"Will's sighting would certainly not stand well with the Kirk, and during the first part of the eighteenth century the Kirk was particularly powerful in the parish of Ettrick.
Its minister at that time was the preacher Thomas Boston, who is remembered now-if he is remembered at all-as the author of a book called Human Nature in its Fourfold State, which was said to stand next to the Bible on the shelf of every pious home in Scotland. And every Presbyterian home in Scotland was meant to be a pious home. Constant investigation of private life and tortured reshapings of the faith went on to take care of that. There was no balm of ritual, no elegance of ceremony. Prayer was not only formal but personal, agonized. The readiness of the soul for eternal life was always in doubt and danger.
Thomas Boston kept this drama going without a break, for himself and for his parishioners. In his autobiography he speaks of his own recurring miseries, his dry spells, his sense of unworthiness and dullness even in the act of preaching the Gospel, or while praying in his study. He pleads for grace. He bares his breast to Heaven-at least symbolically-in his desperation. He would surely lacerate himself with thorned whips if such behavior would not be Popish, would not in fact constitute a further sin.
Sometimes God hears him, sometimes not. His cravings for God can never leave him, but he can never count on its being satisfied. He can rise up filled with the Spirit and enter marathons of preaching, he presides at solemn festivals of Communion in which he knows himself to be the Vessel of God and witnesses the transformation of many souls. But he is careful not to take the credit himself. He knows that he is all too capable of the Sin of Pride, and knows too how swiftly Grace may be withdrawn from him. . ." pg. 14,15 Alice Munro
When I read the above I went down in the lower level and brought up my set of the COMPLETE WORKS OF THOMAS BOSTON 12 Volumes. When we were in Bible College back in the late 1970's I bought this set of the Complete Works of Thomas Boston (reprinted in 1980). Many years ago one of the first books I read when coming into the Reformed Faith (Calvinism) was Thomas Boston's book "Human Nature in its Fourfold State". I have not read Boston in awhile. As I have mentioned here before for several years I was into Scottish Theology/when I was at Reformed Theological Seminary I even took a class on Scottish Theology.
How many Christians in the world own a set of the COMPLETE WORKS OF THOMAS BOSTON. How many of my readers have read Boston's Works?
"Human Nature in its Fourfold State" by Thomas Boston (I think I read Boston's treatise "Human Nature in its Fourfold State" paperback edition in 1975 Richmond California.)