God, whatever 
it was, I closed the prayer. (N. B. I think, upon reflection, I should 
have immediately stopped upon the first sign given, and known what 
the matter was, ere I had gone further ; for I could have no com- 
posure till I had done that, and that sign was a providental call, 
under which I knew not what might be.) Then I was told that one 
was a-djing at the park-foot, betwixt that and the water, little 
more than a stone-cast from the church. The congregation being set 
to sing a psalm I went out ; but he was dead ere I got to him. He 
was a strong old man about seventy-six years old, who having come 
over the hills from Upper Dalgleish four miles a-foot, and having 
taken a drink of the water, and said he had left the rest about a 
quarter of a mile behind him, never spoke more, but fell down, gave 
two shivers, and died between the water and the western park of 
the glebe. Thus coming to the church, he came to the church-yard ; 
he came heartily and cleverly to his grave, instead of being borne. 
Lord teach me so to count my days, as I may apply my heart to 
wisdom. Reflecting on my being so lately alarmed, and obliged to 
ride on the Lord's day, and this day again brought out of the pulpit, 
on the occasion of death. I thought it had a language to me, fearing 
the next might be a more home stroke. 

Feb 10. — Having received letters desiring me to come to the pres- 
bytery, I went, contrary to ray inclination ; but out of conscience 
towards God, lest his cause by my absence should suffer any detri- 
ment, upon which account I durst not sit at home. The Lord made 
it a comfortable and happy journey ; for not only was the business 
(the affair of Mr. J. D.) kept from going farther wrong; but the 
Lord honoured me to be the instrument of peace in the presbytery, 
(which had been split the day before my protestations and counter- 
protestations), and brought that business to the desired issue, with 
respect to the presbytery's management of it. I have often found 
it good, to follow duty over the belly of inclination. 


The aforementioned alarming dispensation led me, on the follow- 
ing Lord's day, to a now ordinary ; 2 Cor. v. 1, " For we know, that 
if onr earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved," &c. on which 
I dwelt till May 22, that, for the sacrament, I entered on Heb. x. 22, 
'' Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith," &c. 
pressing the confidence of faith. On the same text was the action- 
sermon, as were also some sermons after the sacrament. A godly 
minister, then a nonjuror, and one of my assistants at the sacrament, 
(Mr. Colden), as I was convoying him and the rest away, on the 
Tuesday after; upon occasion of discourse about the action-sermon, 
particularly that a pious gentleman had said it was above his capa- 
city ; moved me to write practically on the doctrine of justification ; 
the which I had, some years after, frequent occasion of calling to 
mind; when he having taken the abjuration-oath in the year 1719, 
proved thereafter a too keen party man against the doctrine of the 
Marrow, and the defenders thereof. So doth one false step make 
way for another. 

Feb. 15. — In answer to the former calls of Providence, I spent 
this day in fasting, prayer, and meditation, with respect to my leav- 
ing the world. I endeavoured to antedate my reckoning with 
my judge, acknowledging my sins and applying to the Lord through 
Christ's blood, for pardon. I made a comfortable review of my evi- 
dences for heaven. I neither could nor durst name what sort of 
death I would desire to die; but renewed my covenant with the 
Lord, with a view to eternity, leaning on that bed (my closet bed) 
which perhaps may be my death-bed, taking the several quarters of 
it witnesses, that I had gone in under the covert of blood, the covert 
of the covenant, for death. I laid over my wife and children on the 
Lord. There was one little circumstance (the recording of which 
may be of some use), namely, that at night, about the latter end of 
this exercise, while I was at prayer, a dead-bell tinkled down stairs, 
the hearing of which surprising sound made some impression on me. 
It was gifted by Sir William Scott to the parish, and at that time it 
was, though not expected so soon, brought home by John Currie, who 
had been at Edinburgh, about the printing of the sermon, and brought 
home a specimen of it. In the remaining part of that week, I set 
in order my worldly affairs, by a will written with my own 
hand. And this, I think, was the first time I made my testament ; 
the which I always after kept by me, but several times renewed, 
destroying the preceding one. And I reckon it was about this time 
that my contract with my wife was destroyed, with consent ; the 
settlement being made more to her advantage. 

On tho 10th of March, John Currie being at Edinburgh to bring 

1715.] SIU. TIIOMAS BOSTON. 259 

out the copies of the sermon, I met at Selkirk with him who had 
the oversight of the press ; who surprised me with the news that 
the press was stopped, one of this parish having brought word to 
him for that effect, as from me or the publisher ; which was a ground- 
less mistake. This occasioned me thoughts of heart ; the rather that 
the sacrament being to be celebrated at Edinburgh at that time, 
many there were desirous, on that occasion, to have had it ; and it 
was thought this had marred the going off of many upon that oc- 
casion, some hundreds, as he expressed it. But on second thoughts 
I was satisfied in the favourable conduct of providence ; for had 
they come forth at such a nick for sale, I could not have judged of 
the acceptance of the book by that means. On the 26th I received 
a copy ; but withal saw another fair occasion for the sale of them 
lost, though I had endeavoured to secure it. I could perceive no 
reason for it, but that so providence saw it meet, and I believe for 
the same reason foresaid. And one delay of bringing the copies 
out, came one week after another, till John Currie going in at length 
to bring them, there were few left to be brought out. It is the 
usual way of providence with me, that matters of moment come 
through several iron gates. I could not but observe, that, by holy 
providence unknown to me, at what time the press was stopped, I 
had no freedom in prayer about it, but several times forgot it, and 
wondered how I had forgot it. But when the work went on it was 
not so. The publication of that sermon was my first-fruits in that 
kind. I had a comfortable account of its acceptance. 

April 15. — I received a letter from Mr. "Wilson, shewing me, that 
two persons had written to him from Edinburgh about the sermon, 
(though he had written to none there about it) ; the one desiring 
to deal with me for more, which it is heard are ready by me, and 
assuring of the esteem of the godly and judicious. The other's 
letter he sent to me, bearing that it had there a very welcome re- 
ception from all having any sense of religion. — " Seasonably," says 
the author of the letter, " it came to ray hand, — at a time when I 
was under much deaduess and hiding of the Lord's face ; I was walk- 
ing in darkness, and saw no light ; yet by a secret power was kept 
from drawing rash conclusions while I was reading it. I can com- 
pare it to nothing more fitly than a cordial to a fainting spirit 
or a ray of light shining in a dungeon. The surprising turn which 
it gave to my sunk spirit, is beyond what I can express. The 
heavenly eloquence and divine rhetoric which was in it, brought 
some transactions to my remembrance, which had been for some 
time out of sight, and I made a new Amen to the marriage-co- 
venant." — This melted my soul in thankfulness and admiration 


of the goodness of God to vile me, and sent me to my knees imme- 
diately with these impressions. It also filled me with courage; and 
now I was well content to lie down and receive my lashes from 
other hands ; for now I had a pleasant view, how God would be 
beforehand with me, laying in that timely to prepare me for other 
sort of entertainment. And indeed I am well hired to abide all. 

May 14. — Saturday. I spent a part of this day in humiliation, 
renewing my covenant with God, and prayer for the Lord's presence 
in the work of the sacrament of the supper to be celebrated here, last 
Sabbath of this month. The Lord was pleased to help me to con- 
fideuce, believing in God as my God. 

May 19. — Since Saturday last, I have had most sensible expe- 
rience of the solid joy and peace, in believing God to be my God in 
Christ. I find it is a blessed means of sanctification. It strengthens 
to duty ; for I have been helped in my work of visiting since 
that time. It nourishes love to the Lord ; and consequently love 
to and desire of the thriving of this work in people's souls- It 
creates a sweet calm, and quiet of mind, in doubtful events ; for I 
have been tried, and yet am with a prospect of the Lord's keeping 
back the one half of my helpers in the work before me ; but I have 
no anxiety that way. It sweetens other enjoyments, and carries 
above things which at other times are irritating, and create disgust. 
I have compared flashes of affection, with a calm sedate tender love 
to the Lord ; and I prefer the latter to the former, and have been, 
and am, happy in it. 

May 27) Friday. In the time foresaid, I thought I would meet 
with a trial. It came just on the morrow, being my study day. The 
text I had in view for the Sabbath was that, " This cup is the new 
testament in my blood." And I had a great desire to be at it, that 
my soul might dip into the sweetness of it. But though in this case 
I set about it, God bound me up, it would not do with me. I could 
neither go forward in it, nor come off from it. Thus I spent that 
weary day, praying, thinking, striving to keep up my confidence 
that the Lord would help. My confidence in the Lord was tried 
now ; and though I got it kept up bettor than ordinary in 
such a case, for some time ; yet at length it was brought to a 
low ebb, and almost exhausted. Iu this weary time I got a sea- 
sonable letter from my friend, shewing my helpers were secured 
for me. So the Lord lightened my burden, while my strength 
was less, and also gave some new discovery that it is not in vain 
to trust him. About eight o'clock at night, another text was 
given me, namely, Ileb. x. 22, " Let us draw near with a true 
heart, in full assurance of faith," &c. And then my heart was ta- 
ken off the former. I was well guided to this, as pursuant to what 

1715.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 261 

1 had been upon, since the man's sudden death at the park-foot ; 

2 Cor. v. 1, " We know that," &c. ; and agreeable to what the Lord 
had been secretly teaching me, by experience, before. I studied the 
sermon on it to-morrow, which I preached on the Lord's day. On 
the Monday we kept the family-fast. I had not recovered my for- 
mer frame ; but, in reference to our prayers, was helped to believe 
that word ; Matth. vii. 7, " Ask, and it shall be given you," &c. I 
drove heavily in studying the communion sermon. This day I had 
a sweet while in confidence on the Lord as my God, grasping the 
promise over the belly of felt foolishness. 

"Wednesday, June 1. — On the 29th of May the sacrament was 
celebrated here. All the three days there was some rain ; but on 
the Lord's day it was exceeding great, and greatest of all in the 
time of the tables; only it was fair weather in the time of the first 
two. Yet the Lord made it a great day of the gospel; assisted his 
ministers, and the people generally, to very much composure, though 
several went away for fear of the rising of the waters. It was 
somewhat discouraging to me, in respect of the disturbance it might 
create to the people ; but I was helped to submit to it as a trial to 
them and me. I cried to the Lord in the morning prayer, to pre- 
serve the people from bodily hurt ; for there was a great wind with 
the rain ; and I have not yet heard of any that was the worse of 
it ; but some whom we suspected might be the worse, particularly a 
woman that had lately been ill of the flux, were well carried through 
safe. Being warned by experience formerly, I was helped to hold 
off from two rocks I split upon at the last sacrament. One was con- 
cerning self-examination ; whatever was done in it on the Monday, 
being the family fast-day, I set about it on the Saturday's night, got 
a humbling view of sin, and a satisfying view of the grace of God in 
me. The other was the mixing of my own spirit with influences 
from heaven. The danger from this quarter had been frightful to 
me, and in secret I had been remarkably carried out in prayer 
against it, and for a solid frame of spirit, and a feeling of what I 
was to speak. And indeed the Lord heard me, preserving me from 
that unhallowed mixture in the sermon, in some measure, and giving 
an unusual measure of solid, serious feeling, in the rest of the work, 
especially the invitation, (where influences begin to rise higher), 
the prayer for consecration of the elements, and the discourse at the 
table. In the sermon I had not the desired feeling. The elements 
after consecration being declared to be no more common bread and 
wine, but sacred symbols of the body and blood of Christ, I felt in 
my spirit a sensible change accordingly ; I discerned the sacra- 
mental union of the signs and the thing signified, and was thereby 


let into a view of the mystical union. I saw it, I believed it, and I 
do believe it this day. I do not remember myself ever to have been 
so distinct in the view and faith of this glorious mystery ; and that 
with application, for I do believe that Christ dwells in me by his 
Spirit, and I in him by faith. And the objection, How can this be ? 
is silenced. I feel the sacrament of the supper to be a divine or- 
dinance ; I see it, and believe it. This is the second time I have 
most remarkably felt that change on my spirit, upon the declaring 
as above said. May I never miss to declare, as said is, in the ad- 
ministration of that ordinance. In partaking I was helped to the 
exercise of faith, took God for my God in Christ, claimed him as 
my God, and laboured to improve the claimed interest, by believing 
the promises of the covenant, irhich was the scope of the action- 
sermon. My wife with the child in her belly, and the other child- 
ren by name, I gave away to the Lord with myself. And having 
been in fear about my wife's death in the bringing forth of that 
child, I had there, in that solemn approach, a concern on my spirit 
about that case ; but could not see it dangerous, whatever it may 
turn to after. This made me to hope, that a stolen dint (with pro- 
foundest reverence be it spoken) would not be taken of me. But 
yesterday, praying in these terms, in that case, that the Lord would 
not take a stolen dint, I durst not abide by that petition ; thinking 
with myself, what if God keep the tormenting impressions of her 
death from off my spirit, is that unkind ? So I knew not what to 
make of that petitiou, but left it to the Lord, to do as he saw best. 
My wife parted with the ministers the same day as never to see 
them more. At parting with Mr. Colden, he desired there might be 
no discouragement in her case. I told him I could not see the dan- 
ger ; and he told me, it was so with him too, with respect to that 
case. The sermon was more than two hours' long, which I think 
was too much. A certain gentleman said, it was above his capa- 
city ; upon which a minister (Mr. Colden) observing the need pro- 
fessors have to be better informed in the doctrine of the gospel, 
moved, that I should write practically on the doctrine of justification ; 
which incliued me somewhat to publish the sermons on Phil. iii. 3. 
A godly countryman told me, that he had not so much of that ser- 
mon to carry away as ordinary. I resolved to be shorter; and 
learned from these things, that however my gift seems to be plain, I 
have need of dependence on the Lord, even for plainness in treating 
of gospel-mysteries. Satan was at my heels ere that work was over. 
Being surprised to hear singing of psalms in the kirk, and stunned 
to see the people running away into it, leaving the solemn work we 
were at ; so that the rump of the meeting seemed only to remain, 

1715.] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX. 263 

being in the south-west side of the church-yard ; having sent one, 
and after that another, to stop that disorder ; and it continuing 
still ; I went and put a stop to it, with a sharpness, which no doubt 
irritated the brother who was the cause of it. So we became snares 
to one another. And so quickly did my spirit go without bounds. 
I knew God was not the author of this confusion ; but the way of 
my spirit in removing it was, and is, humbling upon reflection. It 
hung about me most heavily, till the whole day's work being over, 
I had occasion to shew him the sorrow of my heart, that Satan 
should so soon have got advantage against us, and to entreat him to 
join with me in withstanding the progress of this flame that the 
tempter had kindled ; and hereunto the good man shewed all readi- 
ness. I have sometimes observed the Lord's being very gracious to 
me in matters of public management ; but the keenness of my spirit, 
at the last synod, in the case of Mr. J. D. aforesaid, (though I dare 
not overlook the sensible help I had of the Lord in the management 
of that matter there ; a matter nearly touching my conscience, and 
the welfare of many souls, which I know was the cause of God ; in 
pleading of which, I was carried over all the impediments ordin- 
arily arising from my weakness and natural temper; but when I 
saw a combination to run down the cause, my zeal, mixed with some 
fire from my own hearth, in the further management of it ; my keen- 
ness of spirit, I say,.in that matter,) and in this, shews me, that 
my natural modesty and diffidence is not a sufficient guard to my 
spirit, in public appearances, though they be very few. To thee, 
then, Lord, I will look for it. That day's work was concluded 
with a most savoury sermon, by that brother, though he was out of 
humour when called to it. So the Lord can outshoot the devil in 
his own bow. When I was about to make this review, I found my 
spirit out of order ; and finding the disorder of my natural spirits 
contribute thereto, I went out, and walked, to refresh myself; then 
returned, and set to the work. It is heard to play, when the in- 
strument is uot in tune. 

The week before the sacrament Satan stirred up the spirits of 
some neighbours against the work and me, apprehending there would 
be a great gathering, whereby their corn would suffer. And one 
of my few elders (from whom I have little help,) was at least a 
silent witness to the rage and spite. But the cloven foot was too 
visible, to discourage much. In a little time after the sacrament, 
the same person acted with the same spirit of spite against me 
in another case. However, there was no complaint of the corn ; 
whence I may know there was no ground, though indeed the company 
was great. At this time there were ten tables, though we used to 

264 MEMOIRS OP [period X. 

have but about seven ; and the tables were longer than ordinary, 
and people came from a far distance. 

Having been taken with the design of Cross's Taghmical Art 
aforementioned, I would fain have understood it ; but could never 
reach it to my satisfaction. The nature of the subject treated of, 
the indistinct way of the author's writing, and the false printing of 
the book, which was to a pitch, made the difficulty insuperable to 
me. "What pains I was at before and about this time, to under- 
stand that book, and to gather the author's meaning, by comparing 
passages, may be seen in an octavo paper-book, whereof forty-four 
pages were written for that end, consisting mostly of excerpts, and 
partly of my own reasonings and conjectures thereon, but all to 
very little purpose ; so that at length I laid the matter aside. 

"But the kind reception the " Everlasting Espousals" met with, 
whereof 1200 copies being printed, were mostly dispatched by the 
end of May, recovered my courage for publishing the " Fourfold 
State," which had sunk as aforesaid, And after some time spent in 
prayer about it and my wife's case, on June 16, I began on that 
view to transcribe it over again. The acceptance of the sermon 
appeared in the gathering aforesaid ; and that very thing appre- 
hended was the rise of all that rage above mentioned. I had en- 
couraging testimonies about it, from the feeling of some godly 

June 7- — This day the affair of Mr. J. D. aforesaid, which lay 
weighty on my spirit, had a happy issue, in a committee of the 
synod. And I having laid it over on the Lord before I went into 
the church, my heart was filled with thankfulness in the issue. My 
spirit also in the management of the matter, so far as I was con- 
cerned, was kept from what I was afraid of. It was good to keep 
the way of duty ; for though we were generally ill looked on by 
others in that matter, the Lord brought forth our righteousness as 
the noon-day ; and there was not a man had a mouth to open in the 
cause that we were set against, ere all was done. I desire from this 
to learn to act faith iu such matters, and with confidence in the 
promises to recommend them to the great Master of the vineyard. 

July 8. — This day Mrs. Martin, spouse to Bailie Martin in liawick, 
tenant in Crosslee, was buried. She came to this parish at Whit- 
sunday, was present at the fast before the sacrament, but that night 
was seized with indisposition, which so increased that she had no 
access to be witness to more of that work. I saw her on the Tues- 
day after, much broken with that dispensation ; for she was a godly 
woman, and minded to have partaken. Her case grew worse till 
she sickened unto death, having a bloody flux; in the time of which 

1715.] MR. TIIOMAS BOSTON. 265 

she miscarried ; and the flux continuing on the tenth day from 
the birth of the child in the seventh month, she died. In the 
time of her sickness, on many accounts, her case lay very near 
my heart, and I was full of hopes that the Lord had not sent the 
good woman to die here. Her coming hither was by several in this 
parish looked on with an evil eye, according to their uncharitable, 
selfish disposition, &c. So that foolish I thought the honour of God 
was almost engaged for her life. And her death was an astonish- 
ing dispensation to me, calling to eye sovereignty, which challengeth 
a latitude. Besides, my hopes in her case miscarrying, quite per- 
plexed my hopes as to the case of my own wife. I had been preach- 
ing on contentment for some Sabbaths ; and Sabbath the 17th of this 
month, being our marriage-day, and her reckoning out on the 15th, 
that 17th day was of a terrible prospect to me. "Wherefore yesterday 
I gave myself unto prayer, to entreat the Lord for her, and to pro- 
vide for the worst ; and came away with that, namely, That God 
will do the best. 

On Saturday, July 9, my wife had some pains, and also on the 
Sabbath morning ; at which time I had thoughts of sending for the 
midwife. I went to prayer, which produced some reluctancy to it ; 
and thereafter my wife shewing her unwillingness, I easily yielded, 
being the Lord's day. Afterwards in prayer my heart was fully 
calmed in that matter, that all would be well for that time. And 
so it was. But next morning betwixt twelve and one I sent off the 
lad for the midwife, who was at the distance of about eighteen 

July 27. — On Friday the 15th of that month, my wife was de- 
livered of a daughter, about one after noon, our last child, called 
Katharine ; who, on the the 20th, was baptized by my friend Mr. 
Wilson. The day before, I studied my sermons for the Lord's day, 
and giving some directions against discontent, some things came so 
pat to my feared case, that I was astonished somewhat with it. I 
was brought in that matter to a resignation unto the will of God ; 
and having been helped, by the sermons on contentment, to believe 
that all that God does is best done, (which I bless God has now, for 
a considerable time, been much on my spirit,) I often left it on the 
Lord in these terms, that he would do the best, without determining 
one way or other. And behold he has heard ray prayer, and hither- 
to wrought the deliverance very graciously. I see the way of trust- 
ing in God at all times, with positive resolutions, not to distrust 
him, whatever he will do with us, (which was much the language of 
my heart, and lips too, at that time), is the true way to rest, in the 
time of doubtful events, and also to get one's will. I myself have 

Vol. XI. s 

266 MEMOIRS OP [period X. 

been several times, on this occasion, taking a view of death ; and I 
have found, that faith in God through Christ makes another world 
not quite strange. I have seen so much of late, how God baffles hopes 
and fears that my spirit seems disposed to leave all to the Lord ; 
et nee sperare nee exthnescere, sic exarmaveris ; — neither to fear nor 
hope, but according to God's promises and threatenings. 

Being invited to assist at the sacrament in Morbattle and Maxton, 
the one immediately after the other, which appeared inconvenient 
for me ; the which Mr. Wilson considered ; but I wrote to him, that 
I was content the Lord should lead, and I follow ; and therefore 
that he should not incommode the work for me- And I saw in end 
that he guided better than I could, if I had had my will. So I went 
from home, August 5, and returned not till August 18. "When I 
was going away, and to leave my wife lately delivered, and my fa- 
mily, I was helped to apply the promise made to the Israelites going 
up to the solemn feasts, with respect to the safety of their families 
left behind ; and it stuck with me while I was abroad. And indeed it 
was accomplished to me far beyond my expectation : being, upon 
my return, quite surprised with the case of my wife's health, which 
had advanced to the degree I could not have looked for ; there being 
something preternatural in her case when I left her, which I judg- 
ed could not miss to weaken her exceedingly ; but the event was 
quite otherwise. That day I rode to Morbattle, I met with a man 
providentially, and the water being great beyond expectation, I got 
a fright by it, as it was ; but had I been alone, the event might have 
been dangerous. I preached at Morbattle on Saturday the 6th, and 
Sabbath the 7th of August, from Rev. xxi. 22, "And I saw no 
temple there." On the Monday two of the elders there desired a 
copy of tho sermons transcribed, insinuating their design to print 
them ; which I took to consideration. On Wednesday thereafter I 
preached in Oxnam parish; on the Thursday, Saturday, and Lord's 
day afternoon, at Mastou ; on tho two last days from the text just 
mentioned ; Rev. xxi. 22 ; and for some time had thoughts of pre- 
paring the wholo for the press.* I hope the Lord owned all theso 
sermons, but that on the Saturday at Maxton seemed to me most 
countenanced of God. For my private case, I had not guided well 
at Morbattle. So on tho Thursday thereafter, in Mr. Wilson's 
prayer and confession, I got a broad view of tho corruption of my 
nature ; which afterwards in secret proceeded to that, that I thought 

• These four sermons were transcribed from the author's original copy, he not hav- 
ing transcribed them himself, and were publi>hed in a pamphlet, with two others, in 

1715.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 2G7 

it needless (so to speak) to confess particulars, being ready to cry, 
Guilty, to whatsoever the broad law of God forbiddeth. But after 
that, my running issue (as Mr. Wilson termed it in his action-ser- 
mon) broke out, so that on Lord's day morning at Muirhouselaw I 
was in a dreadful case, in the fields there. At which time, in the 
great bitterness of my spirit, that word came; 1 Cor. vi. 9 — 11, 
" Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom 
of God ? Be not deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor 
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extor- 
tioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of 
you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified 
in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." I 
walked up and down with the Bible in my hand opened at that 
place, holding it towards heaven, as God's own word, pleading and 
improving it, for the cleansing of my vilest soul. how seasonable 
a support was it to my fainting soul ! Mr. Wilson's great sermon 
of the good news brought in the gospel, from Luke ii. 10, was as 
balm to a wounded soul, and good news from a far country. And 
there I put all in Christ's hand. 

While I was abroad, the news of the invasion came, and a bond 
of association contrived by some honest people at Edinburgh, to re- 
sist with armed force, came to my hand for our parish, and the whole 
country was astir that way. But on the Monday morning, August 
15, an express came to me, calling me to Dunse, to my brother's 
burial ; and on the morrow there I found, that the proceeding in 
that association was stopped from court, the invasion being found to 
be laid aside for the time. Here I saw the favourable conduct of 
Providence, in carrying and keeping me so long abroad ; for I had 
good ground to think, that our parish would have given the asso- 
ciation but very cold entertainment ; not from any other cause but 
their selfish principle and disposition. As to the invasion, I was 
afraid of myself, for that I could not be afraid of it. 

At these two communions I preached, as I have already said, on 
Rev- xxi. 22, a text that for many years I had in view. When I 
began it, I expected little of it but a sermon for Sabbath afternoon. 
But all that about the preciousness of the ordinances came forth to 
me in the breaking. 

Now the oath of abjuration was in hand again, being to be im- 
posed with some alterations, which I saw. Being much hurried with 
business after I came home, but getting one free day, I set myself 
to seek the Lord in that matter, and took it again under considera- 
tion. The result of all which was, that it seemed to me like the 



house with the leprosy in the walls, under the law, that nothing 
could cleanse but the pulling down of the walls. So a meeting of 
nonjurors being appointed at M. August 30, I went thither, purely 
out of conscience towards God, to discharge my conscience in that 
matter. And Providence opened my way to it through iron gates ; 
for when I took my horse, I knew not what I was to do, to go, or 
come back ; but the Lord cleared my way. 

About the latter end of August, the rebellion having broke out, 
the King's army began to draw towards Stirling. On the 28th I 
closed ray sermons on the ten commandments in the forenoon, which 
were begun about two years before, and which I often feared, 
through the difficulty of the times, I should not have had occasion 
to finish. I bless God who led me to that subject, where I met with 
things, which otherwise, through the course of many years' preach- 
ing, would hardly have come in the way. It gives great ease to ray 
heart upon reflection. In the afternoon, for the case of the times, I 
entered on that text ; Isa. xxxii. 2, " And a man shall be — as the 
shadow of a great rock in a weary land." Next Sabbath, being 
September 4, in my sermon, I took occasion, not only to shew the 
people their danger, but to excite them to a due concern for religion 
and liberty, and to be ready to act in defence thereof. But not 
very long after, I found that all was but as the sounding again of 
the mountains, the lying stories of enemies so prevailing, that the 
reflection of some that seemed to be somewhat was, that I was more 
afraid than I needed. Finding the heart-staying doctrine of that 
text was unseasonable, because not needed, (I mean not to make no 
exception at all, I believe it was seasonable to some, though very 
very few), I was obliged to cut it short ; and on Sabbath, September 
25, entered on Amos iv. 12, " Therefore thus will I do unto thee, 
Israel ; and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy 
God, Israel." And upon this I dwelt for several months of the 
public confusions. Sabbath, October 2, in the morning, I received a 
a letter from one of the lieutenant-deputes for our shire, with an 
intimation for all botwixt sixteen and sixty to rendezvous at Sel- 
kirk on the 6th, and desiring me to send the roll of these to the re- 
view. I called for ono reckoned the most judicious of our elders, 
and proposed to him a meeting of the parish at the kirk on the 4th ; 
which he quickly agreed to. I desired him to speak with some 
others, and give me notice ere I went into the pulpit, if it was their 
mind that the parish should meet, that I might warn them from tho 
pulpit. The intimation being read by the precentor, I exhorted ac- 
cordingly ; and having received notice as above said, I intimated the 
meeting. When they met on the 4th, I told them, I would not take 

1715.] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 269 

it on me to make a roll of the fencible men, but proposed to them 
to make it themselves. Accordingly it was done, and I gave them 
my roll ; out of which they ma^e another, casting out and putting 
in as the meeting thought fit ; but I wrote it. When this work 
began, I foreboded my ease in this place (which never was great) to 
be at an end ; they usually wreaking themselves on the ministers 
as the cause of all public evils. I was not out in my conjectures ; for 
accordingly they gave themselves the loose, and that very night I 
heard of burning ray house, &c, upon the account of that day's 
work. However, on the morrow I drew up an address for them, 
and went towards Selkirk, the place of the review, to help them all 
I could. Next day, within two miles of the place, several of the 
parish being in company the elder aforesaid, who also was present 
at the making of the roll, fell on me bitterly in that matter. And 
there was not a man that had a mouth to open in ray behalf, in all the 
company, except one servant, who (as he told me) spoke to him se- 
cretly; but another told me, he heard me reflected on upon that 
score. I saw myself hardly bestead, and evil rewarded for good ; 
and therefore desired them to meet me in the town, further to con- 
sider of the matter. There while I was sitting with them, in great 
distress, not knowing what to do, and not having as yet entered on 
the business, I was called to speak with one in another room ; with 
whom conversing, being a brother of the presbytery, I found the re- 
view of his parish had been made without a roll. Thus Providence 
most seasonably discovered a way to extricate me out of this per- 
plexity; and calling for the roll from the clerk, I secretly burnt it, 
shewing them I would rather undergo censure from others, than fill 
their hearts with prejudice against me, to whom I must preach next 
Lord's day : and giving them the address, I left them, and went to 
the presbytery, which (unknown to me before) met that day ; tor I 
had no other design in the town that day, but to see their business 
managed equitably. The issue was, all the rest of the parishes 
called thither that day were reviewed, and the rolls produced ; ours 
was called ; but none were in the town when called, except a few, 
none of whom answered. 

The southern army of rebels being a-forming, several went through 
our parish in their way to the appointed place. On Saturday, Oct. 

8, their general, with seven or eight with him, lodged at C m 

and C e, and the standard with thera, which fell as they were 

riding by T. barn-yard. On the Monday's night lodged the Earl of 

"Winton at M p, and about as many with him. On the Tuesday, 

while I was at T. I saw seventeen pass by. The water being exceed- 
ing great, I was in fear they would lodge about the kirk a'l night. 

270 MKM01R-S of [period X. 

So being in concern for my family, I made after them ; but being 
come to R. I saw them on the other side, and was thankful. On the 
Thursday we were alarmed with their new army's being at Moffat ; 
and at night a brother whom they had taken prisoner by the way, 
but dismissed again, came to my house, and told us, they were on 
their way to Dumfries. Which made us fear blood there that night, 
the country about having gone into the town to resist them. The 
rebels not daring to attack them, turned eastward. But all this did 
not awaken us. 

The highlanders having landed at North Berwick the latter end of 

this week, an intimation was made on Sabbath, the 16th, by the 

lieutenant-depute's orders, intreating all to meet at Kelso, with 

their best arms, on the morrow, to receive orders, so as the country 

might be defended. And I had a letter from one of them, to come 

on the head of our parish, to the place where our shire was to meet, 

that they might go together to Kelso, being I was to go to the 

synod, which met on Tuesday the 18th. I exhorted the people, and 

read to them Prov. xxiv. 11, 12. " If thou forbear to deliver them 

that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain ; if 

thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not ; doth not he that pondereth 

the heart consider it ? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he 

know it ? and shall not he render to every man according to his 

works ?" Judges v. 14 — 23, " Out of Ephraim Avas thero a root of 

them against Amalek ; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people : out 

of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that 

handle the pen of the writer. And the princes of Issachar were 

with Deborah ; even Issachar, and also Barak, ho was sent on foot 

into the valley; for the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts 

of heart. Why abodest thou among the sheep-folds, to hear the 

bleatings of the flocks? for the divisions of Reuben there were 

great searchiugs of heart. Gilead abode beyond Jordan ; and why 

did Dan remain in ships ? Asher continued on the sea-shore, and 

abode in his breaches. Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that 

jeoparded their lives unto death, in the high places of the field. The 

kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Tanaach 

by the waters of Megiddo, they took no gain of money. They fought 

from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. Tho 

river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river 

Kishon ; my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. Thou wero 

the horse-hoofs broken by the means of the prancings, the praucings 

of their mighty ones." I went off on Monday, but not one person 

more out of the parish ; nay, 1 could not have so much as an elder 

to go to the synod. The rebels who were at Ilauick, on the Lord's 

1715.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 271 

day, were expected on the Monday at Selkirk; so I knew not 
whether I could get to Kelso or not. However, I resolved, if pos- 
sible, to be there. And from that time the Lord graciously gave 
me an unusual courage, which continued with me always till the dan- 
ger was over, and I came home ; and then my spirit returned to its 
ordinary. I met with no trouble that day, nor did the rebels come 
to Selkirk at that time. 

