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By Mr MICHAEL BOSTON,
The Author's Grandson..
UMAN NATURE in its FOURFOLD STATE
was the first production of iny venerable Ancestor, jintroduced to the public. It made its first appearance på the year 1720.- Since that period, it has undergone, at an average, one compleat Edition every two years. Twenty thouland copies of it have been exported to AMERICA; "from one single city in SCOTLAND, besides those that have been sent to the Continent from ENGLAND and IRELAND.. The rapid sale of the Book upon its first publication, is a demonstrative proof of the elteem in which it was then held; and the uninterrupted deinand for it still, 'Thows that the Principles it inculcates, are yet held in repute. All that I need further to add, is,
that this Edition is printed from that one revised and corrected by the AUTHOR himself, and may therefore be esteemed correct..
FALKIRK, Dec. 1784.
P R E FACE.
per. fons is of as great use in the conduct of human life, as the knowledge of things : and it is most certain, that he who knows the various tempers, humours, and difpofiions of men, who can find out their turn of thought, and penetrate into the secret springs and principles of their actings, will not be at a loss to find out proper means of compaflmg his aims, will eafily pre. serve himfelf froni soares, and either evite or overcome difficultirs. But the knowledge of human nature, morally considered, or, in other words, of the temper and disposition of the foul in its moral powers, is of much greater value; as it is of use in the concerns of an unchangeable life and world: he who is poffcfed of fo valuable a branch of knowledge. is thereby capacitated to judge aright of himself, to understand true Chriftianitv, and to conceive justly of perfect happiness, and confummate mifery.
The depravity of human nature is fo plainly taught, yea, inculcared in facred scripture and is so obvious to every think: ing man's observation, who searches his own breast, and reflects duly on his temper aad actings, that it is surprizingły strange and wonderful, low it comes to pass, that this important truth is so little understood, yea, fo much disbelieved, by men who bear the name of gospel Ministers. Are there not persons to be found in a neighbouring nation, in the character of preachers, appearing daily in pulpits, who are so unacquainted with their Bibles and themselves, that they ridicule the doctrine of original din as unin elligible jargon? If they are perfuns of a moral life and conversation, they seem to imagine, 'that they cannot become better than they are ; if they are in moral, they seem to indulge a conceit, that they can become virtuous, yea, religious, when they please. There are the men who talk of the digning of buman nature, of greatness of mind, nobleness of soul, and generosity of fpirit: as if they intended to persuade themselves and others, that pride is a good principle; and do not know,
fe, as the
, who can the fecret
that pride and selfishness are the bane of mankind, productive of all the wickedness, and much of the misery to be found in this and in the other world, and is indeed that, wherein the
depravity of human nature properly consists. E. Upright Adam's nature faintly adumbrated the vine, in a Lo moderate self-esteem, an adequate: self-love and delighital
reflexion on his own borrowed:excellency, regulated by a jutt * ellcem of, and supreme love to his adored Creator:whence a..
peaceful serenity of mind, a loving, compaffiocate and benevoge of per.
lent disposition of foul, a depth of thought, and brightness of
imagination, delightfully employed in the rapturous. contemp-hỏ kow:
lation of his Maker's infinite perfections ; thus - bearing the divine-image, and resembling GOD that made him. But no
fooner did he disobey the divine probatory command, than the ta lofs'ta
scales were calt, his moderated self-esteem degenerated into a fily pre i
pride, his adequate felf-love shrunk into mere selfishness, andis
The modest, and therefore hitherto anonymous author of the following Discourfes, Mr. THOMAS Boston, having handled
this subject in preaching to his own obfcure parochial congregasisery. tion of Eterick; in the Sheriffdoni of Selkirk, had a particular ught, ye view to their benefit; in printing and publishing them; and
therefore the stile and method is plain and simple, and the first od refie edition printed on-coarse paper; but the fubjeis fo' comprey strange
hensive and important, fo well managed, and the book has been tant tot so well received, thiar it now appears in the world more einmen un bellished, as well as better corrected than formerly.
Let it suffice, toʻrecommend it to those who have a righe
tafte of genuine Christianity, that all the Author's notions flow Erich their fo directly from the sacred fountain, that it is to be doubted,
origiad if he has had much recourse to any other helps than his Bible pieral life and his GOD for allistance. Meantime, I am aware of an
exception from these who rank themselves among the polite
part of mankind, as that there is the fame harsh peculiarity of wher
dialec in it, which is commonly to be found in books of practical gning divinity. But I beg leave to observe, That the dialect they
except against, is borrowed from facred Scripture: and likea's einfelel" it has pleased GOD, by the foolishness of preaching to save or koow them that believe;"> To alfo. to countenance what they are
the difpleased with, by the operations of his Spirit on tbe minds of
e dificul oonidered He foulin vke in the s poffelfed citated :
ons to be preachers,
it become o indulge us,
true Chriftians, as their common experience witneffeth. How. ever, I heartily wish, the exception were altogether removed, by some perfon's digeling into a methodical treatise, the views of human nature in its primitive perfection, in its depravid condition, and in its retrieved state, who is matter of modern stile, and throughly understands the subjects discoursed in this book, that becoming all things to all men, Some viz. of all ranks and kinds of men.) may be gained.
I am noi co declaiin at large in favours of religion ; this were to write a book by way of preface. Many able pens: bave been employed in recommending it to the world by ftrong arguments drawn from its usefulness to fociety, its suitableness
to the dignity of the rational nature, and the advantages arifa ing to men from it in this and the other world. But, after all, may not one be allowed to doubt, if religion be rightly underfood by all its patrons ? may nor the beauties and excellencies of a precious gem be elegantly described by a naturalist, or jeweller, who rever faw the particular one he talked of, and knows little of its nature, less of the construction of its paris, and nothing of its proper use? Are there not men of bright parts, who reason finely in defence of religion, and yet are to much strangers to it, that they brand the persons who are lo happy as to te poffefied of it, with the hard Dame of spiritualifts, Teckoning them a kind of enthusiasts, unworthy of their regard. 'The truth is, Christianity is a mysterys niere reafon does not comprehend it. There is a spiritual discerning neceffary to its being rightly under stood, whence it comes to pass, that men of great learning and abilities, ibo' they read the Scriptures with attention, and comment learnedly upon them; yet do 'not, yea cannot enter into the vein of thought peculiar to the inspired peaman, because they share not of the sabie Spirit ; wherefore it is, that the Apostle Paul afferts the natural, that is, unre. generate man, not to.“ know the things of God, neither indeed % to be capable of knowing them, because they are fpiritually 66 discerned.?!
From what has been faid, it is easy to conclude, That na pedantic apology on the part of the Author, for appearing in print, or fawning compliments to the courteous reader, on the part of the prefacer, are to be expected. The truth is, both the one and the other are rather litle arts, vailing pedantry and conceit; than evidences of modesty and good fenfe. It is of more use to recommend the persual of the book to persons of all ranks and degrees, from a few suitable topicks, than to shew herein this Edition differs from the fifte