Thomas Boston and Assurance

No, this is not the name of a new Southern Gospel group. 

Thomas Boston was a Puritan, and at the age of 22 I think he wrote a little journal that was published after his death and titled, ‘The Art of Man-Fishing’.  Very early in part two he gives what he believes to be evidences of his own salvation.

Thomas Boston is brutally honest with himself, both in his own failures and in his fruit.

I ask that as you read the quotes in the coming week that you be introspective and honest as well.

Here’s the first of the quotes;

“A man that hath the Spirit hath life (Rom. 8: 2,9) but I think I have the Spirit: ergo, I have life. That I have the Spirit, I conclude from these grounds following.

1. I have light that sometimes I had not

The Comforter … shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26).

I see now otherwise than sometimes I saw. Once was I blind, but now I see, though I see but men as trees. Once was I darkness, but now am I light (though weak) in the Lord. This light makes me see:

(a) My former darkness, the sad and miserable state that once I was in, ignorant of God, Christ, and religion, save going to the church, and keeping from banning and swearing, etc., which I was restrained from, from a child. This makes me see my present darkness (1 Cor. 13:12). How little a portion do I know of thee, O God? My knowledge is but as the twilight.

(b) It lets me see my heart sins, my imperfections and shortcomings in the best of my duties; so that God might damn me for them. The hypocrites say, Why have we fasted, and thou seest not? (Isa. 58:3). It lets me see the wanderings of my heart in duty and out of duty, yea, the sinfulness of the first risings of lust in mine heart (Rom. 7), and is still discovering the baseness of my heart unto me, so that I am forced to think and say that at the best I am unclean, unclean.

(c) It makes me to see Christ precious (1 Pet. 2:7), altogether lovely, the chief among ten thousand, preferable to all the world; for whom if my heart deceive me not (Lord, thou knowest), I would undergo the loss of that which I most esteem in the world. ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth that I desire besides thee.’ For indeed, ‘My heart and flesh faints and fails; but thou art the strength of my heart, O LORD’ (Ps. 73:25, 26).

(d) It lets me see my need of him; so that nothing else but Christ, I am persuaded, can help me. When I have done what I can, I am but an unprofitable servant. If I should do a thousand times more than I do, I count all but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord. My soul cries out for thee, O God, and follows hard after thee.

(e) The knowledge that I have of Christ makes me trust in him in some measure (Ps. 9:10), though alas! my evil heart of unbelief creates a great deal of difficulty in that to me. I find him a present help in the time of trouble; therefore I endeavour to cast my burden upon him. I know him to be a good Master, and therefore I lean on him for help for his own work. I know his grace is sufficient for me; therefore in temptation and trials, I endeavour to lift up my soul to him.”



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2 responses to “Thomas Boston and Assurance

  1. “No, this is not the name of a new Southern Gospel group. ”

    But it could be in fact you know that could be the name for the Imperials (now I’m dating myself) of the new millennium. Just think you could be the next Bill Gaither.

  2. Being brutally honest with ourselves is not easy, but we need to do it.

    God’s law will bring about that honesty in those whom He has called and chosen.

    The law accuses us and exposes us (kills us off, so to speak)

    Then the gospel can go to work on us and raise us to new life..over and over and over again.


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