On Tuesday the 18th, when I went into Kelso, the horse were out 
to observe the enemy, and the town was looking for their approach 
to attack them, for they were at Jedburgh the night before. Peo- 
ple from all corners, and from our neighbouring parish of Yarrow 
particularly, had come in to the help of the Lord against the mighty ; 
which made me ashamed, considering that there was none of ours 
there. The thoughts of the synod's meeting, and the sermon, were 
given over for that day at least, in respect of these circumstances ; and 
it cost Mr. "Wilson and me no little struggle ere we could obtain 
them ; which at length, with much difficulty, we did, about three in 
the afternoon, being desirous to be found in the way of duty, what- 
ever should happen. The synod appointed a committee to draw up a 
warning against the present rebellion ; who meeting that night, and 
discoursing a little on it, left it on me to prepare a draught thereof; 
but I refused it, not daring to undertake it, from a real persuasion 
of my unfitness for it. So when the synod met next day, there was 
nothing done in that affair. Whereupon the synod appointed Mr. 
Ramsay and me forthwith to withdraw, and bring in one ; which, 
with much reluctancy, for my own part, I obeyed. So we brought 
in a paper ; in the framing of which, it was acknowledged, with the 
no small joy of several brethren, that the Lord had honoured me to 
do good service to the church. It passed with little difficulty, in re- 
spect of the present circumstances. that I could learn from this, 
not to shift occasions of doing service, when I am called thereto, 
though it may appear a burden too heavy for my shoulders ? The 
synod rising that day, I came off in the afternoon ; but immediately 
my horse failed ; and with much difficulty getting to Mackerston, I 
was obliged to hire another there to carry me to Maxton. It was 
as plain to me, as if written with a sunbeam, that God was, by that, 
contending with me for a heart-sin hid from all the world, namely, 
the misgiving of my treacherous heart, upon those pieces of service 
the Lord honoured me with at the synod ; for though Mr. Wilson's 
zeal did excite me much to the former, and the cowardly weakness 
of my heart frightened me from the latter, till I was in some sort 
compelled to it ; yet when they have done, such was the base weak- 
ness of my spirit, that I could not carry even uuder the same, but 


w of ally miscarried through vanity, as if poor I had been somewhat. 
But thanks be to a good God, that quickly pursued me, till I was 
laid low again. This is not the first time, that, on such occasions, I 
have fallen into this shameful sin, and quickly have been rebuked 
for it. I desire, in time coming, to watch on such occasions, if ever 
I have more, which God may justly deny me. The enemies passed 
on Tuesday toward Northumberland, not coming near Kelso. So 
the people dropped away. When I came home, I found, that a re- 
port having come that day I went away, that the rebels were com- 
ing down Tima, several were in no small consternation and confu- 
sion ; but by kind providence, it was kept from my wife's know- 
ledge till the fright was over ; wherein I could not but observe the 
Lord's hand eminent. The army aforesaid having joined the Nor- 
thumberland rebels, and the Highlanders having come from Lothian, 
and all joined together, they came to Kelso on Saturday the 22d. 

Sabbath, October 23. — 1 read the paper aforesaid, according to 
appointment, before the congregation; enlarged on the particulars, 
and laid before them the singularity of their carriage, in the pre- 
sent conjuncture ; which was the more heavy to me, in respect of my 
circumstances concerning the oath. This week one came running, 
and another riding full speed to me, telling me the Highlanders were 
at Thirlestane; whereupon presently I went up the brook, and then 
towards the head of the hill, my family being in great distress, ex- 
pecting to be plundered. A little after, one came and told me, it 
was a false alarm ; but in my ej es it was a kind providence that I 
was tried with a false alarm, before I should get a true one. Next 
Sabbath, being the 30th, upon a report that tho rebels were coming 
our way toward the west, I was advised to sot watches in time of 
sermon. Accordingly one was set on E. hill, another on R. hill. 
The Lord gave a calm within, and there was no disturbance from 
without. Sabbath, November G, an order from the general, inviting 
men to the king's service, was read. I sat till it was done; but 
knowing it would be in vain as to us, as it was, I said nothing. The 
issue of it was, that I found I had the concern of religion in the war 
to teach again ; which gave occasion to theso notes in the sermons, 
p. 72, app. No. 2. 

Sabbath, November 13. — The which day tho battle of Dumblane 
was fought; and that day also they fought at Preston, beginning on 
the Saturday ; but it was the Monday at noon ere all was over. 
The said day an order was read for our parish to set out four militia- 
men. Tho letter about it came not to me, till I was in the pulpit ; 
but tho sermons were so pat to the emergent, tuat not having the 
desired effect, they proved irritating; which shortly after I felt. 

1715.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 273 

Now they could shift no longer ; so they went ahout it, not owning 
me in the least in it, nor I them. Only notes of the sermon were 
invidiously used against me. The four men they hired all out of 
the parish, except one, who had been a while in it. Masters and 
servants, and old men, all paid alike 5s. 6d. sterling, which occa- 
sioned great clamour. And being singular in this, beyond all their 
neighbours, the managers were ashamed of it. My servant being 
called among the rest, I found means to shew them, that I thought 
he was not obliged to pay. But about the 22d or 23d of November, 
a constable, with three militia-men, came to my house, and, by 
orders, they said, from a principal heritor of the parish, demanded 
the militia money for my servant, and ray son, (not fourteen years 
of age) ; and, failing him, for myself. And they shewed me the 
roll, wherein I saw my son and servant's name. I told them, 
that I regarded no such orders Thus my shewing them their duty, 
was resented with sufficient contempt. The servant paid. That day 
I left them at Selkirk. I made an overture to the Presbytery, that 
ministers should contribute to the raising of men for the support of 
the government; which being fallen in with by them, was or- 
dered to be laid before the synod ; and I spoke to a man with that 
view. But the synod, at that time, saw it not needful to go into it. 
That morning I went off to the synod, I did secretly advise Tushi- 
law to call the heads of the parish, (seeing I was so unacceptable to 
them in these matters), and counsel them to look to themselves, and 
offer some men to the government voluntarily. But this advice was 
rejected by him. So I would heartily have given of my money in a 
suitable way ; but to be compelled thereto, and that by them, was 
what I could not comply with. 

Being wrestled out of breath with the parish, in this time it began 
to sit down on my spirit very much, beyond what it had done for- 
merly, that I was very unfit for them, and that they would re- 
quire a man of another temper. And the first day of December 
being the last day for the oath, after which I could not preach more 
with the countenance of authority according to law, 1 began to be 
very apprehensive, that my work in this place was near an end. 
And several things concurred to the strengthening of ir. On the 
last Sabbath of November, being the 27th, I fell on that part of the 
text, namely, preparation for trials, which, though the main thing I 
had in view when I chose that text, yet providence kept me off till 
then, several things coming forth in the breaking, very seasonable. 
"When I was about to study that sermon, consulting former notes, I 
was somewhat moved to find, that that was the last subject I handled 
at Simprin before the farewell sermon. November 8, was the first 


diet for examination, which day proved so stormy, that I could not 
get out. On the 10th, in another place I had a diet, when I was 
attended but with one man, and a few women and children. In 
other three places after, it was not very much better. My wife was 
much of the same apprehension as I, and observed that I preached 
as when I was to leave Simprin. My getting through the ten com- 
mands looked like my getting through those subjects I was on in the 
last months I was in that place. And my present circumstances 
answered to the uneasiness I had from neighbours, ere I left that 
place. What the Lord's design in these things is, I know not yet ; 
but in my circumstances they could hardly miss to make some im- 

Dec. 1. — Being the last day for taking the oath, I spent some time 
in fasting and prayer, I found my courage for suffering was not such 
as on the former occasion of this oath. Though I could not ward 
off the thoughts of that foresaid, yet I desiderated such an impression 
of the thing as might make mo speak to them as about to leavo 
them; therefore I begged to be led of God, whether I saw or not, 
as he had led me to my amazement, for some time past, and so left 
it on him. At night my natural spirits being sunk, I was sore bro- 
ken and discouraged, seeing the law so hard upon the ouo hand, and 
the parish on the other. This held me uuder for three days follow- 
ing. That same night, I think, the Lord made my wife, being sick, 
and unable to converse, to speak two words in season to me. I told 
her, that I found I had not courage for suffering, &c. Her answer 
was, Ton need it not yet. My heart, said I, is alienated from this 
place. She answered, It seems there is need for it. This matter 
of the oath I altogether kept up from the people, looking for no 
sympathy, by the discovery of it, but affliction upon my affliction, 
if they should know of it, as I got the last time I had this trial. 
Some time before the last sacrament, being asked news, I told the 
elder aforesaid, it was said the abjuration-oath would be imposed 
again. His answer was, '' I thiuk we must even let you all do as 
ye like, and strive to know Christ and him crucified ;" as if we had 
been seeking it, or had no conscience, but as guided by them. 

Sabbath Dec. -i. — Thus shattered and broken in body and spirit, 
I preached my first sermou in my new circumstances; but recovered 
somewhat ere I came out of the pulpit. That very same day, Mr. 
Taylor, who has made a new schism, preached in Eskdalcmoor, got 
several of this parish to hear him, and those such as were not wont to 
wander, whatever number ho had of others formerly of another tem- 
per. At night I heard of two now deserters said to be broke off 
from me, one whereof I was told broke off on account of inv med- 

1715.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON- 275 

dling in the rolls aforesaid. The burden of the parish lies on me 
alone, having no tolerable support of my interest in it, from any. 
And the word not having efficacy on people's consciences, and those 
of the schism being in every corner of it, it is little wonder poor I 
am unable to stem the tide. I have for some time been much afraid 
of being cast over the hedge ; but otherwise an honourable discharge 
from him who sent me hither, has often been beautiful in my eyes. 
But when I think on leaving them, the case they will apparently 
run into in these circumstances, is terrible to me. So I am tossed as 
from one sharp rock upon another every way. 

The conduct of Providence in leading me in my preaching, in this 
place, has often been remarkable ; but never more so than of late 
amidst these discouragements. Since the 4th of September that I 
preached first to stir up the people as above said, what day the 
lecture fell, Jer. iv. where we had a most lively description of 
the calamities of war, &c. I have often been amazed to see the 
Lord leading me in lectures and sermons, in my ordinary, so pat to 
the dispensations of the day, as they fell out one after another, and 
to my own case with the parish, that I could not but say, This is the 
finger of God. The Sabbath after the rendezvous at Selkirk, the 
lecture fell Jer. ix. ; the Sabbath after the victories; Jer. xv. ; the 
Sabbath after the oath ; Jer. xvii ; and few days there were, where- 
in was not something most seasonable in them, as may appear by 
comparing what is noted above with the order of the chapters, al- 
lowing one to each Sabbath. As for the sermons, I have dated, 
that before the battles, November 6, and that on the very day of 
the battles, November 13. This has been no small stay and sup- 
port to my heart. 

As to the Fourfold State, though, the rebellion breaking out, I 
saw there was no access to publish it; yet I went on, (as the time 
would allow), and by the 21st of November had the three first states 
transcribed, minding to do no more till I see what comes of that. I 
have often and again committed it to the Lord, and for preservation 
particularly that day foresaid, if he has any use for it. For now it 
has been, and often is heavy to me, that the season of publishing it 
is slipt ; and the confusion of the times has made me afraid of the 
losing of the copy ; and, to my apprehension, the fittest season for 
publishing it is gone. Only I know the Lord has before this served 
his own holy wise ends, by my folly, cowardice, and bastard modesty, 
in his cause. I have formerly related how the design was stopped 
when I went in to Edinburgh, to get it put to the press. It was in- 
deed an ungrateful advice given to me in the time ; but the thing being 
so feasible, I thought I could not in modesty resist it. The kind re- 


ception the printed sermon got, recovered my courage and resolution 
for the book ; though some professors of this parish, my constant 
hearers, thought it not enough to slight that sermon when printed, 
but not obscurely shewed their grudge and indignation against it, 
on no other reason I can divine, but that they grudge any thing 
tending to my reputation. In the transcribing, several things are 
left out, with a design to shorten it, some few things put in, scrip- 
tnre-texts filled up that were only cited before, a great many ex- 
pressions altered, and the copy divided into chapters or sections, or 
what else may be thought meet to call them. And for these causes 
I undertook the transcribing of it. It was a remark of Mr. Flint's 
on the state of grace, that the texts cited were often not filled up. 
And an observe of Mr. Halyburton's, in the Memoirs of his life, 
namely, That when he found the word had done good, it was usually 
God's own word in the scripture, brought in in his sermons, carried 
that remar-k home on my conscience which Mr. Flint had made. 
And by this means I suppose it will be found little shorter, if any 
thing at all, than formerly. I heard no more of the sermons at Mor- 
battle, the rebellion breaking out soon after. 

In the first week of January, 1716, I was, by the good hand of 
God upon me, moved yet again, to attempt inquiring into what Mr. 
Cross calls the Taghmical Art, viz. the sacred stigmatology, or ac- 
centuation of the Hebrew Bible. And having by prayer addressed 
the Father of lights expressly on that particular, he was graciously 
pleased to help me afterwards therein, to my great satisfaction. 
And I came to be persuaded of its being of so great use for under- 
derstanding the holy scriptures, that, it being a time of great con- 
fusions, I was satisfied I might have full peace within myself, to be 
found by public troubles in the study thereof. 

And hero began the most busy time of my life, which continued 
while my strength lasted. 

Jan. 16. — Being on my way to Edinburgh, on the account of a 
project on foot for clearing the nonjurors to the government, day- 
light failed us between the Craig and Blackhouse, there was a drift 
in our face, and we were in fear of wandering ; yet came safe to 
Blackhouse, almost senseless with the stress. While I went up 
that burn, walking, not daring to ride, that word, " Lord, thou pre- 
servest man and beast, how precious is thy grace ! Therefore in 
shadow," &c, was sweet and encouraging. There was no proceeding 
in the journey for the storm ; so coming back again on the morrow, 
I wondered how we had got through in tho night in that case, hav- 
ing so much ado with it in the day-light. 

After 1 had ended my ordinary on Amos iv. 12, '• Prepare to 

1716.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 277 

meet thy God," &c, before I had access so much as to enter on an- 
other, there began a distress in our parish, by a storm, such as they 
had not felt for forty-two years before. And this led me to a new 
ordinary, viz. Rom. viii. 22, " For the whole creation groaneth and 
travaileth in pain together until now." I entered on it, Jan. 22, and 
continued till March 4. The Lord's day was such, that but few could 
come out. I had once thoughts of taking another subject ; but the 
discourse being so seasonable, that he who had given me that, could 
give me more, I resolved to preach it, however few should hear it. 
So to a few in the house I delivered it with much satisfaction. 

Since, by reason of the woful unconcernedness of the people in 
the public cause, I could not appoint a congregational fast for the 
King's army, for the Lord's help to them, I had no confidence to 
move for one upon the account of the storm, which was our private 
cause in a special manner, and heavy to the parish, and by which I 
saw the Lord was pleading against us on account of our unconcern- 
edness about the public cause. Therefore, on the morrow after, 
being the 23d, I kept a family fast for both, and, as to myself in 
particular, for the divine assistance in the study of the Hebrew ac- 
centuation. And being helped to confidence in the Lord as my 
God, I was made the more freely to lay out my requests before him. 
As to the study of the Hebrew accentuation, no body considering 
what pains I had been at to understand Mr. Cross's book, and that 
the Hebrew Bible was my delight, will doubt but by this time I had 
some notion of that accentuation, however lame, dark, and confused ; 
and I resolved to put in writing what I thought I had reached of it, 
to the end I might not forget it. 

At this time, lecturing on Jeremiah's prophecy, I wrote the speci- 
men of the Taghmical Art on chap. xxiv. to be found in the mis- 
cellany MS. p. 350—356 ; a performance of little value, done on 
Mr. Cross's principles, so far as I understood them ; and therefore 
to be very little regarded. 

Feb. 2. — We kept a fast by order of the presbytery. The Lord 
heard the prayers of his people ; and on the Saturday thereafter, 
the thaw began. The storm aforesaid was followed with an extra- 
ordinary mortality in onr parish, such as none, I could hear of, pre- 
tended to remember of the like therein ; and I heard of no such 
thing neither, in the places about. My dear child Katharine died 
among the rest. In April the mortality coased. 

Feb. 22. — Last Lord's day being quite out of case ere I went into 
the pulpit, I prayed to the Lord ; and remarkably he heard me, and 
made all right beyond expectation. I have been most comfortably 
surprised with discoveries of the Lord's mind in his word of the 


Hebrew text, which he has been pleased to make to me by means of 
is accentuation. Particularly, the discovery of the true sense of 
that passage ; Gen. xlix. 10, by that means, did so affect, strike, 
and transport me, that it did most sensibly affect my very body, and 
that from head to foot.* And by the light into the Lord's word so 
given me, I have found my soul sanctified, and made to Jove tho 
Lord. This makes me to account the better of these titles of the 
law, as divine. By this means, what I designed in the writing afore- 
said, as introductory to what 1 was to note of that which I had 
learned on the thing itself, has been spun out quite beyond any 
thing I could have in view when I began it ; so that I cannot yet 
get my collections on the art itself begun ; and by the same means 
I am persuaded, that these accents are the key to the true version 
and sense of the Hebrew text. 

March 21. — This day we spent some time in family humiliation 
and prayer, on the account of the death of our youngest child Ka- 
tharine, who departed on the 12th instant : and the hand of the Lord 
still on Thomas and Alison by the chincough ; also for the state of 
the public ; and as to myself, for the study of the accentuation. 
That child was very comfortable to me ; but I bless him I was helped 
to part with her; and saw and believed much of the Lord's good- 
ness in that dispensation. Coming home from Selkirk on the 2d 
instant, and thinking on the time of tho land's trial, I had two main 
questions as to my family. The one was the case of that dear child, 
the other, the then case of my wife. I dare not say I was faithless 
as to either, but believed God could see to them very well in the 
worst of my circumstances. As soon as I came home, I found the 
Lord was in his way to answer the last ; and shortly after the other 
was hid. I never had such a clear and comfortable view of the 
Lord's having other use for children than our comfort ; for which 
ends he removes them in infancy ; so that they are not brought to 
the world in vain. I saw reason to bless the Lord, that I had boen 
made father of six children, now in the grave, and that were with 
me but a very short time ; but none of them lost ; I will see them 
all at the resurrection. That clause in the covenant, " And the God 

* The author, in a manuscript, containing a new translation of tho last fourteen 
chapters of Genesis, thus translates this passage : " The sceptre shall not depart, from 
Judah ; and-a-ls.wgiver, from-between his-feut ; until, that-Shiloh-come ; and to him 
be, the-gathering of the-people." And in his " Tractatus Stigmologicus Hebrseo-Bib- 
licus," he thus renders it: ''Nonrecedet sceptruin, a-Juda ; et legislator, ab-inter 
pedes-ejus ; adusque, quumadvenerit Shilo ; atque-ei [fuerit], aggregatio populorum." 
And then be adds, •' Neutiquam dicitur, nee eceptrum, neque legislatorem recessurum, 
adusque tempus illud pni-tinitum ; verum non utrumque. See more in that Essay, p. 76. 

1716.] Mil. THOMAS BOSTON. 279 

of thy seed," was sweet and full of sap. The mortality in our 
parish is not over yet, though 1 hoped my child had closed it ; but 
just while I was writing this, I heard of the death of a mother of 
four small children, who I am told, has not been well these twenty 
days, but never lay ; was better yesterday, but carried off at night 
by a sickness, so far as I could understand, not above two hours' 
long. Alas ! we have provoked our God. 

By the awful voice of Providence continuing, I was led to Zech. 
xii. 12, " And the land shall mourn, every family apart," &c. on 
which I dwelt from March 11, till May 20 ; and for some time after, 
on Psalm cxxvi. 5, " They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy."* 
Upon the former of these I pressed the duty of personal and family 
fasting, among other things. And this was not without fruit. I 
knew that some were engaged in these duties ; particularly James 
Biggar's family, on which the hand of the Lord lay long and heavy, 
and carried off several of them ; in their death, as in their life, com- 
fortable to me as above said. 

Immediately after the family-fast of Jan. 23, I pursued ray reso- 
lution of putting in writ what I thought I had reached of the accen- 
tuation ; the which I reckoned, when I began it, I might comprise in 
two or three leaves; but even what I designed for introduction 
thereto, sweUed to about six sheets ; and was not finished till 
March 23 ; the bread by the divine blessing, increasing in the break- 
ing. Reading the Hebrew Bible, I was most pleasurably, beyond 
what one can readily without feeling imagine, surprised with dis- 
coveries of the Lord's mind in his word ; by means of that intrinsic 
light I perceived it to be illuminated with, by its own accentuation. 
Thus I came to be fully persuaded, as of what T saw with my eyes, 
that the accents are the true key to the genuine version and sense 
of the Hebrew text ; and that they are divine. As from time to 
time, in that happy study, I met with new discoveries of that na- 
ture ; I often thought with myself, What a trifle my digging up 
gold in some mine I might have fallen upon in Peru or elsewhere, 
would have been, in comparison of this, which I found in my accen- 
tuated Hebrew Bible ! 

Just on the morrow after my finishing of what I designed for 
introduction, and have now so intitled, came to my hand " "Was- 
muth's Institutio Accentuationis Hebrsese ; the which I took for a 

* The author afterwards transcribed his notes on Zech. xii. 12, and they were pub- 
lished in 1734, under the title of '' A Memorial concerning Personal and Family 
Fasting," annexed to his *' View of the Covenant of Grace ;" and the sermons on 
Psalm cxxvi. 5, were published in 1772, in a small collection, with some other of his 

280 MEMOIRS OP [period X. 

token for good. Having glanced it the week following, I fonnd it 
miring, and perceived that it wanted the tables often therein men- 
tioned. So I was set anew to turn my eyes towards the Lord, from 
whom my help behoved to come ; and to depend on him for that 
effect. And here I cannot but admire and adore the conduct of so- 
vereign wisdom towards me in that matter. I hal no character of 
Wasmuth aforehand, to prepossess me ; and before his book came 
to my hand, I was set a seeking the knowledge of the accentuation, 
by the study of the sacred Hebrew toxt itself, considering the same 
as it stood accentuated. And I found so many turnings and wind- 
ings, and heaps of irregulars, in that learned man's account of the 
accentuation, that I saw nothing therein to remove me from the me- 
thod of inquiry I had been led unto, to the study thereof instead of 
it. Upon the account of the defect above mentioned, that copy of 
Wasmuth's book was returned ; and some time after, I got another 
copy thereof having the tables, the which is yet among my books. 

About this time I received letters from Edinburgh, moving the 
reprinting of the " Everlasting Espousals," because of the continued 
demand for the same ; the which, after being laid before the Lord, 
and considered, was ordered to be done. So in a short time after, 
there was a second edition of that sermon. 

March 26. — An old temptation recurred; but I bless God the 
edge of it is now much blunted, in comparison of what it has been. 
But my heart bleeds afresh for my dear child Katharine. 

On March 29, I began to make collections on the accents them- 
selves ; encouraged, and more fitted thereto, by what had fallen out, 
in the case of the aforesaid introduction which is in retentis. Read- 
ing the sacred text, I studiously gathered what I could observe. 
And, what was of great use to me, as my pole-star in this study, 
was a notion, which by the discoveries aforesaid I was confirmed in ; 
namely, The true construction of the words of the text, was to be 
determined by their accentuation, as the rule thereof to us ; and not 
the power or value of the accents, by what seemed to us the con- 
struction of the words. This natural and most rational point was, 
I think, originally owing to my reading somewhere in Cross's Tagh- 
mical Art, that the verbs of the first hemistich ; Psalm ii. 2, were to 
be repeated in the following one. I very well remember, that that 
had a particular light with it to me. And accordingly, considering 
other texts at this rate, and thereby obtaining convincing dis- 
coveries of their true sense, I was fixed in that point ; so Wasmuth's 
notion of the ambulatory value of tho accents, could not take with 

April 25.— This day I kept a secret fast, 1. To seek light in tho 

1716.] MB. TITOMAS BOSTON. 281 

matter of a transportation to Ligertwood, proposed to me when at 
the synod, in the matter of adding to the eldership here, my wife's 
journey to Fife, the determining about the celebration of the sacra- 
ment, and the disposing of the MS. on the Fourfold State of Man. 
2. To seek the Lord's presence and help in my study of the accen- 
tuation, and his blessing on the second edition of the sermon, now, 
I suppose, in the press. 3. On the account of the affliction of my 
wife and children, and of James Biggar's family, Mr. Borthwick, Lev- 
Muir. 4. The case of the church, the parish, and the vacancy of 
Simprin. These things I laid before the Lord, with some confidence 
in himself, minding to hang on for them. The mortality is ceased. 

May 4. — But alas ! I found, three or four days ago, that I had 
not hung on ; and therefore God has pursued me with darkness in 
the point of the sacrament, being extremely perplexed and embar- 
rassed in that matter, which should have been determined on Wed- 
nesday last, but I am not clear in it as yet. 1 have seen my mis- 
management, in that I have not prayed and thought about it more ; 
and have got a dear-bought lesson, to pursue by thinking, for light, 
in what I consult God by prayer. 

Meanwhile, since that time, some things have looked better in the 
parish. On the day after, the examination was frequented unor- 
dinarily. On the Lord's day two contumacious persons submitted. 
On Tuesday, one that has been of the new separation by Mr. Taylor 
near a year bygone, and whom I parted with last summer as no 
more one of my flock, came to me, and acknowledged her sin ; de- 
claring, that from the Sabbath night after I had spoke with her, she 
had no rest in her mind ; but that that wore off in some measure, 
yet a great while ago returned more vigorously ; that it had worst- 
ed her private case, wishing never any might do as she had done, 
and bring such bitterness to their own souls, These things had 
weight against the business of Ligertwood. 

May 11 — Friday I was almost on the 9th resolved to celebrate 
the sacrament on the first Sabbath of June, and to venture over dif- 
ficulties standing in the way, minding to seek the Lord on Saturday 
morning for a full determination. But this night arrived an express 
from Mr. Murray, obtesting me, as I would not have a hand in 
strengthening a most sinful schism, to come and assist him on the 
last Sabbath of this month at the communion there. This carried 
my perplexity to the height. I went to the Lord with this, took 
with my sin in not insisting as aforesaid after the fast, endeavourod 
and was helped to believe over the belly of that provocation. There- 
after I found the light clearing, to my answering of that call to Pen- 
pont ; and having sent for two elders, they advised to it. Thus I 

Vol. XI. t 


was both punished for that sin, and matters were kept open for send- 
ing me thither. I have but four elders at this time, but design an 
additional number. While assisting at that sacrament, was conceiv- 
ed a project of transporting me to Closeburn, a parish in that neigh- 
bourhood ; of which I shall take more notice afterwards. 

July 19. — On the 15th the sacrament was celebrated here. The 
fast-day was extraordinary stormy with wind and rain ; but the three 
days fair ; and for some time before, and since, there has not been 
one fair day to an end. On "Wednesday, in studying my action-ser- 
mon, I was sore bound up ; and little better on the Tuesday after- 
noon, when I began it. But on the Thursday, being the fast-day, 
the Lord sent us two sermons with much of his countenance ; hence 
my heart was loosed, and I resolved to try the study of the sermon 
again. Accordingly on the morrow I studied the last half of it anew, 
to moro satisfaction to myself. It was delivered with some measure 
of solid seriousness. But in the invitation I was straitened, and yet 
more in the prayer for consecration of the elements ; I laboured to 
improve the declaring of them no more common bread and wine, yet 
not with desired effect. But my spirit opened a little ere the table 
was ended. I communicated as I preached. The work from the be- 
ginning to the end, had a favour of God upon it ; felt, I am persuad- 
ed, iu the spirits of many ; and his servants were remarkably helped 
in their work. 

Having been at the communion at Maxton Aug. 12, and at the 
presbytery for Mr. B.'s business on the 14th, I have to remark, 1. 
The Lord's hearing of the joint prayers of his people, and that in 
two instances. One was, I had been led iu the Saturday's sermon, 
which was on Exod. xxiv. 11 ; to beseech for and require the prayers 
of serious Christians, for the private cases of ministers, which I 
doubt not had influence on several of that sort in the meeting ; and 
it went well with me at that communion. I think I saw the lights 
spoke of in that sermon, and believed. Tho other was, my wife, 
who minded to have been there, but was taken ill jnst the night be- 
fore I went away ; her case was remembered not only in private, but 
in the public prayers, as one kept from that occasion by the afflict- 
ing hand of God. And the Lord made it a good time to her soul. 
2. The hearing of prayer, and the good fruit of dependence on 
the Lord in presbyterial management, being sensibly assisted to a 
clear uptaking of matters in that difficult business. 3. The Lord's 
leading the blind by the way they knew not, being sweetly surprised 
with a providential management of matters, in two particulars, to a 
better account than otherwise they could have been brought. 

As I came by Closeburn house, in my return home from the com- 

1716.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 283 

munion at Penpont in the end of May, the chaplain met me, and told 
me, that at snpper on the Sabbath night they were speaking of tran- 
sporting me to that parish. He had no orders that I know of to 
speak of it to me; so I gave a suitable return, without any shadow 
of encouragement. When Mr. Murray was at the sacrament here 
in July, he proposed it to me in earnest ; and I, with all the earnest- 
ness I was capable of, discouraged the motion ; so that I thought it 
might be laid aside. But some time in harvest I received a letter 
from him, shewing that the parish of Closeburn were to apply to 
their presbytery for that effect. This letter I judged meet neither 
to make public, nor yet to keep altogether secret ; so I imparted the 
purpose of it to one of our elders. And about the 11th of Sep- 
tember I wrote a most pathetic return, to stop that procedure of that 

At the which time I was writing my collections on Siiluk, in a 
folio book I had prepared for putting down my materials in. And 
herein I so prospered, by the good hand of my God upon me, that, 
as I reckon, I began from that time to apprehend, that this business 
I had engaged in, for my own private benefit only, might possibly 
in end turn to a book for public use. And all along thereafter, 
until it was done, I looked upon that study as the business of my 

About the end of this month of September, came an account to 
our parish, that a call to Closeburn was drawn up for me. Here- 
with they were much alarmed ; and, in their own rough way, shewed 
a mighty concern for my continuance among them. And thus the 
trouble of the parish about me began just about the time wherein, the 
year preceding, my trouble with them was going to the highest pitch. 

"What influence the awful steps of Providence that followed upon 
this last, as above narrated, had upon them, I cannot say. But as 
the spring of comfort, from the study aforesaid, was most season- 
ably struck up to me in my closet, when without I was so much op- 
pressed ; so, about the latter end of April, some things in the pa- 
rish began to look with a better face towards my encouragement, as 
I have related above, p. 281, in so much that they had weight with 
me against a transportation to Ligertwood, which at the April 
synod had been proposed to me; so as I had been obliged seriously 
to seek the Lord's mind in it, and was one of the causes of the 
secret fast above mentioned. Moreover, whereas the session had 
been reduced to a very small number, by death and otherwise, I pre- 
vailed this summer to get their number increased ; so that, on July 
12, being the fast-day before the sacrament, there were seven added 
to the eldership. Among these seven was Thomas Linton in 


284 memoirs or [period X. 

Cliapelhop, a man of weight and activity ; who, together with an- 
other elder, and Michael Anderson younger of Tushilaw, went in De- 
cember to Closeburn, by conference and reasoning to divert the storm 
of the designed transportation thither ; but it prevailed not. But 
this was perhaps the last journey that Thomas Linton made ; being 
seized with a sore and vehement trouble in his mouth and head, 
which kept him till he died about the end of the year 1718. He 
had been a notable sufferer in the time of persecution, and spoiled of 
all his goods ; but was become very wealthy ; and moreover he had 
a heart given him to do good with his wealth, and was very useful 
in the country that way. On him I bestowed this epitaph, which I 
suppose is to be found on his tombstone in Mary church-yard in 
Yarrow : — 

All lost for Christ, an hundred-fold 

Produc'd, and he became 
A father, eyes, and feet unto 

The poor, the blind, the lame. 

Tushilaw younger died also not very long after. He was a man 
of a gentle disposition, and likewise was endued with a principle of 
beneficence to mankind ; so that, dying before his father, he was 
much lamented, as a father of the country. 

Nov. 14. — Being at Edinburgh to put my son to the college, and 
all comfortable views I had had, as to the disposing of him for his 
quarters, having failed, I was directed to a stranger ; but there were 
some things in that case that disgusted me. I had laid the matter 
over on the Lord; and behold, at the nick of time, when I was come 
to the last point, just going out at the chamber-door, to agree with 
that person for his quarters, because I could do no better, one came 
to me, and told me of a religious private family, which I knew no- 
thing of, desirous of my acquaintance, and therefore of entertaining 
my son. This appeared to me the finger of God, and I lodged him 
there. This step of kind Providence was big in my eyes. After I 
came home, I was perplexed as to his learning, fearing his rust in 
that point should expose him ; but within three weeks after, by a 
letter from the boy himself, I was delivered from that fear. 

Jan. 1. 1717- — I spent some time in prayer, and humiliation, con- 
cerning the affair of Closeburn, my study of the accentuation, the 
case of some afflicted in the parish, and some other particulars in my 
own case, and that of my family, and renewing my covenant with 
God, not without some soul-advantage in the time. By this time I 
had seen the Lord's jealousy against me, for sinking so far under 
my pressures ; and against the people, for their having been such a 
burden to me. 

1717-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 205 

I had on the 19th of the precediug August, begun an ordinary of 
subjects, for pressing into the life and power of religion ; and, in 
pursuance thereof, preached on walking with God*, the study of the 
holy Scriptures, and the observing of providences.f But while I 
was on the sweet subject last mentioned, I was, by scandals abounding 
at that time, obliged to cut short, and forced away from it, (the which 
hath oftener than once been my lot), unto the doctrine of repentance, 
which I began on Jan. 27, and, pursuing it from several texts, ended 
it not till the 21st of October following. But I had no sooner 
ended the sermons on observing of providences, but, by the com- 
mencement of the process of transportation aforesaid, Providence 
did, in their sight and mine, begin a web which filled both our hearts 
and hands, till in August following it was wrought out. So the very 
first of these sermons on repentance, delivered Jan. 27, as aforesaid, 
was heard by one or more of the commissioners from Closeburn, who 
had obtained the calling of the Presbytery to hear them, on the 
Tuesday after. 

