Born in Berwickshire, Boston graduated at Edinburgh in 1694 and thereafter taught school while he studied theology. He became minister of Ettrick in 1707. About 1700 he had discovered an old Puritan work entitled The Marrow of Modern Divinity, originally published by Edward Fisher in 1645. Quoting lengthy extracts from Reformed and Puritan writers (including Luther, Calvin, Beza, Goodwin, and Sibbes), the book made a great impression on Boston and on his preaching. Reprinted in 1718 with a preface by James Hogg of Carnock, it was condemned by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland because of its Arminian statements. For opposing that decision, Boston and eleven other “Marrow–Men” were formally admonished and rebuked, but no further action was taken against them. The controversy died down and did not revive even when Boston’s new edition of The Marrow with copious and learned notes was published in 1726, the outcome of four years’ work in the Ettrick manse. For Boston The Marrow cleared away certain problems that until then, he said, had prevented his offering the gospel freely and fully.
He was a faithful and conscientious pastor in his rural parishes as well as being a notable scholar. Thomas Boston’s other works included his Memoirs, Human Nature in Its Fourfold Estate (1720), and A View of the Covenant of Grace (1734). J. D. Douglas
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Who’s Who in Christian History
With over 1,500 biographical entries, this bibliographical dictionary is a comprehensive resource, spanning the first through the twentieth centuries-from Jesus and the apostles to Billy Graham and Mother Teresa. Any reader will be fascinated and inspired by the lives of men and women-well known and obscure-who were influential in Christian history. This one volume biographical dictionary is also a perfect resource for pastors, Bible teachers, Sunday school teachers, Bible students, and seminarians.