Quote re Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Boston

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Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I am looking for details re a quote I found in Iain Murray's insightful biography on Jonathan Edwards.

The quote is by Dr John Duncan:
"I would like to sit at Jonathan Edwards feet to learn what true religion is, and at Thomas Boston's to learn how to get it."

I understand Dr Duncan refers to Edwards Religious Affections. Does anyone know what Boston work he refers to? I assume it is Boston's classic Human Nature in Its Fourfold State, but I'm not sure.

Any insights would be appreciated.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
I wonder if it has to do with Boston's involvement in the "Marrow Controversy." In my study of Edwards in seminary, I found some slightly disturbing trends in his doctrine of assurance. If I recall, in some places he sounded, if I may dare say, quite Arminian if not Roman Catholic in regard to assurance.

Of course, I could be totally, totally off about this. It really is just a guess. He could just be speaking of the fact the Boston produces more systematic works than Edwards did.

I wrote a paper on this subject. PM me if you would be interested in reading it.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Taylor,
I am working on a biography of T. Boston. Would u mind if I read your work on the Marrow controversy?
 

TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wonder if it has to do with Boston's involvement in the "Marrow Controversy." In my study of Edwards in seminary, I found some slightly disturbing trends in his doctrine of assurance. If I recall, in some places he sounded, if I may dare say, quite Arminian if not Roman Catholic in regard to assurance.

Of course, I could be totally, totally off about this. It really is just a guess. He could just be speaking of the fact the Boston produces more systematic works than Edwards did.

I wrote a paper on this subject. PM me if you would be interested in reading it.
John Duncan was known for being morbidly introspective to the point where he very frequently had grave doubts about his own salvation and suffered frequent depression as a result. He was a great man who was of much use to the church, but that was one of his few weaknesses--though indeed it gave him a great tenderness in dealing with the souls of others. I am not surprised that he thought highly of Edwards on the affections, but perhaps he thought too highly of him.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
Taylor,
I am working on a biography of T. Boston. Would u mind if I read your work on the Marrow controversy?
I’m sorry, I wasn’t very clear. My paper is on Edwards and the doctrine of assurance, not the Marrow Controversy. I apologize for my lack of clarity there.

I am still happy to send you my paper, as it may be somewhat relevant.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I wonder if it has to do with Boston's involvement in the "Marrow Controversy."
Yes I think you are right

Of course, I could be totally, totally off about this. It really is just a guess. He could just be speaking of the fact the Boston produces more systematic works than Edwards did.

I wrote a paper on this subject. PM me if you would be interested in reading it.
Thanks. My interest was not Edwards view of assurance as such. I am considering writing an essay on Edwards 'Religious Affections' and was wondering if Boston provides some 'balance' to the study of Religious Affections per the Duncan quote I mentioned.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I think Duncan is probably referring to Boston's emphasis on the Free Offer. He is very clear and passionate in calling people to Christ and explaining what that looks like. Once you have responded to the offer, that's when Edward's emphasis on piety and communion come in to play. At least, that is how I am interpreting the quote.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Some other works of Boston that may touch on the subject of "getting" true religion...
  • The Distinguishing Characters of True Believers, Works, Vol. V, pp. 44-298.
  • A View of This and the Other World, Works, Vol. V, pp. 299-632.
  • The Everlasting Espousals, Works, Vol. VII, pp. 491-519.
  • The Christian Life Delineated, Works, Vol. X, pp. 489-636.
 
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