Feb. 7. This forenoon I spent in secret prayer. My ordinary af- 
fliction and temptation so set upon me at first, and embittered my 
spirit, that I was like to have given over the work. But reading 
the 59th of Isaiah for my humiliation, that word, ver. 19, " When 
the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift 
up a standard against him," met me most seasonably when I was as 
one like to be carried away with a flood. I went to God with it, 
and pleaded it. And though it was not presently accomplished; yet 
after about two hours and a half heartless work for the most part, 
it was made out ; the temptation was banished away, and my heart 
was touched with his hand put in by the hole of the lock. Among 
many other ills of my life, I was particularly convinced, 1. Of my 
sin of superficial reading of the Scripture, not subjecting my soui, 
in reading it, unto it, as the divine word ; whereby it has come to 
pass that I have not had the feeling of the power of it that otherwise 
1 might have had; 2. The remissness of my spirit, and heartlessness 
in family worship ; 3. Not depending more on the Lord, in the work 
on Ezekiel that I am now upon ; 4. Not wrestling with God more 
in secret for the congregation, and some particular persons. Two 
things I had a comfortable view of; I. An unfeigned desire of uni- 
versal and perfect holiness, however vile I am ; 2. That though my 

* The sermons on this subject are printed in the volume entitled " The Christian 
Life delineated. 

t These are also inserted in the Body of Divinity. All three are justly esteemed 
most excellent discourses. 


departures are many, thou knowest, Lord, that I am not wicked, 
nor have I wickedly departed from thee ; not daring to do deliber- 
ately what I think to be an ill thing, and being in some measure 
tender as to endeavouring to know the mind of God with respect to 
the way I should go. I was concerned in the affair of Closeburn, 
Dr. Trotter's indisposition, the affliction of those of Midgehop, &c. 
Concerning the affair of Closeburn, 

Remark 1. About the time of my great trouble by this parish 
last year, the trouble of this parish by that busiuess began this year. 
2. The Lord has punished them and me both, as above noted, by the 
terror of the prospect of that affair. 3. Just as I was writing this, 
a stranger came in and gave me a most discouraging account of that 
parish. 4. I was led this day to pray for a blessing on that parish, 
and some particular persons in it. 5. On Jan. 29, the commisioners 
for Closeburn produced their commissions before our presbytery. I 
saw what I judged a flaw in that from the parish, urged it, and the 
commission was rejected thereupon. What moved me to this was, 
that I thought strict justice did not require the sustaining of that 
commission, and I durst not make a compliment of it, lest I should 
seem to lead, and not wait to be led by, Providence ; and I knew 
not what might be in that minute circumstance. 6. But the reject- 
ing of a commission was also the first step in the business of the 
transportation to Etterick. 7. The commissioners being in our 
house on the "Wednesday's night before the presbytery, the ordinary 
sung in the family was Psalm xvii. 41 — 45. After we had done 
with family worship, Mr. Murray bid me to take notice of ver. 43, if 
I right remember. I took little notice of it on that; but on Mon- 
day night immediately before the presbytery, we sung at their fami- 
ly worship the same part of the 18th psalm, and then I could not 
but notice it. 8. While in our house those of that place spoke of 
the benefice there, for that I cared not ; neither was moved by it in 
the least. I bless the Lord, my weak side lies not there ; but the 
Lord let me see that I was not to be secure on that quarter; for 
hearing what I yet apprehend may be a lying story, but of that kind, 
my heart was catched; which I quickly perceived to my shame and sor- 
row ; but through grace I soon got over it. 9. On the morrow after 
the presbytery, riding with the men commissioners from Closeburn, 
some women came forth and wept ; which moved me as an emblem 
of what would likely follow in the event of a transportation. So I 
gave over talking with Mr. Murray, with whom I could prevail no- 
thing; and spoke with the other two men, till we parted in a hurry, 
and they appearing more hopeless than ever. This I pursued, and 
this I had satisfaction in, that I had discharged my conscience ; and 


1717-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 287 

if they do return, it is on all grounds of hope from me (which I never 
designedly gave them) razed by me ; so that if there be any further 
procedure in the matter, there is clear ground for holy providence to 
work on. That word, Psalm lvi. ult., " Thou hast delivered my soul 
from death, wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling?" has been 
big in my eyes and often in my mouth, on this occasion. And that 
word this day was staying to my heart in some measure ; Prov. iv. 
12, " "When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened ; and when 
thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble." 

Feb. 27. On Monday last came Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, with two 
ministers of the presbytery, and W. Gr. from the parish, in their way 
to Selkirk, to prosecute their call. Their coming was stunning ; 
they staid about three quarters of an hour. When they were gone, 
I went and poured out my soul to the Lord, and was very remark- 
ably carried out, to be very particular, that God would frustrate the 
errand they were going on. Their commission was again rejected, 
and they appealed to the Synod. This day returning with the two 
ministers and "W". G., their management and converse was such, that 
my heart was extremely set against that place. 

On the 27th of March, a congregational fast was kept, at the de- 
sire of the session, on the account of the threatened desolating of the 
parish by the transportation foresaid. Three brethren of the Pres- 
bytery, being invited, preached ; and that day, an heritor of the 
parish, who all along to that time had deserted my ministry, came 
to the kirk, being zealous for my continuance in the place. He gave 
due attendance all along thereafter while he lived ; but in a few 
years he died. 

Meanwhile, though that heritor had thus laid aside his opposition 
to me, Satan had beforehand stirred up another adversary to fill up 
his room ; and who was far heavier to me than ever he had been. 

This was . 

He had been educated under my ministry, profited in knowledge, and 
gave hopeful signs of his seriousness ; so that he was admitted to the 
Lord's table ; but he was snared with youthful lusts, and first convicted 
of fornication on Dec. 14, 1716. But not being duly humbled on that oc- 
casion, but making great difficulty in satisfying the discipline, he fell 
into one mire of filthiness after another, some being legally discovered, 
some spurning all means of legal discovery ; so that I had almost a con- 
tinual fight with him for many years after. And to this day he con- 
tinues an adversary, only he never deserted the ordinances ; and I 
still think he hath some good thing about him, that may at length 
prevail against this profaneuess, pride, and vanity. 

Lecturing on Ezekiel, and by means of accentuation making such 


discoveries as I was loath to lose, I translated a part thereof, and 
wrote some notes on the translation ; the which retarded me in my 
main -work. This performance, which is in retentis, goes from the 
beginning of that prophecy to chap. xxi. 23, consisting of about 
seventeen sheets. It bears the marks of the lame notion of the ac- 
centuation I was then arrived at ; and must be judged according to 
the more perfect account of the accents, now long ago written in 
Latin ; but it may be useful. The affair of Closeburn not leaving 
time necessary for it, obliged me to lay it aside. 

April 27. In the end of March, my wife and I spent some time in 
prayer on the affair of Closeburn. Last week the Synod sustained 
the commission rejected by the Presbytery, appointed the Presbytery 
to meet on this affair on the first Tuesday of June, allowing the pur- 
suers to appeal to the Synod, to meet on the third Wednesday of 
June ; and this, that there might be no ground of complaining of 
them to the General Assembly. Howbeit, the pursuers appealed to 
the General Assembly. Yesterday, I spent some time in prayer, 
laying the call of Closeburn before the Lord ; having received it at 
the Synod, but never opened it till before the Lord in that exercise. 
I observe, 1. Whereas three ministers preached at the fast in the 
the congregation, the first was remarkably carried out in prayer for 
averting of this stroke ; the second touched it but little ; the third, 
least. Both the times aforesaid, in secret, I was remarkably carried 
out for my own private case, but less when I came to that business. 
The first of these times, the stream of influences ran, in wrestling 
with God for grace towards personal holiness ; yesterday, in em- 
bracing personally the covenant, or covenanting with God ; in the 
which the Lord was pleased so to blow upon me, that I think, in all 
my life, I never had more, if ever so much, clear and distinct uptak- 
ings of the gospel offer, solid, distinct, and hearty acceptance of it, 
and confidence in managing it. I had an unusual view, and in some 
measure yet have, of God as creator loving his creatures, and giving 
his own Son for sinners to bring them to be happy in the enjoyment 
of himself; producing in me confidence in, and love to, this bounti- 
ful and gracious God. 2. Having spread the call of Closeburn be- 
fore the Lord yesterday, though the subscriptions, being 118, 
did touch me, yet I could have no view of the matter, but as leaving 
behind me a broken parish, and one 1 must be rent from, to go to 
another broken parish, where I must expect but cold entertainment; 
so that nothing of a call from God appears to me in it. Otherwise 
I was helped to be easy about the matter, having laid it over on the 
Lord ; and being somewhat apprehensive, from the Lord's way of 
dispensing his influences to me, that my trial must bo of another 

1717-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 289 

sort, whereby possibly I may be laid aside from both. [Nota, This 
apprehension has been so far verified in the event, that I was deli- 
vered from the strivings of the people ; by the issue of the process, 
from the strivings I was to have with the parish of Closeburn in the 
event of a transportation ; and by the whole business from the striv- 
ings with my own parish ; which, from that time, has never been so 
unmanageable as before, though I have not wanted trials from par- 
ticular persons heavy enough. But I have been engaged in strivings 
of a more public nature since, and in a long and heavy family afflic- 
tion, whereof the eighth year is now running, Aug. 28, 1727.] 3. 1 
remember not, that ever I had, on an occasion of weight, at the 
Synod, so much ado to fix my feet, in point of confidence in the 
Lord, when praying about the particular, as I had at the Synod last 
week in this affair. Some untenderness in my conversation at home, 
found me out, and hung about me there ; so that it cost sore strug- 
gling. 4. The minute circumstance of the commission, p. 286, has 
now brought forth a great matter, viz., the carrying the matter of 
the transportation, so as it cannot come before the next General 
Assembly for decision, though it do otherwise. And though it go to 
the commission, and I should be laid under their sentence, without 
light in my own breast ; I would look on that as a light matter, in 
comparison of a sentence of the General Assembly in such circum- 
stances. I am fully satisfied in my following the conduct of Providence 
nicely on that little head ; In minimis Deus maximus. 5. Sir Tho- 
Kirkpatrick owned to me at the Synod, that my letters to Mr. Mur- 
ray put him to a stand, but that he came the second time upon hear- 
ing that I would be submissive ; though, much I think to the con- 
founding of us all three, it was owned that the most I said was these 
words, " No less will make me to go to Closeburn, than what would 
make me to take a mountain on my shoulders." 6. The heritor 
aforesaid, who would never come to the kirk since my settlement in 
this parish, by the prospect of this transportation, was brought to 
come on the fast day, and continues so to do, being zealous for my 
staying among them. Meanwhile scandalous outbreakings in the 
parish, have abounded more since this business commenced, than for 
a good while before. And this affair has obliged me some time ago 
to lay aside the work on Ezekiel, having no time for it. 

May 1. I went to Edinburgh to the General Assembly, and re- 
turned on the 17th. On the last of April, 1 designed to have taken 
journey, my wife being indisposed. I was ready to take my horse ; 
but going to prayer with my wife, to commit the family to the Lord, 
I could not get my family committed to him as usual. So rising up 
from prayer. I presently concluded I could not, and should not go. 

290 MEMOIRS Of [period X. 

It was well ordered ; for afterwards my wife was better, and I fouud 
there was no need of the haste which I then apprehended there was. 

In Edinburgh I found some were impressed with my inclination 
to go to Closeburn, which I endeavoured to carry off. On the 8th 
of May I had a toss with Mr. Murray before Sir Thomas, he affirm- 
ing, and I denying, that I had given them ground by word or deed ; 
and Sir Thomas declaring, that if he had not been informed so, he 
would not have insisted. When the business came before the com- 
mittee of bills, Mr. P. opened up the case of the parish of Closeburn. 
This obliged me, otherwise unwilling to speak, to open up the case 
of Etterick too ; which, with much difficulty I obtained leave to do, 
a plain sway to the other side appearing in that committee ; which 
much oppressed my spirit. When it came before the assembly, our 
synod was mostly absent, those of them present little to be trusted, 
(and the truth is, I saw none of our synod there, but those of our 
own presbytery, I could have confidence in), and the same sway ap- 
peared there. This made me break silence there, which I had kept 
tor seventeen years in that judicatory ; and being touched, the Lord 
helped me to speak without fear. I cannot but observe kind Pro- 
vidence that suffered Mr. P. to make that unseasonable discourse on 
tho merits of the cause, and that our synod was mostly absent when 
it came before the assembly ; for these things obliged me, otherwise 
unwilling, to speak ; whereby the respective judicatories .could not 
but perceive how I stood affected to the thing. 

The issue of the conference with Mr. Murray and Sir Thomas, and 
of the sway I perceived in the committee and assembly, ready to 
make a compliment of the business, was, that still there appeared to 
me less of God in the matter ; and so it tended to my farther clear- 
ing, as to my not being called to go to that place. 

The synod of Dumfries seemed at first (according to my informa- 
tion), while I hey thought I was willing, not to be disposed to bo 
active in it ; afterwards they seemed to be keen. Wherefore 
meeting with one of their leading men, I represented some 
things concerning myself, that I thought might cause them to 
remit of that keeuess, as my not employing jurors, &c. (though by 
the by what I have done that way is merely on the ground of offence, 
not that I am straitened in ray own conscience as to such joining) ; 
and it seemed to have something of the desired effect. So in the end 
I became very easy. 

At that assembly, tho affair of Mr. John Simson, professor of theo- 
logy in the collego of Glasgow, pursued by that great man, Mr. 
James Webster, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, and which had 
been in dependence for several years, was ended, with great softness 

1717] MK. TIIOMAS BOSTON. 291 

to the professor; who, from the attempts he had then made against 
the doctrine of the grace of Christ, hath since advanced to attack 
the doctrine of the person of Christ, and to overthrow the founda- 
tions of Christianity. The said affair being ended at one of the 
diets, in the following diet was taken in a proposition, calculated by 
the presbytery of Auchterarder, for opposing the erroneous doctrine 
of Professor Simsou, on the occasion of a suspected young man on 
trials before them. This proposition, called in derision " the Auch- 
terarder Creed," was all at once at that diet judged and condemned ; 
though some small struggle was made in defence thereof. And poor 
I was not able to open a mouth before them in that cause; although 
I believed the proposition to be truth, howbeit not well worded. It 
was as follows : — t; It is not sound and orthodox to teach, that we 
must forsake sin, in order to our coming to Christ, and instating us 
in covenant with God." For this, when I came to my chamber, my 
conscience smote me grievously ; for that I could speak in my own 
cause, as said is, but could not speak in the public cause of truth. 
And I was obliged yet to speak upon it, and exoner my conscience, 
when it was out of season ; that is, upon the reading over of the 
minute about it, in the following diet. But this was made an useful 
lesson to me afterward ; and gave me something to balance my na- 
tural diffidence and bashfulness, and to incite me to speak when I 
saw the cause of truth call for it. 

And here, namely, in the condemnation of that proposition, was 
the beginning of the torrent, that for several years after ran, in the 
public actings of this church, against the doctrine of grace, under 
the name of Antinomiauism ; and is unto this day overflowing. 
Meanwhile, at the same time sitting in the assembly house, and con- 
versing with Mr. John Drummond, minister of Crief, one of the 
brethren of that presbytery above mentioned, I happened to give 
him my sense of the gospel-offer ; Isa. Iv. 1 ; Matth. xi. 28, with 
the reason thereof; and withal to tell him of the Marrow of Mo- 
dern Divinity. Hereupon he, having inquired in the shops for 
the said book, at length got it; and from him Mr. James "Webster 
getting it, was taken therewith ; and afterward, Mr. Drummond 
himself being hardly allowed time to read it through, it came into 
the hands of Mr. James Hog, minister of Carnock ; and in end 
was reprinted in the year 1718, with a preface by the said Mr. Hog, 
dated at Carnock, Dsc. 3, 1717- The mentioning of that book in 
the said conversation, I had quite forgot ; and that these things fol- 
lowing thereupon, I did not at all know, till about half a score years 
after this, that Mr. Wilson my friend, having got the account from 
Mr. Drummond occasionally, did relate it to me. But the publish- 


iug of that then obscure book, at that time, having been so remark- 
able in its consequences, and this to the signal advantage of the 
truth of the gospel in this church, I could not but rejoice from my 
heart in that relation, reckoning it a great honour the Lord had put 
upon me, that by such a beautiful step of providence I had been 
made the remote occasion thereof. 

At this time my daughter Alison, having a trouble in her nose, 
got by a fall when a child, for which, of a considerable time 
that season, we had, by advice of a surgeon, washed it by the 
help of a syringe ; I, in the time of the assembly, having been 
advised hy my wife that the trouble had grown worse, consulted 
two surgeons about it. And they, apprehending danger, moved that 
she should be brought in to Edinburgh to them, for cure. So coming 
away, I left my son John in the town indisposed, and returned 
home, looking on myself as a candle burning at both ends, consider- 
ing my son's case behind me, and my daughter's before me, but la- 
bouring to encourage myself in the Lord. On the 26th of May, I 
had advice that my son was sick of the measles. The 29th was pre- 
fixed for carrying in Alison, for the end foresaid ; but the Lord 
mercifully broke that appointment, by my wife's becoming unfit for 
travel, the night before ; and on the day appointed there was an 
extraordinary fall of rain. Then that day eight days was prefixed 
for the effect foresaid ; but on the intervening Saturday, after some 
time spent in prayer that morning, my wife and I sitting together 
in the garden, were surprised to hear by the servant, that some- 
thing had fallen out of the child's nose. The same being taken up, 
and brought to us, was found to be a piece of the cartilage, aud to 
smell very rank ; but there was no rank smell in the nose any more, 
nor yet any wound; but as the deliverance came in an instant, it 
was perfect too, and most seasonable. My son, having been sent 
for, came home in health on the "Wednesday after ; which was the 
day that had been determined for carrying in my daughter. This 
was a surprising deliverance in a case appearing very hopeless, and 
was wonderful in our eyes. the wisdom and goodness that ap- 
peared in it, and in timing it and my wife's indisposition, and in 
making the rain to come on that day, whereby our purpose was 
broken ! This was a most signal piece of the conduct of 1'rovidenco 
towards me, of a most diffusive usefulness in point of practice, how- 
ever it has been improved. 

Being called to exercise the last Sabbath night I was in Edin- 
burgh, I had prepared to speak on Gen. v. 21, " And Enoch walked 
with God, and he was not ; for God took him." Betwixt sermons I 
got notice, that I behoved to have that exercise in another house 

1717-3 MR - THOMAS BOSTON. 293 

than had been designed, the family of that other house having re- 
ceived that morning the news of a son dead abroad. The suitable- 
ness of the text to that unexpected occasion, was worth observing ; 
he leads the blind in a way they knew not. 

The affair of Closeburn coming again before the presbytery, they 
refused the transportation. The pursuers appealed to the synod, 
which met at Kelso on the 18th of June, and sat but one day. I 
went thither, secure that the synod would refer it to the commission, 
and that I would not need to speak much on the business. "When I 
came there, my measures were quite altered by means of my best 
friends, who judged it necessary that the synod should come to a 
sentence, and that I should speak very fully. The pursuers were 
most vigorous in their management, which obliged me to produce 
what I thought to have kept up till the commission. So I told the 
synod plainly, that it was not only contrary to my inclination, but 
to my light ; and that unless my conscience were convinced, I could 
not comply, and mere human authority would not do it. The synod 
refused it also, and so the pursuers appealed to the commission. I 
found myself at a great loss, in point of confidence in prayer for 
light and furniture for speaking before the synod ; having thought 
there would be little need of speaking there, I had been very little con- 
cerned to prepare for it, and now there remained no competent time for 
it. But in the very little time I had, I endeavoured to fix my confidence 
in the Lord, notwithstanding my former security, making free grace 
my refuge, labouring to believe his grace should be sufficient for 
my throughbearing, as if I had been at all pains before. Here I 
saw the advantage of my heart's being impressed with the doctrine of 
free grace ; whereas had I been in fetters that way, I would here have 
had no way to have settled my heart in the faith of the promise. 
After the synod was over, some of the members seemed to intimate 
to me, that I would be transported by the commission. This damp- 
ed me exceedingly, judging them to be such as might know the minds 
of the leading men there ; and this damp continued long with me at 

July 13. — This day having spent some time in prayer about the 
affair of Closeburn, I found my heart was much quieted, in that I 
was conscious to myself, that, whatever my aversion thereto is, I 
would be ready to put the knife to the throat of my inclinations, if 
the Lord should discover his mind in favour thereof, though no such 
thing as yet appears. I found also a serious concern in my spirit to 
be guided of the Lord in it; even of him who leads the blind in the 
way they know not, and to whom all his works are known from the 
beginning ; seeing myself in hazard of falling into some piece of mis- 


mangement that afterwards may prove a snare. And for this in 
in particular I put myself in the Lord's hand. 

On Thursday, August 15, the affair of Closeburn came before the 
commission for final decision. Much dealing there was with the 
members, by both parties. The speat ran high for the transporta- 
tion, when we came to town ; but by dealing with members it was 
somewhat abated. Advocates were employed on both sides; but 
after reading of papers, and hearing of parties and their counsel on 
both sides, when we were to be removed, I did with great affection, 
being in deep concern, deliver before them, from a paper I had pre- 
pared, besides my answers to the reasons of transportation, a 
speech, the tenor whereof, as setting my case and circumstances in 
due light, here follows : 

" Moderator, It is with the utmost concern I see myself sist- 
ed before the Rev. Commission of tho General Assembly, in a pro- 
cess for transporting me to the parish of Closeburn ; having some- 
times hoped, that such an obscure person as I might have finished 
his course and ministry, without being heard, in such a judica- 
tory, at least on such an occasion. But since, by an excess of 
charity towards me, in the honourable persons and Rev. ministers 
concerned in the call of Closeburn, whose undeserved respect I shall 
always be sensible of, this appearance is forced upon me ; my hearty 
concern for the good of the parish of Etterick, which is very dear to 
me, for the true interest of the parish of Closeburn, and for my own 
welfare, obliges me, freely to speak, before you, the thoughts of my 
heart, in this affair ; resolving rather to run the risk of being ac- 
counted imprudent, than to mince the matter so as the cause may 
suffer, wherein I judge the interest of the gospel, and my comfort, 
lie so much at stake. And if anything shall, in my discourse, be set 
in the light which otherwise should have been veiled with silence, I 
humbly beg the rev. Commission, those of mine own parish, and tli6 
pursuers, will ouly impute it, as it ought to bo, to the extreme ne- 
cessity I am reduced to, for my own defence, in which I am not in- 
different, but in earnest. 

" Moderator, "When I consider how hard my work has been, in the 
parish of Etterick, by reason of the divisive temper which has pre- 
vailed in that place, it fills me with confusion and terror, to think I 
am in hazard of being thrown into a far hotter flame. I own God is 
just in it ; but I hope for compassion from him, to whom the quarrel 
is open and manifest; and I expect it also from his servants, to 
whom the cause of this is not certainly known. I enjoyed the fruits 
of peace, for some years, elsewhere ; otherwise perhaps tho want of 

1707 J MR. THOMAS BOSTON". 295 

it had not been so bitter to me ; but since that time, my eyes have 
seen but little of it. I have stood as in a pass, for the space of ten 
years ; and possibly if I had had less trouble, others had got more. 
Had I been so happy as to have seen the breach of the parish of Et- 
terick healed, there had been some appearance of reason, in putting 
me on new work of that kind ; for then would I have had hope of 
success. But it is not so. I have said in my answers, that the 
breaches in the parish of Etterick are still as wide as they were that 
day I came first among them ; but, what is truth, now necessary to 
be discovered, they are indeed far wider. The Old Dissenters whom 
I found there at my coming, continue as they were, having lost none 
of their number, but one, who, being educated in that way, left it 
about a year ago. But I have lost many, who, breaking off from 
under my ministry, have separated themselves from the communion 
of this church. This deserting of my ministry began, not long after 
I was settled in that place ; and while I was grappling with these 
difficulties, it pleased the Lord, in his holy, wise providence, for my 
further trial, to remove by death, and otherwise, several of the elder- 
ship. And though, for several years, I made attempts again and 
again, to get the session supplied ; yet could I not prevail to get a 
competent number of elders, till about a year ago. And I am per- 
suaded I had not obtained it at that time neither, but that, no end of 
the deserting humour appearing, and finding the misled persons, time 
after time, confirmed in their prejudices, by absenting from the or- 
dinances, a considerable space before I knew that they were led 
aside, I was like to sink under my burden ; which I discovered to 
some ; whose hearts were at length moved with compassion, and 
otherwise, to take part with me and the rest, in the Lord's work in 
the congregation ; whereby my heart has been encouraged, and my 
hands strengthened. And now that I have obtained this, must I see 
I have obtained it, only to the end I might leave them ? that I have 
tasted of the comfortable fruits thereof, only that by the plucking them 
from my mouth, my being condemned unto my former uncomfortable 
work might be made more bitter ? Must I be obliged to leave that 
congregation, just when, by the good hand of God upon me, I am 
put in a capacity to be more serviceable among them than ever I 
was all the nine years preceding. 

" Although I cannot own this change in the state of the parish of 
Etterick to be owing to the struggle made for this transportation, 
since it was begun ere the least motion was made in that affair ; yet 
it is evident, the congregation of Etterick in the communion of this 
church, have all along, in the progress of that business, cordially ad- 
hered to me, and exerted their utmost endeavours for my contina- 

296 MEMOIRS OP [period X. 

ance among them ; and that there is no removing of me ont of that 
parish, but by rending me from them ; which I hope may bo admit- 
ted as an evidence, that ray labours have not been altogether in vain 
there. I beg the Very Reverend Commission to consider, what will 
be the consequences of rending me, by this transportation, from that 
congregation. The desolating of that parish, which lies at such a 
distance from neighbour-kirks, as has been represented ; and that 
in a mountainous country, which it is hard to travel to or from in the 
winter-season, as appears from their not having one sermon in their 
church for eight or nine Sabbaths successively, in time of their last 
vacancy ; the desolating, I say, of that parish in such circumstances, 
would challenge the serious regard of our Rev. judges, though both 
they and I were indifferent in the matter of this transportation. But 
since it is far otherwise, on their part, as well as on mine, how can I 
think on their case, as left irritated, both heritors and people. 

" Moderator, I was planted in that parish under a great disadvan- 
tage, with respect to most of the Honourable persons, heritors of it ; 
yet now it is quite against their mind that I be removed. And I 
doubt they think themselves but harshly treated by the judicatories 
of this church, if my removal from, and my settlement in, that pa- 
rish, be so much of apiece as this transportation will make them. And 
as there is very little hope, that they and the people will agree in 
the choice of another minister, so it is hardly to be expected, but 
that the manner of my settlement in that parish will be remembered 
on another such occasion, to the prejudice of the interest of the 
gospel there, and I fear (not without ground) to a more public pre- 
judice. What shall become of the irritated people, bereaved of their 
pastor, to whose ministry, by the good hand of God, they have ad- 
hered, notwithstanding of their manifold temptations to desert it, 
and the communion of this church ? How will the scorn of their de- 
serting neighbours work on their passions ? Can any who know the 
circumstances of that country, obtain it of themselves to think, that 
such a fair occasion for promoting the schism there will be neglect- 
ed ? "Will not those who have kept their meetings several times 
within the bounds of the parish since I was settled there, return 
again to the church-yard, where they have met in the time of the 
last vacancy ? The parish of Etterick is almost quite surrounded 
with neighbouring parishes, notably broken, as well as they are 
themselves ; in one of which, Eskdalcmoor, separatists of different 
factions have their distinct parties, and their meetings one after 
another ; and some of my congregation are almost as near to a 
church, which the presbytery has seldom, if ever, access to, viz., 
Wamphray, as they are to their own chnrch. f am loth to be more 

1717-1 M R- TIIOMAS BOSTOX. 297 

particular on this head ; I with the Reverend Commission may in 
due time inquire further into the state of that country. But from 
what is said it appears, that the parish of Etterick, lying in the 
centre, is, by this transportation, threatened to be made the very 
seat of separation in that country. 

" Moderator, The parish of Closeburn is so considerable, numer- 
ous, and divided, that it is a burden quite too heavy for me, and re- 
quires a minister endued with qualifications I cannot pretend to, 
and withal of another spirit than I am ; being very unfit, on many 
accounts, to appear in the world in any such post, even though it 
were an unanimous parish. But as it is a parish notably divided, I 
am still the more unfit for it. I have had too much acquaintance 
with myself, in the management of the parish of Etterick, to think 
I am fit to undertake the charge of the parish of Closeburn, wherein (I 
am persuaded) the work of the gospel would egregiously suffer in my 
hands. I know, that little stress is sometimes put upon professions 
of this nature ; but I do ingenuously declare, that, in my most retir- 
ed thoughts of this transportation, the disadvantages I find I labour 
under from myself, in managing my work in the congregation I am 
set over, do so stare me in the face, that I cannot encourage this de- 
sign, without a witness against me in my own bosom, testifying I should 
be injurious to the parish of Closeburn, in accepting their call, which 
I plainly perceive has proceeded on a mistake concerning me. For 
though it has pleased the Lord sometimes to make ray preaching- 
gift acceptable to his people ; yet it is well known to those of my 
acquaintance, I labour under some uncommon disadvantages, which 
render me unfit for such a post. 

'' Besides, Moderator, I have seriously considered the matter of 
this transportation again and again, and I can have no other appre 
hension of it, but that it will be a rending of me from a congregation 
whose hearts are pierced with the thoughts of my removal from them, 
and a throwing me undesired into another. I am convinced, that upon 
whatever views that parish made choice of me to be their minister, 
when they signed their call to me, matters are now so far altered, 
that had some things, with relation to the parish of Etterick and to 
myself, which in the progress of this affair have manifestly appear- 
ed, to the conviction of all unbiassed persons, been believed before 
this process was commenced, they had not proceeded therein. 
And whatever reason tie pursuers may have to go on, since they 
have begun, I hope our Very Reverend Judges will find themselves 
obliged to determine as the present state of affairs requires. Se- 
veral persons, commissioners from the parish of Closeburn, at dif- 
ferent times, have had the trouble of several long journeys in this 
Vol. XI. u 

298 MEMOIRS OF [period X. 

affair, which I ara heartily sorry for. And I freely own, that Sir 
Thomas Kirkpatrick, and another of that parish, have all along ap- 
peared cordial and serious in that matter; but I must have been 
unaccountably blinded, if, by repeated evidences otherwise, I had 
not perceived the parish of Closeburn not incliued to be hard on the 
parish of Etterick in this affair. And however this might perhaps 
be deemed to be of small importance in the case of one inclined to 
embrace their call ; yet it cannot but have weight with our Re- 
verend and compassionate judges, in the case of a fixed minister, 
whose congregation and himself must both suffer violence, in order to 
the casting him in upon another that desires him not. 

" Moderator, I need not put the Reverend Commission in mind of 
the great end of this project, namely, the healing of the breaches 
there ; but I heartily wish it may be duly weighed, whether this 
transportation be a means proper for attaining that end ? And one 
would think, some more than ordinary certainty was necessary in 
this point, especially considering that the widening of the breaches 
in Etterick, and the adjacent parts, will surely follow upon the 
event of this transportation ; and that a mistake, or false step, in 
an affair relating to such a broken country as Nithsdale is, may be 
of dangerous consequence. I am, persuaded with tho Reverend 
synod of Merse and Teviotdale, that this transportation will not 
answer the end ; and think it strange, if any who know all circum- 
stances be otherwise minded. "Whatever measures the wisdom of 
some other person, who shall be called to that parish, may suggest 
unto him for compassing the desired end, I find myself so straitened 
in that respect, that I cannot forbear to say, with all deference to 
my Reverend Judges, that the transporting me to Closeburn, will iu 
effect be a driving me into a snare, where, to which hand soever I 
turn, I must be broken. 

" Now, Moderator, will the justice of the Reverend Commission 
allow them, to lay a congregation desolate, which was planted with 
so much difficulty, has been managed with so much uneasiness, and, 
upon the event of this transportation, must become the very seat of 
separation in the country, and which there is so very little hope of 
the comfortable supply of, they in the meantime so vigorously re- 
claiming ; and all this, in a time wherein there is so very littlo need 
of transportations, but the parish pursuing may bo otherwise settled, 
to far greater advautage ? Will their respect to tho peace of this 
church, suffer them to give such ground of irritation to a congregation 
in these circumstances I have narrated ? Will their compassion 
allow them, to take one whoso spirit is already shattered with the 
effects of the divisive temper, and cast him into another place, where 

1717-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 299 

it must be far more so ? or to lead out one, and sot him upon the 
ice, where he knows no way ( in the course of ordinary Providence) 
how to keep his feet; and when he fall 3, must fall for nought, I 
mean, no advantage to the church gained thereby ? Nay, Modera- 
tor, I cannot believe these things. 

" I have the greatest aversion to this transportation ; and whoso 
considers what I have represented, will not think it strange. I hope 
the Reverend Commission will not violate me ; which they will do, if 
they transport me to Closeburn. The case of the Reverend Mr. 
Warden's transportation to Falkirk, and of the Rev. Mr. Wodrow's 
to Stirling, which were refused by the Commission, though each of 
these parishes is more considerable than the parish here pursuing, 
are such instances of the lenity of this Yery Reverend Judicatory, 
that it will be thought exceeding strange, if it shall be my lot only 
to be violated. 

