Some Thomas Boston goodness

Our guided reading group have just finished session 8 – the creation of man. The supplementary reading for the session was the opening chapter of Thomas Boston’s Human Nature in its Fourfold State. It was an absolute joy to work through. Here’s a flow diagram of the chapter with a few lovely quotes thrown in.

The State of Innocence

1. The state of innocence wherein man was created

a) Man’s understanding was a lamp of light

b) His will in all things was agreeable with the will of God

c) His affections were orderly, pure and holy

So . . . that original righteousness was “universal and natural, yet mutable”

a) Universal with respect to subject (whole of man) and object (whole of God’s law)

b) Natural to him, but not essential

c) Mutable

“Let no man quarrel with God’s work in this; for if Adam had been unchangeable righteous, he must have been so either by nature or by free gift: by nature he could not be so, for that is proper to God, and incommunicable to any creature; if by free gift, then no wrong was done to him in withholding what he could not crave. Confirmation in a righteous state is a reward of grace, given upon continuing righteous through the state of trial, and would have been five to Adam if he had stood out the time appointed for probation by the Creator; and accordingly is given to the saints upon account of the merits of Christ, who “was obedient even unto death.” And herein believers have the advantage of Adam, that they can never totally nor finally fall away from grace.”

2. Things flowing from the righteous primitive state

a) Man was then a very glorious creature – shining like Moses’ face

b) He was the ‘darling’ of heaven, evidenced by the covenant

c) He was lord of the world, under God

i) The tree of knowledge was a gracious sign of God’s ultimate sovereignty

“Man being set down in a beautiful paradise, it was an act of infinite wisdom, and of grace too, to keep him from one single tree, as a visible testimony that he must hold all from his Creator as his great landlord; that so, while he saw himself lord of the creatures, he might not forget that he was still God’s subject.”

d) He had perfect tranquillity and calm

e) He had a life of pure delight

“Adam … no doubt had a peculiar relish of these pleasures.”

f) He was immortal

3. The doctrine applied

a) For information

i) Not God, but man was the cause of his ruin

ii) God justly requires perfect obedience

iii) Behold the infinite obligation we have to Christ

“Free grace will fix those whom free will shook down into a gulf of misery.”

b) For reproof

i) To those who hate religion

ii) To those ashamed of religion

iii) To the proud self-conceited professor

“They have eyes behind to see their attainments, but no eyes within, no eyes before, to see their wants, which would surely humble them . . . those men are such a spectacle of commiseration, as one would be who had set his palace on fire, and was glorying in the cottage which he had built for himself out of the rubbish”

c) For lamentation over all we have lost

“Here was a stately building; man carved like a fair palace, but now lying is ashes: let us stand and look on the ruins, and drop a tear.”

“Come then, O sinner, look to Jesus Christ, the second Adam: quit the first Adam and covenant; come over to the Mediator and Surety of the new and better covenant; and let your hearts say, ‘Be thou our ruler, and let this breach by under thy hand.’ “


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