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The Crook in the Lot
Thomas Boston (1676-1732) was a remarkable Scottish theologian and pastor. His Works run to 12 volumes and contain some lengthy theological treatises. But Boston also wrote brief, very accessible, and pastoral books, and chief among these is the quaintly titled, The Crook in the Lot: The Sovereignty and Wisdom of God, in the Afflictions of Men Displayed. This little book is a pastoral masterpiece, in which Boston reflects on the words of Ecclesiastes 7:13, ‘Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked?’
By ‘lot’, Boston means our ‘lot in life’, the shape of our lives as they are styled by God’s many providences. By ‘crook’, he means those unforeseen troubles that afflict, unsettle, or disturb us in any way. Boston sets out to minister pastoral wisdom and help to God’s people experiencing what Paul calls ‘the sufferings of this present time’ (Rom. 8:18).
The Crook in the Lot is pastoral medicine prepared in the laboratory of Boston’s own personal and ministerial sufferings. It is little wonder that Jonathan Edwards considered Boston ‘a truly great divine’. He was indeed!