" Moderator, I have been twice settled already ; and I bless the 
Lord, who was pleased, in both, convincingly to shew me his own 
call coming along with the call of his church. And I have felt so 
much need of the former, its accompanying the latter, that I would 
be most inexcusable to venture on removing to another parish with- 
out it. I was persuaded in my conscience of the Lord's calling me 
to Etterick ; and my clearness as to my call to that place, was never 
overclouded, no not in my darkest hours ; and had I not had that 
to support me there, I had sunk under my burden. Now I have 
endeavoured, according to the measure of the grace bestowed on me, 
to set aside my own inclinations, and the consideration of the ease 
and satisfaction of my own heart, and to lay this matter before the 
Lord, for light to discover his mind about it, labouring to wait upon 
him in the way of his word and works. But I sincerely declare, 
after all, I have no clearness to accept the call of Closeburn, nor a 
foundation for my conscience, in this transportation, which ought 
not to rest on human authority. I have all deference for the autho- 
rity of this church, and my ministry is very dear to me ; so I cast 
myself down at your feet, begging that you will not grant this tran- 
sportation, which has been refused by the presbytery and synod 
whereof I am a member ; and who are best acquainted with the state 
of the parish of Etterick, and what concerns me ; whereas both that 
parish and I are known but to very few of our now Reverend 
Judges. But if it shall please the holy wise God, to suffer me now, 
for my trial and correction, to fall under your sentence, transport- 
ing me from the parish of Etterick to the parish of Closeburn ; since 
it is a charge I have no clearness to undertake, I resolve, through 
grace, rather to suffer, than to enter upon it blindfolded. Though, 



in the meantime, I cannot help thinking, it will bo hard measure to 
punish me, because I cannot see with other men's eyes ; especially 
considering that the presbytery of Selkirk, and the Reverend Synod 
of Merse and Teviotdale, have, by their respective sentences, con- 
tinued me in Etterick, upon very weighty grounds, contained in the 
sentence of the latter in this affair." 

The deep concern I was in, naturally formed the delivery of the 
speech. Parties being removed, I went into a seat in the church 
alone, and gave myself to prayer, it being in the night season; I 
cast myself over on the Lord, to follow still as he should go before, 
but no otherwise ; and in case of the sentence going against me, was 
resolved to protest for liberty to complain to the assembly, and 
never to undertake that charge, unless light broke up to me, which 
had not yet appeared. But by a vast majority, the sentence, passed 
in our favour; and others, as well as I, were convinced, that the 
speech I delivered, was that which influenced the Commission, and 
moved their compassion. 

Thus ended that weighty affair, for which several of the godly 
through the country, particularly those of the meetings for Christian 
fellowship in Galashiels, had been concerned before the Lord. About 
fourteen days before, at the sacrament of Maxton, laying hold on the 
covenant which is a covenantof promises, I was helped to some distinct- 
ness in applying the several sorts of promises, as those for pardon, for 
sanctification, for direction, &c, and this with a particular view to that 
business then before me. And I must say, the Lord was with me in the 
management, giving me in that hour, both what to speak, and courage 
to speak it ; and even when I ran, he left me not to stumble. One 
of our heritors that I had confidence in, quite failed me ; but Sir 
William Scot, the principal one, surprised me with his personal ap- 
pearance, and standing by me in judgment, which he had all aloug 
refused. My inclinations in that matter having been most injuri- 
ously misrepresented by some ministers and others, by the issue they 
were silenced. That which was the real ground of my aversion to 
Closeburn, was, that I had a most uncomfortable life in Etterick, and 
my work among them had all along been exceeding heavy ; through 
the dispositiou of the people, selfish, conceited, and bending towards 
the schism, which has most deep rooting in this place ; hence pro- 
ceeded contempt of ordinances, ministers, &c, to the great breaking 
of my spirit. To have gone to Closeburn, a parish of the same cha- 
racter, I reckoned would have been just to begin my weary task 
anew ; in one word, to have cast me out of the frying pan into the 
fire. Otherwise, to have been transported from Etterick, and gone 

1717-] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 301 

any whither, where the gospel would have been heard and received 
at my hands, would have been most gladly embraced by me, if the 
Lord himself had but said it. Besides, I had been advised, that the 
air did not agree with my wife's constitution, and tended to impair 
her health ; and that it would overcome me at length. Of these my 
heavy circumstances in this place, I had been speaking to Mr. Mur- 
ray, and he took occasion to provide this remedy of the transporta- 
tion to Closeburn, which I looked on as ill as the disease, in respect 
of the uncomfortableness of my work, which the more wholesome air 
could not counterbalance to me. As for my wife's conduct in the 
matter, it was as became a Christian, spoke forth much self-deniah 
and resignation to the will of the Lord ; making not the least un- 
easiness to me in point of my conscience. The design of Providence 
in the whole affair, I take to have been, as at first, to rebuke the 
parish and myself; and, I would fain hope, to cement and knit us 
more closely for the time to come. And they seem to have a sense 
of the mercy. 

This toss hindered the administering of the sacrament this year ; 
which was the only interruption it had met with, from the year 1710, 
that the course of it was begun. 



After this affair was over, my wife went from Edinburgh to her 
own country, to breathe her native air a while for her health, as had 
been advised in her case. That the air of Etterick did not agree 
with her, was declared to us ; and that was an argument used by 
the pursuers for transportation. It was also declared to me, by my 
dear friend Dr. Trotter, that it would overcome me too at length. 
But what could we do for relief in the case, in the circumstances 
above narrated ? 

But as the effects of the rebellion cured our people of their un- 
natural fondness for public confusions, so that that disposition never 
appeared among them since, as before ; so the attempt to transport 
me to Closeburn, did bring them to themselves with respect to me; 
and made my life among them tolerable. Howbeit, since that time I 
have not wanted enough to keep me from forgetting where I am. 

On Sept. 18, there was, by appointment of our session, a congre- 
gational thanksgiving observed, upon the account of the favourable 
issue of the process aforesaid ; which was ground cf thankfulness to 


me, as well as to the parish. But to balance the victory I had ob- 
tained, I came home from that struggle, with a sore rheumatic pain 
in my arm, which kept me a considerable time after. On the thanks- 
giving day, Mr. Henry Davidson, minister of Galashiels, Mr. Ga- 
briel Wilson, and I myself, preached. 

Mr. Davidson aforesaid was, by that time, become a third with 
Mr. Wilson and me, in our bond of strict friendship ; a man of great 
gravity, piety, and tenderness ; learned and judicious ; well ac- 
quainted with books ; a great preacher, delivering in a taking man- 
ner, masterly thoughts, in an unaffected elevated style ; endowed 
with a gift of prayer, in heavenly oratory, beyond any man that 
ever I knew ; extremely modest, and reserved in his temper ; but a 
kind and affectionate friend. This friendship, most comfortable, 
and useful as a threefold cord, does by the mercy of God continue in- 
violated to this day. We have always been so happy as to speak 
the same thing in public differences. 

I had sent in unto Mr. John Flint, one of the ministers of Edin- 
burgh, who had revised the Fourfold State, and was noted for his 
skill in the Hebrew tongue, two sheets of the performance on 
Ezekiel, above mentioned. And, being in Edinburgh about the mid- 
dle of November, he was pleased to tell me, that he judged no great 
thing could be done by the accents ; and advised me to make no 
bustle about them, as he termed it. On the account of this discou- 
raging event, and other things, I did, on the 23d of this month, 
spend some time in prayer. And thinking on that study, the con- 
viction I had made upon me by the light into some passages of the 
holy text, by means of the accentuation, remained to be such, as that 
I could not see how I could give over the study thereof. And having 
begged of God a token for good, I was that same night surprised with 
a light into Jacob's vow ; Gen. xxviii. 20 — 22, " If God will be with 
me, aud will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread 
to eat, and raiment to put on ; so that I come again to my Father's 
house in peace ; then shall the Lord bo my God. And this stone, 
which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house •, and of all that 
thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee;" new to 
me, and that arising from the accentuation. 

By reason of tho many avocations I had now for a good time had, 
there was little done by me in that study, being of such a nature as 
it could not be managed by parts. But a week or two after the Oc- 
tober Synod, I made sorau collections on the subject. And the «iu- 
ter being come on, which in these days was tho time 1 spent to my 
greatest satisfaction, I began, Nov. 27, to proceed in my book of 
materials mentioned above. 

1718.] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 303 

Plying it eagerly thereafter, I was, on Dec. 22, being tlw Lord's day, 
at night laid under a deep conviction of the woeful disposition of my 
heart, pursuing like fire the study of the accents, so that I could 
hardly ever get my heart from off them. I went to God, and be- 
wailed my case, cried to get my heart under command, with respect 
to that matter; and I got, from my prayer-hearing God, my heart 
filled with love to Jesus Christ, and set for him as the one thing 
needful. I had by that time, through the good hand of God upon 
me, made a comfortable progress in that study ; but towards the 
latterend of that week, beginning to make the observations on the ma- 
jors, I stuck, day after day. At length I resolved, for that cause, 
to set some time apart for prayer, which necessarily fell to be Jan. 
1, 1718. But the said resolution being laid down, I was helped to 
make some progress ere the appointed day came. 

Jan. 1. I accordingly spent sometime in prayer, 1. On the account 
of my study aforesaid ; 2. For the distress of the parish by the 
storm lying on the ground, &c. ; and the Lord was with me. That 
day, reading 1 Sam. ii. in the original, new light broke out unto me, 
particularly as to two things ; 1st, The abusing of the text by inter- 
rogations, where it really bears none, particularly 2 Kings v. 26 ; 
Job ii. 10. 2d, Some inkling of quite new light into the repetition 
of the same majors ; with some other things, and my soul was filled 
with joy in the Lord, and I was made to cry out again and again, 
" What am I !" As to the storm, the Lord seems to refuse to be 
intreated therein by congregational fasting with prayer ; for it was 
in my mind to have had it done last week ; but on the Lord's day, 
when it might have been appointed, there w as a fair thaw ; and when 
the occasion of appointing it for that week was over, the thaw mis- 
gave, I designed it again on Tuesday the 7th, and offered to have 
kept it on the 6th ; but I was told the people could not be present, 
being to flee with their sheep that day and the next. 

In February, having been for some time diverted from my beloved 
study, and, whereas I was then to enter on the minors, being in much 
confusion, not knowing where to begin my work, I did on the 13th 
spend some time in prayer, for light, both as to matter and method : 
which last I was obliged very particularly to seek of the Father of 
lights. And having essayed it the same day, I found myself in a 
hopeful way as to both ; and that the confidence I had, through 
grace, had in the Lord, was not in vain. 

At that time I was lecturing on Genesis, and being allured by 
what I met with in the original, studying my lectures, I began that 
week to translate as I went on. Afterwards 1 wrote notes too on 
the translation. This performance, begun at Gen. xxxvii., is carried 

304 MEMOIBS OF [period XI. 

on to Exod. xxxv., and to be found among my papers. But this way 
of doing retarded me in my main study ; wherefore finding I had not 
time for it and other things too, I broke off; and, to the best of my 
remembrance, left off lecturing on the Old Testament. 

March 25. The interjections and interrogations being then before 
me, I spent some time in prayer for the divine assistance in my stu- 
dies, and some distress relating to some in my family ; and the Lord 
was found of me, and quickly gave me help and relief, in all the 
cases that then lay upon me. 

A part of my stipend coming in about that time, I did, on the 
30th lay by fifty merks thereof for pious uses ; and all along since 
that time I have kept a private box, making up into it yearly the 
said sum of fifty merks, laying it in mostly by parcels, and giving 
out of it as occasion requires ; and I always keep of it in my left- 
side pocket. The dealing to poor at the house for their food, con- 
tinues as formerly, without respect to this ; only what wool is given 
them in the summer, since I have none of my own, is bought out of 
this fund ; out of which, also, our Sabbath's contributions are taken. 
This course I have found to be profitable to the poor, and affording 
much ease to myself, for I have thereby been in case to give consi- 
derably on special occasions, and that with more ease to myself than 
otherwise I could have had ; always looking on that part of ray 
yearly income as not my own but the Lord's. 

After shutting up the doctrine of repentance, in my ordinary, I 
did, on October 27, 1717, return to the catechism; beginning at the 
doctrine of the application of the redemption purchased by Christ. 
And handling these subjects practically, as well as catechetically, 
at considerable length, I proceeded therein until the sacrament this 
year, June 8, at which time I closed my sermons on adoption ; only, 
being just entered on justification, I was by some incident or inci- 
dents led off to Numb, xxxii. 23, '' Be sure your sin will find you 
out;" upon which I dwelt a considerable time. A third adultery, 
was about that time, after much pains and toil, discovered ; the 
adulterer being the same man who first filled my hands in that 
kind, viz. the unhappy J. N. now in the parish of Moffat, as he also 
was in the time of this last of his adulteries in this parish. More- 
over a bastard of above alluded to, being at nurse in R. fiery 

peats were found lodged in the thatch of the nurse's house, two 
nights, but still discovered before any hurt was done. There was a 
great stir about this, and search made ; but it remains to this day a 
hidden work of darkness. I and others vehemently suspected it to be 
purely a trick to screen the nurse and her husband from the dis- 
pleasure of the father ; she having become scarce of milk, and the 
child begun to go back. Meanwhile, it was weighty to me, that the 

1718.] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX. 305 

truth of the matter could not be got discovered. In this case, 
on the fast day before the sacrament, I read to tlie congregation 
the passage relating to the expiation of uncertain murder ; Deut. 
xxi. 1 — 9 ; and praying, made confession in that matter accordingly. 
And on fencing the table on the Lord's day, I did particularly de- 
clare to be debarred, the author or authors, and accomplices in that 
vile action ; but when the table came to be filled, the suspected per- 
son immediately sat down at it. My case through the whole com- 
munion-day, did very much answer my case in the family-fast be- 
fore it. I had now and then some remarkable tenderness, but that 
for the most part wanting. But a solid concern for the good of 
souls, with a deliberate choice of God in Christ for my God, being 
left me, I was not discouraged. In self-examination I had some com- 
fortable views of the grace of God in me, particularly of faith and 
love. At the table, the Lord let me in into a glorious view of the 
fulness of the Godhead dwelling bodily in our blessed Redeemer, 
and so into a view of the fulness of the body broken for me, and ex- 
hibited to me in the sacrament ; so that my soul feeding on Christ, 
fed on the glorious attributes and perfections of God. 

On the Tuesday after, my helpers, Messrs Simpson, Wilson, and 
Davidson, revived the project of publishing the sermons on Man's 
Fourfold State, and offered to advance money for that effect. That 
matter had been laid aside through the removal of my dear friend Dr. 
Trotter, the. first mover, by death ; and Providence seemed about 
this time to be laying the grave-stone upon it, by carrying off also 
Thomas Linton in Chapelhop above mentioned, who, having some 
time appeared like to fill up Dr. Trotter's room in the matter, was 
now a-dying. This motion was surprising. I thought, that, should 
the Lord prosper the work of the accentuation now in hand, that 
book might prosper after the acceptance thereof. But Mr. Wilson 
represented this, as carving out by one's own wisdom, when we were 
near to part, impressed me more than any thing that had been said. 
For the way of carnal wisdom, for many years, has been always 
frightful to me; and that disposition of spirit, which I was consci- 
ous to in myself, afforded me a comfortable reflection with respect to 
my state. 

On Monday the 7th of July I had taken a vomit, on the morrow 
after, physic, and likewise on the Thursday again ; and that Thurs- 
day's night I was sent for to see Thomas Linton, supposed to be 
a-dying ; which at first view was stunning and confounding, in re- 
spect of my bodily hazard. I had thankfully observed, and offered 
my praises, for that, during the time I was under that course, I had 
got liberty to keep the house ; but this trial came ere all was done. 
On the Monday afternoon one came to me desiring me to go and 


baptize his child, supposed to bo a -dying; I, never having adminis- 
tered baptism in a private house, without previous intimation to the 
congregation, refused ; and the parent seemed to be much affected at 
the refusal. This set me to beg the life of that child. Going to 
God to seek direction upon the express from Chapelhop, I found I 
durst not sit the call. So I went away that same night, owing my- 
all to be at the Master's disposal, in prosecuting the ministry I had 
received from him ; and withal, with a certain satisfaction in the 
Lord's laying trials to my hand. I returned on the morrow, without 
the least discernible harm to myself ; and the parent came again, 
shewing the child to be better, and to be baptised orderly next 
Lord's day in the church. And here I must remark, that, through 
the whole course of my ministry, then eighteen years, never a child 
died without baptism through my sticking to that principle. Glory 
to a good God for it. 

On Monday, July 14, the saddest trial of all came. I was awak- 
ened that morning, to hear the doleful account of a woman's having 
murdered herself in Etterick-house ; and while I was making ready 
to go thither, word came that I behoved to go quickly over to 
Chapelhop, to see Thomas Linton a-dying; and on the Sabbath I 
had been desired to come down on the Monday to see the good wife 
of Andleshop, who also seemed to be going off. So I went off ex- 
tremely confounded with the dispensation ; beheld the woman lying 
dead by her own hands, so far as is known ; then I went to Chapel- 
hop, and came about by Andleshop. 

On the Tuesday after, I attempted to spend some time in prayer ; 
but through confusion and heaviness, that work was marred. On 
Tuesday the 22d, 1 spent some time in that exercise, embraced the 
covenant anew, and addressed the throne of grace, with an eye to 
the sacrament at Maxton, what to preach on to my own people, the 
case of another poor woman under trouble of the same nature, and 
for the Lord's determination as to the point of publishing of the 
book on Man's Fourfold State, or not. The Lord was with me in 
some measure. I havo had much ado to stand under the thoughts 
of publishing that book ; being tossed betwixt two, namely, the ven- 
turing such a mean piece into the world, while many whose books I 
am not worthy to carry, are silent ; and tho fear of sitting the call 
of Providence to it. Thus it has lain so heavy on me, that I havo 
been as tossed on a sea ; and sometimes it has almost quite sunk my 
spirits. And as yet I know not what to do ; but desire to wait on 
the Lord, if he will give me a token of his mind ; being conscious 
to myself of desiring to sacrifice my credit to his call fairly laid be- 
fore me. 

1718.] MB. THOMAS BOSTOX. 307 

Being at the communion in Maxton, August 3, two particular pro- 
vidences were remarkable. 1. Mr. Wilson told me, that in his 
visiting of the parish before that communion, he had ordinarily that 
word, " Lay your hand to your heart, and halt no more ;" and the 
Lord led me to that text for that occasion, " How long halt ye be- 
tween two opinions ?" which was countenanced with some influence 
especially on the Saturday. 2. Having been quite at a loss what 
to do as to compliance with the motion for publishing the book 
aforesaid, and being just waiting for Providence moving ; Mr. Wil- 
son's sister told him in my hearing, that Mr. Robert Wightman, 
treasurer of the city of Edinburgh, who unknown to me had been 
addressed for encouraging it, by Mrs. Schiell his sister, through 
Mr. Wilson's means as I think, had said, he would do nothing in it 
till such time as he should see the MS. So I, being just waiting for 
the moving of Providence in the matter, was natively brought to re- 
solve on sending the copy to him. 

By the melancholy event of July 14, I was led to preach on Psal. 
cxlvii. 11, " The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in 
those that hope in his mercy." The which, being begun July 27, 
was ended August 31. After which I entered on the Saviour's com- 
mission ; Isa. lxi. 1, " The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, be- 
cause the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the 
meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim 
liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that 
are bound ;" and insisted thereon till Feb. 22, in the year follow- 

Being again engaged, this winter, in the study of the accentua- 
tion, and occupied in writing in my book of materials, I stuck. 
Upon which event, and for other causes, I resolved to spend some 
time in prayer. A thanksgiving for the good harvest proposed at 
the synod, did not take. It was proposed to me to observe it how- 
ever here. But my heart had a secret aversion to it, and I delayed 
it, to see whether the commission would appoint one or not. These 
two last Sabbaths I waited for word about it ; but none came, nor 
could I hear what they had done. I saw God was angry with me, and 
hereby testified his displeasure against my former subtle aversion to 
it ; I therefore on the 3d of December, spent some time in prayer on 
these accounts. And the Lord was w*ith me. Examining myself 
for evidences of grace, I found, 1. I was carried out of all confidence 
in myself to Jesus Christ, on whom my soul relied with confidence, 
finding I have no other plea before the Lord. I was sensibly 
brought to this by confession ; setting God's mercies to me, and my 
sins, from my birth, through the several periods of my life, child- 


hood, youth, &c. the one over against the other, in confession before 
the Lord. 2. My conscience hearing me witness, of hating and de- 
spising all things in comparison of Christ ; heing desirous to cleave 
to him and the way of duty, over the belly of all smiles and frowns 
that would carry me away. 3. A desire of universal and perfect 
holiness, being conscious my hopes are as earnest for sanctification, 
as for justification, from Jesus Christ my Lord. What I had most 
at heart in this exercise, was my study of the accents, the thanks- 
giving, the case of my absent children, the afflicted in the parish, 
&c. My daughter Jane about two months ago having gone to 
Dunse, I had a special concern on my spirit for her. And by her 
letter I was refreshed, both in that it was well with her soul, and my 
prayers for her have been heard. I saw myself much indebted to the 
divine goodness, in that all my children now appear to have a ca- 
pacity for learning. I had a special concern on my spirit this day, 
for being helped to die to the glory of God, that, when it comes, I 
may be full of days, ripe, and content cheerfully to go away. Be- 
tween the laying down of the resolution for this exercise, and the 
performance, I saw what way to get over the particular difficulty 
whereat I stuck in ray study of the accents. This is the second 
time I have found that promise fulfilled in this matter, •' Before they 
call I will answer ;" Isa. lxv. 24 

Dec. 21. — My wife brought me in mind of a story of one of my 
daughters which I had forgot, that happened in the beginning of the 
1712, or some time before that. A poor boy came into the house 
begging, having such a defect in his speech, that he pronounced 
the words " father" and " mother," " fea" and " moa ;" at which my 
wife and others smiling, desired him to speak over again what ho 
had said. In the meantime the child stood looking on, with the 
tear in her eye, in great distress ; and at length came to her mother, 
and said, " Mother, did God make that laddie ?" She answered, 
" Yes, my dear." Then she replied, " Will he not then be angry at 
you for laughiug at him ? for my book says, ' lie that mocketh the 
poor reproacheth his Maker.'" And the boy being very naked, she 
was in mighty concern to get old clothes for him. 

Dec. 22. — Having had a particular concern this morning on my 
heart for grace to the young ones, I spoke affectionately to my 
little child Thomas, about tlTo state of his soul, and prayed with him. 
Being risen from prayer, and his mother come in, he burst out 
a-weeping. Takiug him aside, and asking what was the matter, he 
said, He knew not how to get an interest in Christ. I said, he was 
to seek it, and believe the gospel. He said, he knew not how to 
seek it. He went into the wcslern room thereafter, I being abroad, 

1719.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON". 309 

and being asked, said, TTe went in to seek an interest in Christ, and 
to tell Christ he would be his. I note this for an encouragement to 
hold on to teach and stir them up. I am sorry I have not kept an 
account of the early movings that, were in the rest. 

Jan. 1, 1719. — I had resolved to keep my time for prayer, the 
week following, and not to separate myself any manner of way this 
day. But Providence laid a necessity on me to do it this day. 
Treasurer Wightman, having glanced tho MS. ou the Fourfold 
State, wrote to me, that he found a vein of true Christianity in it, 
and therefore would contribute to the publication of it ; and this 
requiring an answer, gave me au unlooked-for errand to the throne 
of grace at this time. He intimated withal, that the style would 
be nauseous to the polite world, aud that no book had yet been 
written on the depraved state of man, with true spirit and elegancy 
of expression. This did not much move me; for I do not think, 
that way of writing he is so fond of, is the way the Lord has used 
much to countenance for the advancing of true Christianity. Mean- 
while it left me much undetermined what to do with the MS. Three 
things especially I had in view in this exercise : 1. My manage- 
ment as to that MS ; 2. The study of the accents ; 3. Divine assist- 
ance in revising the larger overtures for discipline in this church, 
laid on me by the synod, and on some other brethren. In the be- 
ginning of this secret exercise, the Lord was pleased to countenance 
me ; but after that I drove very heavily, till towards the end where- 
in he was pleased to help to freedom and confidence in himself. 

The aforesaid overtures having been long in print, the General 
Assembly had committed them to Synods and Presbyteries, to be 
considered by them, in order, that being ripely advised, they might 
be turned into standing rules. The Synod had appointed some few 
of their number to consider them accordingly, of whom I was one. 
And, having been almost ever since my entering into the ministry, 
dissatisfied with several things in our constitution, especially the man- 
ner of admitting to the Lord's table and planting of churches, I em- 
braced that opportunity to endeavour to get such things rectified ; 
and accordingly I did, some time after, apply myself closely to con- 
sider of these overtures, and wrote several remarks on them, toge- 
ther with new overtures for admission to the Lord's table, and de- 
barring from it; the which are to be fotind among my papers, App. 
No, 3. llowbeit, the Synod did not call for them. Nevertheless, 
by order of our Presbytery, they were laid before the commission, 
or their committee appointed to receive such remarks. Put the mat- 
ter was dropped ; and, for anything I know, no more insisted on 
since that time. And I apprehend the malady will be incurablo, 
till the present constitution be violently thrown down. 


On the 15th of March I returned to the catechism, entering on the 
question of sanctification. And from that time I went through the 
whole that remained of it, till I came to the end thereof, in the 
spring in the following year. Meanwhile, with these catechetic ser- 
mons, were joined others directed against formality, from Rom. ii. 
28, 29 ; and profaneness, from 2 Tim. ii. 19 ; and Rom. i. 18, ended 
Nov. 8 in this year. 

This was another year remarkable on the account of the abjura- 
tion oath, as the 1712. Towards the latter end of the preceding 
year, the non-jurors at Edinburgh thought meet, that one should be 
sent to court, to represent the loyalty and good affection of that 
party to his Majesty, notwithstanding that they could not take the 
oath of abjuration imposed by law. And a form of an oath which 
they could take, was condescended on, with an address for that 
effect. The said address was handed about to be signed by non- 
jurors ; and withal, money desired of them to bear the charges of 
this mission. I refused to sign the address, having no clearness for 
it; and so did also my two friends Mr. Wilson and Mr. Davidson. 
However, being clear and willing, that our loyalty and good affec- 
tion to King George should be represented, I gave my money, a gui- 
nea as I remember, towards the bearing of the charges for that effect. 
Mr. William Gusthart, then minister of Crailing, afterwards trans- 
ported to Edinburgh, was the man whom they sent to court. And 
upon his return, what money was left, was restored. Their project 
so far took at court, that the addressers got the oath so as they em- 
braced and took it. And the first day of June was the term ap- 
pointed by the act for the taking thereof; and that act did withal 
bar all young men from being licensed or ordained without taking 
it. So the body of those who formerly had beeu non-jurors, were 
carried off into it at that time ; and there remained but a few recus- 
ants ; among whom, by the divine favour, were my two friends and 
I still. From the year 1712 to this year, the nonjurors made near 
a third part of our Synod ; and so we were regarded by our brethren 
jurors, and were in case to be useful among them ; but from this 
time, the few that remained were quite borne down, and could do 
little in the Synod. 

Whatever answer I had given to the above-mentioned letter from 
Mr. Wightman, about the "Fourfold State, I had afterwards again 
laid aside thoughts of the project, and required back that part of the 
copy which was at Edinburgh. But it was refused ; and the week 
before the sacrament, which was administered June 7, I had another 
letter from Mr. Wightman aforesaid, bearing, that he had agreed 
with Mr. James Macewan to print it on his own expenses, and to 

1717-1 MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 311 

give me a hundred copies ; and for encouragement of the undertaker 
foresaid, he generously advanced to him a considerable sum of money 
for a time. After the sacrament was over, I laid the matter before 
the Lord, as it had been in the letter aforesaid proposed to me ; and 
having considered it, could not see how I could with safety of my 
conscience refuse compliance with this fair offer, and to let it go out 
into the world. Accordingly I signified my compliance therewith. 
My being threatened with silencing on the account of the oath again, 
as anew exposed now to the lash of the law, had great weight herein 
with me ; as also the providential bringing about the matter in a 
manner I expected not, when the apparent instruments of it were 
carried off one after another ; and that this point it was brought to 
when I had again given over thoughts of it. 

Meanwhile I had by this time for some years found my strength 
decaying, and the preceding winter's study had much weakened me, 
having in March 1718 completed my sixth septenary, being then 
forty-two years of age. 

Now being thus again called to lay my account with suffering on 
the account of the oath aforesaid, I wrote a paper, entitled, " Rea- 
sons for refusing the abjuration oath in its latest form," 1719 ; the 
which is in retentis, together with a printed copy thereof incorrectly 
done. This, a considerable time after, came surprisingly to my 
hand, not knowing how it came to be published. 

As to the sacrament in June, I have little to remark for comfort in 
my own case. My furnace was hot, partly by reason of the business of 
the abjuration oath again, which came on like a thunder-clap ; and 
partly, by the affliction of one of mine. The Lord was pleased to with- 
draw from me in my studies, so that for the two days, Tuesday and 
Wednesday, I could do nothing therein satisfyingly ; but I behoved to 
go forward as I could in the explication of the text, on Wednesday's 
night ; and on Friday hammered out a sermon on it, with no gust at all. 
Howbeit I got some gust of it in meditating on it afterwards, and that 
was increased in the delivery of it. A madman was so unruly that 
I was much confounded in fencing of the tables ; I recovered some- 
what at the table, but when I had done, I was much disturbed and 
cast down. This, however, the Lord was pleased to make use of, to 
the further discovery of my sinfulness and emptiness, issuing in a 
melting of heart under a sense of my own naughtiness, and the good- 
ness of God, which was the frame of my spirit in communicating. 
It was a melancholy time at the sacrament, 1712, the first year of 
the oath ; and tins in some measure kept pace with it, though not so 
ill. The reflecting on that made me wonder the less at this. Surely 
it is to keep me humble and depending. 


Great was the stumbling and offence of the people in the Forest 
and Teviotdale, on the account of the oath, in its new as well as in 
its old shape ; but the combination among the ministers was now 
become strong, and the few recusants were treated as aliens by their 
brethren. The people being in a ferment, there was desired a meet- 
ing of our Presbytery, with the Presbytery of Jedburgh at Hawick, 
to confer with the people in order to bring them to peace, and to 
hear the word from those with whom they were offended. To this 
meeting I went, with a sincere desire to contribute my endeavours 
towards the desired peace. But appearing among them, they, to my 
great surprise, did by their vote force me into the chair, contrary to 
all right and reason, the moderator of the Presbytery of Jedburgh 
being ex officio moderator of that meeting, since it was a meeting of 
that Presbytery within their own bounds, to which our Presbytery 
had been invited. But the design, proceeding from their jealousy, 
was that I might not have access to speak much in the affair ; and 
indeed they made the seat most uneasy to me ; and carrying things 
with a high hand, nothing was done for healing of the breach betwixt 
them and the people. But they appointed a committee of their 
number, to meet at Lilliesleaf in our bounds, for a new conference 
with the people. "When they met there, they tacked about, and 
without any ceremony set another in the chair, though I, as modera- 
tor of their constituent judicatory, was their moderator ex officio. 
But 1 made not the least hint to reclaim. They minded then that I 
should have access to speak, and out of conscience towards God, I did 
all I could towards accommodating the matter betwixt them and the 
people, and the best was made of it that circumstances would allow, 
a peace being patched up. After all was over, I told their leading 
men the sense I had of their manner of treating me at both meetings ; 
but that I had resolved to be what they pleased, for reaching tho 
end ; upon which they owned I had acted as a good man and a Chris- 
tian. Meanwhile, in the harvest season, orders came from court, 
to prosecute the non-jurors, but the execution was put off. 

"When I think on my refusing to sign the address for the oath, 
which the addressers got granted them, accompanied with barring 
all young men from being licensed or ordained without taking it, I 
am thankful from the heart, I was kept from putting my hand to 
that unhallowed business. 

About the beginning of August, I began and transcribed what re- 
mained of the Eternal State, and ended all October 24. This was 
the second time I had wrote over that book. And about tho middle 
of November, thirteen of the printed sheets came to my hand, the 
press having advanced to tho head of regeneration. I spent there- 

1719.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON - . 313 

fore the 25th of November iu prayer, for a blessing to be entailed on 
that book, not only in the time of my life, but after my death ; so 
also for the divine assistance in my study of the accentuation, which 
I was then to fall upon again ; for the case of the church, my family, 
and particularly the children at Edinburgh, and the congregation. 
And I came away with confidence in a prayer-hearing God. 

It was but a little after this, that having closed that exercise, and 
sat down to dinner, an express from Edinburgh, arrived, calling me 
thither ; for that my daughter Jane, was dangerously sick of a high 
fever, and roving. This surprising alarm touched me to the quick. 
Presently the cause was manifest. I had taken her and her brother 
John to Edinburgh, and left her uneasy with the cold, as he also 
was; and just on my coming home on the 14th, being attacked with 
a certain temptation, which often has been ruining to me, I was 
thereby carried quite off my feet; my heart in the meantime fearingmy 
dear children, whom I had left, might smart for this. It was ground 
of comfort, that the Lord had begun early to deal with her soul ; 
and, by good providence, about an hour ere the express came, I had 
cast my eye on the passage of Dec. 21, 1718. At five o'clock I took 
my horse, and journeyed all the night. Many thoughts about her 
went through my heart like arrows, while I was by the way; but 
still I held firm by this, that whatever the Lord should do in her 
case, it wonld be well done, it would be best done, and my soul would 
approve it as such. And the faith of this was my anchor. I consi- 
dered all my children; and, if any of them was to be removed by 
death, I was satisfied it should be her, though she has had a very 
particular room in ray affection ; for I looked on her as the fittest 
for that change. At Peebles, the passage concerning Peter's wife's 
mother coming before me in prayer, I was helped to pray that God 
would rebuke the fever. Betwixt eight and nine next morning I ar- 
rived in Edinburgh ; and having asked if she was alive, my tremb- 
ling heart was eased, with the answer, that she was better; and I 
found it was so when I saw her. I continued in Edinburgh from 
that "Wednesday till the Friday was eight days after, December 4. ; 
and she was still better. During that time, I was willingly employ- 
ed in private houses, in the Lord's work, since the melancholy work 
of burying my daughter, which I had feared, was taken out of my 
hand. She had got out of the bed six days before I left her. This was 
a great mercy in my eyes ; and I was often made to thank my God, 
for the kind rebuke he had given me; for while he smote with^the 
one hand, he embraced with the other. It was kindness, that the 
alarm found me as I had been employed that day. John Currie was 
to have gone to the Morse that day, and I thought he had been gone, 

Vol. XI. x 

;U4 itBMOius of [period xi. 

but Providence had stopped him, that he might go with me. There 
being a sick man in the Crosslie, I thought it best to visit him as I 
passed, notwithstanding my haste, and the occasion of it ; and God 
moved the heart of one of the servants there to guide us over the 
hills ; the night being so dark, that, going up the hill, I could not 
discern the horse that rode before me, I caused one put on his 
shoulder a white linen cloth for that end ; but to no purpose. The 
waters were up ; but we got another guide through Yarrow ; and 
thereafter the two procured us another, who guided us to the Pad- 
doch Slacks. We got on our way without mistaking it, but that we 
were somewhat puzzled to find the road through two brooks. 

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, I spent some time in prayer, singing of mercy 
and judgment, and for my daughter, the book, the accentuation, &c. 
One thing more occurred to me, thinking on the trial, that I had not 
made a more solemn business of the children's going away, by setting 
some time apart for prayer on that account, either in the family, or 
by himself; and that I had not put the children themselves to it ; 
and on Jane's going to Dunse, I came home, I had been wrestling 
with the temptation aforesaid renewed ; so that that day I saw my- 
self standing on the ice, and my flesh trembling for fear of God, and 
I was afraid ot his judgments. 

On Friday, Dec. 11, what I feared came on me, receiving a letter 
that Jane was taken ill of the small pox, and that they had broken 
out on Tuesday the 8th. The account not being very bad, I stayed, 
and preached on the Lord's day, and went off after sermon. On that 
morning, such a damp took me in prayer, that I could neither pray 
for her recovery nor salvation ; which made me ready to conclude 
she was dead. It continued in the public prayers, till the last one 
after the sermon, wherein my bonds were loosed to pray for her ; 
which sent me away with hope. I got to Edinburgh on Monday by 
four o'clock. Her pox, were many, and of a dangerous kind. On the 
Thursday, the pox being about their height, she fell feverish. Fears 
of her death came then to an extremity ; and while I was thus 
hardly bestead, awful impressions of the sovereign God sitting on his 
throne in the heavens, having the matter in his hand wholly, to turn 
it what way he pleased, were seasonably, by his grace, fixed on my 
spirit, commanding me silently to wait the issue. And that word, 
Psalm lxxxv. 12 ; " The Lord shall give that which is good," was 
the word I was led to for resting in, during the long time of her ill- 
ness. "When the worst was past on the Monday after, new straits 
arose, and I was plunged in difficulties, but deliverances came, 
which were sweet as the answers of particular petitions to the 
Lord. I was employed there in private houses, not without counten- 
ance from the Lord. I left my daughter in a hopeful way of recov- 

1720.] MR. THOMAS BOSTOX. 315 

ery, but weak, Dec. 31, and came home on the raovrow, the first day 
of the new year. And the 5th, being Tuesday, I spent some time in 
secret prayer for my daughter's case, and several other causes, par- 
ticularly the accentuation and the book ; renewed the covenant as 
usual at such times ; and was let in to the application of the Re- 
deemer's blood. I would fain hope this quarrel is not to be pursued 

The first week of my being in Edinburgh this second time, new 
orders came down for prosecuting the nonjurors. And Mr. John 
Flint, and Mr. William Miller, two of the ministers of the town, for- 
merly nonjurors, but now takers of the oath, having visited us in our 
distress, told me at parting, that they were just going to the Presi- 
dent cf the court of Session, to endeavour to divert the storm ready 
to break out. 

Mrs. Bladerstone, to whose prayers I recommended my study of 
the accentnation, with the rest of my case, was a daughter of Mr. 
Henry Erskine's, formerly mentioned, whom I account my father in 
Christ, and a person eminent for piety, Christian experience, and 
communion with God. 

Jan. 9, 1720. — My son Thomas, going in seven, having discovered 
something of his case to his mother, I did, at her motion, converse 
with him thereon, and found him sensible of the stirring of corrup- 
tion in his heart. He told me he was troubled with ill thoughts ; 
that he would not tell them, for that he could not do it, but with a 
grieved heart ; that he resisted them, by saying over questions of 
the catechism, and reading, (adding, sometimes I read whether I will 
or no ; meaning, his going over the belly of his averseness to it,) 
and sometimes by saying to them, Go away. He told me further, 
that God did not hear his prayers ; and that for that sometimes ho 
'forgot his prayers at night ; that he wondered why God made the 
devil, for he tempted men ; but that he thought it was to destroy 
liars ; that he found his heart fain in some things, when he got them 
first ; but he prayed to God to take away that fainness. I inform- 
ed, instructed, and directed him, in the whole case, the best I could. 

Jan. 20. — On the 9th, I received letters, shewing, that orders for 
prosecuting the nonjurors, were again come from court. This was 
the third time since June preceding. The first orders for that ef- 
fect came in harvest ; the second, that week I went last to Edin- 
burgh ; and now the news of this last came with the account of my 
daughter's recovery. They were now put in the hands of sheriffs, 
magistrates of burghs, &c, and I waited the issue. And for that 
cause I spent some time in prayer this day, (with other particulars, 
and particularly the accentuation) ; and embracing the covenant 

x 2 


anew, laid myself for time and eternity on God in Christ, with an eye 
to the trials before me; and, with the same view, laid over my wife, 
children, and servants, that may be with me in my trial, on the same 
God; and also the poor parish. And now let let the Lord do what 
seemeth him good. Howbeit, this storm, which so often appeared 
on the point of breaking forth, has been, through the mercy of God, 
averted unto this day. 

What time I had in January and the first week of February, I 
spent in writing on the accents. And that first week of February, 
I had a very particular accomplishment of the above recorded ; Jer. 
xxxiii. 3, in several instances, but especially in the light I got into 
the true sense of Mai. ii. 15, " And did not he make one ? yet had he 
the residue of the spirit; and wherefore one? that he might seek a 
godly seed ; therefore take heed to your spirit and let none deal 
troacherously against the wife of his youth." This text had been 
for many months in my view, but could never reach the sense of it ; 
and that week it fell in my way to be directly considered. It cost 
me many thoughts, and particular petitions to the Father of lights 
for the meaning of it ; but then I was helped to believe, that I would 
get it in due time. And accordingly I at length reached it. But go- 
ing to write it, I looked to the following verse, which I presently 
saw did not agree, but unhinged all again. This gave me a new 
damp. But, through the same divine assistance, I quickly perceived 
that verse mistaken too, and fell on the true reading of it ; whereby 
it beautifully agreed, and set it all right again. The kind conduct 
of Providence in these matters, that week particularly, is great in 
ray eyes ; and the passage from Jurieu's Critical History, which I 
had never before observed, was sent me most seasonably. 

By the disposal of that holy Providence which all along hath 
kindly and wisely balanced my worldly affairs, though my tenement 
in Dunse had been profitable to mo while I was at Simprin, yet 
after my removal to Etterick, it afforded me little profit and much 
trouble. For which cause, I had sold it to ray brother John ; but 
he dying, that bargain flew up. But, about this time, it was sold 
for good and all to John Dunse there ; my eldest son, when major, 
ratifying the sale, on the occasion above mentioned. 

In the spring season this year, I was greatly indisposed and weak- 
ened, sometimes fearing when I lay down at night, I should not rise 
in the morning. Great also was the distress of the parish, and ray 
toil by that moans. Having ended my sermons on the catechism, 
April 3 ; on the 10th I entered, by the call of providence, on Psalm 
xc. 12, " So teach us to number our days," &c. And on the 27th 

1720.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 3l7 

we kept a congregational fast for the great sickness and mortality.* 
There was not one of my family, save myself only, that had not been 
one way or other laid by, for a time, during that period of general 

But the 10th day of May this year, was a day remarkable above 
many to me and my family ; being that wherein my wife was seized 
with that heavy trouble, which hath kept her all along since that 
time unto this day, in extreme distress ; her imagination being vi- 
tiated in a particular point : and that improved and wrought upon, 
by the grand adversary, to her great disquietment ; the which has 
been still accompanied with bodily infirmities and maladies, exceed- 
ing great and numerous. Nevertheless, in that complication of 
trials, the Lord hath been pleased, not only to make his mighty 
power appear in preserving her life as a spark of fire in an ocean, 
but to make his grace in her shine forth more bright than before. 

Now, the " Marrow of Modern Divinity," part I. being as afore- 
said reprinted at Edinburgh, anno. 1718, with a preface by Mr. 
James Hog, minister of Carnock, a man of great learning and 
singular piety and tenderness, there had been a mighty stir made 
about it, especially in Fife, where, for several years before, a con- 
test had been agitated, touching the covenant of grace, whether it 
is absolute or conditional. So that Mr. Hog found himself obliged 
to publish an explication of passages excepted against in the '' Mar- 
row ;" the which was printed early in the year 1719. Thereafter 
several pamphlets went abroad on that subject, the same year ; as 
for some years after also. And Mr. James Haddow principal of the 
college of St. Andrew's, did, in his sermon before the synod of Fife, 
April 7,1719, attack the book foresaid; the which sermon was 
printed at the desire of that synod, under the title of " The Record 
of God, and Duty of Faith therein Required." This humour going 
on, the " Marrow" was complained of to the general assembly that 
year. And thereupon they appointed their commission to take care, 
that the purity of doctrine might be preserved, and to call before 
them any authors or recommenders of books or pamphlets containing 
any doctrine not agreeable to the Confession of Faith. At the same 
time complaint was also made to them, on Professor Simson's print- 
ed answers to Mr. Webster's libel against him, to which the Pro- 
fessor continued to refer in his teaching ; but that matter was drop- 
ed, and the motion for inquiring thereinto repelled. The commis- 
sion of that assemby accordingly appointed a committee of their 

* The sermons preached on this occasion are annexed to tlie author's Body of 
Divinity, and may be usefully read on such occasions, which are not infrequent. 


number for the effect foresaid ; who sufficiently shewed their zeal, 
but all upon one side, namely, to preserve the doctrine from the 
mixture of Antinomianism, which the hue and cry was now raised 
about. That committee divided themselves into two ; whereof the 
one sat at St. Andrew's, and prepared excerpts out of the challenged 
books and prints, and sent their remarks to the other, who met at 
Edinburgh. Before these last, about the beginning of April this 
year, were called to answer for themselves, Mr. James Hog foresaid, 
Mr. Alexander Hamilton, minister at Airth, afterward transported 
to Stirling, Mr. James Brisbane at Stirling, and Mr. John "Warden 
at Gargunnock ; all of them noted preachers of the doctrine of free 
grace, and withal nonjurors too. These brethren were examined 
severally and apart, by the committee. Mr. Hog being called, the 
first query proposed to him was, "Whether he owned himself author 
of the preface to the last edition of the " Marrow of Modern Divi- 
nity?" To which he answered affirmatively; and, moreover, told 
them, that that book, whereof he knew nothing before, came most 
unexpectedly to his hand, and he read it over as soon as he could ; 
that he had no thoughts of the reprinting of it, but complied with 
the motion thereto, after the project had been laid by others ; that 
at the earnest desire of some who managed the business, he wrote 
the preface ; that the Lord had blessed the reading of the book to 
many excellent persons of diverse ranks; and that he knew an 
eminent divine, then in glory, (whom I judge to have been Mr. 
Fraser of Brae, minister at Culross), who left it in record, that the 
reading an old edition thereof, was the first notable means blessed 
of the Lord, for giving him some clearness of impression concerning 
the gospel ; and that for his own part he owned, that he had receiv- 
ed more light about some important concerns of the glorious gospel, 
by perusing that book, than by other human writings which Provi- 
dence had brought into his hands. This account of that matter I 
have taken out of a MS. narrative of what passed in that commit- 
tee, done by Mr. Hog himself. 

This run of affairs quickly issued, in the general assembly's con- 
demning the " Marrow of Modern Divinity," by their act of the 
date May 20, 1720. And three days before, viz. May 17, it pleased 
the Lord to call home to himself, by death, the great Mr. James 
Webster before mentioned ; a man eminent in maintaining the purity 
of the doctrine of the gospel, a nonjurant to the last breath, and in 
or about the last time he was in the judicatory, where the matter of 
the " Marrow" was considered, expressed his concern that they 
would beware of condemning it. My friend Mr. Wilson was a mem- 
ber of that assembly, but abhoried that their act, which he and 

1720.] MR. THOMAS 130STON. 319 

others nevertheless could not stop. Upon which occasion he some- 
time after wrote the letter, intitled, " A letter to a gentleman at 
Edinburgh, a ruling elder of the Church of Scotland, concerning the 
proceedings of the last general assembly, with reference unto doc- 
trine chiefly ;" the which was published the year following, and was 
wont to be called " The London Letter." 

June 12. — The sacrament being administered here, I was in great 
fear as to my holding out, by reason of bodily weakness ; yet I was 
not only strengthened to preach an hour and a half, but to go 
throngh the rest of the work with competent ability, with a solid 
seriousness all along ; and, to my wonder, found myself after all 
less weary than I formerly used to be. My wife was under great 
weakness, and in a hazardons condition ; but was also carried through 
beyond expectation. It was a refreshing time to many of the people 
of God here gathered together, and a savoury work all along. While 
my son John was at the table, I had such a concern for him, as ever 
a travailing woman for the bringing forth of her child. At the 
table I had several particular suits, namely, about my wife's weak- 
ness, Jane's going again to Edinburgh, the book in the press, my 
study of the accents, Mrs. Bladerstone's son abroad, and how to 
be carried through in defence of that truth of the gospel, the doctrine 
of free grace, which had got a stroke by the aforementioned act of 
assembly ; judging, that, as matters were now going, I might be 
called also to an account for some things in the " Fourfold State," 
if once published. 

After handling of occasional subjects relative to the sacrament, 
before and after, I entered, July 10, on the communion of saints as 
one bread, from 1 Cor. x. 17, " Eor we being many are one bread, 
and one body ; for we are all partakers of that one bread." The 
which subject I studied with particular care and considerable ear- 
nestness, as a very important point ; and dwelt thereon till Octo- 
ber 30. 

B. S. told me, that the first sermon she got any good of, was that 
on the Sabbath afternoon at Morbattle, on these words, " Where is 
the God of Elijah ?" and that before that time, having no knowledge 
of me so much as by face, but hearing her sister speak of me, she 
could not endure my name, but had a particular aversion to me be- 
yond any minister. This is a pretty odd phenomenon. 

Aug. 30. — I went to Edinburgh on account of the book. Having 
read the sheets once and again, which the printer had sent out to 
me, I was greatly confounded to see the book pitifully mangled, 
being full of typographical errors ; and, besides, Mr. Wightman had 
so altered it in many places, that he had quite marred it. I had 

320 memoies op [period xi. 

now put the most material errata in order for the press, and resolved 
to reprint several leaves ; for in July the* hook was nearly printed 
off, and they had sent to me for the title-page and preface. Thus I 
was on this pitiful occasion necessitated to go in to Edinburgh, leaving 
my wife in great distress, her trouble being come to an extremity ; 
and my two dear friends, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Davidson went along 
with me. When we came in, one new difficulty came on the back of 
another : Mr. Macewan the printer, was at Glasgow ; the correcter 
could not be found for some time ; Mr. Wightman had set the 
press a-going to reprint the first three sheets, with his correc- 
tions ; in the meantime the authentic copy could not be got, most of 
it being destroyed by the printers after they had done with it. I 
ptopt the press quickly, till they should get new orders from me. I 
saw a part of Mr. Wightman's preface, wherein I found him recom- 
mending the modish style ; though some time before I had expressly 
wrote to him, not to do it, for that it was fast coming in, while what 
is a thousand times better is going out proportionably, as is usual in 
a declining time of the church. He had also again altered the title- 
page. But in midst of wrath the Lord remembered mercy. I was 
by kind Providence directed to Mr. William Hog, merchant, to de- 
volvo the management of this perplexed affair on, with the printers ; 
and few men could have bestowed so much time and pains on it as 
he did. Ever since that time I have had his friendship most bene- 
ficial to me, he all along since sparing neither pains nor expense, 
to manage for me the affairs which have in my late years laiu 
nearest my heart. May the Lord reward to him and his, that his 
labour of love, in those things wherein the honour of God, and 
my comfort, were so much concerned. With him, dipping into 
the business, a long time was spent, in preparing eleven leaves to be 
reprinted, nine of which, I think, Mr. Wightman's meddling had 
occasioned ; and on considering the errata to be printed. Resolving 
not to be imposed upon more, I went to Mr. Wightman, and mo- 
destly dealt with him, to forbear the reprinting of the three first 
sheets; to let alone recommending the modish style; and recovered 
my own title-page. 1 recovered also of the authentic copy from 
p. 315, thereof, which is to be found among my papers. I dropped 
one of his unhappy corrections to him, speakiug a little on it, with 
Which he seemed to be stunned. His preface new modelled he pro- 
mised to send me ere it should bo printed. We soon saw the beau- 
tiful couduct of Providence, in carrying Mr. Macewan to Glasgow at 
that time, and directing to Mr. Hogg ; for that matter could not 
have been managed betwixt the former and us to the advantage it 
may be betwixt them two now. And t lie time of our coming in ap- 

1720.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 321 

peared to have beeD directed by tbe wisdom of him who leads the 
blind in the way they knew not ; the printers haviDg, just the day 
before, begun to set for reprinting the foresaid three sheets, which 
if done had been a most unhappy step. 

Sept. 7- — This day I spent some time in prayer, about my wife's 
case, the case of the book, and the assembly's act condemning the 
" Marrow." As to the first, I had recommended it to the concern of 
Mrs. Bladerstoue, before the Lord. But as to the last, I am afraid 
the Lord honour me not to bear testimony for him in the cause of his 
truth. \Nota, But blessed be Jehovah, I have been disappointed in 
these fears.] The case of the book is an amazing and awful dispen- 
sation. Mr. Wightman had desired liberty to smooth some expressions 
in it, as for " horribly," to read " too much ;"I gave it him freely, 
and withal that he might delete whole sentences. This was all 
that passed betwixt him and me on that head ; and indeed it was 
too much. But I never once dreamed, that he would have extended 
that liberty at the rate he has done. It was well he had not gone 
through the whole, but that a good deal in the former and latter 
part of the book had escaped ; but he had used so much freedom 
with it, from the head, " Of Man's utter Inability," to that " Of the 
Resurrection" inclusive, as created me a deal of vexation, and new 
labour. And, so far as I yet understand, the cause of the Lord's 
punishing me in this manner, was, my base cowardice, and hav- 
ing men's persons in admiration ; so as, after I had brought it by 
study and prayer to the case it was in, I let it fall into another 
hand, with so little caution, as to allow any alterations to be made 
therein, without first seeing them, and being convinced of the ne- 
cessity or expediency of them. These things were particularly en- 
graven to me, on that, whereas I had put on the title-page of the 
book, as the very language of my heart ; 1 Cor. iv. 10, " We are 
fools for Christ's sake," he without any ceremony had blotted it out ; 
and ! being urged to set my name to the book, which really from 
the beginning I designed not to do, could not then do it, for a new 
reason, namely, That they had so mangled it ; and from my own 
conviction I dropped that scripture, forasmuch as I saw I had de- 
clined to be a fool for Christ's sake, in that point ; and therefore 
the Lord had made me a greater fool than I needed to have 
been. [Nota, But the wisdom and the foreknowledge of God ! 
This has been of good use to me since that time, to cure me of these 
weaknesses, and to resolve to see with my own eyes in such matters, 
whatever be other men's character for piety, or learning, or both. 
And I hope through grace it shall be useful to me, in these matters, 
while 1 live. I have seen more into men, and how much they are to 


be ceased from, since that time, than ever I was able to see all my 
life before. And considering what a scene of life the Lord has led 
me out to, since that time, and is continuing with me to this day> 
September 5, 1727. I do with profound reverence adore that infinite 
wisdom and goodness which laid on me that heavy trial, and on the 
bended knees of my soul return him thanks for every step or part 
of it, even the blackest. Amen.] Continuing in this exercise only, 
from six to about eleven, my spirits were exhausted. 

The act of Assembly condemning the Marrow was, by concert, 
brought before our presbytery, Mr. George Byres, minister of Lessud- 
den, a judicious, plain, good man, being, as I remember, employed to 
move it. And it was by our Presbytery laid before the October 
Synod, that they might consider of it. It was put on me to show 
what was offensive therein, to which was joined also what was offen- 
sive in their act for preaching catechetical doctrine. I felt the con- 
sideration of the Assembly's authority a great weight on me, and I 
had almost no help at all but by Mr. Wilson. So, instead of getting 
the Synod to seek redress of these things from the Assembly, we 
were borne down. And the truth is, the cause was but weakly ma- 
naged ; I fear the Lord has not yet given a spirit for contending 
with this declining generation. My uneasiness on the account of the 
management of that affair, deprived me of much of that night's rest. 
Wherefore, on the morrow, catching the occasion of bringing in that 
affair again, I exonered my conscience with less ceremony and more 
freedom than had been used the day before. I cannot but notice 
the dispensation of Providence in that I was called to make this in- 
vidious appearance, at the very time my book was coming forth ; 
but I rested on that holy providence, which, doubtless, on a becom- 
ing design, had kept in that book, till that time of darkening the 
doctrine of free grace, and would not allow it to appear before. 

As my two friends and I were on our way returning from that 
Synod, Mr. Wilson moved that a letter should be written to Mr. 
James Hog, above-mentioned ; showing what had passed in that ju- 
dicatory on the affair foresaid, and our readiness to concur with 
others to seek redress therein of the Assembly itself immediately. 
And at their desire I afterwards wrote a letter accordingly. 

Meanwhile I understood that the book would be published the 
week after the Synod's meeting, if not before. And considering 
that I have made several steps in the study of the accentuation of 
the Hebrew text, and that my health was much impaired last spring, 
and I know not what may bo the issuo, I have resolved to begin to 
write an essay on that subject, though my materials are not so fully 
gathered as were necessary, because the former part of my collection 

1720. J MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 323 

of materials is such as no body but myself can rectify, range into 
order, and fill up to my mind, being what first occurred when I en- 
tered that thicket, though the latter part, and still the nearer to the 
end, is more distinct and perfect. For which causes I spent some 
time in prayer, Oct. 26, viz., for the Lord's blessing to go out with the 
Fourfold State, and for his presence with me, and blessing in the essay 
now to be made. The Lord helped to cry to him in both these ; and for 
some time I spread the Hebrew Bible, and my written materials be- 
fore the Lord in prayer, crying to the Father of lights, my Father, 
over them, for light, life, strength, time, and conduct into all truth ; 
the which practice I found useful to my upstirring. And upon that 
word, Matth. xxi. 22, " And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in 
prayer, believing, ye shall receive ;" I was helped to confidence of 
being heard in both these things. At night I attempted to begin to 
write, wrote the title of chapter 1, but could do no more. On the 
morrow's night I essayed it again, wrote the first paragraph, but was 

It has pleased the Lord to recover my wife from that extremity 
she was brought to. She was taken violently ill of her head-ache 
four days, which, being superadded to her other troubles, seemed to 
threaten death ; but from thence was and began her recovery, and 
no other way that I could perceive. Thus in the evening time it 
was light, and not by might nor by power, &c. But I would fain 
hope these have yet a further look. 

Nov 8. This was (he first free day I had to bestow on the essay 
upon the accentuation ; and there was a third beginning of it, the 
former being laid aside. But whether it was precisely on that day, 
or not, it was begun, has already escaped me. However, I may 
reckon it so, the first chapter being entirely new. So hard was it 
for me once to get entered on it, withal other temptations were hang- 
ing about me in that time. And a bound copy of the Fourfold State 
having on the 6th come to my hand, I did, on the morrow after, 
spread it before the Lord in prayer, for his blessing to go out with 
it, and to be entailed on it, while I live, and when I am gone, and 
that it might be accepted. And indeed I think God hath heard these 
prayers, and oft-times when I have considered the acceptance that 
book met with, notwithstanding the disadvantages wherewith it was 
attended, I could not but impute it to an overruling hand of kind 
Providence that would needs have it so. On the Tuesday I sent ray 
son to Edinburgh to wind np that whole business. He returned on 
Monday the 14th with the good account of the business comfortably 
brought to an end, and that the book was going off well, which sent 
me to God with thanksgiving for his holy conduct of that affair, and 
his wise and merciful dealing in it. 


Now after some time I received from Mr. Ralph Erskiue, minister 
of Dunfermline, and son to the worthy Henry Erskine above-men- 
tioned, an answer to the letter aforesaid sent to Mr. James Hog, 
and then a return from Mr. Hog himself, bearing their readiuess to 
concur in seeking redress of the injury done to truth by the act of 
Assembly foresaid. And I did, on Jan. 2, 1721, spend some time 
in prayer for my own private case, perceiving the danger of my 
health and life in the ensuing spring ; for divine direction with res- 
pect to these motions about the said act of Assembly 1720, and for 
the divine assistance in the essay on the accentuation, which I was 
now engaged in. Thereafter, on the 8th, I entered, for my ordinary, 
on preaching of Christ directly, from Prov. viii. 35, 36, " For whoso 
findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But 
he that sinueth against me wrongeth his own soul, all they that hate 
me love death." Upon which I insisted for a considerable time.* 

In pursuance of the motions foresaid relating to the Assem- 
bly's act, there was sent from the brethren above mentioned, a 
draught of a representation to the Assembly, with which draught my 
two friends and I not being satisfied, I at their desire, made another. 
This was conveyed to the brethren aforesaid, and a meeting was ap- 
pointed to be at Edinburgh, in the latter end of February, to consi- 
der of that important matter. Both these draughts are to be found 
among my papers, the one indorsed, " Copy of a representation to 
be given in to the Assembly, 1721; the other, "The original 
draught of the representation given in to the Assembly, 1721. 

On Feb. 1, I spent some time in prayer, for the same causes as 
before, and the divine guidance to my son at Edinburgh, in which I 
had much ado to fix my feet, for at this time there is such a current 
carrying the young generation to folly, as, I think, I never ob- 
served before, and seems to be ominous. As also with respect to my 
daughter's going to Edinburgh, remembering the dispensation of 
Providence last year in her case. 

Feb. 14, Tuesday. Last Lord's day there was a roll of seven sick 
persons in the parish prayed for, whereof there was one in Crosslie, 
another in Falhop, another in Dalgleish. Considering it would take 
me a day for each of these, I designed Monday for Crosslie, Tuesday 
for Falhop, and Wednesday for Dalgleish ; in the mean time it was 
a storm of lying snow. The consideration of this toil, and of so 
much time to be cut off from my beloved work in the closet, raised 
in my corrupt heart a secret grudge. I had dispatched the Mon- 
day's work as said is, and this day going towards Falhop, I under- 

* The terminis on tins text are to lie found in the volume entitled, " The Christian 
Life delineated.'' 


stood at Cossarhill the person was removed by death. Return- 
ing by Etterick house, I visited the sick there, and then went to- 
wards Dalgleish ; but by the way I was told that the sick person 
there was removed also that morning. This struck me to the heart, 
as shewing the anger of a holy jealous God against me for the secret 
grudge aforesaid, and that, as he needed none of my service, so he 
would have none of it that way, for which I flee to the redeemer's 
blood, desiring grace to take this lesson, and hereafter cheerfully to 
be ready at my master's call. I visited one at Craigyford, another 
at Deephopgreen, and so returned home. The person at Falhop I 
had visited oftener than once ; but knew nothing of the person at 
Dalgleish his being sick, till he was prayed for on the Lord's day. 

About the latter end of February I went in to Edinburgh, to the 
meeting above mentioned. And here began a plunge into public af- 
fairs, which so filled my head and hands, that now the proceeding in 
the essay on the accentuation was laid aside ; and insomuch that, 
excepting a little done in it in the April following, I made no pro- 
gress therein for a long time. 

There met then in the house of Mr. William Wardrobe, apothe- 
cary in Edinburgh, Mr. James Kid, minister at Queensferry, Mr. 
Ebenezer Erskine at Portmoak, his brother Mr. Ralph, aforesaid, 
Mr. James Wardlaw at Dunfermline, Mr. William Wilson at Perth 
Mr. James Bathgate at Orwell, my two friends, and I. The first 
meeting was spent mostly in prayer, and the Lord was with us at 
that and other following ones. We went through the act of Assem- 
bly in order, shewing what was in it stumbling to us, and conferring 
thereon. In these meetings two things were observable. One was, 
that no debate was kept upon selfish motives, but each one was ready 
to yield to scripture and reason by whomsoever advanced. Another, 
that when we stuck, and could not get forward, but were in hazard 
of falling asunder, Providence still interposed seasonably, causing 
something to be cast up, which cleared our way and joined us. And 
it was agreed that there should be a representation to the Assembly 
about it, the forming whereof was committed to Mr. Ebenezer Ers- 
kine, with whom our draught was lodged for that effect, and the re- 
vising of it when formed was committed to the brethren in that 
country. And another meeting was appointed to be in the latter end 
of March, in the same place. 

From this meeting, Mr. Wilson of Perth, and Mr. Ebenezer Ers- 
kino were absent. Mr. Sethrum, minister at Gladsmuir, was with 
us at one or two diets, but staid not. Mr. Hog's absence was thought 
expedient by some of ourselves, because of his particular interest, 
he having writ the preface to the Marrow. Messrs. Hamilton at 


Airth, Brisbane and Muir at Stirling, and "Warden at Gargunnock, 
though invited, came not, to our great discouragement. Then the 
draught of the representation sent from us in the south, after several 
alterations and additions made thereon, was signed by all there pre- 
sent. And the next meeting was appointed to be the first night of 
the Assembly's meeting in May, and it was designed for prayer ; but 
in regard to my circumstances, I was allowed not to come in till 
the Monday after the Assembly's sitting down. 

The first night of the Assembly the meeting was in the same 
house again, accordingly, and Providence so ordering that I was 
chosen a member of that Assembly, I met with them. Mr. James 
Hog, whose absence hitherto had been judged expedient, in regard 
of his prefacing the Marrow, did join us. Moreover, there came into 
us a goodly company of brethren, with whose appearance I was 
much encouraged. But, behold, they turned our meeting, designed 
for prayer, into a meeting for disputing, jangling, and breaking our 
measures ; in the which, the main agent was Mr. John Warden, 
above mentioned, and next, Mr. Moncrieff of Culfargie. Two things 
they mainly insisted on, besides jdcking quarrels with the represen- 
tation. One was, a conference with the leading men before any thing 
should be done ; the other, that all should not subscribe, but only 
some few, the rest being reserved for managing, judging, and voting 
in the Assembly. This last none of us who had already subscribed 
could go into. I was brought to yield to the first, together with 
Mr. Bathgate, on condition that the time of giving in our representa- 
tion should not be cut off. But when it came about to my two 
friends, they, smelling the unfair design that I had no dread of, that 
was stopped, as not to be yielded to. It was good Providence that 
their unfair dealing could not blind us all, else we had in all appear- 
ance been ensnared and mired. Thus the whole weary night was 
spent till day-light, that they left us in much worse case than they 
found us. Thus left of our new friends, it was proposed by Mr. 
Kid to drop the things quarrelled by them in the representation ; 
among which was an entire head, viz., that of the fear of hell ; and 
this, that our brethren might be obliged to stand by us in the Assem- 
bly. In this step unhappily gone into, wo took the way of carnal 
policy ; and I liked it not, but could not oppose it because I had 
drawn the paper. However, our politics in the just judgment of 
God, failed us. The representation being transcribed accordingly, 
was signed by the twelve brethren, as in the printed copy, and was 
that same day, in the afternoon, given in by us to the committee of 
bills, Mr. Kid presenting it, being a man of singular boldness. This 
haste was made to prevent our being teased anew, as the night be- 

1721.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 327 

fore. Mr. John Bonnar, who lodged in Mr. Wardrobe's, where we 
had our meetings, after signing it with us, went away homo ; and I 
do not remember his appearing with us afterwards, if it was not 
once, at which time he was called home by an express. Mr. John 
Williamson of Inveresk made his first appearance amongst us at 
signing of this last draught; but was very useful after, being a man 
of a clear head, a ready wit, and very forward. Mr. William Hun- 
ter at Lilliesleaf signed it in the church, just before it was presented. 
It was not then read, but promised to be read at their next meeting. 
We understood afterward, that Principal Haddow, the spring of 
that black act of Assembly, was in his way to the committee of bills 
to bring in some motion about the act, it would seem, for explaining 
it, &c, but that hearing the tabling of the representation had pre- 
vented him, he was disappointed and forbore. Next diet it was 
read, and at another diet we were to receive their deliverance there- 
on. The committee for overtures had it under their consideration, 
and it was resolved, that unless we desired a conference, it should 
be transmitted to the Assembly quam primum. They came in great 
numbers from the committee of overtures to the bills, and made a 
terrible company against us. They who would have appeared our 
friends, fell upon us, urged us to desire a conference, told us that 
otherwise it was resolved to transmit it to the Assembly quam pri- 
mum, and what the consequences would then be. The matter was 
so managed to put us in fear, but they prevailed not to fright us from 
what we had, not rashly, but after much serious inquiry and delibe- 
ration, resolved upon. On Monday the Assembly met, and deter- 
mined in the matter of a call ; as also on Tuesday, but did no busi- 
ness, only appointed the choosing of the commission, the king's com- 
missioner being indisposed. On Wednesday we expected, as we had 
done the day before, that our representation would have come before 
them ; but behold, that day the assembly, in regard of the commis- 
sioner's indisposition was dissolved, after they had referred our re- 
presentation, without reading it, to the commission. Howbeit, the 
commissioner was present in the Assembly both that day and the 
preceding, and without his presence they did no business. No man 
spoke a word against the dissolution ; but all was carried on in pro- 
found peace. Thus our brethren who reserved their appearing for 
truth to their management in the Assembly, and would not join us 
in the representation, had all occasion of saying one word in the 
Assembly about it cut off. 

On the Thursday we were called before the commission ; and Mr. 
Hog not being ready at the call, and Mr. Bonnar .gone away home, 
it was my lot to appear first in that cause. The eleven brethren be- 


ing sisted before thera, our representation was read; after which Mr. 
Hog spoke a little. Then followed a flood of speeches, about the 
number of thirteen, by which we were run down, no man standing by 
us. And among these speeches was John Wardon, aforesaid, a man 
well seen in the doctrine of free grace, but of some vanity of tem- 
per. Mr. Hog offered to answer in the time, but a hearing was re- 
fused ; so they went on without interruption. Thus the cause and 
we were run down, and the audience impressed, which seemed to be 
the design of this management. After this we were allowed to speak, 
before we should remove ; and the Moderator desired me to speak ; 
which, lifting up my heart to the Lord, I did for a little ; but was 
quickly answered. Other brethren spoke also ; and particularly 
Mr. Williamson was happily guided to tell them, that we had heard 
such a multitude of speeches against us, that it was not possible to 
remember them, so as to answer them ; but that we would recollect, 
and afterwards answer. We being removed, they appointed a num- 
erous committee to consider of that affair, to meet on Friday. That 
day we were called before them ; and at that time, to the best of my 
remembrance, a motion being made to purge the house, it was said 
to have proceeded from us ; which being denied by us, after somo 
jangling, they agreed to have the doors thrown open; which was ef- 
fected by my friend Mr. Wilson's means chiefly. And kind provi- 
dence so ordered it, that the career they were on the day before, was, 
through the divine mercy, stopped to conviction, at that and the fol- 
lowing meetings. Particularly Mr. Williamson did, in a point in 
debate, fairly lay Mr. Allan Logan, minister of Culross ; and I was 
encouraged by the success of an encounter with Principal Haddow. 
We were warned to attend them again on the Monday at ten o'clock, 
but nobody came then to call us, till about twelve, a minister came 
to call us, we were to attend against two. We waited on till between 
six and seven afternoon, that some of us went away ; and afterwards 
we heard we were to wait on upon the morrow. Thus we spent that- 
day ; they had difficulty in agreeing as to their own management. 
On the Tuesday we were again before them, and on the Wednesday 
before the commission; at which timo wo were warned to attend the 
commission in August, and the sub-committee tho day before the 
meeting of the commission, and betwixt and that time, if called. 

The beauty of providence, in this matter, shines in my eyes. The 
Lord laid us very low at our first appearance, on the Thursday, be- 
fore the commission, that we might see, that it was not to be done 
by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of tho Lord; but after- 
wards he raised us up, that our adversaries could no more triumph 
over us. Many times the appearance before the Assembly had been 

17^1.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 329 

a terror to me, and broke my sleep ere it came ; but the Lord was 
with me in the appearauce we made, and that terror evanished at 
length; so that, to my own wonder, I was helped to speak without 
fear; <; It shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak," 
Matth. x. 19. Expertus crtdo. I have learned to be w are of men, 
and that all men are liars ; but God is a promise-keeping God. 

At the April synod, Mr. "Wilson being in the chair, I was left 
alone to bear the shock, and was run down at an unusual rate about 
a fast; which being appointed by the church, I had observed ; but 
in a few weeks was appointed to be observed again by the King's 
proclamation, for the very same cause, without the least notice of 
what the church had already done in it. This I and others observed 
not. Returniug home, I then said in my heart, " that I had a 
place in the wilderness !" &c. Jer. ix. 2. 

June 11. — The sacrament was administered here. I and some 
others in this church were now becoming a wonder to many ; and 
God tried me at that occasion, but was very gracious to me, and 
saved me from the reproach of men. On Thursday, Mr. Wilson 
came, but not Mr. Davidson, of whom I had made no doubt ; so that 
I preached that day with Mr. Wilson, with much help from the 
Lord, having been seasonably led the day before, by foreseeing Pro- 
vidence, to have my thoughts that way. Mr. Simpson, one of my 
three helpers, being under sickness, I had invited Mr. Kid; but on 
the Saturday I received a letter, shewing him also to be kept back 
by the Lord's afflicting hand. So the work lay on my two friends, 
who preached that day, and myself. The communicants appearing, 
by the tokens, to be near a third part more than usually before, 
double tables were set, whereas we had used only a siugle one. Sa- 
turday night and Sabbath morning were great rains ; so that awak- 
ing early on the Sabbath, and beholding the waters swollen, and the 
rain falling, threatening to bar those on the other side, my soul 
said, " what wilt thou do unto thy great name !" For now many 
eyes were on us ; and should the people, gathered from places at 
many miles distance, have been so disappointed, I thought it would 
be interpreted Heaven's sentence against them and us. 1 was help- 
ed to submission, and to see and adore the holy becoming designs of 
Providence, if it should be so ; and to be easy, believing God would 
do what is best. But he sent down, and delivered us from the re- 
proach of men, gave us sweet days of the gospel, and not one shower 
all the time of the work, Sabbath or Monday ; but for a great part 
of that time, spread his black clouds over us, with some intermixed 
sunshine. That threatening Sabbath morning kept the usu^ Sab- 
bath day's multitude away from us ; so that there was no great dif- 
Vol. XT. y 

330 MEMOIRS OP [period XI. 

ference betwixt the Sabbath meeting and those of the other days. 
The wind of divine assistance in the sermon blew upon me, fell, and 
rose again. The Lord was with my brethren. I preached also on 
the Monday with them ; so spoke none at dismissing of the congre- 
gation, which I am never wont to omit. I thought I saw in the con- 
duct of Providence at this communion, as in an emblem, what is, and 
is like to be, our case ; the multitude carried off from us ; the most 
tender of the godly and Zion's mourners cleaving to us; protection 
allowed us as to the storm hanging over our heads from the church ; 
with a blink now and then, and perhaps another communion allow- 
ed me here. I had a signal instance of the answer of prayer in my 
wife's case ; who being in deep distress of a long time, it seemed to 
como to a great height the week before, that I was put to cry, 
that the Lord would at least heave up the cloud, so as it might not 
deprive her of partaking at his table. In this I was heard ; and 
she attained to much composure, that she was not only not barred 
from it, but gave a very Christian account of the actings of her soul 
in the case ; which was the doing of the Lord, and wondrous in my 

On the 10th of July, a motion was so made to me by my two 
friends to write notes on the Marrow, that I was obliged seriously to 
think of it. At length, having spent some time in prayer, purposely 
for discovering the Lord's mind therein, I was determined to essay 
it, on this consideration, that as matters now stand, the gospel-doc- 
trine has got a root-stroke by the condemning of that book ; and 
that whatever else be done for retrieving it, it will be but to little 
purpose, while that book lies among the pots, people being stumbled 
and frighted at it. And this day I began that work, being obliged 
to lay aside thoughts of other business, viz., the preparing of the 
Fourfold State for a second edition, and the publishing of some ser- 
mons ; both which I am engaged to do to Mr. Macewau ; and my 
great work on the accentuation. 

Having plied that work two weeks, on the Saturday's night of the 
second, awaking out of sleep, I was taken extremely ill of a kind of 
heart-swooning, a most vehement heat and sweat being felt by me, 
my wife nevertheless testifying mo to be cold as dead in the time. 
While in my extremity death stared me in the face, the doctrine of 
the Marrow concerning the gift and grant, and that scripture, 1 Johu 
v. 11, " And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal 
life ; and this life is in his Son," accordingly understood, That God 
hath given unto us mankind sinners, (and to me in particular) eter- 
nal life, &c, whereby it is lawful for me to take possession of it as 
my own, was the sweet and comfortable prop of my soul, believing 

1721.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 331 

it, and claiming accordingly. The effects of that illness hung about 
me for some time ; so that I had much ado to preach the two Lord's 
days after it, before the communion at Galashiels, Aug. 1. There I 
was very ill on the Saturday, and had much ado to get through the 
preaching. I was better on the Lord's day, and the Lord was with 
my spirit, and signally owned the whole work. On the Monday 
afternoon we went into the commission, Mr. Wilson and I having 
been both brought within sight of death, threatening that we should 
not have access to appear in that cause again ; and both about the 
same time, he by a fall from his horse, 1 as aforesaid. Thus the 
Lord dealt with us as with his own, and gave us a sight of death, to 
take heed how we manage in his matters. The Lord's staying my 
soul in the sight of death on that foundation of faith above said, con- 
troverted at this time in our present struggle, was, and is, very con- 
firming. We waited on three days ; were never bnt once called be- 
fore the committee, on the Wednesday, to tell us, that the committee 
had prepared an overture about our affair, to be lai-1 before the 
commission ; and on the Thursday before the commission, to tell us, 
that the commission had prepared an overture about it, to be trans- 
mitted to the assembly ; and we were appointed to wait on in No- 
vember again. We were still deserted by all, not one offering to 
join us. My courage for appearing before them, and reasoning, was 
low at this time ; for there was little or nothing to do with it. 

On the 22d of August I spent some time in prayer, for the case of 
my own soul, and a multiplicity of business laid to my hand, while 
in the mean time my strength was much decayed ; yet desiring to be 
found so doing. That business then was, the writing notes on the 
Marrow ; the preparing of the Fourfold State for a second edition, 
which Mr. Macewan, the publisher, did demand ; the preparing some 
sermons for the press, desired also by the same person, and which I 
had some way yielded to ; and above all, the essay on the accentua- 
tion, the proceeding wherein my heart trembled to think of being 
deprived of an opportunity for; all which require a great deal of 
time, and strength too. I laid my soul over on my Lord Christ, and 
desired to go on in my work as I was able, that if the Lord should 
take me away in the midst of it, I might be found so doing. [But 
now I thank my gracious God, that, however trying the prospect I 
then had thereof was, in respect of the state of my health, I have 
by this time (1730) got through all that business for the service of 
my God, and more too, which hath cast up since that time.] 

I was now led, for my ordinary, to treat of the two covenants, 
which lasted a long time. I began on the covenaut of works, Aug. 
27, this year ; and handling it at large, from several texts, I insist- 


332 MEMOIRS OP [period XI. 

ed thereon till May in the following year.* I studied it with consi- 
derable earnestness and application ; being prompted thereto, as to 
the close consideration of the other covenant too afterwards, by the 
state of doctrine to which this church was then arrived. 

My friend Mr. Wilson having been moderator of the April synod, 
at which I was run down, he, as in the chair, having little access to 
help, preached before them in October a faithful and excellent ser- 
mon ; at which they took fire. And immediately they commenced a 
process against him, on the account of that sermon ; which end- 
ed not till the general assembly 1723 put an eud to it. The sermon 
is extant in print, entitled, The Trust, to be judged of by posterity; 
and was before four synods, as many committees of the synod, before 
the commission, aud at length came before the general assembly ; as 
one may see in the preface to it, done, I think, by Mr. Kid. It may 
easily be guessed, what a loss both these affairs meeting together at 
once would occasion. And indeed we were by this time become still 
more strangers to our brethren, aud as aliens ; and saw, that our 
mothers had born us men of contention. Besides what concerned 
the doctrine, there were in these days many occasions of difference 
in the matter of national fasts ; the appointments for which sent 
from England, bare evident marks of little honour had for our 
church ; sucli as the appointing of them to be observed on some of 
their superstitious days, aud particularly on Fridays, contrary from 
all reason that could be drawn but from their superstition. These 
often occasioned us much uneasiness, and different practices from 
our brethren, most of them at least ; but I am not ripe in the his- 
tory of that affair, which hath been of a long course. However, for 
some time national fasts have been very rare. There was also in- 
troduced from England, into some of our civil courts, the corrupt 
custom of swearing on the book ; which being laid before our synod, 
occasioned some debate before this time ; but we could prevail no- 
thing in this matter with them, towards moving for redress. But 
my friend Mr. Wilson exposed it, in his " New Mode of Swearing, 
tactis et deosculatis evangelus," printed anno 1719. 

In the month of November, we appoared again before the commis- 
sion. There we were told, we were to answer certain queries to bo 
given us in writing by them. And having gone away together to 
consult, what were best to be done in that matter, I was clear, that 

• This valuable performance was published in 1772. Notwithstanding it labours 
under the common disadvantages of a postbumous publication, it contains a vein of 
solid thought, judicious reasoning, and enters deeper into the several branches of that 
important subject, than any treatise hitherto published. It is now printed along with 
the Covenant of Grace, in one volume 8vo. 

1722.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 333 

whatever should be the consequences, we should receive and answer 
them. What determined me to this was, that I thought we were to 
lay our account with parting with our brethren, as being cast out by 
them ; and, in that event, it would be safest, both for the cause of 
truth, and our own reputation. This was agreed to, and the queries 
were received with a protestation. And thus they turned the can- 
non directly agaiust us. 

"While I was thus engaged in public trials, I met with a breaking 
disappointment in the case of my son John, whom I had designed 
for the holy ministry. Being, in that view, concerned to have given 
him a suitable education in every necessary branch of literature, I 
took care to have him taught at the College, Humanity, Greek, 
Hebrew, Mathematics, as well as Philosophy ; and allowed him for 
that end a course of five years there. But that course being ended 
this year, he would not once enter on the study of Theology, which 
I had designed him for. But, after some struggle with him, 1 be- 
hoved to advance him money, for betaking himself to the employ- 
ment of a sheep-master. This disappointment lay with a particular 
weight upon me, when my strength failing more, I greatly needed 
help; but all expectations of help from him was cut off; especially 
wheu I saw his comrade Mr. George Byres, son to Mr. George above 
mentioned, in case to help his father, still vigorous, and fit for his 
own business. But, ! the admirable conduct of Providence, chal- 
lenging an entire resignation ! The said George Byres elder is now 
removed by death ; and I am yet spared, doing my work, though in 
much weakness. 

In March 1722, we appeared again before the commission, and 
our answers to their queries were then given in. They are extant 
in print, with the protestation above mentioned prefixed to them. 
These answers were, as I remember, begun by Mr. Ebenezer Ers- 
kine ; but much extended and perfected by my friend Mr. Wilson ; 
where his vast compass of reading, with his great collection of books, 
were of singular use, and successfully employed. 

In May we appeared before the General Assembly, where the 
affair was at length brought to an end, by their act May 21, J722, 
which may be consnlted ; and we were admonished and rebuked. 
Easily foreseeing what would be the issue, in the assembly's deter- 
mination of the affair, I drew a protestation while I was yet at home, 
and carried along with me. And the admonition and rebuke being 
received with all gravity, the said protestation, subscribed by us all, 
was given in by the hand of Mr. Kid ; and instruments taken thereon 
in due form. Bui the assembly would not read it, but quickly clos- 
ed the sederunt. The said protestation is also extant in print. I 

334 memoirs of [peb/ob xi. 

received the rebuke and admonition as an ornament put upon me, 
being for the cause of truth. This affair was brought to the issue 
aforesaid in the afternoon-session of that day ; and their meeting 
for that black work appointed to be at three o'clock that day, there 
came on, a little before the hour, a most dreadful storm of thuuder 
and hail, by means whereof their meeting was for a considerable 
time hindered. In the time thereof, I came down, with some others 
of our number, from the Westbow-head, to the chamber where we 
attended till called ; and that almost running, the street being in a 
manner desolate. I well remember, with what serenity of mind, and 
comfort of heart. I heard the thunder of that day, the most terrible 
thunder-clap being just about three o'clock. It made impression on 
many, as Heaven's testimony against their deed they were then 
about to do; though in this it is not for me to determine. 

Thus ended that weighty affair, by means whereof I received an- 
other sensible increase of light into the doctrine of grace ; especially 
as to the gift and grant made of Christ unto sinners of maukind, and 
as to the nature of faith. In which last, my friend Mr. Wilson was 
the most clear and distinct ; and my clearness and distinctness 
therein I owe to him, as the mean of conveying it unio me. He 
hath since that time travelled in that subject, with peculiar concern 
and industry, to great advantage ; and is the man, of all I know, 
fittest to write upon it. Moreover, that struggle hath been, through 
the mercy of God, turned to the great advantage of truth in our 
church, both among some ministers and people ; having obliged 
both, to think of these things, and inquire into them, more closely 
and nicely than before ; insomuch that it has been owned, that few 
public differences have had such good effects. Meanwhile it is not 
to be doubted, but others have, on that occasion, been carried 
further to the side of legalism, than they were before ; and that 
through the prevalence of their passions and prejudices; the gospel 
of Christ is by this time, with many, especially of the younger sort 
of divines, exchanged for rationalism. So that I believe the light 
and darkness are both come to a pitch, that they were before far 
from in this church ; of which posterity may see a miserable and a 
glorious issue. 

Having ended my sermons on the covenant of works, May 6, 1 did 
on July 1, enter on the covenant of grace, the which ordinary, meet- 
ing with occasional interruptions, and being pursued from several 
texts, lasted near about two years. 

In the beginning of the month last mentioned, I finished the notes 
on the " Marrow of Modern Divinity;" which afterwards in the year 
17'2G were printed with the '• Marrow" itself; in the which, out of 

1722.] MK. THOMAS BOSTON. 335 

regard to the authority of the church, that yet in that matter I 
durst not obey, I took to myself the name of Philalethes Iren.eus, 
as bearing my real aud sincere design therein, viz, truth and peace. 
In compiling of these notes, I had in view, what was advanced against 
the " Marrow," in the several prints extant at that time, and which 
had come to my hand ; especially Principal Haddow's " Antino- 
mianism of the Marrow of Modern Divinity Detected ;" but naming 
no body. The uuacquaintedness with these prints, may occasion 
posterity's judging several of the notes quite needless; but at that 
time many had been at much pains to find knots in a rush. 

The sacrament of our Lord's supper was this year celebrated on 
the 19th of August. On the fast-day, being a presbyterial fast too, 
I had no help. But the Lord laid liberally to my hand, aud I came 
easily by the several texts to be insisted on Sabbath before the fast- 
day, and the communion-day. After the fast-day I was seized with 
the toothache, which I was not acquainted with before. It broke 
my rest on the Friday's night ; and from the Saturday all along 
there -was a train of trying incidents and temptations came on me ; 
so that I lost much of the Saturday's night's rest too. On the Lord's 
day my toothache was mercifully removed ; and I was all along 
helped to trust in God in that matter.* As for my case, I was car- 
ried through, in heaviness, with some pleasant blinks and gales now 
and then ; and the Lord was with my two helpers, for I had no 

Sept. 9. — I assisted at the sacrament in Yarrow. The matter 
being laid before the Lord, the light calling me to go thither for the 
service of our common Master, made me put the knife to the throat 
of my old inclinations. Great was the uneasiness among many in 
this parish on that account; beyond what I really expected. As 
for the work itself, I endeavoured to eye the ordinance as the or- 
dinance of God ; and indeed in my personal duty of communicating, 
&c, and my public ministration there, (except serving the table), it 
was well with me. The Lord was with me ; and what I met with 
there, both in public, private, and secret, leaves yet a savoury im- 
pression on me. Particularly, I had a plain answer of prayer, for 
assistance in the duty of public prayer. 

On the Wednesday after I came from Yarrow, I spent some time in 
prayer, for direction as to what I should next take in hand. The notes 
on the " Marrow" were finished in the beginning of July last. My 

* The author preached the action-sermon from Psalm cxlii. 5, which, with some 
more sermons on it afterwards, were published in 1773, in the volume intitled, ' The 
Distinguishing Characters of True Believers." 


doubt now was, wlietlicr to revise tome uotes concerning family and 
personal fasting and humiliation, or to proceed in the essay on the 
accentuation, which last was laid aside, by r#ason of the affair of the 
" Marrow," some time in February 1721, excepting that a little was 
done therein the April following. I could not get clearness to fall 
on the former, and therefore necessarily fell in with the latter^ as 
what was already begun. So I put pen to paper again in that work, 
September 12. 

At the communion-table in Maxton, October 14, haying upon my 
spirit a particular concern for the salvation of my family, and the 
case of my children ; I think I was helped to believe, with particular 
application, the great promise, "I will be thy God, and the God of thy 
seed ;" and am verily persuaded it will be well with them at length. 

It was with much fear and trembling that I entered at first on the 
on the subject of the covenant of grace ; and being, after some inter- 
ruption, to return thereto, I did, from a sense of my great unac- 
quaintedness with the mystery, on October 15, being the day before 
my study-day, spend some time in prayer, for the Lord's manifest- 
ing his covenant to me, and for some other causes. And soon after 
that, I saw, the Lord had been graciously pleased to hear me; and 
he gave me some sweet views of the mystery. And the truth is, 
that, notwithstanding of what light into the doctrine of grace I had 
by the divine favour reached, at several distant periods above mark- 
ed, I was still all along dark and confused in my notions, of that 
covenant, until I entered on it at this time to preach it ; and in the 
progress therein, things were, by the good hand of God upon me, 
gradually cleared unto me, endeavouring to study it, with the utmost 
application, in dependence on the Lord for light thereunto.* 

Feb. 10, 1723. — I entered on Psalm xv. and for a considerable 
time dwelt on ver. 1 and 2, judging it meet to intersperse the doc- 
trine of the covenant of grace with that kind of subjects; that I 
might jointly teach the people the doctrine of grace and Christian 

The generaj assembly, in the mouth of May this year, put an cud 
to the process against Mr. Wilson, on the account of his synodical 
strmou aforesaid. It came before them by a reference from our 

* The author's sermons on this important subject, as transcribe^ and prepared for 
the press by himself, were not published till 1734, two years after his death. The 
book has passed thiough mauy editions, is justly considered as the best treatise on the 
subject, and will, it is not doubted, be held in honour till the sounding of the last 

t The sermons lure mentioned ate inserted in a volume, entitled, " The Distinguish 
mg Characters of True Believers," published io 177'v 

1723.] Hit. THOMAS BOSTON. 337 

synod ; who being bent to find error in the sermon, were in the 
school-house of Kelso, upon the very point of giving the stroke, bnt 
with great difficulty were got to stop. In the morning before the 
reference there was a meeting of a few, whether as a committee of 
the synod, or a private meeting for conference, which I rather sus- 
pect, I cannot be positive. There proposals were made for ending 
the affair ; and I made them one, tending to peace, without prejudice 
to truth ; which, though coldly received, yet all hopes of its taking 
were not cut off, till we came to the synod. But being read there, 
Mr. James Ramsay, minister of Kelso, fired upon it ; and, as I re- 
member, offered to dissent in case it should pass ; and, on the con- 
trary, he proposed a severe decision ; against which I was resolved 
to dissent, in case of its being gone into. So the synod,* perceiving 
the affair would go before the general assembly, which way soever 
they would take, agreed to refer it to them, as it stood before them 
still entire. At the general assembly, where the proceeding was 
more wary, Mr. Wilson came off honourably ; not one error being 
fixed on his sermon, notwithstanding all the clamour had been made 
against it. For this peculiar zeal and faithfulness, his brethren had 
shot at him particularly ; but his bow abode in strength. And the 
truth is, he was never till that his trial known to them ; but it set 
him in a clear light, and exceedingly raised his reputation. The 
publishing of his trial hath been much desired. I was comforted, in 
seeing the affair brought to such an issue. Howbeit, by my going 
in to Edinburgh to the assembly on that account, my proceeding in 
the essay on the accentuation was again interrupted. 

On June 9, I administered the sacrament of the supper. I was 
much hurried by means of my necessary absence from the parish, in 
May, on account of Mr. "Wilson's affair. My wife was in great dis- 
tress, and I had no help on the fast-day ; but kind Providence made 
my work easy : so that I got the fast-day's sermons on the Monday 
and the action- sermon on Thursday and Friday. On the Friday's 
night, by reason of the scurvy struck out on me, I slept little ; on 
the Saturday's night none at all ; which made me very heavy on 
Sabbath morniug. Bnt I remember my great concern was for the 
efficacy of the word. God mercifully helped me ; so that I minded 
not my want of sleep during ray work, till it was over. Thus my 
troubles and trials increased ; but the hand that led them on helped. 
My wife with much difficulty got out to the table. It was at and 
after that communion the sermons were preached, which since that 
tim« have been published, under the title of '' The Mystery of 

* Mr. Wilson's «[ieech delivered at this meeting is inserted in the Appendix, No. 4. 


Christ in the Form of a Servant." The notion of Christ's state of 
servitude, there advanced and improved, I had been led into by my 
study on the covenant of grace. 

On the 30th, I entered on the subject of the good fight of faith ; 
being led thereto by my wife's case, and indeed much for her cause. 
And this was not ended till October 20.* 

July 14. — Mr. Henry Davidson and I were at the sacrament in 
Penpont. It was the second time to him, and but the third to 
me, though often desired. It was very much against my inclination 
to go thither, ever since the first time in the year 1709 ; but I could 
not evite it, though I left my wife in great distress. The conduct 
of holy Providence hath been very strange and mysterious, with re- 
spect to my going to that place all along. All the three times the 
Lord was with me remarkably in my work there, especially on the 
Saturday the first time, and on the Sabbath afternoon the two last 
times. Old notes have still been most blessed, in my case, in that 
place. The first time I had but one sermon studied for it, and it 
was not delivered at all there. The second time I had two sermons 
studied, but one of them was new studied out of old notes ; and that 
was it the Lord made most sweet both to them and me. This last 
time we had kept a presbyterial fast on the Wednesday before we 
went thither, on account of a drought altogether extraordinary ; 
and the rain came on that Sabbath we were at Penpont. Several 
other presbyteries kept it that same week, and the Lord heard 
prayer. Foreseeing what I thus had to do, having two free days 
the week before, I attempted to prepare for Penpont ; but by no 
means could get any thing for it. Next week I had no time to pre- 
pare for it. I was brought to desire of God a message for that 
place, old or new as he pleased ; and I was determined to use old 
sermons, and fully satisfied and easy therein, as I use not to be in 
such a case. My trials on all the three occasions of going thither 
have been remarkable. The first time, the elder that went with me 
died there, and I lost my horse, as above narrated. Tho second 
time, I remember no notable thing that befel me there; but out of 
my being there at that time rose the business of Closeburn, which 
was a very considerable trial to me. While 1 was busy about the 
notes on the " Marrow," Mr. Davidson went in to my room ; and the 
Lord was with him. But within a mile of Moft'at, his horse was 
some way wounded in tho foot, that he went in to Moffat bleeding 
all along; and with difficulty enough he got to Penpont. lie was 

* The excellent sermons on this subject were printed, in 175fj, in a volume with 
other sermons. 

1723.] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 339 

so late a-returning next week, that I was in great pain about him, 
and thinking of going or sending to see what was the matter. This 
was occasioned by his horse's illness. At this time, just as we were 
got into Moft'at water, I discerned my horse crooking. Alighting, I 
ript his feet, but could see nothing but a hurt on his heel, which 
seemed to be an old one, altogether unknown to me. Mr. Davidson 
fell ill of the gravel at Craigsbeck. But we made forward, lost our 
way in the hills beyond Moffat, going through mosses, &c, till 
in our greatest extremity, not knowing what hand to turn to, by 
kind Providence we saw a lad who set us on the way. Under night 
we lost the way again ; but at length got to a house, where we were 
provided of a guide. My horse went crooking all along to Penpont. 
I industriously forbare to speak any thing of my horse that night, 
and on the morrow I spoke of him to a servant only ; and the ser- 
vant having taken him away some miles in the morning, told me he 
saw nothing ailed him. When we came off on Tuesday, my horse 
was perfectly right ; but no sooner did Mr. Davidson begin to move 
with his, but two persons staudiug behind observed his horse to 
crook, and told him of it. Yet in a little the crook left him ; and 
we arrived safe at Etterick that night, with much thankfulness to 
the Lord. On the morrow Mr. Davidson went home, and fell ill of 
the gravel; and I was indisposed always till the Thursday was eight 
days after, by which time I had completed my studies for the sacrar 
ment at Maxton, to which I went off on the morrow ; notwithstand- 
ing of my toil, and a little of a sore throat I got there, I was very 
well after I came home. If there is any thing in this matter to be 
attributed to the agency of evil spirits, or not, I cannot say ; but be 
it as it will, I know that nothing can fall out without the supreme 
management of my Father ; and from his hand I take it, as a deep 
of holy Providence. 

Sept. 5. — The writing of the essay on the accentuation of the He- 
brew Bible, interrupted by my going to the assembly in May, being 
again entered to on the 6th of August, was ended this day, being 
Thursday, and laid before the Lord with thanksgiving. 

Sept. 10. This day I spent some time in thanksgiving to the Lord, 
upon the account of the mercy of that book now ended ; and prayer, 
for a blessing on it, and that the Lord may find out means whereby 
it may become of public use for advancing of Scripture knowledge, 
and for some other particulars in my circumstances, particularly with 
respect to my wife's affliction, &c. 1 had a heart-melting view of 
the conduct of holy Providence towards poor me, from my childhood 
even until now. ! how am I deeply indebted to a gracious God 
preventing me with kindness, and working about me for ends I knew 


nothing of in the time. I have hud much sweetness in the original 
text, and it made me this day to think, how inconceivably sweet 
must the personal Original of the original text be ! how sweet to 
see, by the light of glory, the glory of God in the face of Jesus ! 
"When I got Cross's Taghmical Art from Mr. Macghie, I knew no- 
thing of the matter ; but the Lord gave me some sweet discoveries 
by means of the accentuation, when he had so led me to notice it. 
Holy and wise was that Providence by which I in vain tried to un- 
derstand and digest in order Mr. Cross's system, and that kept Was- 
muth from me till I was begun to write ; and that I had nothing of 
his character nor his books from anybody ; and Pfeiffer I had not 
till the year 1720. By this means I was kept free of being preoccu- 
pied and impressed by anybody's authority, T was led to trust nothing 
but as I saw it with ray own eyes, While I was making my collec- 
tions of materials, which I did by reading attentively and observing 
the sacred text, they made me many errands to the throne of grace, 
finding myself travelling as in a pathless way, especially in making 
the observations, and being often as in a thicket, where, when I had 
sot down one foot, I knew not where to set down another. But God 
the Father of lights, is in my experience the hearer of prayer. Oft 
times was I afraid that death should have prevented me ; but glory 
to his name for life continued, for time and opportunity for study 
allowed, for strength to make use of that time, and for a blessing on 
my endeavours therewith made. It is the doing of the Lord, and it 
is wondrous in my eyes, that ho has hid these things from many 
truly wise, and has revealed them to a babe ; and I still find the 
sense of this humbles my soul within me before him, as being there- 
by made a great debtor, and it fills my heart with love to himself. 
I see there is one thing wanting in it, which I desire to wait on the 
Lord for, if so be he may bo pleased to discover it to me, namely, 
the reason of double accentuation, which I have not yet been able to 
reach to my satisfaction. Whatever other wants there be iu that 
essay towards the perfecting of the knowledge otf that subject, this 
is a palpable oue. 

Having now of a long time had a great desire to translate the 
Hebrew text agreeable to the accentuation or sacred stigmatology, 
I spent some time iu prayer, Oct. 30, for direction and assistance in 
that work, and on the morrow after I began it. Having dipt into that 
work, it proved at length quite another thing than I at first dosigned. 
Herein ! was employed that winter and the spring following ; where- 
in, having carried it to the 15th chapter of Genesis, translating, and 
writing notes on the translation, I loft it in 

April 1724; at which time my daughter Alison was taken ill of a 

1724.] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 341 

fever. That was but small progress made in so long a time, but af- 
terwards it was much less. For my plan was by degrees brought 
on still more difficult and laborious, and was but carried to its 
height ou the 18th and 19th chapters, and this, in the regress on it 
made me much new work, towards the beginning of the book. One 
will hardly have a just notion of the huge toil in tossing lexicons 
and the Hebrew concordance, for finding out the formal significations 
of the Hebrew words, set down in the literal translation, without 
one make trial of it himself. But the more hard anything was to 
reach, I had usually the greatest satisfaction and pleasure when dis- 
covered, and was in the whole abundantly rewarded. 

On the seventh of June the sacrament was celebrated.* I had 
had much weary work from the family of J. A., he having repeated 
his abominations, and another of that family having fallen into for- 
nication. Mrs. A. spouse to the said J. had much ado to bear my 
proceedings in these odious cases, but her husband being a peaceable 
man, things were kept in tolerable case betwixt them and me. But he 
dying in February this year, she of a long time after came not to the 
church. Having come at length some time before the sacrament, she 
on the fast day, I think, desired of me a token to partake. Now a 
woman had gone out of the family, and absconded, being famed to 
be with child, and another had deposed that she told to Mrs. A. that 
she thought the party foresaid was with child, the deponent and she 
being fellow-servants and lying in one bed together. This relating 
to the time before the absconding, I did, upon the occasion of de- 
manding the token aforesaid, lay this matter before her ; whereupon 
she, taking it hainously, came not to the sacrament, and all along to 
this day, hath turned her back on the public ordinances in the 
church. I have dealt with her again and again, her children also 
have dealt with her to return, but all in vain ; she remains wilful 
and goes nowhere on the Lord's day, but some few times has ap- 
peared at Mr. Macmillan's meetings, which now are very rare in the 
country. To this she has added not to come into our house for so 
many years, to visit my wife in her long distress ; this is a piece of 
malignity which one must lay his account with in following duty. 

At this sacrament, having only my two helpers, and my wife's 
case being at a great extremity, I have to notice to the praise of 
free grace, that the Lord however made it a very comfortable 
work, and orderly; yea, a special care of the divine providence was 
about it. Mr. "Wilson the week before had a fit of the ague, and not 
coming ou Friday's night, I had laid my account to preach on the 
Saturday ; and when he came up on the Saturday, I had given or- 

'* The action-sermon was on 1 John iv. 14, and published in a volume in 1753. 


tiers about sending for Mr. Gr., providentially at Cavers, but no more 
was done in tbat. I Avas helped to trust the Lord for carrying on 
his own work, and had not much uneasiness that way ; hereto con- 
tributed my remembering that I myself fell indisposed on Wednes- 
day, but was mercifully recovered, so as, on the morrow, I went 
about the whole fast-day's work alone, comfortably. Mr. Davidson 
that week was threatened with a lit of the gravel, but mercy stopt 
it. He was taken ill of a head-ache, about the latter end of the 
Sabbath work forenoou here, it left him when he went out to preach 
the afternoon sermon. In a word, nothing was lacking, neither 
strength of body, nor what was necessary for edifying the body of 
Christ, my wife being all the time in great distress, fixed to her bed, 
and a great throng in the house, yet things were managed with dis- 
cretion and order. However, her case was evidently worsted by the 
weight of people's coming in to visit her. But to him I give thanks 
who has happily carried through this work ; for my wife was not 
without thoughts that it might be the timo of her departure, and on 
Tuesday, ere the ministers went away, she seemed indeed to be at 
the point of death, so that not only they, but a neighbour, were 
called to be witnesses to the issue. The frame of my spirit on the 
Saturday and Sabbath morning I found to be flat ; but now for some 
time that my bodily strength is sensibly decayed, I have in some 
measure learned to trust in the Lord more, though my pains in 
secret duties ore less than sometimes they have been, when my 
strength would bear more. And my trust was not in vain. At 
the table, even about the timo of distributing the bread, my false 
heart was unseasonably carried off to a thought which was stunning 
and stumbling, but pressed with the sense of need, I was thereby 
stirred up to the exercise of faith on Christ, for the sanctification of 
my unholy nature. But that hereby I might learn to watch. 

This summer, 1724, has been the most trying timo that ever my 
family had since we were a family. I had made some alterations in 
the house before the sacrament, turning the barn into a kitchen, the 
hall into a cellar, and so making two low bed-rooms which we had 
not before. The design we had in view was chiefly my wife's case 
in her heaviness requiring the little room, and then to have more 
room for strangers at the sacrament; for which cause a new bed was 
made, and set up in the low room. But providence had a design in 
it unknown to us, namely, that it might be a convenient sick-bed 
room ; and for that use it was for more than two months. 

On Lord's day, June 14, I closed my subject of the covenant of 
grace, my notes thereon being written so largely, that, in transcrib- 
ing them since for the press, I needed rather, for the most part, to 
contract, than to add and enlarge. 

1724.] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 343 

On the following Sabbath, the 21st, having come in from the ser- 
mons, and sat down to dinner, I fell indisposed, endured the time of 
dinner, but while we were singing as usual, (I think the psalm was 
Psalm cvii. 23, and downwards) after it my trouble came to a height 
and I weut off, with much ado, to my closet, where a prodigious vo- 
miting and exquisite pain seized me, which afterwards I knew to be 
a fit of the gravel, which I had never been acquainted with before. 
It kept me till the Wednesday thereafter, though not always 
agonising. It was told me that one fit of the agony lasted about 
five hours, another about seven hours. In the meantime of my trou- 
ble, my wife, whom all had enough ado to wait on before, was helped 
to go up and down stairs, betwixt me and the children, then sick, 
and to be helpful to both. When all were recovered I was thinking 
on a day for a family thanksgiving, but was some way diverted from 
it; but that day or the morrow after the clouds returned after the 
rain ; my son John fell sick, and at the same time our servant wo- 
man. His case was of all the most dangerous. The fever took no 
turn in the daughters till the eleventh day, in the sons till the thir- 
teenth, but in the servant woman on the sixth. Thus was the sum- 
mer spent, but no breach was made on us. They all came out of 
their fevers insensibly without a distinct crisis ; but my eldest son 
was very long a-recovering, even till about the middle of August. 
Towards the end of that month we had a day of family thanksgiving, 
the whole family, except the manservant, having been under the rod. 

I was sensibly helped to the exercise of faith in the time of our 
first distress, and had a sweet view of the Lord Jesus as administra- 
tor of the covenant, being a skilful pilot to carry us through the 
deep waters ; which view was kept before me all along, after we 
were entered into them. My personal trouble was turned to my ad- 
vantage. It was sore indeed ; but kind Providence made it short, 
and timed it so happily, that my public work was not interrupted 
by it. I saw therein a palpable difference between groaning and 
grudging. For while in my agony I could not help groaning and 
crying, so that I was heard at a distance ; yet my heart, sensible 
that I had had much health, was made by grace to say, Welcome, 
welcome ; and kissed the rod, for the sake of him who groaned and 
died on the cross for me ; and I was even made to weep for joy in 
his dying love to me. The foundation of faith, that " whosoever be- 
lieveth, shall not perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. 16, was 
my anchor-ground. I had a satisfaction, in that while the rod was 
going about, my kind God had not forgotten me, but given mo my 
share. But I had a greater difficulty to believe, upon the turning 
back of our broken ship into the deeps, after we were brought within 


sight of land. But one day, as I was going into the pulpit, in the 
time of our first distress, the congregation was singing Psalm cxxviii. 
ver. 3, to the end, <: Thy children lik.6 to olive-plants about thy table 
round," &c. That came seasonably to me, and was of great use to 
me all along thereafter. At length I got my wife and children so 
plauted about my table ; and on the family-thanksgiying, I told 
them how useful that psalm had been to me in the day of our dis- 
tress ; and so I sung it with them. And there is something more in 
that psalm, that I have some expectation of still. 

Meanwhile this shock by the gravel quite broke and shattered my 
frame, and altered my constitution ; so that thereafter I was no 
more as I had been formerly. 



This notable alteration was the more remarkable, that it came on 
when I was now going in the forty-ninth year of my age, the seventh 
septenary ; and here I reckon the groaning part of my life, more 
plainly pointing to my dissolution, to have begun. And whatever 
groanings I had, in the former part of my life, been witness to by 
day or by night, it hath, in the depth of sovereign wisdom, for my 
greater trial, been, from the preceding April 1724, unto this day, 
my lot, to be solitary in my closet by night, as well as by day ; but 
good is the will of the Lord ; he hath done all things well. 

The summer thus spent as aforesaid, a weary season to me, at 
best, as an idle time ; being engaged in a course of drinking Moffat- 
well water, at home, for the gravel ; I did, on the last day of 
August, put pen to paper again, in the beloved work aforesaid on the 
Hebrew text; not knowing whether I would be able to sit close any 
more at it or not. But it is but little I have had access to do in it 
since ; however, I desire to be thankful, that I have got the essay 
on the accentuation done ; how the Lord may dispose of me after, I 
know not ; but I desire to bo resigned. 

Now as the winter came on, my teeth began to be loosened, much 
pain in them going before ; and that season I lost three, whereof 
two were fore-teeth ; which marred my pronunciation in some mea- 
sure. Nevertheless I was helped closoly to ply the work aforesaid ; 
and my plan therein was carried to its height, with exceeding great 
labour ; and when at any time I happened to go to bed, with some 
difficulty entered into, but not got through ; the iutenseuess of the 

1725.] int. tiiomas ijostox. 345 

mind upon it bereaved me of some sleep, which I think did harm. 

In the time of our distress in the summer, watchful and kind Pro- 
vidence favoured me with a visit from Mr. J G , a minister 

of the Church of Scotland, whom I had but little acquaintance of be- 
fore ; a man well seen in the doctrine of free grace, and to a pitch 
kind, and disposed to be useful, whereof I have since had signal 
proof. At that time I shewed him, that I could get no body to 
judge of the essay made on the Hebrew accentuation, the perform- 
ance being upon such an-out-of-the-way subject ; and that I had 
some view to Professor Simson for that end. And he having mind- 
ed this, and taken occasion in his own country to inform himself, 
did afterwards write me a letter, giving me notice of Mr. George 
Gordon, professor of the Oriental languages in the King's College, 
Aberdeen, as the fittest in our island to judge in such matters. Mr. 
Wodrow was his informer, being a man of the most extensive cor- 
respondence. I had no acquaintance with Mr. Gordon, nor did I 
know his character, but by my correspondent's letter. I knew not 
till afterwards that I had it from himself, that he was that Gordon 
whom Mr. Cross mentions in his preface to the Taghmical Art. But 
without more ado, I quickly addressed myself to him, by a letter of 
the 14th December, committing the matter to the Lord. 

Meanwhile, after closing my sermons on the Covenant of Grace, I 
had pursued my former subject of Christian morality, in the gene- 
ral, from John xv. 14, " Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I 
command yon ;" and Eccl. ix. 10, " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to 
do, do it," &c. Then I entered on some particulars, viz. against 
profane swearing, sinful anger, revenge ; and pressed the love of 
our enemies; the which subjects were ended, December 27.* 

On the 17th of January 1725, I received a letter from Mr. George 
Gordon aforesaid, large and friendly, quite beyond any thing I 
could have expected, shewing all readiness to peruse the essay, when 
it could conveniently be put in his hand. This step of Providence 
was great in my eyes, looking like a dawning of light, in a case 
right hopeless, even as to the getting any body's judgment upon it, 
that I could rely on, for which my attempts hitherto had been 
baffled. The date of the latter, being Jan. 1, was most sweet, when 
I called to mind, that that very day having spent some time in so- 
lemn prayer, (as usual ou the occasion of the new year), my letter's 
finding favour with that man, had been much on my heart before 

* All these sermon9 are published in the volume, intitled, " The Distinguishing 
Characters of true believers," printed in 1773, aud are a most choice set of diseour»es. 

Vol. XI. z 

3-46 memoirs or [period XII. 

the Lord. "Whatever be the issue, it is a great mercy to me, to 
have hope of getting it put in one's hand capable to judge of it. 

After carrying on the work aforesaid, through the first twenty 
chapters of Genesis, I found it necessary to stop ; and that in con- 
sideration of my frailty, and that the notes were written in short-hand 
characters, and therefore useless to any but myself. And after 
seeking the Lord, I began, on the 9th of February, to write all over 
in mundo, in long hand, desiring to believe that he will give power 
to the faint, and to them that have no might, he will increase 
strength. The notes on the " Marrow" had now for some time been 
in a friend's hand at Edinburgh. And in the latter end of that 
month, there was a proposal made me, for publishing the " Marrow" 
with them. Mr. "William "Wardrobe apothecary there, above mention- 
ed, was the chief undertaker in this. Hereupon I revised the notes 
again ; and having spent some time in prayer for light in that mat- 
ter, April 6, a:id again on the 13th, laid it before the Lord; I was 
cleared, and determined to give up the copy of the " Marrow," as 
corrected and new- modelled by me, together with the notes thereon, 
into his hand, to do therein as he should find himself conducted by 
Providence ; and this in consideration that matters are still growing 
worse in this generation, and the declining is on the increase ; for 
the sake of truth, and of the present and rising generation. 

In this month of April, began my wife's entire barring from pub- 
lic ordinances, which lasteth unto this day. 

About the middle of May, my son Thomas, who had got about two 
years' domestic teaching in the Latin tongue, especially by my own 
and my other son's means, was sent to the grammar-school at Ha- 

Now, after insisting for some time this year on the hiding of the 
Lord's face ; Psalm xxx. 7. I entered on " the Son of man's coming 
to seek and to save the lost," Luke xix. 10, and dwelt thereon 
till the sermons preparatory for the sacrament of the supper. 
It was administered Juno 6, not without apprehensions, that it 
might be the last I should have occasion to administer. By that 
time I had carried on the work foresaid to Gen. iii. 22, MS. in folio, 
p. 44, I entered on it, and proceeded therein, with a view of death 
at my back ; and was much eased in my mind, when I had brought 
it that length ; judging that the church of God might thereby 
discern what it was I aimed at, in case I should never have had ac- 
cess to have had carried it on further. 

Meanwhile great were my trials about this communion. My wife 
seemed to be in a dying condition for about two weeks before ; on 
the Tuesday immediately before the communion, the surgeon told me, 

1725. J MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 347 

he thought she could not now last long. The want of my teeth made 
speaking difficult; and I had less strength to speak with, than some 
time hefore ; and the remaining teeth were become blackish. But 
the Lord pitied, amidst these and other trying incidents. 

Mr. Gordon aforesaid coming to Edinburgh to the summer-sessiou, 
the essay on the accentuation was, according to our concert, put into 
his hand about this time. 

I preached the action-sermon on the " bruising of the serpent's 
head," Geo. iii. 15. On the Monday I studied my sermous for the 
fast on the Wednesday, and that day preached twice in the fore- 
noon, though not much to my comfort. I began my studies of the 
action-sermon on Thursday afternoon, but they went not well with 
me. I began therefore over again on Friday ; but being out of order, 
through want of sleep, I was forced to give it over, after I had done 
about the one half. So on Saturday morning 1 had the other half 
to study ; and, for ought I remember, this was new ; being always, 
one way or other, more timeously provided. I had resolved to 
preach but about an hour ; but the watch for the time proved use- 
less to me ; so I preached about an hour and a half in much weak- 
ness, and was at length exhausted. I quite forgot to pray after ser- 
mon ; and never had the least thought of it, till returning into the 
tent after the first table, I reflected on it ; and this did much con- 
found me. The most" sensible breathings of the Spirit that I had 
that day, were in the prayer of consecration, and the giving of thanks 
after the action ; in both which addresses to the throne, the Lord 
was so with my spirit, that bodily strength was afforded me too. My 
wife was carried through and preserved, but still in great distress. 
The weather was louring, yet we had very little disturbance by it. 
But on Monday, at the dismissing of the congregation, rain came 
on ; and in a little after, there was a violent storm of wind and rain, 
falling on the Lord's people going to their own homes ; of whom 
many having come from far, behoved to lodge all night somewhere 
by the way. It continued that afternoon, and most of the Tuesday. 
Mr. Wilson suggested to me, that the bruised serpent was raging, 
and we were in concern for the preservation of the Lord's people by 
the way. I saw it then, on his suggesting it ; and was thereby pre- 
sently determined in my own mind to continue on that text; which 
accordingly I did insist on till Sept. 12. I know the serpent had 
more ends to serve by that disturbance in the air, than that one of 
molesting the Lord's people in their way home ; it raised the afflic- 
tion also of a particular person to a height. On the Friday after, I 
was comforted by a letter I received, shewing, that from several it 
was understood to have been a time of the Lord's presence in a re- 


348 MEMOIRS OP L r£IU0I) xu - 

markable manner ; that it was no wonder the bruised serpent raged ; 
particularly as to one, that it was one of the best days they had ever 
seen on earth. I have got a lesson to beware of fretting at long 
prayers by others ; it was for that I was checked, by ray forgetting 
to pray at all ; and thereby also I have seen the need of dependence 
on the Lord, in the most ordinary things wherein one would think 
one can hardly mistake. The business of the journey to Penpout, 
and this stormy weather aforesaid, with other incidents, incline me 
to think, that I have but too little noticed Satan's activity in 
such matters. But glory to Jehovah, who comforteth us in all our 
tribulations ; I have been perplexed, but not in despair. 

Mr. Gordon returning to Edinburgh unto the winter-session, and 
having read the essay on the accentuation, desired an interview. 
"Whereupon I made a stretch, and went thither on the 23d Novem- 
ber. I was very apprehensive, that 1 would meet with discourage- 
ment from him. Tarrying there for eight days, I had in that time 
several meetings with him ; and we went through his remarks on 
the essay. Not having given his judgment on the thing in gross, 
nor like to do it at all, I, ere we should part, was obliged to put on 
a brow, and downright to ask his judgment of the performance, as to 
the main. To which he answered, That as to the main we were 
agreed. I asked him again, Whether he could have freedom to give 
it his public approbation? and he replied, He'not only had freedom 
to do it, but thought it his duty to do it. Hereupon I was swallow- 
ed up with joy and comfort, that the Lord had so far pitied and 
comforted me. But in that time, and after, I found the borrower to 
be servant to the lender. 

At the same time, my Lord Grange, of his own accord, offered me 
encouragement in it ; and told me, that Mr. Gordon said to him 
about it, that it looked almost as if it had been done by inspiration. 
But meeting all three together in his lodging, by appointment, they 
both agreed, that the essay, or at least the abstract thereof, behoved 
yet to be done in Latin ; and offered nothing for publishing it in 
English. Their reasons were, that it could not be done in Scotland, 
nor yet in Holland, correctly, unless it was in Latin ; that the thing 
being so little known in this island, it could not be thought to find 
buyers in it, being published in English. This new work laid upon 
me, now when my strength was exhausted, was an occasion of heavy 
thoughts to rae ; so after my lifting up, I was cast down again. 
Thus the weight of apprehended discouragement from Mr. Gordon, 
which I took from home with me, lay on me all the timo I was in 
town, till the day or so before I came away, that I interrogated him 
as aforesaid, that it was lightened ; and then the weight returned 

1726.] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 349 

again while I was thinking to return home, and the matter began to 
move slow again, lighting at Cardrona, on my way home, on the 
morrow there was a great storm of snow driving ; and I was impor- 
tuned to stay. I went to the Lord as my father, for his pity ; and 
had confidence in him, that he, who knew how unable I was to stand 
before the cold, and what need there was for me to be at home, 
would pity. So we came away, and still the snow drave on ; but 
by the time we entered in among the hills, it ceased ; so that I 
never in my life rode that way with greater ease. Howbeit, when 
we were come over all the hills, and were within two miles of home, 
it began to drive on again so vehemently, that we could hardly get 
looked up to discern our way. This was most acceptable and plea- 
sant to me, as an emblem of my lot, viz. dificulties ventured on at 
the Lord's call, which I know not how to get through ; carried 
through, meanwhile, in the greatest difficulties ; and then the clouds 
returning again after the rain. When I came home, I found J. A's 
child, whom he had got baptized by a curate brought in by him to 
this parish, had died while I was from home, and was buried that 
same day, a little before my arrival. 

Now for the remaining part of that year, to December 12, I did, 
for my ordinary, handle the subject of forsaking the fountain of 
living waters, and hewing out broken cisterns, &c. from Jer. ii. 13. 

The parish of Selkirk having now for some time been vacant, 
through the death of Mr. Macghie ; and my wife's case allowing my 
going abroad in the winter, rather than the summer ; I went thither, 
and preached, Jan. 2, 1726. On the morrow after, I visited a sick 
person without the town ; and from thence came to Faldhop in my 
way home, and visited another; but was taken ill thereof a fit of the 
gravel. Mounting my horse, I rode from thence in great agony to 
Newhouse, in a cold frosty day ; reaching which place with great 
difficulty, I just fell down; but getting a bed a while, I recovered 
some ease. Wherefore I mounted again ; but by the way it seized 
me anew, and in great distress I came into Upper Deloraiu. There 
I staid all night, and turned easy again. On the morrow coming 
homeward, it again seized me, that I was obliged to go to Calcra- 
bank ; where recovering after a while, I came home, and it went off. 
This I reckon to have been owing to the unclearness of the drink I 
had got in my quarters at Selkirk ; the which since that time has 
made me more cautious ; drinking no ale while new, or very old, or 
muddy. A considerable time after this being at Midgehop, where 
was a little wench from Newhouse, who had said to them, that at 
such a time, viz. the foresaid, I came in there drunk ; Jano Hope, a 


well disposed person, wounded me to the heart, telling me, most 
simply and imprudently, before not only the wench, as I remember, 
but another woman whom I was not yet well acquainted with, that the 
foresaid had said so. Thus was I most unjustly and cruelly wound- 
ed, in that place where I had often comforted, and been comforted ; 
but this happened not indeed in the family most comfortable to me. 
But ! what need of that charity that " thinketh no evil ;" and of 
due caution as to the case and actions of others, not to judge rashly ! 
It is dangerous, as my experience in that matter hath taught me. 
I had, some years before that time, encounterd, in Newhouse, with a 
good man, whom I knew not ; him being paralytic in the tongue, 
and newly come home from a fair, I took to be drunk, so that I 
could not endure to converse with him, till "Walter Bryden, then 
tenant there, cured me of my misapprehension about the honest 
man. So he is a jealous God with whom we have to do. But I can- 
not but admire the wisdom of that kind Providence, which, after I 
had complained in that house to the master of it, touching the mis- 
representation that had been made of my illness in it, as above said, 
brought him to my house ; where being just to sit down to meat 
with him, I was seized with another fit of the gravel, and obliged to 
retire, and groan under it, leaving him and the table. I reckon my- 
self debtor to my God for this beautifully-timed fit, which served to 
confirm, that I had been injured in the matter of the former. 

On March 25, I finished the work on the first twenty chapters of 
Genesis ; that MS. consisting of 272 pages in folio, App. No 5. 
That winter my frailty was great, being quite uuable to bear the 
cold, the blood and spirits deserting my fingers ; so that the parish 
was but once examined for that year, and that after the vernal 
equinox, save one diet only in the beginning of the winter, and I 
had several thoughts, that there would be a necessity of my demit- 
ting, as unable for the charge. Having read Dr. Cheyne's book on 
health, I had set myself to regulate my manner of living accord- 
ingly, for the cure of the scurvy ; so I ate very sparingly at dinner, 
and took do supper. This courso I had used, I think, more than a 
year about this time ; going to bed withal about nine, and rising 
early about four or five ; making the time of dinner late in the after- 
noon, and thereafter doing nothing, until I went to bed again. Thus 
my work indeed went on, but my body was brought to that low pass. 
And whereas my head was now shaken, for several years, paraly- 
tically ; the first time I observed that shaking thereof, was on the 
Saturday's afternoons, when I shaved myself, in the time I was 
employed in writing the said manuscript. Afterwards I returned 
again to my ordinary way of living ; seldom succeeding in my pro- 

1726.] JIU. THOMAS BOSTON. 351 

jects for health by art, whether with or without the physician's 

About this time began my wife's constant confinement to her bed ; 
for whereas formerly she was wont to have some respite in the 
winter, so as to rise out of her bed, in that season of the year ; she 
hath, since the month of March 1726, lain constantly, all the year 
over, in winter as well as summer, unto this day. 

Having carried on the work aforesaid with a most strictly literal 
version only, I did thereafter make a more smooth version of these 
chapters, consisting of twenty-two pages in folio ; but which, upon a 
review, I do not judge smooth enough as yet- This I finished April 
12, and, by the 21st had all read over, corrected, and laid up. 
Withal I had written the preface to the " Marrow" with notes, 
which was published about that time. It pleased the Lord, while I 
was engaged in the foresaid work, to let me in somewhat into the 
reason of double accentuation. And it is truly wondrous in my eyes, 
that I have been helped to finish that work which I had good rea- 
son some time to fear I might never see the end of. 

April 25, Monday. From that 25th of March aforesaid, I have 
been endeavouring to know what I shall do next, and to lay that 
matter before the Lord, And this morning, being in Eskdalemoor, 
where I preached yesterday, in the laigh room in the manse there, 
having had the matter aforesaid much at heart before the Lord in 
secret, it fell in order, as being abroad, that I read Psalm Ixxi. in 
the Hebrew original ; and it pleased the Lord so to shine upon the 
latter part of it particularly, that from ver. 14, to the end, it was 
made most sweet to me, and encouraging, towards the matter of 
writing the essay on the accentuation in Latin, and the low circum- 
stances I was then brought into in respect of bodily weakness. 
[Nota, I have now (Sept. 12, 1727,) got much of that scripture made 
out to me, I verily expect to get more ; particularly that word of 
it, ver. 21, Y'thissobh t'nahh'mani ; " Thou shalt wheel round 
about," [and] " comfort me," has stuck much with me ever since 
that time.] So on the morrow, taking some time in secret at home, 
upon that matter, I came to this resolution, viz. That I could neither 
enter on revising and writing over my notes on the covenant of grace, 
which I would fain do ; nor yet go on in the essay on Genesis ; but 
venture on putting into Latin the essay on the accentuation ; since it 
appears, that while this is not done, that want is a gravestone upon 
what I have done already both upon the accents and the text ; and 
that this will be the most diffusively useful. From thence I gathered, 
that the Lord calls me to essay that now ; and I am not without 


hopes of his pity, and his affording me strength for this new and 
unexpected work. 

Accordingly on the Wednesday, April 27, I began to write the 
essay foresaid in Latin. Anil as I went on, I read something of 
Cicero, in my leisure hours, for the language, and noted in a book 
some terms and phrases, taken from him, and others; particularly 
out of Calepin's Dictionary, which Providence had in the year 1724 
laid to my hand, when I knew not for what use it was designed. 
And to this collection I had frequent recourse, while I wrote that 
book ; and found it to be of good use to me. I had formerly, upon 
occasion of appearing iu print, done the same as to the English 
tongue ; by which means my style, that I had been careless of be- 
fore, was now somewhat refined. 

But, this year, the course of administering the sacrament of our 
Lord's supper was interrupted, through a disorder in the eldership, 
and my wife's heavy case meeting together. Meanwhile, after clos- 
ing of the former subject, I entered on Christ's titles; Isa. ix. 6, 
" For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the govern- 
ment shall be upon his shoulder ; and his name shall be called, 
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, 
The Prince of peace," for my ordinary ; the which I treated at 
large ; and then added thereto several sermons on " believing the 
report" concerning him, on Isa. liii. 1, " Who hath believed our re- 
port ? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" and concluded 
these subjects, August 12. 

Having put the essay on the text of Genesis into Mr. Gordon's 
hand, I had, at his desire, another interview with him, iu the end of 
November, at Edinburgh, where he gave me some remarks upon it. 
Both this and the former journey to Edinburgh, were undertaken 
purely on the head of meeting with him ; by which I felt my bond- 
age. At that time, I left with him the first part of the Latin essay 
on the accentuation, which I had completed by the 5th of September. 
And he promised me his testimony thereto, providing he should be 
satisfied therewith in the main, as he had been with the English 
essay ; and afterwards he wrote me, that he was so satisfied. Never- 
theless to this day I have not seen it, however 1 have tugged for it. 

At the same time I waited of Mr. William Hamilton, Professor of 
Theology in the college of Edinburgh ; who treated me very civilly. 
And having desired him to revise it, when Mr. Gordon should put it 
into'his hand, he readily consented thereto; I allowing him, at his 
desire, to consult Dr. Crawford, Professor of Hebrew in that college 

I had, in the end of the preceding year, received a letter from my 

1726 ] MB THOMAS BOSTON. 353 

Lord Grange, of the date Dec. 13, 1725, wherein, upon a perusal 
of the essay on the text, in the space of three or four hours, which 
had cost me near as many years, he shewed his dislike of my notion 
of the heavens; Gen. i. 1, but especially of the waters above the 
firmament, as collection of waters above the starry heavens ; adding 
his remembrance of an old scholastic interpreter having said some 
such thing before. To this I made a return with all becoming re- 
spect, regretting his having so very little time for perusing that MS. 
and candidly pointing to the reason of my interpretation ; withal 
giving him a good many valuable authorities in favour of my no- 
tion of the waters aforesaid, among whom were Pfeiffer, and Gregory 
of Oxon, a noted mathematician as well as a divine ; and its being a 
common opinion among the Lutherans. But since that time I heard 
no more from him. And waiting on him again, at this time as I 
reckon, I found him quite strange and cold. Thus was I deserted 
by him, after puttiug me upon the new work of writing the work in 
Latin, as above narrated. Whether his disgust of the essay on 
the text, on these few hours' reading, or my letter in return to 
his, or both, occasioned his casting me off, J know not ; but thus was 
I taught, not to trust in princes. 

All the remaining part of this year, I preached on resignation to 
the will of God in afflicting providences, from 1 Sara. iii. 18, "It is 
the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good ;" and on acceptance 
with God from 2 Cor. viii. 12, " If there be first a willing mind, it 
is accepted," &c, and Eph. i. 6, " Having made us accepted in the 

That winter a copy of the essay on the text was taken at Edin- 
burgh, half on Mr. William Hogg's charges, and half on mine, which 
I paid, leaving that copy to him. My body has kept up better this 
winter than the last. I am now almost a second time through the 
parish in examination ; and since the middle of January 1727> have 
had a diet of examination of the younger sort, every fourteen days 
except one. 

Having plied the writing of the Latin essay on the accentuation 
through the winter, I finished it on the 17th of March, 1727; con- 
sisting the first part of 182, the second of 322 pages in quarto. That 
day was to me, on this account, one joyful day among many heavy 
and sorrowful ones I have had ; and it was my birth-day, upon 
which, not by any art of mine, but providentially, as I went on in 
my ordinary course, the finishing of that work of my life did fall. It 

* Tbe sermons on acceptance with God, from tliese two texts, are printed in the 
volume, entitled, " The Christian life Delineated." 


being Friday, I had studied my sermons by eleven o'clock ; and 
having refreshed myself an hour, I finished that work about four 
o'clock ; laid it before the Lord with thanksgiving, for life, strength, 
and heart, graciously given me, for it ; sang that latter part of the 
71st psalm, given me for my launching out, as being now on the 
shore ; dined with my two daughters, with a kind of little solemnity ; 
and at night in the family sang again that part of the 71st psalm, 
which I could not get conveniently done after dinner, in respect of 
a stranger, a widow, being present in the house. Shecame in while I 
was finishing my work ; and in token of my thankfulness to God for 
his bounty to me in this matter, I gave her a crown on the Monday 
when she went away, and three shillings on Saturday to some others 
in straits. After some time spent on Saturday morning, in further 
thanksgiving, being dissatisfied with some phrases in one or both of 
the two last paragraphs, I wrote the last leaf over again ; and added 
the Hebrew sentences, a3 the language of my heart and experience, 
to the praise of a gracious God. 

In the spare time I had till March 28, I sought out and bound 
up some papers which J incline not to leave behind me ; read over 
the MS. now finished ; reformed my closet ; took a list of borrowed 
books with me ; and made a catalogue of such of my own books, as I 
desired to leave for prosecuting the study on the Hebrew Bible, 
which I have begun, though I know not to whoso hand they may 
fall, but being desirous, that, if it shall please the sovereign Mana- 
ger, they may be so disposed of and employed ; and took some new 
thoughts of the way of disposing my worldly goods to my children ; 
but the then state of my affairs would not permit the putting them 
as yet in execution. These things were done, with design to have 
no incumbrance from worldly affairs, when the Lord should be pleas- 
ed to call me home. Meanwhile my wife's furnace was heated. In 
the thought aforesaid of my demission, I had some view of carrying 
her in to Edinburgh against the winter 1726, and going in thither 
myself too, for the winter, and to make trial that way ; but her indis- 
position increasing beyond what it had formerly in that season, barred 
all moving that way ; meanwhile he helped us both through, and kept 
me up better than the winter before. The Lord knows man's 
thoughts to bo vanity. I was like to have little encouragement 
from Professor Hamilton and Dr. Crawford. But I adored the Pro- 
vidence that has led mo to and through that work on the accentu- 
ation, and the essay on the text ; the two things I had mainly at heart -, 
and that lias so far accomplished his word to me, Psalm lxvi. that I 
was in a better case when I finished the essay in Latin, than when I 
began it, in respect of my body. 

1727-] ME. THOMAS BOSTON. 355 

For my ordinary, I bad, on Feb. 19, entered on the subject of pro- 
pagating religion to posterity, and discoursing it from Isa. xxxviii, 
19. '' The living, the living, he shall praise thee," &C-, and insisted 
thereon till May, 21, that I entered on sermons preparatory for the 
sacrament. About which time, tbe weather proving exceeding rainy, 
for about the space of a month, I was brought to a pitch of bodily 
weakness, though my great task was now off my hand. In this case, 
at the sacrament, June 11, my kind and gracious Master managed 
me as ever a mother would have done a weak child ; so that at that 
time I got a lesson, just to be doing with the strength I have for the 
time, without asking questions ; the which hath been of good use to 
me since. Now the bruised serpent began with a broadside ; which 
was heavy indeed, but made me the rather expect to see the goodness 
of the Lord in this work an open door, since there were many adver- 
saries. Some of the parish had a horse-race appointed to be just on 
the Monday before, to which many were invited through the country. 
I had no notice of it till the immediate preceding Sabbath betwixt 
sermons ; and then told them the surprising indecency of it ; got no 
answer, but that they knew not if it could be diverted Hereupon 
I warned the congregation, that there was a snare laid for them ; 
and the distributing of the tokens, appointed to have been that Sab- 
bath after sermon, was delayed till Thursday the fast-day. The is- 
sue was, that the manager of that matter seemed to be ashamed, de- 
clared he had done it inadvertently. None of the parish answered 
their invitation but one ; a few came from other places; the race 
was dropped for the time, and they parted civilly. Thus, by the 
Hearer of Prayer, Satan was outshot in his bow. He plied another 
engine I was wounded and vexed on the Thursday, with Mr. J. 
M.'s two sermons, on Prov. xxviii. 13, " He that covereth his sins, 
shall not prosper ; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, shall 
have mercy." Wherein he explained repentance in three things, 1. 
Confession, implying shame ; 2. Sorrow ; 3. Forsaking. Then he 
endeavoured to confirm the necessity of repentance in order to remis- 
sion; held out the fear of hell as what all had reason to entertain, 
to move them to repent ; and harangued against the delaying of repen- 
tance. The whole was shut up with that. We were not to do this 
in our own strength, but in the strength of God, and in dependence 
on Christ, from whom the grace must come. He had not one word of 
confessing over the head of the great sacrifice, nor of the sin of our 
nature, nor was faith in Jesus Christ, or remission by his blood, once 
named, farther than that dependence on Christ above mentioned may 
be thought to bear ; far less faith, as uniting the soul to Christ as 
the fountain of holiness. I had reason to think it was designed 


against the doctrine I preach. And thus was I rewarded for ray 
preaching for him, April gone a year: employing him here on the 
fast before the last communiou, which gave mo dissatisfaction of the 
same kind ; and employing him again this time, in hope of better 
things ; all which I did, not from private inclination, but from a 
sincere desire to strengthen his hands in the Lord's work in his pa- 
rish ; being persuaded, that any reputation the Lord has given me, 
I was bound to lay it out for the furthering his own interest and 
kingdom. However, kind Providence ordered that I preached in the 
afternoon, contrary to what he seemed to expect at his coming; and 
that a^o was by the same hand kindly guided, some things falling 
in the way necessary on such an occasion, and on the other hand 
tenderness used for peace sake. Thus I have seen the strain pre- 
vailing among the young divines, whom I have had no other occasion 
to hear ; and some of the people here have discovered their favour 
and discerning on this occasion ; so that out of the eater hath come 
forth meat. 

In respect of my bodily weakness, I thought I would provide 
timely for the sacrament, that I might rest and be refreshed the 
latter end of the week. So I prepared the fast-day's sermon tho 
week before ; but I was otherwise so taken up on Monday, that I 
could not get the action-sermon beguu till Tuesday, nor perfected 
till Friday morning.* And then I had so much prepared, that I 
knew not how I would be able to deliver it. But then the Lord had 
given it so, that it was most easily impressed on my memory; and I 
had it mandated by two o'clock afternoon ; a forwardness I do not 
remember to have been in before. Then I thought I would rest at 
length ; but thereafter I was held so busy otherwise, that that after- 
noon I was exhausted ; so was I on Saturday's night, (what time I 
was wont to mandate my sermon), that I was able to do nothing. So 
the first time I could again set mysell to go over it again in my mind, 
was between seven and eight on Sabbath morning, which I did cur- 
sorily. And thus was I but just where I used to be formerly at that 
time. Mean while, being put off my ordinary timo of uoing to bed, 
sleep departed from mo in great measure, both Friday and Satur- 
day nights In this case was I, when to enter on the solemn work 
of the Sabbath, weaker than ever, toiled atid exhausted more than 
ever. But, behold, strength was perfected iu weakness ; and I was 
in exercise, four hours together in tho tent, and at the table. Only 
I rested a while in the midst of my sermon, the congregation sing- 

* It was on Luke xix. 5, and is inserted in the volume containing, " The distingu- 
ishing characters of true believers." Some 9ermon» preached after this sacrament are 
also in that volume. 

1727-] MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 357 

ing; and then I prayed a few words, and entered on again ; I never 
did it before, but I bless the Lord who gave me that counsel. The 
Wednesday was very rainy, the Thursday, the fast-day, was fair. 
The Friday was rainy, so that several were kept back that 
would have been from other places, but the whole three days, there was 
not a drop let fall on us. The Lord's own day was a grim louring 
day ; no sun appeared, if it was not towards night. I stood in that 
tent the sweetest easiest station that ever I had on the like occa- 
sion ; it was just to my wish ; my Master managed me in that mat- 
ter, as ever a mother would have done a weak child ; (and the re- 
membrance of it, at the writing it here, produces tears of joy and 
admiration of his goodness.) And it was the sweeter, when it made me 
reflect on the word I had said in secret prayer that morning, in view 
of my weakness, which in tiie time I thought was none of the best 
worded, viz., ' Cast a cloud over me with a little gale of wind.' The 
one was, because I thought I was not able to abide the sun ; and the 
other, that I was not able to bear a dead calm. The Lord was with 
me in the delivering his word, with grave solid concern, as treating 
with sinners in the name of God. When I entered on the study of 
that sermon, I was very peremptory that I should be nothing in it 
but a voice ; and I doubt if ever I was more so for so long a time 
together. And I did thick, and do think still, I am very certain, it 
was the Lord's own message for that time ; and can hardly think but 
he had something to do with it. I have learned anew to prize my 
two friends who preached the gospel with the Master's own counten- 
ance. What is the chaff to the corn ! Powerful were the prayers 
that they poured out for my afflicted wife ; in whose case I turned 
quite hopeless some time ago, did myself much harm, and was almost 
sunk. At the table of the Lord, whithersoever I looked, I could see 
almost nothing, but sovereignty of a gracious God ; when I looked 
to Christ, and when I looked to myself and relations, particularly to 
my wife's case. Sovereignty appeared in the person of Christ, the 
human nature being in him united to the divine nature ; sovereignty 
appeared in the way of the Father's dealing with him, in his birth, 
life, and death ; and thus I travelled betwixt the view of sovereign- 
ty with respect to Jesus Christ, and the view of it with respect to 
me and mine, backward and forward ; believing my union with him. 
On the Friday before, I received a letter from Professor Hamil- 
ton, about the MS. of the Latin essay. It was put into his hand 
about the 6th of January, to be kept about twenty days or a month. 
And he had put it in Dr. Crawford's hands, which was not my inten- 
tion, though I allowed the consulting of him. So I was kept up betwixt 
them, till about the 10th of May. After which was sent out to me 
a sheet and a half of remarks on it, viz., the first part of the essay, 


large paper, and close writ. I wrote to the Doctor, after I had 
heard it was put into his hands ; but he never made me any return. 
Only these his remarks were, after long onwaiting for the returning of 
my MS. sent out to me by Mr. Hogg, without any letter from the 
one or the other. The remarks discovered a great deal of rashness 
and ill-nature, but very little judgment or acquaintance with the 
subject. The Professor's letter was very civil and wary, and did 
much raise my esteem of him ; but withal it had no favourable as- 
pect on the business. Afterwards I wrote him a large answer, 
dated June 16, 1727. His letter, and a copy of my answer, are both 
in retentis. See the Appendix. 

July 16, 1727. The Lord was very signally present at the sacra- 
ment celebrated in Maxton this day. I got a lesson of living by 
faith, in my serving of tables, not knowing what to speak, but 
finding it given sweetly and liberally in the moments wherein it was 
needed. The issue of all unto me was, I found my faith much 
strengthened. Powerful were the prayers there put up for my wife, 
now in the eighth year of her distress, from May 1720. And for se- 
veral of these years she hath been free among the dead, like the 
slain that lie in the grave, remembered no more, being overwhelmed 
with bodily maladies, her spirits drunk up with terror, by means of 
her imagination vitiated in a particular point, and harassed with 
Satan's temptatious plied against her at that disadvantage. Mean- 
while, in all things else, she remains clear in her judgment and 
pointed in her discourse, as before. As she has been all along sup- 
ported to a wonder, so the Lord has at times given her remarkable 
visits in her prison, and manifested his love to her soul. And the 
reality of the grace of God in her, has, by means of her trial, been 
manifested to conviction. "When I came home, she related to me 
how, that morning I went away, sli9 had been reduced to the utmost 
extremity, and that which in the imagination thereof was the cause 
of her terror, really falling out that afternoon, which I very well 
knew in the time, but had no access to help her, but by lifting up 
my heart to the Lord on her account, yet she was strengthened to 
bear it, in such sort as she had particularly desired that day, and 
had not for several years before reached unto ; and how gracious 
the Lord had been to her on the Saturday, being the morrow after, 
and the Sabbath ; so that she was brought to say in her heart, who 
knows but the Lord may yet bring me again to the land of the liv- 
ing ! This surprising relation discovering that God had remarkably 
heard prayer on her behalf, I began to conceive more firm hopes of 
her deliverance. And they were strengthened when I considered 
that the foregoing year the Lord had led me to preach, at the same 

1727-1 MR. TII0AIA3 B0ST0X. 359 

place, on the sabject of deep humiliation going before the Lord's 
lifting up his people ; and then this year to that of praying al- 
ways and not fainting, from Luke xviii. 1, having at parting told 
her that I was going to tell yonder people from the Lord, that they 
who have business at the court of heaven, must hang on there and 
not faint, whatever entertainment they meet with ; for that so doing 
they shall be heard at length. These texts were occasioned to me 
by her case. Now we were with our broken ship, within sight of 
the shore, and I was as one stretching forth his arms crying, help 
forward, help forward ! But behold, in a little time after, the storm 
rose anew, and the ship was beat back into the main ocean, out of 
sight of land again. 

July 31. Monday, I fell under a considerable illness, which I took 
to be the effect of Moffat-well water, having advanced to three cho- 
pins of it, being weary of the time the drinking of it took up. On 
the Thursday's night it came to an extremity, so that death stared 
me in the face, and the sending for help proposed was delayed, till 
it should be seen what the morrow would produce. This was a 
sharp-edged trial to me. I had been invited to the sacrament at 

E r, to be administered Aug. 6, the very following Sabbath, but, 

for a testimony against the injury done by the minister of that place 
here to the truth of the gospel, refused. The copy of the paragraph 
of my answer to him, is to be found with that to Professor Hamil- 
ton. Now I feared I would be made the reproach of the foolish, 
being likely to preach none at all that Sabbath, nor at Galashiels 
sacrament the following Lord's day, Aug. 13, if ever to preach 
more. Thus I was obliged to review that refusal, and found, in the 
face of extremity, I had done no more in it but what was necessary 
for the sake of truth, and desired to lay my credit and my all at the 
Lord's feet. On the morrow my illness abated, but I was unable to 
study, and was satisfied in an old sermon I thought the Lord had 
use for. I was helped to deliver it on the Lord's day, and to go 
about my work as ordinary ; which was a mercy exceeding great in 
my eyes, in that thereby I was not left to be the reproach of the 
foolish. On the Tuesday after I studied a little for Galashiels; but 
it was the Wednesday ere I was quite well ; and that day and 
Thursday I was strengthened to do my work for that place. 

Aug. 12- Saturday after sermons at Galashiels, I received a letter 
from Professor Gordon aforesaid, bearing a narrative of his confer- 
ence with Professor Hamilton, Dr. Crawford and Mr. Matthew Craw- 
ford on that subject. It was comfortable, but withal shewed that 
those three still were of the mind it would not be for the interest 
of religion to publish anything on the subject till it were better un- 


derstood in Britain. I preached this day on Luke xviii. 8, " I tell 
you, he will avenge them speedily." I had, when at Maxton had 
an eye to that text for this occasion, but afterwards laid aside 
thoughts of it. Yet, when the time drew near I was driven back 
to it. And this strengthened my hopes of my wife's deliverance, as 
did also my late deliverance. 

On the Sabbath morning minding to read Isa. liii. the 63d chap- 
ter turned up, and I was moved to read it, and the 4th verse there- 
of, " The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of 
my redeemed is come," so harmonizing with my text, sweetly 
surprised me, and raised my hopes very full as to the deliver- 
ance aforesaid drawing near. At the table I had a view of 
Christ himself as all to me, and going to view particular be- 
nefits, as pardon, &c, I was led back to behold himself as 
containing all whatsoever. In concern for my children, that 
word came, " I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed." Mr. 
"Wilson on the Saturday and at the tables insisted on believing the 
gospel, and on Monday again to good purpose. But that day I had 
wished in my heart he had handled some other subject. Mr. Hunter 
preached after him on these words, " He is faithful that hath pro- 
mised ;" whereby I was checked, and caused to say in my heart, 
The foolishness of God is wiser than men, seeing how God did con- 
firm what I did not so much approve. I was so refreshed with that 
sermon of Mr. Hunter's, that I found my very body in good condition 
when the work was over. 

But after all this, coming home, I found my wife was extraordin- 
ary ill, and saw her not for some time. And when I saw her, she 
told me that it had been extraordinary ill with her, and that she 
had tasted of the bitterness of death, what she had not known before. 
However this made me not to stagger, as to my hope of her deliver- 
ance. In prayer at parting with her it had been kept quite out of 
my head to desire of the Lord a comfortable meeting with her. Ad- 
verting to this ere I got out of the room I stood a little astonished, 
and thought it not meet to tell her of it at that time. But now 
from this my hopes were confirmed in that I thought the Lord's hav- 
ing kept me from seeking what he minded not to give was a ground 
of hope that ho would give the rest which ho helped to seek of him. 
"When we went to family-worship. Josh, xxi, being the ordinary, was 
read, and vers, ult., " There failed not ought of any good thing 
which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel ; all came to 
pass," was sweet, and pat to my present circumstances in that mat- 
ter. And on the morrow, having been carried out in secret prayer 
to plead with God in the same case I was anew surprised and com- 
forted, reading in my ordinary in the Hebrew bible, Gen. xxv. 21 

1727-] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 361 

" And Isaac iutreated the Lord for his wife, and the Lor J was in- 
treated of him." 

Aug. 22. Tuesday. Saturday's night I was raised out of bed to 
see my wife in great extremity. Sabbath morning comforting her, 
and shewing that, notwithstanding of all this, the deliverance might 
not be a whit the farther off, she bid me speak to her as a dying person. 
Thereafter in secret being somewhat shaken, and expressing my 
fears before the Lord, that word given at Eskdalemoor, " Thou wilt 
comfort me on every side," was brought to me, and was staying. 
Monday she was better, but this morning I found she had been very 
ill all this night. Even thus in great measure hath it been for 
many years. Meanwhile I am called to wait on, and not to faint. 
This affliction has been very heavy to me, bowed me down, and con- 
tributed to the bringing me to the low case I am now reduced to ; 
and by it 1 have been under a providential confinement at home for 
some years, which, however, in the wisdom of Providence, hath tend- 
ed to the carrying on of my work in my closet. Three things I see 
clearly designed in it. 1. My correction ; wherein God is just, very 
just, as I very well know. 2. My humiliation; this being as a 
weight hung at me, to balance the honour the Lord has put on me 
in the matter of the accentuation of the Hebrew bible. 3. The good 
of his people in clearing and comforting them by my public work, 
occasioned by the Lord's dealing thus with me, according to 2 Cor. 
iv. 15. and i. 6. 

Aug. 2-4. I desired the Lord would clear up this day, being foul, 
that I migh; get to Mr. Robert Scott's burial, as a token he would 
hear in that foresaid. Singing at family worship Psalm cxxi, this 
view of the bible was given me, namely, that whatever were the par- 
ticular occasions of the writing it, or any part thereof, I am to look 
upon it as written for me, as much as if there were not another per- 
son in the world, and so is everybody else to whose hand it comes. 
The day continued bad, but I thought, what, shall I not believe the 
promise of protection I have been singing ? so I went away, hoping 
it might clear afterwards. But it did not, and it was very bad in 
our return ; nevertheless, I was nothing worsted in the journey. 
Thus I got the main thing desired, getting to the burial, but not 
with the ease, and in the way, I would have had it. And perhaps 
it may even be so, in that weighty case I have so much at heart. 

Aug. 26. My wife being under an impression that her dissolution 
was near, going to the Lord in the case, that word was seasonably 
given, me, " He is faithful that hath promised." 

Aug. 27. Coming in from preaching on Rom. viii. 26, in secret 
prayer, I had an experience of the help of the Spirit in prayer, 

Vol. XI. 2 a 

362 MEMOlllS or [l'ElUOD XII. 

which I had been preaching on. And I got a view of the case of the 
children of God, aDd my wife's particularly, under melancholy, viz-, 
that our Lord, minding to show the power of his grace in his chil- 
dren combating with Satan, he, by such a touch on their imagina- 
tion in a particular point, gives Satan a palpable advantage against 
them, whereby his work may be more easy, than if they were to en- 
counter on even ground ; and then he lets the battle go to, and 
through a secret support and conveyance of strength from himself 
to his child, Satan is baffled, and that more shamefully, than if ho 
had wanted that seen advantage of the ground. 

Sept. 2. I had a letter from Mr. "Wilson, whose daughter Marion 
had been prayed for at Galashiels, patting me in mind of the ex- 
pression in prayer there used, viz., that the Lord would rebuke that 
fever; and bearing, that, as he understood, at that very hour the 
fever left her, and never recurred. This was a confirmation of the 
subject I was upon there. I remember I was straitened in that 
prayer, yet there were in that congregation who might be otherwise, 
and the Lord might help me as their mouth ; and I question not but 
parts of prayer wherein there is straitening may be accepted. 

Sept. 11. Being in hazard of fainting in my wife's case, it was 
seasonably suggested to me that it was surely by the Spirit I was 
led to carry that message, Luke xviii. 8, to the Lord's children ; 
and she and I are the Lord's children too, having an interest in it 
as well as others. And that passage, Psalm Ixxi. 20, 21, became 
fresh to me, that I was made confidently to plead it and expect from 
it, the Bible being God's word to me in particular, as before re- 

Sept. 16. Some time ago I had another letter from Prof. Hamil- 
ton, bearing, that he would not discourage, and shewing a readiness 
to peruso the second part of the essay on the accentuation. Mr. 
Wilson had moved his writing to Jerviswood, or Mr. Bradbury a 
London minister, or to them both for encouraging that essay. But 
on the 5th instant, when I was resolved to go to the Presbytery to 
concert there with him the application to bo made to them for that 
end, the day proved so exceeding stormy, that it was impracticable. 
But having many experiences of the wise conduct of Providence in 
such dispensations, I was not uneasy. 

Since the finishing of that essay, I hava revised the Fourfold 
State, which cost me much labour, through what was done to it by 
Mr. Wightraan, and that the printers had destroyed most of the 
authentic copy. But, by kind Providence, Mr. Wardrobe had taken 
a copy of it, to the end of the third state, which, though not ac- 
curate, was useful to me in this case. 1 have also put the last hand 

1727. J MR. THOMAS BOSTON. 363 

to some sermons on Phil. ii. 7, " But made himself of no reputa- 
tion, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the 
likeness of men ;" and they are now sent in to Mr. Macewan ; and 
so I am relieved of a promise I made, namely, to give him some ser- 
mons for the press. When that promise was made several years 
ago, these sermons were not in being, and so could not be in my 
view. I hope never to make such a promise again, nor to print for 
printing's sake. And I bless Grod I am delivered from this by a 
plain providential call to publish these. Thereafter I began a short 
explication of the catechism ; the occasion whereof was this, Some 
time ago, there was a motion for Messrs. Wilson, Davidson, and I, 
writing on the catechism, for the preservation of the doctrine. They 
took their parts assigned them ; I declined any part, as having my 
hands otherwise filled ; only they proposed to me the commands. 
What I perceived in my examinations of those of the younger sort, 
and in my own family, made me long for that work ; but they not 
being likely to be hasty in it, I fell on this project to satisfy myself 
in the meantime ; but could not get access to fix to it. After the 
sacrament at Galashiels, I inclined much to fall on that work ; but 
by no means could I in my conscience evite the filling up of the pas- 
sages of my life, at least as far as the account of the finishing the 
essay on the accentuation. So I filled it up from the beginning of 
Jan. 1716, to Nov. 9, 1727; and in doing of it was satisfied, and 
began to look on it as a sign of that matter of the essay moving to 
some point. That having been the most busy time of my life, in 
study and writing, there was but little of that nature recorded. 
What I have now in view, is that explication of the catechism, the 
notes on the covenant of grace, and the proceeding in the essay on 
the Hebrew text, which still as I read the Hebrew Bible, my heart 
is set upon. 

As for the state of my body, all my upper teeth are now come 
out by the roots, except two in the end of each jaw, and two side- 
teeth. I have frequent pains of the toothache ; can hardly continue 
close till two o'clock ; am afterwards unfit for any thing, if it is not 
to read a little at night. I preach short now, but I think I pray 
longer than I was wont in public. I have found my weakness, this 
summer, subservient to my humiliation and self-denial in all my per- 
formances ; and a kind of check on the lightness of the heart, that 
youth is ready to go out unto ; yet have I found it withal insufficient 
of itself to that good purpose. 

Sept. 25. — Having been this day eight days, after prayer, deter- 
mined to that work on the catechism, as what would bo of present 
use, I applied myself thereto; and for three days it went on com- 

2 a 2 

364 memoirs ov [period xii. 

fortably ; so that I was too secure about it on the third night. But 
that night sleep fled from me, and on the morrow I was left to toil 
all the day to little purpose or satisfaction. Moreover, I was seized 
with a violent toothache, and was in great extremity, especially in 
the night; so that for two nights I could not lay down my head, 
bat behoved to sit in my bed. Thus was I taught dependence on 
the Lord in this little work ; and that both for the exercise of my 
gift, and for strength of body for it. The third night, being Sa- 
turday's, I got quiet sleep, with my head laid down ; and on the 
morrow, access to my Master's work. And I am signally indebted 
to him ; for that to this day, as far as I remember, I was never kept 
from preaching one Lord's day. The toothache has stormed my 
lower teeth so, that I think they are beginning to give way too. This 
day ; Psalm xxix. ult., " The Lord will give strength unto his peo- 
ple, the Lord will bless his people with peace," was food for my 
faith in my wife's case ; and I pleaded before the Lord for the ac- 
complishment of it. 

Oct. 2. — Monday. Last week the work on the catechism appeared 
a more solemn, serious, and weighty work, than at first I took it to 
be. I bless God that taught me that lesson. The toothache began 
on Tuesday to return in the other side of the head ; which warned 
me again to seek of the Lord ability for the work ; and he pitied. 
My wife rose out of her bed on Thursday at night, and sat by the 
fire about an hour and three quarters. It was the more comfortable, 
that it was the day whereiu I spent some time in prayer for her 
case, which I have done once every week since the sacrament at Ga- 
lashiels. This morning I accidentally cast my eye on Isa. xxx. 18, 
" And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious," &c. ; 
and was thereby admonished, strengthened, and encouraged, to wait. 

Oct. 4. — Having ordered to settle my younger son's quarters at 
Edinburgh for the ensuing winter, when he is to go in, I laid that 
matter over on the Lord ; being encouraged therein from the conduct 
afforded Abraham's servant ; Gen. xxiv. 27, " And he said, Blessed 
be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left desti- 
tute my master of his mercy, and his truth ; I being in fhe way, the 
Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren." I found this 
day it was done according to my wish, and that without difficulty. 
And thereby I felt how experience strengthens faith. However, I 
clearly perceive a necessity of a blessing from the Lord on that set- 
tlement to make it comfortable. 

Get. 19. — This morning, a-bed, these words rolled in my mind, 
" And the angel that talked with me answered good and comfortable 
words." As soon as I rose, I looked my Bible, and found it was, 

1728.] MB. THOMAS BOSTON. 365 

" And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me," &c. 
This was more sweet, while I considered Christ as my intercessor, 
having my suit in hand. Then I saw he had talked with me in that 
word, " I tell you he will avenge them speedily." Moreover I con- 
sidered, that there he had interceded in a long trial of seventy years. 
All which encouraged to hang on, in my process before the throne, 
about the long trial. 

Oct. 30. — Two days ago I had an account, that the sermons on 
Phil. ii. 7, " The mystery of Christ in the form of a servant," being 
printed, were going off well. 

Nov. 6. — Monday. Last week was a heavy week to tne, to the 
weakening of my very body, through an embargo from the Lord 
laid on me, in the study of the question concerning Christ's kingly 
office ; the which lies yet untaken off. Tuesday's night we fell to 
sing Psalm xxv. 11 — 15, which being so close to my case, particu- 
larly ver. 14. I so laboured to gripe it, that being withal sore bro- 
ken, I had begun ere I was aware, to sing over again the latter part 
of that verse a second time, " And he his holy covenant will mani- 
fest to them." On the morrow morning, reflecting on my past life, 
this thought heavily went through my heart, viz. That I had been 
neglected, and broken, and was now fallen down ; presently after, I 
was surprisingly catched, and my case explained, and hope given, 
reading in my ordinary Psalm cvii. particularly ver. 11 — 13. Once, 
just as I was going to prayer, that was suggested to me, " They that 
wait on thee shall not be ashamed." See Isa. xlix. 23. And this 
passage, and that of Psalm xxv. are useful to help me to wait, 
though relief is not yet come. The conviction of my rashness in 
this undertaking is renewed ; though still I cannot but think it is my 
duty to hold on ; and thereto is added a conviction of my two little 
concern for the honour of Christ and his kingly office. 

Nov. 9. — Being just on the point of settling my children's por- 
tions by assignation, I had yesterday an account of one of ray 
debtors being broken, whereby my measures are quite disconcerted. 
This day haviDg sent away my son, to use diligence on that head, 
and to arrest, I did some time after sit down to my studies, being 
several ways unfitted for them, and with little of success. But it 
pleased the sovereign Lord to loose the arrestment he had laid on 
my spirit, and kept on me about fourteen days. This sweet tryst 
made me very easy as to that secular affair. He has kept up the 
deliverance till the fittest time of giving it. the nothingness of 
the creature, and of gifts, without the Spirit ! God has accomplished 
his word that was my comfort in my affliction. He has manifested 
the covenant ; I am not ashamed. 1 see now, this is a great work, 


and that I need to depend on the Lord for strength of body, and for 
light, for that effect, as in the former. 

Nov. 14. — By letters from Edinburgh I find, that a third part of 
the Latin MS. on the accentuation is amissing ; and nine sheets of 
the copy of the first part. My wife has been for some time worse 
than before. Considering those things, with the breach made on my 
substance, I saw myself beset, and upon the trial of my faith, hope, 
patience, resignation ; and therefore aimed at exercising these 
graces, and I hope not in vain. I am now brought to look and cry 
to the Lord, for continuance of life, for bodily strength, and light, 
for the study of the catechism, as in my former of the Hebrew. On 
Sabbath night, Psalm xxxii. 7> to the end, sung in the family, was 
full of light and sweetness to me, " Thou art my hiding-place." &c. 

Nov. 27. — On Wednesday last, having been in particular concern 
for my wife, that was seasonably brought me ; Psalm cxlvi. 7, 8, 
" The Lord looseth the prisoners, — raiseth them that are bowed 
down." At family-worship on Thursday's night, having observed, 
on David's leaving ten concubines of his to keep the house ; 2 Sam. 
xv. compared with chap. xii. 11, how, without the Spirit's bringing 
to remembrance, a word may be quite forgot in the season thereof, 
1 got a sad experience of it presently, after singing Psalm xxxvii. 
8. On Saturday's night it was sweet to me to observe in singing 
ver. 26, ibid, that in the way of the covenant, the securing provision 
for our seed, lies not in getting in, but giving out ; and it was com- 
fortably brought to my remembrance, with what a good-will to do 
good to that man I put that sura of raoney in his hand. 

Dec. 1. — Yesterday morning my son going away again to prose- 
cute that business aforesaid, I was obliged to give him all the money 
I had, save a little ; which money should have gone for family-use. 
I was helped to trust the Lord for provision ; and that very night 
money was unexpectedly brought to my hand, wherewith I was. fur- 
nished for sending to the market. In the conduct of Providence, at 
his going first away on that business, I saw how the Lord, who had 
seen that stroke necessary for mo and my family, yet had managed 
me therein with fatherly pity and teudcrness, which made me very 
easy about the matter. 

Dec. 10. — Last week, I was informed, that the third part of the 
Latin MS. for which I had been in concern before the Lord, was re- 
covered. Also the Lord dealt favourably in my domestic concerns. 

Dec. 18. — Last week I had a fit of the gravel, owing to my suffer- 
ing myself to be tossed with an old temptation, the fountain of much 
sorrow to me ; whereby I percoived Providenco was in earnest for 
subduing my spirit in that point. 0, to be like a weaned child ! 

1728.] MR. THOMAS boston. 367 

Jan. 8, 1728. — Matters appear more hopeless, with respect to my 
essay on the accentuation, and my wife's case. Only the nine sheets 
are also found again. I have this season had two experiences of 
the Lord's bearing me up, in going his errands in the parish, not- 
withstanding of the cold I am so unable to suffer. I find the con- 
sideration of electing love, and of affliction, as the common lot of 
God's children, helpful to me for patience under my trials. 

Jan. 15. — Last week, being the only week for a good time that I 
did not catechise, having gone through the parish for the first time, 
I had two fits of the gravel. So I see I must be doing. I found I 
reaped some soul-advantage by them, especially the first, having 
given myself to solemn prayer on Wednesday. 

Jan. 23. — On Friday last I had two fits of the gravel again. I 
received no relief in the case, but after sore vomiting. So recover- 
ing out of one of them, and going to family-worship, I was exceed- 
ingly comforted with the first word sung ; Psalm lxviii. 13, " Though 
ye have lien among the pots." &c 

Jan. 29. — The gravel still hanging about me, my progress on the 
catechism is stopped. And now my soul is often saying, " Lord, 
shall I not have wherewith to feed thy lambs, to feed thy sheep !" 

Feb. 12. — Still that illness hangs about me. Faith being strength- 
ened, I had last week some comfortable view of the resurrection, 
being on that question. 

March 5. — On the Lord's day, Feb. 18, I was to enter on the sub- 
ject of the Lord's hearing of prayer, having been led thereto by my 
wife's case, and the exercise on my spirit about it ; and insisted 
thereon from the first Sabbath of the preceding August. What I 
mainly insisted on, was, " the Spirit's help in prayer," from Rom. 
viii. 26, " The Spirit helpeth our infirmities," &c. I had fondly 
thought that perhaps the Lord might tryst the deliverance of 
my wife, with my being on that subject ; but that morning I found 
she had all the night been, and still was, in a high fever ; and thus 
was I met, at my entry on that subject. Yet it staggered me not, 
considering the usual method of Providence with me. The fever 
proceeded, with an inflammation that went over her face and head ; 
and such were the turns in her case all that week, and part of the 
next, that I was made to reel and stagger like one drunk ; often 
seeing the knife at the throat of all the tokens for hope I had. But 
readily in prayer, when hardest put to it, that came before me, " I 
will come and heal her ;" and my text ; Psalm lxv. 2, " thou that 
hearest prayer," had a kindly sweetness about it to me. On the 
Friday morning, when I should have entered on my studies, (that 
being my ordinary study day), and particularly on that head, That 


God is the hearer of prayer, and will hear the prayers of his people, 
I was called to wait on her, now brought to an extremity, and could 
have no access to study all that day. This was a sharp trial. I 
lay that night in the folding bed, in the room where she lay ; order- 
ed away an express to Edinburgh, to call home my eldest son ; and 
on the morrow got something scraped together on the head aforesaid. 
On the Sabbath morning, being heavily affected with the case, I 
went to "prayer, and laid it before the Lord ; I desired he would 
work a deliverance, and would please to allow us a breathing time 
for a while, before our sun should set ; and I thought I saw, that 
that prayer was made by the help of his Spirit, laid for acceptance 
on the intercession of his Son ; and begged the outmaking of his 
word to me. Thereafter taking the Bible, I thought with myself, 
That is God's word to me, wherein I am to hear from heaven, and 
receive my answer ; so I read in my ordinary, and that was mado 
sweet to me ; Isa. lxiv. 4, and lxv. 8, but above all, ver. 10, «' And 
Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for 
the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me." f 
have been thinking, I would tell her for her encouragement, how I 
had purposely addressed the throne of grace for her case, once every 
week since the time aforesaid, and was hopeful I would be heard; 
howbtit I did not tell her. But by that means that word, " And 
the valley of Achor — that have sought me," through the divine 
blessing, was as oil to my weary bones. As I sought, so I got an op- 
tunity to preach the Lord's word, and particularly the head afore- 
said. But never all the time did she, to me, look more like a dying 
person, than just when I came from that sermon ; howbeit I was not 
thereby staggered. On the Monday came Mr. "Wilson, and my son 
also ; and by that time the case appeared more hopeful. Yet such 
turns were in it now and then, as made me reel and stagger again. 
Next Friday morning, rising somewhat early for my studies of my 
sermon ; hoping I would now get access thereto, I was called down 
by the time I had got out of bed. And I having, the night before 
expressed great confidence in her case, she desired me to let go some 
of my confidence with respect to it, telling mo what she felt as to the 
case of her body. This brought me under a great damp, heightened 
by my falling to study that day, as I could get access, how prayer 
might be accepted, and yet not granted. By that means an embargo 
was laid on my spirit, in privato and secret, which continued till 
Sabbath morning ; at which time there was a blowing on me. In 
the time of this damp, I turned to the promise ; Horn. viii. £8, to 
believe that with application whatever should come. She seems now, 
by the good hand of God, to be returned to her ordinary. 

1728.] ME. THOMAS BOSTON". 369 

During this additional trial in my wife's case, the Lord was very 
gracious to her. Before its coming on, she had a secret impression 
or intimation of a trial abiding her ; and this word ; Isa. xliii. 2, 
" When thou passest through the water, I will be with thee," &c, 
which was given her at her entering many years ago into the long 
dark valley, was made fresh on her spirit. About the beginning of 
the week, after falling into the fever , awaking out of sleep in the 
night, she found herself so very low, that she could hardly have 
spoke to awaken her daughter lying beside her, but still having the 
exercise of her judgment. She thought, that looked very like deafli, 
and therefore turned her thoughts towards the word ; and the foun- 
dation of faith was cleared to her from John iii. 16, " God so loved 
the world," &c. She saw the promise as a boat on the wa